The FMF works with each language community to bring together people to produce free documentation about Free Software. Our two key strategies for this are Book Sprints (which are well established) and a new programme of Sprint Conferences which is a major new area of development.
Book Sprints are an innovative format based on Code Sprints but with the focus on producing documentation instead of code. A sprint brings together a group of writers, editors, and perhaps an artist and production specialist, to go from outline to published book in five days.
Writing a book in a week is an incredible and demanding feat. It is enabled by the FLOSS Manuals platform (BookType) which has turned the corner from wiki to collaborative publishing platform. The platform enables fluent collaboration with local and remote writers, a low technical threshold and an automated print source generator that produces a beautiful book-formatted PDF. Upload this to a print-on-demand service and you have a fast moving process able to produce books at the same rate programmers change the software.
Usually 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 in printed (using print-on-demand services) and e-book formats. Books sprints produce great books and they are a great community and team building process.
FLOSS Manuals has established the Book Sprint methodology as a productive and effective means to produce high quality software manuals and other books, such as CiviCRM, How to Bypass Internet Censorship and many others.
FLOSS Manuals and Aspiration (http://aspirationtech.org) gave birth to the Sprint Conferences, with the the first taking place at the Google headquarters from October 17-21 2011. Four books about Free Software projects were created simultaneously by four Book Sprint teams. This event was coupled with an unconference facilitated by Aspiration.
FLOSS Manuals has always been known for its high output ratio, pioneering Book Sprints and other methods to break content production speed barriers established by traditional content production methods. Sprint Conferences are the next step forward in this area - tying in parallel sprint processes to produce 4 or 5 times the material of a single Book Sprint in the same amount of time.