Yesterday, eBookNewser talked to Steve Wilson, CEO and co-founder of FastPencil, an ambitious writing and publishing social networking site. Fastpencil was founded a couple of years ago, incorporated and raised some funding in late 2008, and actually launched last July. The site features robust social networking tools that enable users to create a book online, from writing to collaborative editing, to publication (as a print or eBook), to distribution and promotion.
This kind of site has become a fast-growing trend–sites like Scribd and Wattpad are also part of this trend–and eBookNewser asked Wilson why. One of FastPencil’s big features is the capacity for authors to collaborate on projects, whether that means co-writing or editing. Wilson said “from a timing perspective. every startup that’s going to be successful has to have not only great technology, but also the right timing.” said Wilson. “People are familiar now with social networking, so collaboration probably wouldn’t have worked a couple of years ago.”
Wilson attributes the rise of this kind of site to the growing number of would-be authors and a publishing industry increasingly averse to risks. “There’re a lot of really good authors out that that have been turned down by trade publishers or don’t know the route to take. FastPencil enables authors to connect with very viable designers, ghost writers if need be, editors, book designers,” said Wilson, who also noted that children’s books have worked particularly well on the site.
Wilson also said he’s excited about the iPad–FastPencil already has an iPhone app, which actually allows mobile word-processing and collaborating on the site and which the company is looking forward to transitioning to iPad.