There are a ton of places on the internet for writers to congregate or showcase their wares. I’m not going to pretend that I’ve explored all of them, but I can state definitively that I’ve tried way too many of them.
From time to time (read: when I’m out of other things to talk about) I’ll try to showcase different sites and give my thoughts on how they might benefit you, or, how they might just suck you down into the depths of writer despair….
Authonomy just so happens to be a place that has the great possibility of doing both.
Authonomy.com is a site managed by Harper-Collins, traditional publishing powerhouse based out of the UK (I’m pretty sure they’re based out of the UK anyways…the site seems to be). When I first joined the site, it looked pretty darn stark. The website was ancient, appearing to be something that might have been a bit more top of the line in the late nineties, but had gone quite past its prime by the second decade of the new millennium. They recently had an overhaul of the site which seems to have put a shiny new front to the package…although it now just looks like a generic marketing website…which is probably not too far from the truth.
Now, this overhaul to the site claims to have done much more than just put a new face on the place. I spent all of about 5 minutes on the site by the time the new version rolled out (as I’ve got more than enough social interaction with authors now than to need to sit around chatting about next to nothing on a place like that). So, it’s possible that all of my thoughts here are completely moot. From what I’ve gathered, not much has really changed, outside of some of the backend stuff that doesn’t seem to have actually made any legitimate changes to the front end.
But…that’s a lengthy and confusing introduction for a site that you probably know nothing about….well…if you’re a regular reader here, you probably know something about it…but I digress.
Authonomy.com is intended to be a place where authors can get together, collaborate and help each other to produce the best manuscripts around. It really, in its purest form, should be a method in which authors who intend to self-publish can help each other to edit and clean up their manuscripts before they hit the publish button on whatever distribution platform they choose. However, since this is owned by one of the larger publishers on the planet, there’s a twist. They have something of a competition where folks can actually get their manuscripts looked at by someone who works for HC. The definition of that person is pretty weak. Now, the idea here is that this someone might decide that your book should be published by them, complete with big ol’ contract and royalty advance.
Of course..ideas are one thing…realities are the other.
What happens here is that the collaborative efforts of the site take a back seat to the attempts to win this competition. There is so much gaming and begging and cheating that goes on (as well as a fair amount of backstabbing and bickering and other gross writer habits) that you could quite easily get dragged down into a disgusting drama surrounding someone who believes their book will be the exception to the rule and actually get published, even though they just wrote it yesterday.
But that’s really just the high level overview of the site…the version of the site I found the first time I logged in. If you don’t actually dig deeper, this is what you’re going to find, a bunch of authors battling against each other for that carrot…the carrot that during my time there, none of the winners of the competition ever actually achieved.
But if you dig deeper, get into the forums and the more social aspects of the site, you’ll quickly find that there are some honest souls hiding in the corners…some folks who genuinely want help with their own writing and are completely honest in their wants to help others in return. Sure, a lot of this will still continue to be rather superficial…but you can find something that every author in existence needs…empathy.
Because once you start getting into the forums and finding people that are going through the same things you are going through, you find that you’re not all that crazy…and that you might actually have good reason to continue moving forward.
Of course…you might not ever find this on the site…because it’s generally only a select few of the folks hiding back there in the corners.
For me, authonomy ended up being an amazing opportunity to meet some like-minded people and actually help grow not only my confidence and my skills, but also my brand. It’s something that I’m glad I went back to after my first terrible experience with the site. It’s not something I would go back to again, simply due to the amount of stupidity that happens in conjunction with the main premise of the site.
Good thing there’s a few other options out there as well…a few more places that offer similar opportunities.
Places that I’ll likely showcase on here quite soon in the coming weeks.
Have fun out there!