Digital strategy and communications


Publishing a book can take nine to twelve months, by which time the book you’ve slaved over can seem out-dated. Enter Flash-Publishing.

As some of you know, I’ve been working with friend Becky Hogge on publishing her book Barefoot into Cyberspace. It’s been a really interesting experience with plenty of things to ponder over and consider.

One of our main challenges has been speed. The book is ‘an inside account of radical hacker culture and the forces that shape it, told in the year WikiLeaks took subversive geek politics into the mainstream’. The ‘year’ part in that sentence is what’s crucial. The year in question is December 2009 to December 2010. The book is about pertinent, timely stuff. Whilst it has a long shelf life, it also has material that you want out in the public domain as soon as possible, so that it can inform the existing debate. This is not unusual for books of a more journalistic nature.

As Becky is decided to write the book off her own bat, rather than first getting a publishing deal, it’s means that even with an enthusiastic and supportive publisher the book would not come out until next year: 2012. By that time many things could have changed, particularly as the book deals with hacker culture, which as we’ve witnessed recently with Anonymous, Lulzsec and their off-shoots hacking into everything from Sony and the CIA to the Brazilian Government and Eve Online.

Shifting sand
LulzsecIn the last month Lulzsec have been described as terrorists by a victim of their lulz:

Terrorists have no compassion for the collateral damage done to victims who aren’t the target of their ire. LulzSec expressed this emphatically by encouraging people to inflict as much damage as possible on those logins and passwords.

And if this video is anything to go by Anonymous may even have decided to enter politics with the creation of TheAnonParty (HT).

These changes and shifts in the sand mean that understanding the underlying hacker culture is increasingly important, and makes 2012 look even more distant.

What to do?
Flash publishing, that’s what.

Three weeks ago Becky finished her book. On the 28 July she’s having it’s launch party. That’s six weeks, not six, nine or twelve months.

Over on her blog Becky describes what’s been involved and who. We’ve been doing some of the preparation in parallel. The conversations and plans over marketing began a few months before the book was finished, but even so, this is a fast turn around. As Becky describes, it’s been possible through a team effort but significantly through the online tools now available. As Becky writes:

‘Thanks to platforms like Lulu, (our chosen supplier) Lightning Source, and the Amazon Kindle store, the entire process can be set up for less than a half-decent meal out.’

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