Some of you may be familiar with LongPen, a nifty gadget devised by Margaret Atwood a few years ago, which allows authors and readers to interact (and get books signed) across vast distances. (Here is an illustration of how it works.) Now Atwood is getting all meta and beta and taking it to another level with Fanado, which sounds like something right out of Oryx and Crake, but with more people and without the dystopian vibe.
Fanado is an app which allows artists and fans to meet, talk, interact and sign stuff—paper books, e-books, cards, t-shirts—over the internet. It combines the LongPen technology with chat, instant messaging, and social media. Says Atwood, “I know how hard it is as a creator… to build an audience from the ground up. And I also know how hard it is as a fan to connect with with your favorite artist once that person becomes famous… Fanado connects creators directly with their fans, and allows them to sign and personalize things individually.”
This is a pretty interesting and exciting development in digital technology. And the idea of getting an e-book “signed” is very cool. (Would it increase the value of an e-book like it does the value of a physical book?) We’re also curious about the less, uh, orthodox applications of Atwood’s technology—namely, who will be the first fan to ask a writer to sign their bosom over the internet? And who will be the first writer to receive that request? OUR MONEY’S ON JONATHAN FRANZEN.)
Right now Fanado is in its embryonic phase, and Atwood and her team are seeking funding via Indiegogo to develop it further. Check out the campaign here, wherein Atwood draws an adorable dog on an e-book:
—Elissa Goldstein was born and raised in Melbourne. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College and is the Online Editor of Electric Literature. You can find her here.