Back in 2007, Brandon Sanderson decided to publish his novel Warbreaker under the Creative Commons license as he was writing it. He’s been blogging about it and updating the site all along, and the hardcover version will be along later this year. (Whoops – it was originally intended to be out in 2009, but seems to have come out during Q4 of ’08) He’s up to revision 4.2, now, so I imagine the latest version is pretty readable.
I am not sure what to make of this stategy. It’s a very interesting experiment, and as an aspiring author I think it’s pretty cool. On the other hand, I think it has real potential to alienate readers. If something you do in the early stages of the book strikes someone as particularly awful but gets fixed in the final draft, how many readers are going to come back? I know I would be loathe to pay money for a book that I had already read and which I disliked, on the off chance that the annoying bit will have been handled in the later stages of editing.
On the other hand, I love to see anyone getting into the spirit of free sharing of culture. Tor already showed a willingness to share their works for free (though not free-as-in-speech, sadly).
Brandon Sanderson is the author of the excellent Mistborn series. I have so far read the first, and really enjoyed it. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series once I make it through my current backlog.