Deadly Ever After

AA: Authonomy Anonymous

TODAY’S BREW: Dunkin’ Donuts coconut, hot, light, no sugar (If this doesn’t tip you off Kristen isn’t around, nothing will.)

So, Kristen and I posted Immortal Dilemma and Running Home on Authonomy.com, a writer’s site run by Harper Collins, the gods of publishing. Hundreds upon hundreds of writers post their manuscripts of all varieties here to be read by others of the writing community. If you consider yourself a writer, I highly recommend this site. It’s a bit daunting, what with the forums, rankings, starring, bookshelves, watchlists, editor’s desk, latest authors, most commented authors, top rated authors this week which is always changing…there’s a lot happening. And it is incredibly easy to develop a habit.

A page full of authors who want the same thing as you do pop up the second you click on the site. All you can think of is reading their books, and letting them read yours, and what will they think, and what will I think, and how fast can I get on the editor’s desk and what if I suck? So, you start to try to make friends based on their bios and their pretty, pretty pictures. Long story short, the comments start rolling in. Your heart jumps to your throat, then escapes your mouth, falls on the floor and finds its way back in somehow long enough for you to click on the comment and find out how much your life’s work means to people. The highs and lows of this are mind boggling. Literally, I have been brought to tears twice because the community is so pleasant and supportive. As soon as you get that first comment on your novel, you want more and more and more. You start asking everyone to read your book. I, for one, looked for the best ballbuster I could find just to see if I could take it. Before you know it, you are up until 3:30 in the morning working on this site, and don’t even care that 2 small children will demand a lot of energy in just a few short hours. I am getting all jumpy just talking about it.

What Authonomy offers is a ranking system that, for the Undead Duo, tells us in a number or 3 exactly how good we are. We are creatures of retail management. We need to be given a rank, and that rank had better be one or God help you all. Quickly we became obsessed with watching the rankings, creating a network, promoting each other’s works and escalating the high we got from all of those fantastic reviews. I’m fairly certain that my favorite friend on Authonomy thinks I am stalking him since he gave me a glowing review and defended me against a semi-harsh critique. Then he got all his friends to read Running Home, and back it. We call him The Hero around here. I send the poor guy a hundred messages a day about different issues. I may get kicked off the site for this, but let’s hope not.

Kristen finally figured out that we had hit bottom, and needed to let up a bit. I disagree. I think we should be allowed to binge directly following finishing our hard work as a celebration! We didn’t get drunk when we finished writing our novels, so it’s only fair that we indulge in something, right? I give myself a week of obsessing with Authonomy, and then I will just be a casual checker. If I fall off the wagon, I am sure Kristen will rope me back in, if she isn’t hiding an Authonomy ranking habit of her own.

For now, I think we will just take it one day at a time.

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3 thoughts on “AA: Authonomy Anonymous

  1. warwhores on said:

    It sounds like a decent idea, at first, but I can’t help but feel like you’re inevitably allowing others to read what you would hope to be getting paid for. Sure, they’re others in yours (or a similar) spot, that are trying to make a name, make a reputation, etc, and while I am sure the criticism is helpful and maybe even encouraging, in essence you’re sort of showing your hand before the game is played.

    One of the things that has always made me wary of writer’s forums isn’t so much of whether or not I suck as a writer. Whether or not I suck as a writer is nearly irrelevant. What makes me wary is either a) I’ll get a bunch of supportive nonspecific comments that lull me into a soft sense of non-profitable comfort or b) I’ll receive criticism that really isn’t constructive, thus wasting both of our time. Either way, I recall the stoic and drunkenly written words of Charles Bukowski when he went on to talk about how he never bothered throwing his words in front of writer’s circles. He just wrote them and moved on. It either sells or it doesn’t. One develops a voice and perhaps even a perspective after writing for awhile that will either translate to an audience or perhaps be lost in the wash of so many other writers all struggling to get their work noticed.

    Truly, though, sounds like an interesting page and I’ll check it out.

    • Oh believe you me, it is nauseating to upload your entire work (which we did), for very much these reasons. And you nailed it…inevitably, there is the constant question of whether or not this is a lotus eater trap of back patting. Or if there is criticism, are you actually going to do anything with it? Or is it just some other writer trying to make you write just like them so as to inflate their own egos? Constant questioning.

      I, Julie, also never needed the approval of anyone else in my writing, but it feels really good to have other writers doing the same thing you’re doing, read your work, and pick out the plotline they like the most, or quote something you said in chapter 40. It’s always nice to be told you have done a good job. On the other hand, by receiving some little criticisms, I have found that I have streamlined portions of my novel to make it even smoother and more readable, while maintaining my style and voice. Being able to read tons of other works, also, has honed my ability to spot real issues…things that take away from the story because they just aren’t done well. And now I know how to avoid the same issues. And it’s been a week and a half. I really enjoy having a community to share this stuff with. I feel like they are playing on my team.

      In the end, you trust your instincts, and what to listen to and what not to, and your book gets that much more attention. It’s fun to go on and nose around, too.

    • I think you have to take all the comments and feedback with a grain of salt. Some people love it, some people count how many times you use simple words like “that,” and some people will give you constructive criticism. I’ve also struggled with the idea of giving it all away and posting the whole story up there, but in the absence of a writers group, I wanted to see if there actually was an audience for my book and how people reacted to it. I’ve had friends read but of course they’re going to say good things. It is also a bit of a popularity contest, whoever has the highest ratings wins. In the event I get any bites on it (knock on any natural surface you can, kids), I will take it down, or possibly just leave a teaser as another way to get attention.

      Speaking of getting attention, everything that we’ve read in regards to getting a book picked up by an agent mentions having a strong online presence. It helps, and then whoever is interested in the book can see what people have to say about it. Of course, if anyone goes that far in their research, they’re probably already interested, but it can’t hurt for them to see that some of the PR is already done.
      –Kristen

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