Monday, January 26, 2009

Delegation or diplomacy?

Beat the slush pile! It’s every unpublished writer’s dream, no? The world is changing: get ready to wake up to your new reality...

We’ve all heard the horror stories of bored work-experience kids being handed your masterpiece – what if they overlook your skill? What if they’re so overwhelmed and overburdened that everything they read disintegrates into mediocrity, or, even worse, utter shite? Well, in this wonderful age the aloof and inaccessible world of publishing is opening its iron doors and letting everyone pitch in. Thomas Nelson started gifting books to bloggers willing to write a review, and now, Harper Collins have created their very own online slush pile, available to anyone willing to create an account whore out their wares.

The premise is simple: upload your novel and let the masses decide whether it’s worth printing. This is more than delegation, my friends; this is a community. Never feel alone and unloved again; build up a snazzy fan base; get people talking, bask in the buzz.

So will it work? If the public get to play an active role, I suppose it’s publishing gold; after all, the people get what they want, and the publishers get their money. I’m not sure why I’m not thrilled by Authonomy (in spite of its nifty name). The discerning eye is not gifted out to everyone; this is a public (in the UK at least) who lap up shoddy celebrity memoirs, power of the human spirit mush and other titbits of cultural decay. I’ve always been a snob about such things, so perhaps I’m being too harsh... what do you guys think? Is anyone rushing to upload their novel? Or are you more inclined towards the (mildly more empowering) issuu approach? Or is anyone out there a reclusive Salinger type, penning secret wonderworks for your own pleasure?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is certainly an interesting idea. I suppose if a handful of novels a year are published this way, then I wouldn't object. Even the muck readers of the world deserve their novels. I say that hoping that the chick-lit what have yous will start being chosen that way, and publishers can focus on the more literary brilliant. Also, I can never be entirely opposed to something that encourages people to read.