After more than three months running in private beta, authonomy.com finally went live yesterday (3 Sept) and is open to all. The site describes itself as a community site for writers, readers and publishers, conceived and developed by book editors at HarperCollins:
"If you’re a writer, authonomy is the place to show your face – and show off your work on the web. Whether you’re unpublished, self-published or just getting started, all you need is a few chapters to start building your profile online, and start connecting with the authonomy community. And if you’re a reader, blogger publisher or agent, authonomy is for you too. The book world is kept alive by those who search out, digest and spread the word about the best new books – authonomy invites you to join our community, champion the best new writing and build a personal profile that really reflects your tastes, opinions and talent-spotting skills."
Top-ranked book when I looked at the site is by "Sylvia", and is called Spammer. "Ever wanted to retaliate against a spammer? Judy did, and made herself the target for the hideous fury of a Mafia boss. (Complete at 79,000 words)." So runs the blurb. I read the first page (online) but had no wish to read more of the extremely over-heated prose.
Apparently, the aim is for the publisher to harness "the wisdom of the crowds" (a.k.a. you and me) to go through its slush pile. Time will tell if the aforementioned crowds are a substitute for editor and agents, and hence an economy for the publisher at this end of their market. So far, the site is said to receive more than 50 new books a week; the publisher's promise is that someone on staff will read the ten top-rated submissions each month.