When I entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest earlier this month, part of the process called contestants to include a 10k excerpt. The first ten thousand words of the novel would be available for preview by reviewers and anyone who cared to read it. This made me pause. Putting it out there makes me uncomfortable, frankly. And not because I’m afraid someone won’t like it.
Harper Collins recently launched Authonomy, similar to the above, except authors post their entire manuscript there. According to a recent GalleyCat post, HarperCollins purchased three novels “straight from their online manuscript site.” Technically, no, according to the comments that follow the post. One was an agented submission, and the editor didn’t know until after HarperCollins accepted the book for publication that it was one of the novels posted online. Still, good for the other two, right? Absolutely. It’s better than winning the lottery.
But what about all the other manuscripts posted out there, in their nakedness for all the world to see? Will posting the mss on Authonomy make it a pariah in the land of publishing? A leper that no other publisher will touch? An author friend of mine likened the process to the literary version of American Idol. My friend also said the Christian market has a site similar to Authonomy, but charges $90 to host your manuscript for six months. Oh no. No, no, no. Never never never never never pay a fee. Never. Remember that word. When someone holds their hand out, you can shake it but walk away with your money still in your wallet.
Authonomy’s blog includes an interesting peek inside the publishing biz from Louise, HC’s Publishing Operations Director, as well as several authors. Something to watch, I suppose. Look before you leap, my friend.