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

CaoPaux

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Yes it is
But check out their latest news
Direct link to news page:
http://www.troubador.co.uk/matador/news_detail_matador.asp

Matador author Steve Dunne is one of just three authors that have been signed up after appearing on HarperCollins' own Authonomy peer review website. Steve published Reaper in 2007 with Matador, and it became a success after a lot of promotion in his local Derby, even topping the local Waterstone's best-selling list at one point. He subsequently submitted extracts to HarperCollins' Authonomy web site, where fellow authors praised the book to such an extent that HarperCollins have now signed it up for 2009 publication.
 

petec

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quote: "He subsequently submitted extracts to HarperCollins' Authonomy web site, where fellow authors praised the book to such an extent that HarperCollins have now signed it up for 2009 publication."

The book is actually rated at 981. It is on just 2 bookshelves and received 7 reviews prior to the latest comments offering congrats.

Which seems to make a mockery of authors striving to get into the top 5 rated position and onto the "editor's desk".
 

Old Hack

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You might want to dip into the Authonomy forums before you finish your post, Victoria, to read some of the negative reactions to the announcement, which it's felt was made to divert attention from the POD announcement.
 
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petec

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As HC have now apparently been through the books on Authonomy, can it be assumed that any that haven't been signed up have been rejected? In which case, what is the point in authors keeping their books on the site?

Unless, of course, they want to go for the POD alternative to being conventionally published by HC.

It seems that two of the selected books were previously self published. I wonder if they've been chosen to illustrate how going that route can lead to success.
 

Samantha's_Song

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It makes you wonder, doesn't it, and isn't it strange that their own POD is advertised around the same time as the 'winners' of their competition. There again, I've always loved conspiracy theories anyway ;)

It seems that two of the selected books were previously self published. I wonder if they've been chosen to illustrate how going that route can lead to success.
 

Julie Worth

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quote: "He subsequently submitted extracts to HarperCollins' Authonomy web site, where fellow authors praised the book to such an extent that HarperCollins have now signed it up for 2009 publication."

The book is actually rated at 981. It is on just 2 bookshelves and received 7 reviews prior to the latest comments offering congrats.

Which seems to make a mockery of authors striving to get into the top 5 rated position and onto the "editor's desk".

It does seem odd. The last real comment was 123 days ago, then a handful of congratulatory comments. So no way was he picked except by some outside process. And for HC to claim that he was picked from the site will just make those who politicked for weeks feel like dupes.
 

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Things move slowly in publishing: Andrew Lownie included details of the sale of Never Say Die in his December newsletter, which was sent out on 26 December 2008. I wonder why that book deal wasn't announced on Authonomy sooner?

As for the others, it's possible that the contracts were offered some time ago, but it's taken until now for all the details of the contract to be sorted out. Possible.

I heard that a few writers who weren't in the top few were contacted by HC in October or so, but that nothing has been heard about them being signed until this latest announcement. I don't know if the authors who were contacted then were the same as the ones whose deals have now been announced: but I'd have thought it likely.
 

M.R.J. Le Blanc

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Okay this is confusing me...

Authonomy is created, with the goal of whoever makes it into the editor's top picks will be published by HC.

A few writers, via posting their stuff on Authonomy, are signed by HC but were not in the top picks.

Doesn't that make editor's picks sort of redundant if people not in the top ten or whatever it was are getting contracts? If that's so, Authonomy obviously has no purpose since your odds aren't that much better through Authonomy than the old fashioned route.
 

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MRJ, your first two statements are not correct.

Authonomy is created, with the goal of whoever makes it into the editor's top picks will be published by HC.

Not necessarily...!

A few writers, via posting their stuff on Authonomy, are signed by HC but were not in the top picks.

Andrew Lownie has made it clear that he is the agent for two of the writers, who have co-written a memoir, and that he submitted that memoir to HC in the usual way. The authors placed the book on Authonomy, but that had nothing to do with its eventual acquisition.

As for the rest of your message: I feel that the only thing that's redundant about Authonomy is the monthly scramble into the top ten, if publication is your aim. If you want to read what the HC editors think of your work, then it's a useful service (albeit available only to a very small number of determined, popular writers).
 

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Here is a perfect example of how Authonomy really works. I'll preface this: I had some very good peer reviews on my work, but the overall site works completly on popularity. For example, Seeing Red, a Sci-Fi book made it to the editors desk. The Author is a very nice lady, but the book in my opinion wasn't anything too special. Yet all you get are people praising it and then asking to "trade reads". So if you rise in ranking, it usually has little to do with your "work" and more to do with the amount of time you grand stand. Just my opinion.

She is a VERY strong person, though. If you read through the forums she handles it much better than I ever would. http://www.authonomy.com/Forum/Posts.aspx?threadId=13734

Below is the crit by the HarperCollins editor (ouch).

http://www.authonomy.com/ViewBook.aspx?bookid=2298
 
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HJW

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The End - don't you think it's enough just to link to the review? Posting the whole thing is a bit mean spirited, in my humble opinion. How would you feel if this were you?
 

CaoPaux

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More problematic perhaps, posting entire reviews invokes copyright issues. Snipping it.
 

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The End - don't you think it's enough just to link to the review? Posting the whole thing is a bit mean spirited, in my humble opinion. How would you feel if this were you?

Listen, I am far from a mean spirited person. I was just posting what is public already. I didn't write the review. And, like I said, the author is a nice woman. I edited my post to show only the link now.
 

Kevin Crabbe

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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


But Isn't it good though that a large publisher is doing something to get involved with writers now the slush pile is all but defunct. Aren't the comments above a bit one sided without looking at the overall picture of what's happening on site? Yes, perhaps you may get a number of people voting for each other to get ahead or themselves. Which seems to be the main complaint about the Authonomy competition - that it is a you vote for me one and I'll vote for you one. Isn't that preferable though to sending in an envelope and not getting a reply from a publisher?
 

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The slush piles aren't defunct: they're still doing their job, which is to allow agents and editors pick what they want to from them. Yes, it's a flawed system--but that doesn't mean it's useless. It still works.

But substituting the slush piles with a popularity contest isn't logical. It does nothing to help the best work rise to the top, nor to ensure that the worst of the writing gets rejected.
 

M.R.J. Le Blanc

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But Isn't it good though that a large publisher is doing something to get involved with writers now the slush pile is all but defunct. Aren't the comments above a bit one sided without looking at the overall picture of what's happening on site? Yes, perhaps you may get a number of people voting for each other to get ahead or themselves. Which seems to be the main complaint about the Authonomy competition - that it is a you vote for me one and I'll vote for you one. Isn't that preferable though to sending in an envelope and not getting a reply from a publisher?

Who says the slushpile is defunct? You sound like you're going on some variation of the myth that newbie writers can't get past the slushpile to publication.
 

Samantha's_Song

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I remember when I had one of my own works on there for about a month before I removed it. Some guy read a bit of it and complained that there was too much action too soon, and yet my female beta-readers loved it and called it a page turner :D Oh well, we can't please everyone all of the time.
 

victoriastrauss

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But Isn't it good though that a large publisher is doing something to get involved with writers now the slush pile is all but defunct.

As others have pointed out, the slush pile isn't defunct. Publishers have simply outsourced it--to agents, who serve the gatekeeping function that used to be served by editors, and in this case to the members of Authonomy.

The whole purpose of a publisher bringing the slush pile back in-house is that it gets to look at all the manuscripts, not just those that have been selected by others. But Authonomy, no less than agents, serves up pre-selected manuscripts. So except for the critique function, the basic situation for writers doesn't really change.

- Victoria
 

Kevin Crabbe

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As others have pointed out, the slush pile isn't defunct. Publishers have simply outsourced it--to agents, who serve the gatekeeping function that used to be served by editors, and in this case to the members of Authonomy.

The whole purpose of a publisher bringing the slush pile back in-house is that it gets to look at all the manuscripts, not just those that have been selected by others. But Authonomy, no less than agents, serves up pre-selected manuscripts. So except for the critique function, the basic situation for writers doesn't really change.

- Victoria

It's an interesting opinion, but I wouldn't agree that the situation for writers hasn't changed. If a big publisher like harper collins is now deferring the 'gatekeeping' function to other writers on sites like Authonomy then isn't this a radical change?
 

Kevin Crabbe

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But substituting the slush piles with a popularity contest isn't logical. It does nothing to help the best work rise to the top, nor to ensure that the worst of the writing gets rejected.

But isn't this a flawed argument? If Authonomy writers are highlighting the most popular work e.g. the best work, then this is doing a good job. Or are you saying that unpopular books should rise to the top of their charts? I wouldn't like to see the site you'd invent based on this. Probably have some medieval script in Latin at the top of the charts.

Bizarre argument if you are advocating that a contest to see which books are most popular is a bad idea.
 

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