After making a name for nearly 35 years as the man behind the successful Canadian publishing house Boston Mills Press, John Denison now has a taste for the brave new world of publishing. On January 1st, 2012, he will launch his ambitious and forward thinking “Occam’s Razor” – an exciting comic book slash online portal of unique downloadable content and crowdsourced illustration.
The plot of “Occam’s Razor” is an exciting one, involving comic books, intergalactic forces and a classic battle of Good versus Evil. The gist is that a comic book creator nearing retirement gets kidnapped by one of his creations and pulled into his comic book. His young daughter, dressing up as the comic’s heroine Major Occam, jumps in to save him. And that’s before anything really gets started!
Denison originally had the idea of publishing the story as a serial, with newspapers in mind. But he soon started to wonder if the online world wasn’t the better way to go. This led Denison to hire Forsefield, a youthful graphic design team from Newmarket, Ontario who, along with Denison, designed a powerful online world for his fictional characters to inhabit, with downloadable apps, video games, and personalized content that reaches out to the new generation of readers.
There isn’t a contemporary idea that isn’t open for discussion, and every day the team comes up with new and interesting ways to bring the book’s story and characters to the public. For example, see Occam’s Lazer, a game available from Itunes featuring characters from the book):
This striving for innovation led Denison to one of the project’s most innovative aspects. Denison has put out an open call for any ambitious artist to sign-up to the site and upload their illustrations of his story for possible inclusion in the final published title. It is a worldwide invitation using the unique technology and crowdsourcing philosophy of the Internet in order to expand his book beyond the text.
And contributions are not limited to illustrations either. Denison stresses that artists are encouraged to upload their music, videos, games, etc., just as long as they contribute to the growing “Occam’s Razor” universe. Anything, really, that adds to the story will be welcome. (He is also looking for budding audio book readers to record their readings of the book to be released as an “Occam’s Razor” audio book.)
Starting this January 1st, Denison plans to release the book to the public one chapter at a time, one day at a time. Then, through a custom-built portal on the website, artists can get the chapters 5 days in advance of their release to the public. It is a short deadline, but the whole experience is meant to be fun, exciting and creative for everyone involved.
And as there is a whopping 120 chapters in total the Open Call and project will be spread over 120 days, each day featuring more and more content for participants and readers to view. The site will also function as a sort of hub where those working on the book can exchange ideas and illustrations.
Denison hopes to get at least 10 pieces of artwork for every chapter. After all is said and done he will pick the best art and print a hard copy. Eventually the book will also be available as an ebook and through Print on demand. Denison also sees this part of the project as an opportunity for innovation. With so much material coming in, and so many folks involved, there is room for customization and personalization that is not possible with traditional publishing.
Plans are afoot to find a way for customers to customize each purchase. Buyers can choose which of the illustrations they would like illustrating the text of their book. Contributing artists can also make a book featuring their art alone, sort of a calling card advertising their abilities as illustrators.
So spread the word! Aspiring artists, game designers, musicians and young geniuses…give us what you got! Help make “Occam’s Razor” one of the best books of its time!