The Red Couch gains traction

Things are beginning to move with The Red Couch, the collaborative work on producing what could be the definitive business book on why companies should blog, by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel.

This is no ordinary business book project:

Most of this project is being executed in the public eye, via The Red Couch blogsite. The authors expect to gain input, wisdom, useful criticism and content from its visitors. In a way, these are contributing editors. This intentional transparency of our business project is in part proof-of-concept, but it also has enormous awareness-building attributes. At this point, before a first chapter is actually written, The Red Couch has already generated more public attention than most books that have already been published. According to PubSub, The Red Couch is among the 6,000 most visited blogsites among the 7.5 million tracked.

Yesterday, the book’s proposal to publishers was posted on the project blog. It clearly illustrates the considerable thought and planning that has already gone into this project in these initial stages, with a comprehensive content outline categorized under three broad headings – Why?, Doing It and Mastery.

The book’s foreword will be written by Dan Gillmor, author of We the Media, and one of today’s most influential participants in and shapers of the blogosphere.

So what’s the book about, exactly? From the overview:

[The Red Couch] argues that blogging is not just another tactical communications distribution channel, but a new strategic medium that benefits both companies and customers, giving each an enhanced understanding of the other. The Red Couch explains why businesses of all sizes and in all places should blog. It then goes on to explain, in non-technical straightforward terms, how to get started blogging and how to become a master at it, using it to more effectively distribute and receive information vital to a company. […] It predicts that companies that adopt blogging will prevail while those who do not may face the same fate as the village blacksmith who ignored the early automobile a century earlier.

Other than its content, what’s especially interesting about this book project is the participatory nature of its content development – the "intentional transparency" mentioned above. Anyone who has some value to add through their own insight and suggestions (the "contributing editors") can make them as comments in the project blog. The two authors may incorporate those suggestions or derivatives of them into the content in some way.

The authors say they expect the book to be completed by mid-September, with it ready for sale during the first quarter 2006. They expect the book will be between 85,000 and 120,000 words in length, or between 250 and 325 pages.

A truly collaborative work. Welcome to a future of publishing.

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3 thoughts on “The Red Couch gains traction

  1. The Red Couch

    Robert Scoble & Shel Israel are writing what will probably become the definitive book on business blogging. The Red Couch should be released sometime in 2006. (Seems like a long wait doesn’t it) Neville Hobson has a good post to…

  2. But what a proposal, Shel! If that content is what largely ends up as the book, I think it will be an outstanding publication.
    Or it could be that my post is the first concise review of a book before that book’s even been written 😉

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