Like a phoenix from the ashes: an authonomy experience

When the website authonomy first emerged into the fringes of publishing, four and a half years ago, it seemed unlikely that anyone could have anticipated the way it would foreshadow the indie publishing movement. Designed by HarperCollins as an online companion to their slush pile, the site operated on the premise that unpublished and self-publishing authors could upload their novels for review by other writers and, using a ratings-based chart system, the best books would eventually rise up to sit on the Editor’s Desk. From there the top five each month would be given a critique by the HC editorial team, with the hope on all sides that books would be signed up and authors given contracts.

Indeed, many participants are still joining and participating with that hope in mind, but in the Forums even as far back as October 2009, some writers were already anticipating how things might change. Author JP Noel wrote “In this rapidly changing world it would seem that an author would be better served by taking his material online and publishing it directly to the readers using a website and a simple shopping cart program to down load a PDF file.” His avatar is now a hand holding a Kindle and the self-publishing thread on the forums is well-established.

Under another pseudonym in January 2009, allonymbooks put two books on site, Evie Woolmore’s Rising Up and another very different novel, of which more later. We were curious about how the read/review/rate process would work, and in terms of being a precursor to the Twitter follow-me-I’ll-follow-you cycle which was discussed in another recent blog, we were particularly interested in the extent to which people would review our book in exchange for a review of theirs. What emerged were essentially two key groups of people among the Continue reading