Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What is your opinion about websites such as Authonomy is a website sponsored by HarperCollins to search for new talent. Is it wise for authors to post their works on sites such as these for review by others? Is it wise for authors to post chapters from their novels on blogs? Do you have knowledge of Agents/Publishers perusing sites such as these?
I have posted my novel on Authonomy (La Fleur) and I have created a blog as well. Needless to say, I am now having second thoughts. I would appreciate your professional opinion.
Claudia Ross

Hi Claudia:

Truth is, I've never heard of it. Perhaps it was launched somewhere in the middle of my wife's pregnancy and the birth of our son?

I just took a quick look and I don't really have an opinion. Publishers have always published the occasional book bought directly from an author, versus an agent. And they've run contests, too. This seems to me to be an attempt by the publisher to get you more involved on its site, perhaps in hopes that you'll buy a few more books they publish and, though it's a long shot, maybe they'll find something good to publish.

Let's face it: There's no American Idol of publishing. Reading is very time-consuming. Even if you are a very, very fast reader, there's still an editorial process and likely one to four other people will also read anything you as an editor bring up. In a way, this site could act as a focus group. If enough readers on here love one single project, then it would make sense for the editors to take a good, hard look at it, right? The cream floats to the top. Yes, I know the other thing that floats and that explains several best-selling authors' success. But you can't blame the authors if it's the readers who really like crap.

So is it worth doing? Hard to say. I'd like to see the contract they offer the authors and wonder if the terms of service of the site give them any ownership of your work. I'd be wary of posting my novel there for fear of it committing you in any sense at all or conveying rights to the publisher in any way at all.



Soyarma said...

Regarding the License granted to HC

From what I understand of their license, you are only granting them the rights to display the work on their site and that if you remove it you have revoked their license to do so.

Chariot said...

I've posted my book on the Authonomy site a few months ago, and spent many hours reading through and critiquing other writer's partial manuscripts. My impression is that unless you are prepared to spend insane amounts of time choosing which writer's book you'd like to see move to the top of the huge" slush "pile, and writing honest comments on as many as possible, your own book will be overlooked by the hundreds of others desperately trying to gain enough attention to reach the Editors desk. A writer would have a better chance focusing on sending their very best work to as many selected literary agents as possible.
D. Kingham
Charente, France

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