Sunday, January 22, 2012

Leebre.org -- Liberate fiction with free, social publishing

Hi. I posted about Leebre.org some time ago, but I thought I should work on another blog entry about it, since we got our Kickstarter project going.

You guys know how writing is my life. If you follow this blog, you also know about my quest to get published. I often befriend aspiring authors on Twitter, and all of us always whine about querying, about our own insecurities, about not getting agents, publishers and whatnot. For people who are seriously willing to live by their pen, the wait to get someone interested in your work is endless. The publishing industry is a very competitive business, and while some agents are very open to new authors, some not even bother reading our queries.

I’ve often wondered why writers and other artists are often depicted in movies as depressed, melancholy people. But, guess what. . . the many rejections we get are more than enough to turn us into a bitter crowd.   

I was very happy to find out, though, that there are many other writers out there who opt to publish their work independently. If you’re a writer, you should be able to show your work to people once it is done, right? Why keep it anonymous while desperately trying to impress literary agencies and publishing houses? Some of us just go and say “no, I’ll get this published whatever the means are, because nothing stops me from being a writer.”

The way I see these independent writers is as if they were explorers looking for new lands. They are brave, and confident enough to go about sailing, trusting that they are going to reach their goal -- a place they only see in their dreams. And once they reach it, they have to explore it without maps, because there aren’t maps describing the world of independent publishing. At least not yet.

What if, though, these pioneer writers didn’t have to go on adventures on their own? What if they didn’t have to fight occasional sea monsters alone? What if there was something that supported them, some place where they got advice from other pioneer writers just like they are, some place where they didn’t meet hostility, where they didn’t have to wait, where they could be just as prepared like other authors under the guidance of publishing houses? This place could be Leebre.org.

I humbly believe that Leebre.org is an innovative platform in the sense that it offers tools and a free, safe gathering place for independent authors who might be feeling lost and lonely in this vast publishing world. Up until now, some of its features were only made available for authors working directly with publishing houses. For instance, Leebre.org will allow authors to format their work with beautiful, professional looking typesetting -- and, guess what, if they know nothing of design techniques, they don’t have to worry about it, because the website will do this for you.

Everything about Leebre.org is to make publishing, formatting, engaging with audiences as easy as possible. The website is being designed to be completely community-oriented, and to allow an easy exchange of ideas between authors and readers. Yes, because Leebre.org is also aiming at empowering readers with a more complete library of books they can easily download, discuss about, and even help edit (if that was the author’s wish).


Another special feature Leebre.org will offer is the donation button for authors. Once they publish their work with Leebre, a donation button will be made available for readers to support their favorite authors’ works. In a way, it’s like arts patronage back again. There is also the option to associate your work with an NGO or some other cause, which means that everything that people donate will serve philanthropic causes of your interest. We’re hoping that this feature will attract already established authors as well, in case they’d like to support a cause.

Everything published with Leebre.org will go under a Creative Commons license (authors, of course, will be able to pick which aspects of the CC license best suits their interests). But why? Because we want these authors’ works to be immortal. It is absolutely ridiculous to think that many works out there can’t be released anymore due to expired copyrights that don’t interest publishers anymore. The CC license also functions for educational purposes, in the sense that more readers will be able to improve their libraries and have access to more thinkers.

Please, check out the Creative Commons website for more information about their licenses.

Finally, Leebre.org is also thinking about international communities. We’re hoping to translate it first into Portuguese, and then into other languages. Other features will make it easier for graphic novels and picture books to get published with us, and we’re planning on starting a creative writing forum that should allow writers and readers hone their skills.


We really need your support to make Leebre.org happen. We’ve launched our Kickstarter project and it is now 58% funded, but we only have 9 days left to fund-raise. You can help us with pledges on our Kickstarter page, spreading the word about it on Twitter and Facebook, and telling your friends to check out our Kickstarter as well. If you have a blog, why not write a quick entry about us? We’re also open to interviews, in case something is still unclear for you.

Join us on our quest to liberate fiction!
-- Becca, on Behalf of the Leebre Team.   

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