What is a Book Sprint?

A Book Sprint brings together a group to produce a book in 3-5 days. There is no pre-production and the group is guided by a facilitator from zero to published book. The books produced are high quality content and are made available immediately at the end of the sprint via print-on-demand services and e-book formats.

The Sprint Table

The Sprint Table

Zero to book in 5 days. Seem impossible? Its not, its very possible, fun, and extremely rewarding.

There are three important outcomes from Book Sprints:

  1. * Producing a book
  2. * Sharing knowledge
  3. * Team/community building

Books Sprints produce great books and they are a great learning environment and team-building process.

This kind of spectacular efficiency can only occur because of intense collaboration, facilitation and synchronous shared production environments. Forget mailing Word files around and recording changes. This is a different process entirely. Think contributors and facilitators, not authors and editors.

There are five main parts of a Book Sprint (thanks to Dr D. Berry and M. Dieter for articulating the following so succinctly):

  1. 1. Concept Mapping: development of themes, concepts, ideas, developing ownership, etc.
  2. 2. Structuring: creating chapter headings, dividing the work, scoping the book (in Booktype, for example).
  3. 3. Writing: distributing sections/chapters, writing and discussion, but mostly writing.
  4. 4. Composition: iterative process of re-structure, checking, discussing, copy editing, and proofing.
  5. 5. Publication

The emphasis is on ‘here and now’ production and the facilitator’s role is to manage interpersonal dynamics and production requirements through these phases (illustration and creation of other content types can take place along this timeline and following similar phases).

People love participating in Book Sprints partly because at the end of a fixed time they have been part of something special – making a book – but they are also amazed at the quality of the books made and proud of their achievement. Finally, it releases them from the extended timelines (and burdens of guilt) required to produce single authored works.

Here are some interesting articles that provide more detail on the process:

  1. 0 to Book in 3 Days? (Molly Sharp, Safari Books Online)
  2. Google Document Sprint 2012 – 3 more Books Written in 3 days (Stephanie Taylor, Google)
  3. Everything you wanted to know… (Dr David M. Berry and Michael Dieter)

BookSprints.net is where the Book Sprint methodology all started. The method was founded by Adam Hyde with the initial spark of inspiration coming from Tomas Krag. Adam is available for facilitating Book Sprints and providing training, workshops & consultancy around collaborative content development and rapid development strategies.

History of Book Sprints

The term ‘Book Sprint’ was coined by Tomas Krag and the Book Sprint method was founded by Adam Hyde. In the first sprints held under this term Tomas brought together a small group of people for a week to plan the outline for a book and then the group worked remotely on developing and editing the contents over a period of 6-9 months.

Adam met Tomas at an event organised by Aspiration and was inspired to try something similar with FLOSS Manuals but with the aim to produce the entire book in 5 days. Zero to book in 5 days. This rapid development of a book in 5 days is the Book Sprint method.

Since founding the method four years ago Adam has refined the methodology greatly and facilitated more than 50 Book Sprints – each wildly different from the other. There have been sprints about software, activism, oil contract transparency, collaboration, work spaces, marketing, training materials, open spending data, notation systems, Internet security, making fonts, OER, art theory and many other topics.