A few weeks ago, I noticed a post on the Utah Children’s Writer’s listserv about Authonomy. Authonomy is an experiment by Harper Collins, asking writer’s to post their manuscript online, as well as to read and rate the other manuscripts that are posted. It’s similar to one big online critique group, with the winner potentially earning a contract by Harper Collins, except that it seems to be more of a popularity contest. As with Twitter or Facebook, it’s more about how much time you spend networking. You can invite other authors to be your friends, put books on your “watchlist”, read books and post comments, rank books, etc. Some of the manuscripts I’ve read have been worthy of a look by an editor, others have not. The ultimate goal for an author on Authonomy is to reach the Top Five chart on the site. From what I can tell, attaining that ranking is all about how much time you as the author spend networking. If you don’t read anyone else’s manuscript, no one is going to read yours.
So the question remains: Is Authonomy worth your time? If you have the time to spend or need a break from writing, enjoy meeting new authors online, looking for a little support, and have exhausted your book budget, the answer may be yes. Some authors have found the critique by readers and other authors extremely helpful – an opportunity to be part of a writers’ group without being part of one.
Harper Collins claims their editors patrol the site searching for manuscripts. Additionally, the top five books in the rankings each month are awarded a 10,000 word read, along with a critique. They are NOT guaranteed contracts, just a look.
With the struggling economy, many publishing houses seem to be exploring new platforms. Will Authonomy work? Or has the slush pile simply been transferred to an online format? I think it may be too early to tell yet. At any rate, if you aren’t having any luck getting an editor or agent to look at your work, perhaps you wouldn’t mind spending an hour a day on Authonomy networking for the opportunity to have Harper Collins take a peek at your work.
What is your experience with Authonomy?
Tiffany Dominguez is a freelance writer specializing in young adult fiction. Her blog is http://scribblebymoonlight.blogspot.com/.