WEbook raises $5M more to crowdsource the novel

WEbook is a site that brings wiki-style methodology to the writing of books — you can create a project, invite others to help and solicit feedback. Readers can even vote, American Idol-style, for which books are best, and the top vote-getters will be published. The site launched in April, and WEbook just announced another $5 million in venture funding.

As a wannabe fiction writer myself, I have to say that WEbook’s model doesn’t excite me at all — it literally embodies the cliched insult of “art by committee.” The idea of reading a novel written by more than one or two authors makes me want to stab my eyes out. But the Bethesda, Md. company says it is already attracting an audience — 500,000 unique visitors per month working on more than 15,000 book projects.

I do believe the collaborative process can be useful for nonfiction projects like “101 Things Every Guy Should Know How To Do,” which will be one of the three books WEbook publishes in the next four months, and which was written by 30 contributors. (Authors split 50 percent of profits from their book sales.) The community of writers and readers may also be good for advice and support. Still, I’ll be a little less skeptical of the model, at least from a business perspective, once a WEbook publication hits the bestseller lists.

The round comes from new investor Vertex Venture Capital and existing backer Greylock Partners Israel, as well as eight angel investors. The company previously raised a round of between $1 million and $2 million.