Authonomy – What’s in it for you?

I have a new addiction – Authonomy. The Harper Collins UK-based website allows writers to upload their ms or partial ms to the site, where others can read and comment on the work. So far, so fabulous.

One of the purposes of the site is that authors can get feedback and guidance on their work. Or is it? The addictive quality is in the stats. The process of rating others’ work and placing favourite titles on your bookshelf pushes an author up the Authonomy chart – towards the Harper Collins’ editors’ desks where a read and feedback is guaranteed.

I’ve uploaded the first 11,000-sih words of At the Hour of the Morning Drink to the site but I’m not driven by the desire to get on the desk – a number of books get there each week but too many to publish so many merely come back with a review or a recommendation to the publishing team. I joined to get my work read.

Regardless of all that, I can’t stop checking my ranking to see if I’ve gone up the chart. To me that rise indicates my ms sounds appealing, that my pitch draws a reader in, that I might be marketable. But does Authonomy really assure that?

Many readers look at the first few chapters of a book and then comment and rate what they’ve read. Many comments are greatly encouraging and most books have a rating of four stars of six. I am grateful that I have had a few people look at my chapters and that the comments have been positive and helpful but I’m not seeing much of a curve across the site. Even the top three books on the editor’s desk this week have 4.5 stars. I find this interesting. No sixes? This observation deserves a blog of its own in the future.

For now, I’ve found my way around a little and I’m now looking out for good-quality authors that I think I would like to get more detailed feedback from – I’m looking for advice on where the arc of the story flags, which parts need rewriting and suggestions on how to make those parts better. I’ll report back on how my community-building in Authonomy goes. Meanwhile, must go and check my ranking!

What communities are you checking out and what discoveries are you making? I’d love to hear how things are going for you.

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