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Monday, April 20, 2009

Authonomy: An Author's Facebook

First, I wanted to thank you, my friends, for stopping by my blog chat on Thursday. I arrived just a few minutes before 8 EST, and although I missed some of you I was touched that you had stopped by. And for those who stayed and chatted, we had a blast! I hadn't done too much chatting before this, and found it an interesting experience. The biggest problem for me was that I typed faster than the message showed up, so that it was easy to fall into parallel conversations. What did you think?

Today I wanted to let you know about a coolio website I discovered this weekend. It's sponsored by Harper & Collins in the UK, and is basically like a big Facebook for authors.

Here's how it works:

Whether you are a writer or simply a reader, you're welcome to join in with the community. Even if you just lurk, you're welcome to view all the files on the website, although lurkers can't leave comments.

First, you create a profile. This site requests only a valid email address for personally identifiable information, although there is a place to collect birth year and address if you want to volunteer this (I never do, myself :-) You can write a little paragraph about yourself and your interests, give your website, and there is also a place to list your favorite books -- this is, after all, a book site.

Next, you can upload all or part of your manuscript. As long as you have rights to it (it's unpublished, self-published, or you have the permission of your publisher) you're OK. You must upload at least 10,000 words in order to make the manuscript *public* which means that others may comment on it. You don't have to put the whole thing on. You lose no rights; you are not obligated to Harper Collins for anything with this. You can edit it at any time, and if you remove it HC gives assurances that it's permanently deleted from the server as well. HC disables the copy text and download features, so no one can look at your book except online. I don't believe this is considered published.

Now is the fun part. The people on the site read and critique the manuscripts and compete to be the most astute identifier of good work. Manuscripts are also ranked. You can *friend* people and email them, and I'm imagining there is a lot of trading of critiques in order to get better rankings.

At the end of every month, HC takes the highest ranked 5 manuscripts and gives them to their editors to read.

HC is hoping to find good talent on this site. It's also a good deal for the writers I think: You get a lot of independent and encouraging critiques from many other writers. There seems to be a friendly atmosphere here. If you're unpublished you can improve your work before sending it out, and if you're self-pubbed you can increase the exposure of your book.

I spent some time looking through the books on the site -- it is great practice to read through people's one paragraph blurbs to see which are better, which worse, and why they work or not. You can also read chapters, but I haven't put time in for this yet. I found the site quite interesting because I've sort of gravitated to a Christian-ish pond, and this group definitely does NOT have a Christian emphasis although it doesn't seem antagonistic either. I'm sure there are a few Christian manuscripts sprinkled here and there.

The website is

If you go there, you can find me by putting *Deardon* in the search engine. Pix uploads of myself and book cover haven't been approved yet, but maybe by tomorrow.

Have an awesome day!

1 comment:

Andra M. said...

Cool! I'll check it out.