Authonomy: The Future of publishing?

News, trends, and the future of publishing
rose
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Re: Future of publishing?

Post by rose » February 14th, 2010, 1:38 pm

Jeff,

I am switching from MS word to Open Office, which is the open source community's version of MS word. It also allows you to write a document and save it in .pdf format. I don't know about other starting points, but it is easy to do with .rtf files.

openoffice.org

rose
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Re: Future of publishing?

Post by MickRooney » February 20th, 2010, 7:05 pm

Authonomy has announced the acquisition of two more titles.

http://mickrooney.blogspot.com/2010/02/ ... fifth.html
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MosesSiregar
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Re: Future of publishing?

Post by MosesSiregar » February 27th, 2010, 1:38 am

After three weeks on the site, I continue to really enjoy my time on Authonomy. My book is at #117 overall, and I still don't know if I'll work at climbing all the way to the editor's desk, but the amount of feedback and the camaraderie on the site has been priceless. I've gotten almost 150 comments on my book, and while half of those comments had little-to-no specific content, the other half have been useful.

It's a great place to test out whether or not your work is connecting with readers. I was getting mainly good feedback for a while, but not quite as glowing as I would like to see. So I've written a much better first chapter, changed around the order of my other chapters a bit, and it's been nice to see how much more consistently positive feedback has been since then. I'm still editing the chapters here and there, but I feel like I've made great progress over the last few weeks, thanks to being on Authonomy.
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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Authonomy: The Future of publishing?

Post by Nathan Bransford » March 23rd, 2010, 5:08 pm

I've been getting quite a bit of questions about Authonomy lately and I thought I'd post publicly about it so I can direct people here to continue the discussion.

My basic feeling about Authonomy is this: I don't think it's a scam and since authors retain control over their work I don't see how it would damage future chances at traditional publication. That said, my impression of Authonomy is that it's cool if you want feedback and/or if you don't take it too seriously, but it also strikes me as thoroughly Machiavellian, and whatever rises to the top in Authonomy through relationships, reputation, etc. might not necessarily be the book that would catch on with the masses or what an editor would necessarily choose on their own.

Basically, it's similar to how I feel about writing contests:
Do agents and other publishing types look favorably on successful contest wins/finalists?

Here's the thing about that. Even the biggest writing competitions have... what, a few thousand entries? Agents get 10,000+ queries a year and take on maybe a handful of clients. Going strictly by the numbers, an agent's Inbox is far more competitive than any writing contest. Accordingly, I take contest wins with a grain of salt.

If you win or are a finalist in a large contest by all means, include in the query as a publishing credit. But I wouldn't necessarily call it a difference-maker in a query. It can definitely help, and there are some genres where certain important contests are taken very seriously, but it's not usually something that's going to make or break you.
Hope that helps, and I'll keep checking this thread in case anyone has further questions.

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Re: Authonomy: The Future of publishing? - Legal issues

Post by mrmcduff » March 23rd, 2010, 5:26 pm

I'm considering taking the plunge into Authonomy, but I have one major concern holding me back. I've heard that agents and publishers are very cautious about accepting anything that has had more than a trivial snippet posted online, even if the author retains all rights (as you do on authonomy).

Does anyone know if you personally or any other agents/publishers you know would reject a manuscript if they knew that manuscript had been posted on Authonomy or a similar site?

Would I be exposing myself to risk if, in an effort to better polish my work, I posted large portions of it on Authonomy before I send it out to get published for real? I wouldn't ordinarily trust a site like this, but it's being done by HarperCollins - a really really real publishing company, which gives its legitimacy a lot more weight to me. What's your take?

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Authonomy: The Future of publishing?

Post by Nathan Bransford » March 23rd, 2010, 5:32 pm

mrmcduff wrote:I'm considering taking the plunge into Authonomy, but I have one major concern holding me back. I've heard that agents and publishers are very cautious about accepting anything that has had more than a trivial snippet posted online, even if the author retains all rights (as you do on authonomy).

Does anyone know if you personally or any other agents/publishers you know would reject a manuscript if they knew that manuscript had been posted on Authonomy or a similar site?

Would I be exposing myself to risk if, in an effort to better polish my work, I posted large portions of it on Authonomy before I send it out to get published for real? I wouldn't ordinarily trust a site like this, but it's being done by HarperCollins - a really really real publishing company, which gives its legitimacy a lot more weight to me. What's your take?
I think attitudes on this vary somewhat, but I personally believe the key is that you retain control over when you can pull it down. Yes, there's the question of whether something really truly ever disappears from the Internet, but as long as it's not easily findable once it's taken down I think you're okay.

Here's also my opinion from a previous post:
On the all-important matter of how much work to post online -- I think it's fine to post some work. However, I would be very, very, very careful about posting excerpts from a novel you want to publish. If you can control the material and the amount you are posting is limited to a chapter or two and you can pull the work from the Internet at any time, I don't think there's necessarily a problem (but again, there are varying opinions about this).

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Rik
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Re: Authonomy: The Future of publishing?

Post by Rik » March 23rd, 2010, 6:16 pm

I've been on Authonomy (on and off) since last July.

Whatever it is, it's not the future of publishing. Also, it's not a good place to get useful feedback on any draft novel - unless you make an effort to seek out those few people who are willing to give good critical feedback; most of the comments you'll get on your work are of the fluff variety - people will say anything to get you to back their own book in the race to the Editor's Desk. Having said that, there are a few critiquing circles on the forums, and if you manage to get involved in one of those then your efforts will pay dividends.

You can pull your book down at any time, and the site displays your chapters in a way that makes it difficult (though not impossible) for others to lift (steal, plagiarise, whatever) your chapter text. It's safer than many other display-your-book-here websites that I've come across.

I'm currently using the site to promote my own tome; I'll report back on the site's effectiveness as a promotional tool in due course. I've heard of one member landing a publishing contract with a significant publisher in the past week - though I have no information on whether she was contacted as a direct result of her participation on the site.

Word of warning: the race to the Editor's Desk can be highly addictive. Don't get involved in it unless you're willing to give up writing (and other normal, everyday activities) for a few months.
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Pete
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Re: Authonomy: The Future of publishing?

Post by Pete » March 29th, 2010, 4:47 pm

I keep hearing authonomy mentioned in places so this weekend I thought I'd see what it was all about. I was mortified.

I uploaded the first 10,000 words of my independently published book and instantly people started 'backing' it, commenting, and sending private messages. My first reaction was that this was pretty neat. People are reading and giving feedback, right? Well, not really. People just cut and paste responses and generic critiques in hopes that you will reciprocate and 'back' their book as well. There have been a few folks who have clearly read the excerpt and said nice things but by and large, few read critically at all.

Ok, I thought, I'll continue giving this a go. What the heck, right? So I decided I'd try to reciprocate some of the feedback I got. Guess what? I have yet to read a single posted excerpt that's publishable. I even checked out the books that are the highest rated or on the editor's desk (whatever that means) and it's plainly awful stuff. So since I haven't anything nice to say about anything I've read on authonomy, I thought I'd best not say anything, and I'm certainly not going to 'back' something that I think is hopeless.

So now I'm actually beginning to get nasty messages suggesting that I've broken some moral code by not providing feedback and backing to those that have done so for my own book. I left a brief and honest critique for one such nasty messager and I guess we'll see how he takes it. But I have a feeling no one is on authonomy to hear the truth.

As far as I can tell, it's just a community of folks making each other feel good.
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Rik
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Re: Authonomy: The Future of publishing?

Post by Rik » March 30th, 2010, 6:58 am

Some interesting insights, Pete, though I'm not so sure I'd agree with the blanketness of the condemnations.

Read your opening chapter, btw.
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Pete
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Re: Authonomy: The Future of publishing?

Post by Pete » April 12th, 2010, 8:18 pm

So I've checked in on the Authonmy thing a few times and it continues to feel slimy. When I looked a few days ago my book had risen to the top 5 in all its categories without me playing the social game at all. I think that right there is a telling commentary on the quality of much of the work on the site.

And now I see that my message box has quite a few messages that read something like this: "I read your work 9 days ago and you still haven't read mine. I assumed you'd appreciate my read and reciprocate but I see that I was wrong." or "My book has 300 comments, please read it and give me another one. I'll try to read yours if you do."

Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.
"Three huzzahs for A.S. Peterson: The Fiddler’s Gun is an achievement.”—Jonathan Rogers, Author of The Wilderking Trilogy

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Re: Authonomy: The Future of publishing?

Post by bronwyn1 » April 13th, 2010, 7:18 pm

I second all the comments that say that Authonomy is a really good resource for unbiased feedback/beta reading. That's basically what I use it for, since I absolutely suck at playing the whole social game (or whatever it is that gets you to the top of the charts).

Also, like many others have said on this thread, I hate all of the messages I get about me not reading other people's books, not reciprocating, etc, etc. I can't truly and honestly critique like 10 or 15 samples of writing in an insane amount of time. I have a life and I have my own writing to deal with....haha. And the whole thing of "if you crit mine i'll crit yours" is like others have said, pretty sleazy :/

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Re: Authonomy: The Future of publishing?

Post by knight_tour » April 22nd, 2010, 12:48 pm

Pete wrote:I keep hearing authonomy mentioned in places so this weekend I thought I'd see what it was all about. I was mortified.

I uploaded the first 10,000 words of my independently published book and instantly people started 'backing' it, commenting, and sending private messages. My first reaction was that this was pretty neat. People are reading and giving feedback, right? Well, not really. People just cut and paste responses and generic critiques in hopes that you will reciprocate and 'back' their book as well. There have been a few folks who have clearly read the excerpt and said nice things but by and large, few read critically at all.

Ok, I thought, I'll continue giving this a go. What the heck, right? So I decided I'd try to reciprocate some of the feedback I got. Guess what? I have yet to read a single posted excerpt that's publishable. I even checked out the books that are the highest rated or on the editor's desk (whatever that means) and it's plainly awful stuff. So since I haven't anything nice to say about anything I've read on authonomy, I thought I'd best not say anything, and I'm certainly not going to 'back' something that I think is hopeless.

So now I'm actually beginning to get nasty messages suggesting that I've broken some moral code by not providing feedback and backing to those that have done so for my own book. I left a brief and honest critique for one such nasty messager and I guess we'll see how he takes it. But I have a feeling no one is on authonomy to hear the truth.

As far as I can tell, it's just a community of folks making each other feel good.
Yeah, this is what is worrying me. I just tried it out for the first time a couple of days ago, putting several of my beginning chapters up. The comments I get sound genuinely supportive, but they also don't give me the impression that people are actually reading all the way through. I can't say that I blame them exactly, since I don't have time to read anyone else's work either. I suppose I'll start getting the nasty comments soon...

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