The Guardian's Michelle Pauli (aka TeaAndOranges Snookums) reports:
"The first time I meet Penguin's digital publisher, Jeremy Ettinghausen, I crash land at his feet. Admirably unperturbed, he shows me his house, we have a chat about Penguin's latest digital initiative, then fly to a library before he teleports me into the future."
Penguin worked with the London-based virtual world design agency Rivers Run Red to create an in-world version of Neal Stephenson's Snow Craft. Second Lifers can read excerpts of the text, listen to an audio clip, and follow a link which clicks through to a dedicated Second Life page on the Penguin website. The publisher is also developing a Second Life virtual bookshelf of other Penguin titles.
So what does this mean for you, toiling away on your first novel/screenplay/poetry collection/avant-guarde stream-of-consciousness memoir?
"This 'ground-up' approach to publishing within Second Life is interesting a publisher at the other end of the commercial spectrum. Neal Hoskins (avatar name Fernando Proctor) is the publisher-founder of Winged Chariot, a real-world small press specialising in children's literature in translation. He is a relatively newcomer to Second Life but, when we meet for a (virtual) cuppa by a (virtual) roaring fire in a (virtual) log cabin, he is keen to talk about the opportunities for developing literature within the world rather than bringing it in from outside.
In the virtual world there are benefits to being a small publisher, says Hoskins. You can move more quickly to experiment with new ideas, and there is less competition from the 'big guys'.
'I'd like to look for talent in here," he muses, 'I envisage starting small with something like a poetry or secrets wall where residents can leave notes about their Second Life experiences, and then publishing the best of them, like Paul Auster's True Tales of American Life. The book could even be brought back into the real world. We could open a fiction imprint list in Second Life, something that's really difficult for an independent publisher in real life.'"
This could be the new-wave of blogger book deals, so get on that before Simon Spotlight Entertainment forgets to offer you a package with a $L 5k advance. Chop chop!
ELSWHERE:Read more about Second Life in Camille Dodero's (aka Lily Pixie) Does your life suck?