A Million Monkeys
They say that a million monkeys sitting in front of a million computers (typing away at random) could write a novel, but there’s a lot of upkeep with a million monkeys.
So instead, one of our ‘code monkeys’ wrote his own novel.
Steve Maass has e-published a novel called Gene Pool that he co-wrote over the course of several years with a friend from a faraway land called California.
The concept for Gene Pool was born in 1997 when the two writers met at random on an early Internet chat site and developed a friendship based on a mutual interest in writing. They soon sketched out an idea for a science fiction tale filled with alien horrors. Their goals were to build a story to explain the presence on Earth of the ‘familiar’ gray-skinned aliens and flying saucers, but also to add a terrifying new element in the form of a second, vicious alien race that is discovered when it begins methodically killing human beings.
The initial excitement about writing the novel soon ran headlong into the necessities of daily life, and months, then years went by during which little or no progress was made. Then the authors got their second great idea: write for fifteen minutes a day, every day. It seemed like a simple enough goal to meet, and once they got started, the fifteen minutes often turned into an hour, and something kind of miraculous started to happen: chapters were written, new ideas were hatched, and the book began to take shape.
Early in this process it became clear that it would be necessary to meld the styles of the two writers into one coherent ‘voice.’ Steve took on that challenge and became the de facto editor of the growing manuscript. The better part of the next couple of years was spent emailing ideas, chapters, and comments back and forth, and then one day the checklists were completed, the margin notes were resolved, and the manuscript was done.
The next ‘chapter’ in the saga was trying to sell the book to a publisher. At the time, the options were to submit the manuscript through a literary agent, or to try to find a publisher who would accept the manuscript directly from the authors. Some research revealed that a handful of sci-fi publishers did accept manuscripts without an agent, so another couple of years were spent submitting the book to these publishers (and waiting, often for months, for a response.) Despite positive and encouraging comments from the book reviewers, no one made an offer to publish the book.
Fortunately, as more and more things have ‘gone digital,’ a new publishing option has become available: e-books. Amazon.com, the worlds largest online book seller, offers an e-publishing platform that allows books to be read on their Kindle e-book reader, on any iPhone or iPod Touch using a free Kindle Reader app, or on a PC using Amazon’s free, downloadable Kindle software (Mac and Blackberry versions are ‘coming soon’ at the time of this writing).
Amazon.com even provides free book samples for many of their e-books (Gene Pool is no exception!), allowing you to read the first chapter for free before you decide to buy.
Steve is focusing on websites now, but if you happen to read Gene Pool, drop us a line and let us know if you liked it!