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Thread: [Display site] Algonkian Author Salon

  1. #1
    Oh, the humanity. Giant Baby's Avatar
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    [Display site] Algonkian Author Salon

    I don't find a thread on this one here, yet. YADS? Something else? Calling themselves a "Literary Social Network." What say you?

    From their website:

    Author Salon attracts promising writers, transforms them into great writers, and provides them with the visibility and promotion necessary to get them published by major players in the business. To that end, Author Salon creates and maintains a rigorous work-to-publish writer conference environ as well as a professional social network for beginners, veteran writers, and published authors of fiction and nonfiction, as well as agents and editors in the commercial publishing business actively searching for projects and new voices in a variety of genres.
    Also:

    A SAMPLE OF FILM PRODUCERS, LITERARY AGENCIES AND PUBLISHERS, WITH PRESENCE ON AUTHOR SALON OR COMMUNICATING WITH AUTHOR SALON REGARDING NASCENT AUTHORS AND MARKETABLE COMMERCIAL PROJECTS EXTANT ON THE AUTHOR SALON WEBSITE:

    ATCHITY ENTERTAINMENT INTERNATIONAL
    ANDREA HURST AGENCY
    LARSEN POMADA AGENCY
    KIMBERLY CAMERON AGENCY
    GAIL ROSS AGENCY
    THE RIGHTS FACTORY
    SANDRA DIJKSTRA AGENCY
    INTERNATIONAL CREATIVE MANAGEMENT
    WILLIAM MORRIS AGENCY
    SIGNATURE LITERARY AGENCY
    RANDOM HOUSE PUBLISHING
    PENGUIN GROUP USA
    HENRY HOLT
    HARCOURT BRACE JOVANOVICH


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  2. #2
    Shakespearean Fool DreamWeaver's Avatar
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    To that end, Author Salon creates and maintains a rigorous work-to-publish writer conference environ as well as a professional social network for...
    Think they meant "environment," as environ is a verb meaning to circle or enclose.


    It occurred to me that maybe I was undereducated and they were using French (goes nicely with salon), but it turns out in French environ is an adverb meaning about or around, as in "about 100 writers have signed up" or "around 10 agencies are talking with us." Also, environs in both languages means the area around something, as in "Paris and its environs."


    So, I really think they meant "environment."



    Moral: if you're going to sound high-falutin', it's best to get all the words right.

    Now karma is going to make me commit a horrible example of accidental apostrophe abuse for that nitpick. I just know it. Or possible I totally screwed up the placement of the quotation marks. It's a minefield out there.
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  3. #3
    Professor of applied misanthropy Drachen Jager's Avatar
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    Environ is an archaic/shortened form of environment. As you say it means to circle or enclose, it also means that which encircles and encloses, ie. the surroundings, or the environment.

    You should probably double-check before criticizing. Karma skipped the commas and hit you right in the hubris.


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  4. #4
    Shakespearean Fool DreamWeaver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drachen Jager View Post
    Environ is an archaic/shortened form of environment. As you say it means to circle or enclose, it also means that which encircles and encloses, ie. the surroundings, or the environment.

    You should probably double-check before criticizing. Karma skipped the commas and hit you right in the hubris.
    Ouch! Thanks. I suspected I should have checked more than three dictionaries.

    I take it back--archaic is awesome for sounding high-falutin'.
    Why doesn't George R. R. Martin use Twitter? He already killed off all 140 characters.

  5. #5
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Whatever the hell this is it transforms promising writers into great writers. What more could a nascent author desire?

  6. #6
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    It's basically YADS and it's still apparently in beta testing.

    Agents and publishers have got too much on their plate to go searching sites like this (and note that being aware of something doesn't mean they actively go looking on it). In fact even Harper Collins's own Authonomy project (which they set up, run and promote) hasn't led to more than a handful of publishing deals (and some of those were because the authors were already out on submission).

    Give it a couple of years, see if they're still up and running and if so, whether they've put up details of who's got authors and publishing deals out of it.

    MM

  7. #7
    permaflounced
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    From their masthead: Writers at Author Salon get published the old fashioned way. They earn it.

    Huh?

    My guess is it will be yet another feeding ground for start-up publishers looking for aspiring writers with which to build their stables, rather than the likes of Random House, et al.

    I'm also guessing there'll be a membership fee for the workshopping/displaying/promoting writers, if not now, then in the future.

  8. #8
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LillyPu View Post
    From their masthead: [SIZE=2] [I]Writers at Author Salon get published the old fashioned way. They earn it.

    Yes, because all of us here who got published without Author Salon didn't earn it at all.

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  9. #9
    Benefactor Member Manuel Royal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drachen Jager View Post
    Environ is an archaic/shortened form of environment. As you say it means to circle or enclose, it also means that which encircles and encloses, ie. the surroundings, or the environment.

    You should probably double-check before criticizing. Karma skipped the commas and hit you right in the hubris.
    No; that would be "environs". DreamWeaver is correct.


    However, anyone can use a wrong word. That snarky masthead bothers me more.


    All (or most of) these display sites sound good in theory. This one is more attractively packaged than some. How many actual book deals have come out of them?


    Quote Originally Posted by LillyPu
    I'm also guessing there'll be a membership fee for the workshopping/displaying/promoting writers, if not now, then in the future.
    This is from their FAQ page:
    Quote Originally Posted by AuthorSalon.com
    What Does it Cost to Join Author Salon?


    Author Salon is currently in Beta Phase 2 and there is no charge for joining and fully utilizing the site. Writers who become members during this time are members for life and will never be charged a fee of any kind; however, once this Phase is complete in early 2012, Author Salon will charge $9.99 per month to all new members (or $79.00 for one year membership), and $1.00 of that sum from each member every month will go to our designated Author Salon charity, SMILE TRAIN.
    So that's a come-on to get writers to join right now.

    The process described seems to involve a great deal of peer criticism during the development of one's project. Might be just the thing. (For some writers, not for me; I don't show a work in progress to anybody.)

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  10. #10
    permaflounced
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    So who's the mastermind behind Author Salon? Does anyone know who owns it?

  11. #11
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    From the trenches...

    Hi everyone!

    I am a long time visitor/lurker of the site - which has saved me from countless shady characters and disreputable deals. I gave Author Salon a whirl and wanted to chime in with a bit about my experience as it was sufficiently negative to push me out of the lurky shadows.

    I'm trying to find that right balance between being specific "enough" to show that my comments are not just baseless, sweeping statements and not being so specific that I sound like I'm trying to start a smear campaign - please forgive me if I vary too far in either direction.

    As I said, overall, my experience at Author Salon was extremely negative. The process is onerous, not intuitive, and, in my opinion (an opinion I am not alone in), needlessly complicated. That alone, however, would not have been enough to deter me from continuing with the site/process. It's the overall antagonistic and hostile environment there that sent me running for the hills.

    The administrators/moderators of the site are extremely paranoid of negative feedback to the point of actually stalking AS members on other sites if they relate any of the goings on over at AS. There is a very rampant censorship compaign going on that leaves a bad taste in my mouth (I fully expect one of the mods to pop up here and publicly flog me for these comments). When one AS member (not me) went to another site to ask for feedback/thoughts on a suggested rewording of her query hook she received from an AS mod (because the suggestion seemed bad to her), an AS moderator somehow got wind of it, followed her to the other site, and publicly reprimanded her there for relating the feedback she had received for the purposes of "publicly ridiculing it"! There was an implied threat of being banned from AS for such behavior. The mod then also went back to AS and publicly reprimanded the member there, as well.

    Any comments, complaints, or suggestions for improvement posted on the message boards are DELETED by the moderators, and posters of such are publicly reprimanded. I'm not talking about long, virulent diatribes against the site by angry trolls type posts, I'm talking about simple statements such as "the review questions are extremely difficult to answer on the profile alone. This process would be easier if we could simply critique the manuscript."

    There are daily broadcast emails from the moderators, chastising us for any number of offenses and telling us how it will take months of work before any of us are ready to move up the AS ladder (and these are the emails meant to encourage us!); as if the tone of these emails was not bad enough, they are also always riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes (which would be laughably ironic if the tone of these emails wasn't so negative and condescending). I know this sounds like a very petty complaint, but these emails - as is all the censoring and labasting - are supposedly coming from literary agents running the site. The unprofessional writing quality of the emails coupled with the unprofessional tone/attitude in the emails and on the boards makes me leery of believing they are actual agents, or agents anyone would want to work with.

    The actual AS process first involves setting up a very extensive profile that details every facet of your book and then receiving at least five peer critiques on the profile. The critiques use a standard set of questions that require a great deal of speculation to be answered from just the profile - does the ms. narrative adhere to the conventions of the genre, does the writing compare favorably or unfavorably to other leading published works in the genre (and use a side by side comparison to substantiate your claims/opinion), are the characters fully fleshed out or two dimensional, etc. Any statement akin to "I can't answer this from a profile, I'd need to read the ms." are PUBLICLY lambasted by the moderators as lazy and insufficent and the moderators then threaten to delete the entire critique - please keep in mind that each critique runs 7 to 10 pages long when all is said and done - so deleting all of that hard work for one "bad" setence seems rather overboard.

    These are just a few examples of the overall tone, attitude, and environment they have created at AS. As I said, my experience was extremely negative and I was following all the rules and processes to the best of my ability and with good faith. Half the critique group I was in quit the site together this week - the supposed reward at the end of the process did not seem worth the constant harrassment by the AS staff.

  12. #12
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing your experience in such specific detail, Fancycatz! That's really helpful (and detailed positive experiences, if others chose to share those, would also be helpful, of course).


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  13. #13
    permaflounced
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    Thanks for the inside information, Fancycatz! And the balanced way in which you held forth.

    I was on their website just the other day and started filling out the cumbersome questionnaire. I'm curious about what they're doing and wanted to find out. I soon abandoned my 'curiosity' because it seemed absolutely ludicrous that I would be judged by who-knows-who based on my profile, and then 'checked out' to make sure I was an appropriate candidate--for a freaking display site. But then I suppose that's their intent, even if it's no indication of how serious I anyone is about their writing. To find out they critique the profile, oh my gosh, and then can reject all that time-consuming busy-work... It's odd that I sensed a sort of paranoia emanating from between the lines of what I read in their application process (now confirmed). I decided I'd live happily ever after just fine not knowing what this site is up to.

    Sounds like a nightmare. I hope more light is shed to keep others from enduring the same. With that kind of behavior, I wonder how long they'll last, or how long they'll be able to keep all those agents and publishers just salivating over all this new talent.

  14. #14
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Fancycatz:
    When one AS member (not me) went to another site to ask for feedback/thoughts on a suggested rewording of her query hook she received from an AS mod (because the suggestion seemed bad to her), an AS moderator somehow got wind of it, followed her to the other site, and publicly reprimanded her there for relating the feedback she had received for the purposes of "publicly ridiculing it"!
    If anyone did that to me, they'd get a two-word response and the second word would be off.

    Fancycatz:
    There was an implied threat of being banned from AS for such behavior.
    That's not a threat, it's a favour. I'd grab it with both hands by repeating my "behaviour" on as many other sites as possible.

    Basically it looks like amateur hour. As I said above, YADS are useless. This bunch of insecure bozos seem like a particularly spectacular waste of time IMO.

    MM

  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    You guys made me laugh, especially Momento! Thanks, I needed that!

    Things have gotten even weirder since I posted - an email exchange today with the AS staff as I try to get off their email list (several of us who have left are still getting emails from AS and there is no way to unsuscribe) makes me think the whole AS site is actually some sort of practical joke. I know that sounds weird, possibly paranoid, but these guys are so far out in left field as to professionalism I can't believe these are real people.

  16. #16
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    If anyone did that to me, they'd get a two-word response and the second word would be off.



    That's not a threat, it's a favour. I'd grab it with both hands by repeating my "behaviour" on as many other sites as possible.

    Basically it looks like amateur hour. As I said above, YADS are useless. This bunch of insecure bozos seem like a particularly spectacular waste of time IMO.

    MM
    I hope to clarify something with this. The person mentioned who got called out and all that, yeah that was me. But your story isn't quite accurate, so if it's okay I'd like to clarify what happened.

    A friend of their admins came to a forum I belong to for writers, advertising this website. When I asked others what kind of feedback they'd been getting (because as stated above some of their suggestions weren't really cohesive with what I'd heard from y'know agents and others), this friend of the admins went to them with my post. Then they did not come to the other forum. They just called me out on it on their forums. So it's not quite the same.

    I want to be sure you all are getting the truth and that if my story gets told, it's not exaggerated. You can't see the thread on their forum unless you're a member (if you are already, then it's my shout-out thread). But you can see the other forum's thread and what went on there.

    The forum is open.

    I hope this helps everyone get the facts of what happened. It may have just been a misunderstanding (maybe I was being rude in how I asked my friends about it), but I'll let you guys decide for yourselves.

    Though unless you all have a friend of their admins on this site, I don't think they'll come and talk to you about anything here.

  17. #17
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Hi, Tansy, and welcome to AW!

    TansyRagwort:
    They just called me out on it on their forums. So it's not quite the same.
    You're right, it isn't quite the same and thank you for the clarification.

    However, whether they called you out on agentqueryconnect or on their own website, I remain of the opinion that they're insecure asshats.

    A professional website does not call someone out in public for criticising their site/services and nor does a professional website delete comments that it perceives as criticism or being negative. A professional website should get in touch with the person and seek to clarify the service and/or improve the customer experience.

    Also, the fact that admins of the site would discuss matters with Charlene that have absolutely nothing to do with her (in that she seems to have no involvement with the site beyond being friends with an admin) is completely appalling. I get that people want to defend their friends, but her contributions to that Thread have only served to highlight the amateurism of the people running the site.

    I still wouldn't touch Author Salon with a ten foot barge pole.

    MM
    Last edited by Momento Mori; 02-15-2012 at 03:01 PM. Reason: Adding a point

  18. #18
    Caped Codder jaksen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fancycatz View Post
    You guys made me laugh, especially Momento! Thanks, I needed that!

    Things have gotten even weirder since I posted - an email exchange today with the AS staff as I try to get off their email list (several of us who have left are still getting emails from AS and there is no way to unsuscribe) makes me think the whole AS site is actually some sort of practical joke. I know that sounds weird, possibly paranoid, but these guys are so far out in left field as to professionalism I can't believe these are real people.
    Have email from that address sent directly to your spam folder.
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  19. #19
    Oh, the humanity. Giant Baby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TansyRagwort View Post

    ... It may have just been a misunderstanding (maybe I was being rude in how I asked my friends about it), but I'll let you guys decide for yourselves.

    Though unless you all have a friend of their admins on this site, I don't think they'll come and talk to you about anything here.
    I observed this over on the AQC thread (where I first learned of Author Salon) in real time. I have to say that I find nothing quite as informative as the behavior of a business's supporters - even more so than that of their detractors. The complaints leaking back from the site were concerning, but it was the public, chastising, wet noodle slaps from their cheerleader that told me more than I needed to know.

    I hope she sticks around.

    AQC is down for maintenance at the moment, so I can't go back and review, but I don't recall anything to suggest that you'd been rude, TansyRagwort.

    I did notice this morning that the AQC thread has been locked. I haven't spent much time over there and don't know much about the forum dynamics, but I do hope the mods will be open to unlocking it again if there's something new to report. I highly doubt that everything there will be to be said about this site has been said, and that thread seems to be the most active for people who've actually registered and are reporting information.
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  20. #20
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Yes, they did lock the thread. I think it was digressing into a debate between their friend and the AQC people. Though, I doubt they'll unlock it because the thread is in the wrong spot on the forum (hardly an agent updates topic). I'm pretty sure no one would object to further discussion there or anywhere (in fact even after locking we've brought it up in chats and been able to discuss it.

    I like the dynamic at that forum and felt it was probably appropriate to lock that particular thread.

    And Momento Mori, I don't want to dismiss any of your points or opinions. Just want them to be as well-informed as possible. Sounds like I managed to do that, so awesome. I hope other authors out there do the same before making the time commitment to a site like Author Salon (it is a rather hefty one). It's great that you guys have this section of the forum to help with that. I find it rather handy.

  21. #21
    I was very concerned joining the site about security, but it was recommended at an Algonkian conference and in private the gentleman there said it is very secure. In any case...unless you're in an MFA, MA program, and know what that's like, authorsalon.com is probably equivalent in terms of the work load you're expected to do on there and hours you'll be putting into the process.
    But, with an MA/MFA program, the people critiquing you have already been screened for competency. Or, at least, judged to be as competent as the individual.

    I've found already I've gotten a huge amount of insight on my novel and pitch that I haven't gotten at conferences or on websites like Absolute Write both from critiquing and being critiqued...it's a completely different experience than any other writers site I've been on and it works as an intense, online writer's workshop, best way to describe it.
    AW requires 50 posts before a user is allowed to start a thread in SYW for critique. You have (at the time of writing) 20.

  22. #22
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    My big worry about the AS 'process' is that it might lead to killing the spark within certain manuscripts, especially if it is cookie-cutter vetted to exhaustive genre specifications.

    I'll be able to judge better when I see solid sales come out of the AS model.
    Any news on that front?

  23. #23
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fantasycreature View Post
    OK first off to both of these responses.

    1. I don't have the time or interest in having to be qualified to get peer critique with 50 posts. I'm on Author salon and immediately started working with peers to get critiques. I am driven to get my work out there, not wait to get 50 posts. This isn't a game for me I have two finished novels and that sort of "rule" to me makes no sense.
    The rule is there to ensure you participate fully in the AW community. You interact with people, you create new threads and respond to others, your post count goes up. You can get the 50 in no time if you participate on a regular basis, but if you can't "play the game", that's up to you.
    2. There are genre/non-genre writers on author salon. The process isn't to create "genre" writers.
    tl;dr

    There are also genre and non-genre writers here, as there are breakdowns in the SYW forums. The breakdown according to genre isn't to "create genre writers", either; it's to make it easier for members to find work they're interested in reading and therefore give a more qualified critique. I'm not interested in sports writing, so I'm not going to critique a story about baseball.
    The people running the site are legit people who've come out of literary agencies, publishing companies etc.
    So are many, many of the people who post here on AW on a regular basis. We have a section where we have agents reply as frequent guests. Many of the regular members are also publishers, editors, and authors.
    Of course, some people may not be qualified according to your "criteria" whatever it may be, but honest, uninhibited writer to writer response can be a powerful thing in this way...and you can call and receive as many of these critiques as you wish if people are willing, always working off the same guidelines, and you'll see a wide range of opinions but it's the SAME points that may appear a number of times that will indeed be helpful.
    Which is what you'd see in SYW but since it's just "a game", again, that's up to you.

  24. #24
    Crazy Young Cat Lady roseangel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fantasycreature View Post

    This site is new, sort of experimental and groundbreaking
    Actually, looking at the site and reading this thread, it doesn't seem all that different from places like Authonomy.
    Avatar by linnpuzzle.

  25. #25
    1. I don't have the time or interest in having to be qualified to get peer critique with 50 posts. I'm on Author salon and immediately started working with peers to get critiques. I am driven to get my work out there, not wait to get 50 posts. This isn't a game for me I have two finished novels and that sort of "rule" to me makes no sense.
    You said (and I bolded it for you so you'd know exactly what I was referring to) :

    I've found already I've gotten a huge amount of insight on my novel and pitch that I haven't gotten at conferences or on websites like Absolute Write both from critiquing and being critiqued
    My point is that you haven't posted anything on AW for critique. You are not yet able to.
    How can you claim AS gives you more insight on your novel from a site you've never received a critique from?

    As Ben explained, the "rule" is there because AW is a community and, yannow, if you want to "take" from the community, it's nice to give. That, unfortunately, has to be enforced because there used to be a lot of people who'd post their work for critique, get it, and never come back. Or people who'd post, get feedback, have a MASSIVE hissy fit, and never come back.





    I don't understand why you think your comment about my having only 20 posts on AS would cause me offense in 5 seconds?
    I don't. It's called a signature. It appears beneath all of my posts automatically along with the link to my defunct blog. It's a joke stemming from one of my very early threads when I suffered a severe attack of foot-in-mouth syndrome.


    I came on mostly asking people to give me advice about what the genre of my work might be. I wasn't able to get it on here, nor through two pitch conferences. It's not because I don't like the Absolute Write site, which I love, especially as it's familiarized me with many of the agencies and agents I'd like to approach which authorsalon.com doesn't have posts about...or writers discussing these issues in the forums...I go back and forth from this site to Publishers Marketplace in this regard, but this site isn't similar in any way to Author Salon.com which is created for its members to form serious peer groups working off of rigid critique criteria and a tier system based on our work with supervision and commentary coming in down the line from a staff out of the industry.
    That's fine. You can't compare AW and AS because they do different things. You can, however, compare AS and AUthonomy, or Book Country, or any other YADS out there. You could compare it to Litopia (which I know little about because it's closed to non members, but somebody who knows about these things speaks well of it).

    If you feel doing 50 posts on this website qualifies those ready to critique your work on here then go for it, I'm sure plenty of people who've put 50 posts on here are qualified to give you critiques and you don't need a site like authorsalon.com which is a rigid system...however, I don't get your point on this or why you expect someone to burst a blood vessel over this discussion. You're comparing apples to oranges.
    It doesn't "qualify" you any more than jumping through the AS hoops qualifies you. Again, my point, which you seem to have missed, is: What makes the users of AS any more qualified to crit work than the users of AW? Or Authonomy? Or Book Country? etc
    Here, at least, we have a "play hard" ethos in SYW. We don't pull our punches. Authonomy doesn't. That's why it's useless for people who want to improve their writing - it's just about backing each other.

    How do I know AS isn't filled with the same Authonomy crowd who think Query letters are "begging" and that the system is designed to make them fail? I don't. It could be like that here but it isn't because that gets knocked on the head pretty quickly.
    Last edited by Theo81; 04-16-2012 at 12:08 PM. Reason: clarity

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