HarperCollins launches Authonomy

Eoin Purcell

What is it?
The bookseller news item has the full breakdown (see below) but you can read some more here on MSN and a bit of analysis here:

Authonomy, at www.authonomy.com, will initially be rolled out by HCUK in early 2008, with the intention of it becoming a global programme in the future. The site will connect unpublished authors with readers, and will allow anyone to participate. Readers will be able to support their favourite manuscripts, with HC guaranteeing to consider the most popular for publication. HC anticipates that many of the readers will be industry professionals looking for new talent.

What is going on?
Seems to me that HC are quite cleverly using the web at its best to do the same job that usually gets dumped on the junior editor (not at Mercier I should add. I review nearly very script that comes in). But will it work in their favour? It is a hard call, it may be that the site will become a destination for good writers with talent (it s difficult to tell without seeing how exactly they intend to execute the task they have set themselves) but if, as HC suggest themselves, the site is also a magnet for publishing professionals from beyond HC there is no guarantee that they will take the cream. In fact they could well forced the price of the cream up and simply improve the scrum for talent while costing themselves quite a bit in hosting and marketing.

But what do I know
Eoin

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14 comments

  1. I had heard about this project on the grapevine but that it was also going to be funded by readers also, so that they would buy a stake of the book. That’s a bit far fetched.

    Who knows?

    This is either going to be a big success or a big flop.

  2. It seems like this is basically the internet in a smaller form. I’m not real sure what the advantage is. If I have my own webpage where I provide access to my fiction, I don’t see what else this service offers. I mean, if I were the first author to post on there, yes. But after awhile it will be thousands of authors jockeying for attention, which is what’s going on already. On the internet. Just sign up for a blog and start writing. Seems to be basically the same result.
    Although I have been known in the past to overlook key details so it’s very possible I’m missing something.

  3. Frankly, I’d just be thrilled to bits to get my book out there for somebody to read! I heard the radio programme about this site and they said ‘beginning of 2008’. Still waiting.

  4. Have written 10 chapters and suddenly lost confidence. Will I be able to upload this first part of my book just to find out if its worth going on?

    When is the launch going to happen?

  5. Soon!

    Phase 1 of Authonomy is functionally complete as of about 2 hours ago. I’m now into the debugging phase and testing error conditions but its looking alright for integration testing to start next week.

    I believe HC want to run a beta for some pf the people who have signed up on the holding page. But don’t Quote me on that.

  6. I sent a small piece to the website about why I write but never heard anything at all and it never appeared. So it was like sending it into a black hole in space.

  7. I’ve decided to self-publish. Will authonomy give self-publlished authors an opportunity for critique, perhaps later? Or is it too soon to say? Or will that be a resounding ‘no’?

  8. I like TheNextBigWriter.com. I’ve gotten very helpful feedback on my book there. I don’t think a big publisher is going to be able to get it right. When have they ever produced anything useful online?

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