Self-Promotion Websites – Still Iffy

Posted on March 11, 2010. Filed under: Musings, Publishing | Tags: , , , |

Here I sit, an author of one finished novel that I’m currently self-editing for grammatical errors before going on to the process of fixing character consistency and finally looking into the massive number of rewrites I need to do to get its plot holes filled. After that, I plan to send it out to a few beta readers or proof readers or whatever else you want to call them. (I’ve heard crit partners as well from the NaNo forums, but I don’t use the term myself.) Then when all is said and done, I’ll put it together in pretty packaging, make it a nice PDF, make sure to have all my i’s dotted and t’s crossed by doing such things as title pages and page numbers, and send it off to CreateSpace for that fabulous, free proof copy.

So why, do you ask, am I looking at websites like Authonomy again? Simple: I found a new one. It appears HarperCollins is cashing in on these new-fangled means of getting manuscripts to read. Through Joana’s blog post, I realized that HC has yet another of these wonderful self-promoting websites.

What’s this new website? inkpop – a place where, you guessed it, you can post your manuscripts for review and hopefully make a hallowed Top Five place one month and get a review from the distinguished editors of HC.

How is inkpop different from Authonomy? There are a couple of ways, actually. First, Authonomy is actually run by HarperCollins UK division while inkpop is run by HarperTeen, the division that covers all YA books. And that leads me to my second point: inkpop is geared specifically towards finding those talented YA writers that are out there. Last difference that I noticed? Authonomy only publishes 10,000 words to an entire novel manuscript while authors on inkpop can post their poems, short stories, and YA novels.

inkpop is the property of HarperTeen.

You can see the difference even in the logos. inkpop shares a similar format with Authonomy. Become popular, interact with other authors and readers well enough, get your name out there, and you, too, can get your book on the Top Five list for the month. If you do, the HC editors will read and review your poem, short story, or the first 10,000 words of your novel.

Get really lucky and you could win a publishing contract!

Or so they imply. I’ve been reading around, and even in older posts on the subject (of Authonomy – reviews are out on inkpop for now), the reviews are mixed. People complain of not getting good reviews by the HC staff and knowing from other “top” writers that HC did not request full manuscripts. In fact, for a while, HC was merely offering authors the wonderful ability to offer their novels as Print On Demand books from Authonomy’s website.

Published indeed.

Apparently at least one author received various requests from agents perusing Authonomy. He heard back from five agents who wished for a copy of his manuscript. So the inkpop and Authonomy communities might be worthwhile after all.

However, what started as a website billed as a way to “beat the slushpile” has become the virtual slushpile where HC can peruse the talented authors that are out there without being forced into offering any kinds of publishing contracts. Doesn’t sound very different from the old version if you ask me.

Authonomy now asks this at the top of its page:

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to make it on-screen if it’s not paying off. Give me that publishing contract any day over the cliques of these new social networking sites for writers.

-Rae-

P.S. I’m seriously considering getting a Twitter account for my blog and setting up a few other odds and ends for my own form of self-promotion. Good idea? Bad? Think it’s hypocritical to do that when I just lambasted Authonomy? Let me know!

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12 Responses to “Self-Promotion Websites – Still Iffy”

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If you want to do some social networking, I’d definitely get Twitter. I never really realized the value of Twitter before I started using it, but through Twitter I’ve connected to a lot of other writers and editors that I normally wouldn’t have found. #Fridayflash (through Twitter) drives traffic to blogs, and it helps you have a presence on the web and just get your name out there. I’m, of course, not known at all, but I still think this advice is sound. Through Twitter, I’ve become acquainted with other authors, linked to other blogs and articles on writing, editing, queries, etc. I’m going to be in an Anthology (my first book publication) which never would have happened without Twitter.

Also, I wouldn’t necessarily give your book away online (unless you’ve already exhausted all other avenues), but having some writing samples is helpful for establishing a following. That way, when you try to get a publisher or agent interested in you, you can say…I have this many people following my work.

If you are interested in this, you should listen to Mur Lafferty’s ‘I should be writing’ podcast. She’s very big on Twitter, FB, etc.

I’m glad you’ve had such great luck with Twitter ganymeder.

I really like twitter much more for staying abreast with current events. I, like you, also follow a few aspiring writers. I don’t think twitter is useless, but I do feel like it’s one big self-promotion site. I guess I’m guilty of it myself…heh heh. But, it definitely doesn’t have the same informality as facebook. I feel like most people who follow me are just doing so in the hope that I’ll reciprocate. I try to only follow users who actually are serving up good content.

I won’t shamelessly add myself to that list. My twitter is basically about deer and pizza.

*shrug*

-Ed

I may have to check out that podcast. It sounds interesting.

I agree. Writing samples are an awesome way to bulk up a portfolio. I learned that when I was studying journalism. What I’m attempting now is to find a way to write some short stories that can be submitted to different magazines and see if I can get some publishing credits that way.

I’ll definitely look into Twitter. I didn’t really consider how many people I could follow. I just don’t know that my own posts would be that fascinating. But we’ll see what happens… I’m still debating.

First, I have to say it, “This post was the ..ish!!!”

Is this the *real* Rae bursting out? I like seeing you as the snappy missive of the digital realm. Keep it up!

I’ve never used authonomy (what the hell does that mean, anyway? I get it’s a portmanteau, but it still sucks), even though people on createspace have been promoting it. Inkpop seems just as flawed as Authonomy, but it’s kewler right ‘cuz it’s all neon green and haz inkblot graphix!!111

Both sites are just another way for publishers to to put authors on lower pedestal(if that’s at all possible) and this time, it’s by feeding them some false hope with no guarantees. It reminds me of the writers strike a few in ’08 back when a few people (i.e. idiots) were siding with the studios.

Writing takes a lot of time, effort, and hard work. It’s never right the first time. That’s why there’s multiple drafts. So, when I hear about top 5 lists or being a star on some website, I see it as just a really stupid whimsical honor bestowed by publishers who are probably laughing about the whole thing somewhere. An online reality show with no real winners.

It makes me sad for how little respect authors get when serious authors/writers deserve so much more.

That’s my two Lincoln’s worth.

-Ed

Oh, about Twitter. It’s pretty much a crapshoot, but you definitely have a follower in me. Let me know, I’ll be among the first to squee at all your instant updates!

–Ed, again.

Oh,I’m not ashamed of self promoting. After all, no one else is going to do it for me; are they?

Actually, the self promo thing that you said about Twitter is what I don’t like about FB. FB seems to be more just post to my profile stuff, while Twitter is more like ongoing conversations. Twitter strikes me as more interactive and community based. Maybe I haven’t gotten the hang of FB yet, but that’s how it strikes me.

Twitter is more relevant imo. There’s an ongoing converstation, you can search for topics of interest and read the most uptodate things, you can follow people you are friends with or admire. I don’t think it’s about shamelessly self promoting but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with promoting yourself either. I like Twitter because the people I follow and who follow me are all interested in the same things and we each post things that are likely to be of interest to each other. So if I link to a new blog post I’ve written, that’s also likely to be of interest. If it wasn’t, or if I posted lots of posts about things they didn’t care about, they probably would stop following me. 🙂

Well, count me in on that.

I’m also a fan of self-promotion. Why do you think I signed up for twitter? lol!
Writers have to sell their writing. It’s the reality. I was just saying going into twitter I get this aura of everyone’s trying to market themselves, which is fine. I’d be a hypocrite if I criticized it for that reason. But with facebook, I am just hanging with close friends.

Twitter is definitely a relevant phenomenon. At least for me, because I can get instant updates on news without having to check sites. I also can follow authors and other nerds like me. But I’m pretty much like the 79% of people who “kinda sorta” use Twitter.

http://mashable.com/2010/03/10/twitter-follow-stats/

-Ed

Haha! Thanks! I think I was in a bit of a mood when I wrote this post, but really, I think it’s a little annoying the way authors seem to be getting exploited lately. I may have to start a Ranting Thursday series or something.

My first thought when I saw the name Authonomy? “The Author’s Autonomy.” Ironic, in a way. I agree – inkpop’s the same, and whether it’s “kewler” or not, it’s just as likely to land you in a pickle if you try submitting your work to agents or publishers.

If I get a Twitter, I’ll definitely let you know. ~_^ You’re the only person out there whose Twitter I even know right now. (Well, I know one other, but it hasn’t been updated in a year!)

Good luck with the book. It’s not easy that I know.

Hey Rick – thanks for the comment! I know how frustrating it can be to do the novel thing. I’ve been working on mine for several months now, and it’s totally slow going.

Thanks again for the comment! 😀

In the spirit of self-promotion I thought I should promote the recently launched http://www.slushpilereader.com where the highest ranked manuscript actually are published. Authors submit their manuscripts, readers read comment and vote for their favorites. Slush Pile Reader will then publish (edit, market & distribute) the most popular manuscript(s). There are no fees or cost what so ever involved for the author – Slush Pile Reader is an ordinary publisher with a modern way of discovering great new books. Best, Pascal

Thanks for your comment, Pascal. Did I notice that you’re a part of Slush Pile Reader? I scanned the site and will do a blog post on it sometime this week with some of the questions it raised for me. Thanks again for the heads-up, and feel free to come back and comment whenever I do a post on your site.

Thank you! Yes, I’m one of the founders. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.

There is a new blog post up at http://blog.slushpilereader.com/ that might answer some questions.

Thanks again!

Pascal


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