I received an interesting email from Harper Collins the other day. Startlingly, it contained something new (to me) and on top of that the idea was actually interesting and unusual. Now perhaps I’m simply beeing naive and have allowed the business of writing pass me by without watching carefully, but I thought Authonomy was a good idea and decided to throw my two cent opinion behind it.
According to James Pursaill of Harper Collins, Authonomy is an innovative Digital imprint from HarperCollins that publishes talent from our website, www.authonomy.com – completely bypassing the traditional agent model. In essence, it crowdsources great writing. Users submit their own work – then read, review and rate the writing of other users – with the strongest material floating to the top of the online slushpile. This allows us to published innovative titles that are chosen by readers, for readers in an increasingly crowded and competitive market.
They’ve just published the third ebook sourced in this way: Brotherhood of Shades by Dawn Finch. I can’t speak for the quality of the novel – it’s YA and I’m looking for a reviewer for it – but I love the innovation and hope that this turns out to be a decent market for new writers – one that is badly needed.
As to the author, again I quote Harper Collins:
Dawn Finch grew up in a book filled house on the river’s edge of a tough London-overspill council estate. When she was ten her dad gave her a collection of Edgar Allan Poe stories and this launched a lifetime fascination with the macabre and the unexplained. At the age of eleven a fierce librarian refused to lend her a copy of Bram Stoker’s Dracula on the grounds that she was too young to read it. She vowed that if she was ever a librarian she would never deny a child a great book. At twelve Dawn told her careers advisor that she wanted to be either a writer or a librarian, and she was dismayed to be told to stop ‘pointless dreaming’. After many years of study and hard work, and a range of jobs – from reading unsolicited slush-pile manuscripts, to dressing as a Benedictine monk to take children on cathedral tours – Dawn carved out a successful career as a Children’s Librarian and Reader Development Consultant. With the publication of her first book, Brotherhood of Shades, she is thrilled to be able to add Writer to her CV as well.
I wish both Dawn and Authonomy well and hope they both go on to many future successes.