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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

williemeikle

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Authonomy is a new initiative in the UK by publishers Harper Collins.

They say:


"Get Read. Get Noticed. Get Published.

authonomy is a brand new community site for writers, readers and publishers, conceived and developed by book editors at HarperCollins. We want to flush out the brightest, freshest new literature around - we’re glad you stopped by.

If you’re a writer, authonomy is the place to show your face and show off your work on the web. Whether you’re unpublished, self-published or just getting started, all you need is a few chapters to start building your profile online, and start connecting with the authonomy community.

And if you’re a reader, blogger publisher or agent, authonomy is for you too. The book world is kept alive by those who search out, digest and spread the word about the best new books. authonomy invites you to join our community, champion the best new writing and build a personal profile that really reflects your tastes, opinions and talent-spotting skills.

The publishing world is changing. One thing’s for sure: whether you’re a reader, writer, agent or publisher, this is an exciting time for books. In our corner of HarperCollins we’ve been given a chance to do something a little different.

We’d really love your help."​

They have a ratings system for posted works. If you make the top 5 in the rankings in any month, you're guaranteed a reading by one of the Harper Collins readers.

I'm pimping an old book, Island Life, and a new one, Hunters Dock. Head on over and read some sample chapters.

While you're there, you can even vote for me :)

http://www.authonomy.com/Profile.aspx?userid=19305050-898f-4865-8f4e-02ce73d0b097
 
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crispysea

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I'm giving authonomy a spin too

Authonomy seems to have a lot going for it, I've put my first two chapters up to see how it goes.
 
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CaoPaux

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Here is Writer Beware's take on Authonomy, from Sept. '08: http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2008/09/victoria-strauss-authonomy-slushkiller.html

Recent changes make it seem it's all a ploy to funnel writers into POD with Blurb.com: http://fakeplasticsouks.blogspot.com/2009/01/not-what-it-says-on-box.html

Y'all may remember Blurb.com was the subject of many raised eyebrows when Chronicle Books announced a "referral" program with them back '07: http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2007/09/victoria-strauss-and-you-thought.html
 

para

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Hmm I remember when I visited the site a month or so ago, there was something about them possibly charging fees in the future. To be honest I couldn't see the point of it, seemed a lot like triggerstreet.com. Did anyone ever get discovered from that? It seemed more about making friends and networking, than actually being good at writing. While you were spending time networking, you could have been writing.
 

crispysea

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For those interested in Authonomy

Authonomy's response to a thread about http://fakeplasticsouks.blogspot.com...ys-on-box.html. Posted on the authonomy.com's forum about 20 mins ago.



"We’re sorry that some of you are upset by news of some early testing we are carrying out for a future release of the site. We plan to make a full announcement at a later, more appropriate, date. It is unfortunate that this post has become filled with considerable misinformation, so in the meantime, we will briefly seek to address some of the issues raised.

Firstly, we remain 100% committed to finding new authors and acquiring books through this site. No-one using this site should doubt that. Moreover we also remain committed to making authonomy the number one destination for other publishing professionals – be they rival publishers or literary agents – to find new talent. Believe it, because it is true.

Given this, why would we want to add support for self-publishing to the site? Browsing the site and forums, the interest and indeed involvement in self-publishing from many authonomy members is already evident. But the technicalities of achieving this are daunting for many here, so we’re working on providing a simple, straightforward solution to turn what you can see on the screen into a real book, to be bought or sold. And as a publisher we certainly don’t have a problem with authors who have self-published: we’ve acquired a number of authors who took this route initially.

This will be another free feature of the site. It certainly isn’t about exploitation. It won’t be compulsory. It is part of the authonomy toolkit. Like forums, messaging, RSS feeds, watchlists etc., we won’t be forcing anyone to use these features, but if you want to, then they’ll be there. For you.


Posted: 15/01/2009 20:16:22
Last Edit: 15/01/2009 20:17:02 by authonomy"
 

Julie Worth

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The place is a huge slush pile, and no one is going to read your stuff unless you waste a tremendous amount of time politicking. It's a loser, stay away.
 

Old Hack

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I have just connected a thick trail of dots which were lurking in my inbox without me even realising it.

In October, Authonomy invited me (and, no doubt, squillions of its other members) to be a beta-reader of its new site, bookarmy.com.

Bookarmy allows you to type in the name of a book you like, then provides other similar titles (based on its users' suggestions). It doesn't only show real, commercially-published books: it's got the wonderful Crack of Death, and Atlanta Nights--both gloriously bad books that were written as sting manuscripts to show that PublishAmerica will PublishAnything. And anyone who's a member can suggest links between books: all you do is search for a title you like, then add books which you think are similar to it.

That means that all sorts of self-published or vanity-published titles will appear on there if their writers register, and start building links. I've just linked Atlanta Nights to Crack of Death, to get things started. It's very easy to do.

But there's far more to it than that. HarperCollins has Authonomy, a site dedicated to writers, but can't make revenue from it; and they have BookArmy, a site dedicated to readers, who might be interested in reading new books, but can't make revenue from that one either.

They can, though, if they put the two sides together. By allowing the Authonomy writers to produce POD books, and the Book Army readers to buy them, they can earn from both sides. They have found a way to make money out of the slush pile. It's brilliant.
 
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CaoPaux

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M'kay, no matter how hard I try not to, I keep reading that URL as Boo Karmy. *sigh* </over-caffeinated irrelevancy>
 

TheEnd

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I was on Authonomy for about a month and then took my stuff down. Two things of note:

1) Some of the comments on what I posted were extremely helpful. I was able to fix a lot of things that I couldn't see at first.

2) It is SO POLITICAL. You have to kiss @ss and trade reads all day long. Who has time to do that? Some of the manuscripts that make it to the "Editors Desk" don't deserve to be there, but their authors spent every day on the forums and pushed and spammed their books to a point where people would just "back" it to back it. Really kind of silly. The site does not place deserved praise where it belongs: on good writing.

Those are my thoughts.
 

crispysea

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TheEnd,
Your point 1 is the only reason to be on the authonomy website.
It seems from Authonomy's T&C and FAQ and the recent statement that authors retain all their rights. I think the POD scare is really an irrelevance.
If Authonomy offers POD, one can decline - No problem.
I have been on since about last Oct and I am sticking with it for now - primarily for the many extremely helpful reviews and comments.

As your signature says TheEnd - 'an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty'
 
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Anna Magdalena

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As far as I can see Authonomy isn't a con. It's a quick and cheap way for HarperCollins to whizz through the slush pile painlessly without missing the occasional gem. They get members to do the initial reading and judging for them first and then only look at the best on offer. They never promise to publish them. Their critiques also seem to be pretty thorough too. I read one about a novel members raved about and the 'official' critique was very cool and said it needed a lot more work to make it publishable and pointed exactly where the work needed to be done. A good service, I would say.

And of course, they're not running a vanity press on the side or taking money from the British government that we provide in our taxes.

So what is it about Authonomy that's iffy? I wouldn't do it because I couldn't be bothered to have to read lots of other writers' work but that doesn't make it bad.
 

CaoPaux

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Anna, I've moved your post here from the YouWriteOn thread. As you can see, it looks like Authonomy has a vanity press on the side now. Although iffy, whether this is "bad" will depend upon how hard they push their members toward/into it.
 
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Julie Worth

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I was on Authonomy for about a month and then took my stuff down. Two things of note:

1) Some of the comments on what I posted were extremely helpful. I was able to fix a lot of things that I couldn't see at first.

2) It is SO POLITICAL. You have to kiss @ss and trade reads all day long. Who has time to do that? Some of the manuscripts that make it to the "Editors Desk" don't deserve to be there, but their authors spent every day on the forums and pushed and spammed their books to a point where people would just "back" it to back it. Really kind of silly. The site does not place deserved praise where it belongs: on good writing.

Those are my thoughts.

I agree completely. I had two books up for two months and didn't politic at all. I got exactly one comment about one of my books, and many connection requests from those obviously shopping for reads. The website works okay in a technical sense, but the core idea sucks. It's like that mob trying to get into Wal Mart on black Friday, climbing over one another.
 

Marva

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I agree completely. I had two books up for two months and didn't politic at all. I got exactly one comment about one of my books, and many connection requests from those obviously shopping for reads. The website works okay in a technical sense, but the core idea sucks. It's like that mob trying to get into Wal Mart on black Friday, climbing over one another.
That's weird. I got several comments and more support than I thought. I did zero politicking. I guess it depends on what strikes the fancy of the browsers. Those who asked me to read were ignored. Those who read my book first and commented, I replied in kind by reading and commenting.
 

Anna Magdalena

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(I've not been able to get onto AW for three days, hence my seemingly slow response.)

Thank you, CaoPaux, for bringing me up to speed. I apologise for not being aware of changes.

Introducing a POD service puts a whole new gloss on things. I had thought that Authonomy was a way for HC to push the slush pile onto readers and not themselves whilst pretending to offer services to readers. I did say I wouldn't use it myself--I prefer doing things the old-fashioned hard way--but didn't think it was a scam and that it compared more favourably with YWO.

However, with this new POD scheme on the side, I'm now a total sceptic and say to unpublished writers to avoid it. If your work is strong enough to get into the Authonomy top 5 you should have some idea it's good anyway and you should go straight to a legitimate agent and get yourself published that way. If it hasn't a hope in hell of doing so, then don't bother (go back and rewrite it) and certainly don't go with their POD scheme. If self-publishing is what you want to do, then self-publish. Properly.
 

GhostAuthor

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I saw this too - signed up - but never posted anything. What bothers me is that since you are posting your entire book (though not required to do so), doesn't that make this a 'published' work? I know it's a nit-picky technicality, but I know many in the writing world caution about posting any unpublished work that has public access.
 

M.R.J. Le Blanc

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I saw this too - signed up - but never posted anything. What bothers me is that since you are posting your entire book (though not required to do so), doesn't that make this a 'published' work? I know it's a nit-picky technicality, but I know many in the writing world caution about posting any unpublished work that has public access.

It depends. I'm not familiar with how the system works. If I could go to the site, unregistered, and read entire books then yeah I would say that book could be considered 'published' since it's accessible to the public. No publisher would want to bother with it. If you have to be registered to read the books being posted it may not.
 

GhostAuthor

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It depends. I'm not familiar with how the system works. If I could go to the site, unregistered, and read entire books then yeah I would say that book could be considered 'published' since it's accessible to the public. No publisher would want to bother with it. If you have to be registered to read the books being posted it may not.

Nope, all you have to do is go to the site, pick a title then click 'read book' and however much the author posted is available for all to read. Also, that is not to mention idea stealing too.

Legit offer, POD offer or not, it doesn't make sense to post your work like this.
 

jayinfrance

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I believe sites such as Authonomy and YWO should come with a government health warning..... 'NB. Joining this site can lead to addiction'. I've felt for a long time that there are an awful lot of writers out there with WIP who have become crtique-site junkies. In other words they spend more time reading other peoples dubious work in order to gain a critique for theirs, instead of sending their mss. to the people who really matter - agents or publishers.



http://franceforbetterorworse.blogspot.com
 

Samantha's_Song

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I totally agree. I had a few chapters from a couple of my novels on there for a month or so too, but after seeing a few things:
1) An 'army' of friends promoting each other's work all of the time and doing a round for round of back patting via comments.
2) Unless you wanted to pretend to edit your novel every day to make it show up on the front page, then no one would know it was there unless you kissed @ss, which isn't a fetish of mine.
3) They say that no one can download, copy your work... Oh yes they can, I did it with my own. All you have to do is 'Save-as', as with any webpage and then change the file ending to html once it was on your computer, and I'm not even a geek! :D

So I took my stuff off there too and prefer to do it the conventional way.

I was on Authonomy for about a month and then took my stuff down. Two things of note:

2) It is SO POLITICAL. You have to kiss @ss and trade reads all day long. Who has time to do that? Some of the manuscripts that make it to the "Editors Desk" don't deserve to be there, but their authors spent every day on the forums and pushed and spammed their books to a point where people would just "back" it to back it. Really kind of silly. The site does not place deserved praise where it belongs: on good writing.

Those are my thoughts.
 

M.R.J. Le Blanc

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Well, we've had the idea-stealing convo on the boards before. It's not so much the idea, but the execution. I think in the long run, people remember the ideas for how well they were done, and not so much who did it first. Me personally, I can't be bothered to steal someone else's idea even if it was good. Not just because it would go against me morally, but I've already got a dozen ideas in various stages of progress. Stealing another idea would just be throwing it on an ever-growing pile.

I think the danger with Authonomy is that it doesn't educate its writers on protecting their work, and first-publishing rights most of all. I'd hate to see a good story get screwed over because the author posted the whole thing in hopes of getting published, didn't make editor's pick and gets denied by other publishers because the book was made too public. Knowing what does and doesn't violate that right is just as important as recognizing a bad agent/publisher from a good one. Authonomy doesn't protect your books rights, and leaves folks banking on that golden prize of getting published by HC which realistically is a small shot at best. NaNo at least has the smarts to limit excerpts so that your first rights aren't in jeopardy.
 

Samantha's_Song

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I've also seen, on here and only the once, thankfully, where one writer wanted to take another's story because he thought he could do it much better.

Ok, a really long shot here, maybe one in a billion chances with a site where you can show your work. And because I have a very suspicious mind since having one of my own writings passed around a big group that it shouldn't have been.
Someone shows their work off then takes it down because they know it needs some more doing to it. Someone in the know has seen this great story but the execution is crap and downloads it just for the central idea and plot. Enter one of their published writers who's having writers block and they're handed the story. Both stories end up on an agents desk at the same time and say both are written to the best it can be. Who's are they going to take, the published writer or the newbie? Sorry I'm just really thinking aloud here.

I personally don't need anyone else's ideas either, as you can see, I do have a vivid imagination. :D

P.S. I personally hate to think that someone might be playing with my ideas too.

Well, we've had the idea-stealing convo on the boards before. It's not so much the idea, but the execution. I think in the long run, people remember the ideas for how well they were done, and not so much who did it first. Me personally, I can't be bothered to steal someone else's idea even if it was good. Not just because it would go against me morally, but I've already got a dozen ideas in various stages of progress. Stealing another idea would just be throwing it on an ever-growing pile.

I think the danger with Authonomy is that it doesn't educate its writers on protecting their work, and first-publishing rights most of all. I'd hate to see a good story get screwed over because the author posted the whole thing in hopes of getting published, didn't make editor's pick and gets denied by other publishers because the book was made too public. Knowing what does and doesn't violate that right is just as important as recognizing a bad agent/publisher from a good one. Authonomy doesn't protect your books rights, and leaves folks banking on that golden prize of getting published by HC which realistically is a small shot at best. NaNo at least has the smarts to limit excerpts so that your first rights aren't in jeopardy.
 
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M.R.J. Le Blanc

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Well I think we discussed already how unlikely a professional is to take another's story and give it to a pro writer who's having writer's block. My point though (which is just my belief really) is that good writers generally doesn't need to steal a story - they've always got an idea kicking around somewhere. For every story you do see, I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few you didn't. Stories that could be worked on at a later time and then published. But to bring the topic back on track a little, there's nothing I've seen that convinces me Authonomy is any good. Maybe as a critiquing site, but encouraging uploading entire novels on a public site is going to hurt too many writers. It isn't a place I'd recommend to my writer's group, that's for sure.
 

Samantha's_Song

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Agreed.

Thinking more about what I said on here yesterday... I beta-read a lot of work for others on here and one or two of the stories have been most excellent. But I would never want to try and rewrite them myself, that would seem like much harder work than actually thinking up something totally new.
Another point, an idea might get copied, but I know that no one could ever bring out the same characters; my own stories are always very character driven and no one would know them like I do.
 

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