HarperCollins' Authonomy -- an open slushpile

Kate Hyde from HarperCollins UK sez,
Want to get published?

Or want to make a name for yourself as THE expert and better-than-New-York-Times-critic of Sci Fi books? of Chic Lit? of Memoir? Here's your chance.

After 3 months of private testing, HarperCollins is opening authonomy (the global community site to find/promote new writing) up to a public audience tomorrow and I thought you might like a sneak preview ahead of the others.

With this site, we’re aiming to help unpublished authors promote or publish their work, and encourage curious/independent-minded readers to back new writers and become involved in the decision of what finally makes its way to publication, all in ways that haven’t been available before now. The hope for us is that authonomy will uncover some writing talent for publishing and also some critical/editorial talents.

Authonomy (Thanks Kate!)


  1. This is a fantastic idea. I’ve thrown up the first five chapters of my work in progress. Here’s hoping good work shines through rather than rattling under the hooves of the tyranny of the majority. To mix a metaphor or four.

  2. Also – the site isn’t restricted access – just hit refresh a couple of times. Some sort of glitch brings up the invite code nonsense ever second or third time you load the page.

  3. This is interesting, but I have a question: Are you not opening yourself up to be plagiarized when you post up uncopyrighted material? I found no mention of this concern in the FAQS section of the website. If I post stories I’ve written but not published, what keeps someone else from ganking them and using them?

  4. Anthony–I believe, technically, any art is automatically copyrighted in your name merely by creating it. Hopefully someone would refrain from stealing your work because you could sue them.
    It seems to me that the online record of your work on Authology would serve well as evidence of your authorship.

  5. DJMAXDARE – you are correct. Copyright comes into effect as soon as you create your work. However, I think the amount you can claim for damages (triple damage?) is greater when the work is registered.

  6. DJ That used to be my understanding but the whole orphaned works thing seems to cast things in a different light. I guess I have some copyright law reading to do. Possibly one is protected once a text is published (if only on the web), versus in print by a major publisher.

  7. @7 It’s more that people don’t understand the orphaned works law works. The onus is on the copier to make a reasonable effort to find the copyright holder. There is no need to protect your copyright any more than you would normally.

  8. Looks exciting. And here I was just longing for the chance develop my skills as an editor. Thanks for passing it on!

  9. Errm, IANAL, but isn’t the act of “putting it on a website” actually publishing, in a legal sense? There’s no difference, from a copyright POV, from HarperCollins putting out squiggles on dead trees to me putting squiggles on a screen (well strictly, on BB’s servers, IIRC) right now.

    And I don’t know from registered copyright. Registered Trademarks, yes.

    Paging Cory Doctorow! Alert to the Blogozepplin, confusion over copyright issues on BB! Coupled with groundless fears of plagiarism!

  10. Thanks Pete. According to this site
    and the US copyright Office site, as soon as a work is created it is protected. However, the if one wishes to successfully pursue litigation against wrongful use the work should be registered.
    My original question had to do with the likelihood of plagiarism when a work is exposed to a large audience via the web.
    The wording on my comment is clumsy so it may come off as though I don’t care for web publishing, but I was only wondering aloud about the difference between posting up some text independently and having it published by an agent, in whatever venue.

  11. I’ve used sff.net’s critters group in the past, and this seems similar. Getting feed back from readers can be good and bad. In regard to the Ebay post, perhaps learning how to edit from an editor would be a good investment of time and money for a writer. It helped me. I guess. You have to impress the right editor, and that’s the problem. I always seem to impress the wrong editor.

  12. What about magazine publication requirements? I’m mainly thinking of the little line “will not accept previously published work.”

    Do these review sites count? If I put a piece up for review, do I then loose the option of getting it published through another medium, like a print journal or magazine?

    I’d like to get other people’s opinions as I’d really like to try out sites like Authonomy, but I’m very wary.

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