As a writer I often ponder what makes the human mind tick. What, for instance, compels obviously intelligent human beings to sit at their computers every day, often for hours on end, posting comments on other writers' work? I'm referring to the HarperCollins website authonomy.com which gives writers the chance to submit a sample of their work in the hope that it will rise to the surface and win a coveted place on the ED - the Editor's Desk. The fate of the sample thereafter would appear to be disastrous, for at the end of each month the top five samples are 'reviewed' by said 'editor' and the pattern hasn't wavered thus far: the writer spends months completing a manuscript; said manuscript is submitted to authonomy; the writer spends months schmoozing with like-minded writers; makes it to the ED; waits with baited breath for the offer of a publishing contract...only to receive a review suggesting revision.
What's the point?
Well, authonomy can lead to publishing contracts. It can lead to a writer securing a contract with an agency. But none of that good stuff has - as yet - resulted from winning a place on the ED. All that hard work, hours and hours of mutual backslapping and fake plaudits, leads to nothing.
The sad fact is that unless a sample is picked from the pile before it gets to the ED, it's destined to go nowhere.
Is that a bad thing?
Well, no - not as long as the writer is aware of the fact, and is prepared to draw the line when the sample isn't picked up.
My sample of Brogan's Crossing has been available since the middle of February, and although it's received mostly positive reviews, it hasn't been picked up by an agent or by a publisher. That tells me it won't be picked up off the ED, either. And that's why I'm giving it a few more weeks before I make it 'private' - dead horses and flogging, etc.
Updated 20100107: the horse lives! A new version will be sent out to agents soon.
Good luck to those who are still content to spend all day every day reading, commenting and backing (or just backing, as some authonomites are doing.)
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