Who says 140 characters isn’t enough to say something constructive? Matt Stewart is writing an entire novel that way.
Yes, Stewart is publishing his entire 480,000 character book at 130 characters at a time (to leave room for hashtags and links) on Twitter. To be clear, the book, called The French Revolution (being released today, appropriately on Bastille Day), is already written. But Stewart and his agent couldn’t get any publishers to bite, so they decided to go the non-traditional route, to say the least.
Here’s how this works: Every so often, Stewart is tweeting out sentences (or incomplete sentences) from the book. No, he’s not doing this by hand, he got a programmer to help him automate the process. The result is slowly spilling out the entire narrative of the book to his Twitter feed.
If you think this would be impossible to follow in a regular stream of tweets, you’re right. That’s why Stewart has a website chronicling the whole story thus far (or, of course, you can simply click on his Twitter page to read it — though backwards). Stewart expects that will will take about 3,700 tweets to get the full story out there.
Others have taken this approach to put pieces of writing on Twitter, and plenty have even crowd-sourced the writing of works on the service. But Stewart believes his is the first full-length literary novel to be released first on Twitter. To commemorate the launch, you can also find his book for free on Scribd, or find it on Amazon’s Kindle for $1.99.
The obvious question is: Is the book any good? It’s too hard to tell at this point. We’re only about 80 updates into the 3,700. Regardless, this seems like a good idea for a guy who couldn’t get a book deal. Who knows, maybe he’ll even land a book deal now to write about his experience in publishing a book on Twitter.