Crowdsourcing the Content

It was difficult to pick a crowdsourcing site to assist with getting the chapters done. The first site we tried out bombed, we received one request to write. Researching your crowdsourcing partner is very important, be sure to pay attention to things like; amounts of active projects, creatives and writers and testimonials. The good thing about crowdsourcing is that if you are unhappy with the work you receive you may remove your project and get your bounty back . Make sure to pick a site that offers a satisfaction guarantee. If you are not having any luck then pull the project and start over with another site. Fortunately when I took a second shot at this and posted the project on Crowdspring.com, Mike Sampson, the cofounder of Corwdspring, came to my rescue. He gave us some tips on how to manage the project and make it successful. We were able to gather a great list of diverse writers through this one site, and found working with Crowdspring to be easy. Here is Mikes story:

Mike Samson is an entrepreneur and the coFounder of crowdSPRING (http://www.crowdspring.com), the online marketplace for creative services.In his former life, Mike was an Emmy Award® nominated Producer, and Production Manager with more than 20 years of experience as a senior manager in the film and TV production industry. He worked on dozens of feature film and television projects including "Wall Street," "Bull Durham," "Steven King's The Stand" (Miniseries), and "Men in Black II."

“When we were approached by Corey Travis with Future Point of View to host the Enterprise Social Technology project, we jumped at the chance. We knew that our community of talented writers and designers (over 64,000 strong and growing fast) would want to be involved, contribute their ideas, and watch the process unfold.”

As the aggregator for this book, Scott first provided an extremely detailed outline of all the content we wanted and provided in depth instructions on how to write each chapter. Included in the instructions were samples and advice on the voice, tone, word count, expectations and other details. This part of the project was serious work, and in many ways was the same process any author must go through.

It then took constant updating, feedback and study of all the potential chapters we could have accepted in order to find the right versions for the book. In some ways, it would have been easier from an editorial standpoint if Scott had written the book from beginning to end. But relying on crowdsourcing delivered much richer content than Scott could have created on his own.

Let me share a little bit about what we went through in the first week after posting the project on Crowdspring.The chapter requests were posted in the late afternoon, we wanted to let it sit for a few days and see what happened, we had no idea that we would get the response we did. Within twenty-four hours we received 876 emails asking for permission to view the project. By the end of the project we had over 1040 applicants and 58 entries. An Applicant is a person who asks permission to view the project; they must sign a Non-Discloser Agreement before they are able to read detailed briefs of the project. This protects your work from being stolen. An entry is a submission for permission to work, in this case we asked for a 300-500 word essay on why we should choose you for the project and which part of project you would like to work on. The entry is your formal application into the writing process. This may seem overwhelming, but keep in mind that there are tricks to make this process simplerI chose applicants that I thought had the most potential based on the piece of sample writing they submitted. I looked for things like writing style, grammatical errors, interesting thoughts, background and communication when choosing writers.

The Editorial process of the book consisted of three parts. First we set a deadline that was one week before the final version of the book was due. We used this last week to give feed back to the writers and all them enough time to make corrections and resubmit their chapters. The second happened after we chose the final writers; with crowdsourcing you are always able to ask for revisions before you award the bounty we suggest that you take advantage of this time. Final edits were made by the aggregator and publisher. We ended up with fourteen excellent writers from all over the world. Let me share a little bit about them.