Sunday, 28 February 2010
Blood on the forum (and I'm not talking Julius Caesar)
Ah, another end of the month on Authonomy, and it's one of those musical chairs months when six people are in contention for the top five places and a gold star. And it's sometimes vitriolic on the forum.
I remember in the early days of the site, during a particularly bad month, a Harper Collins spokesman came on the site expressing wonder at the fury and mayhem. 'We're not offering a holiday in the sun,' he said, 'just an editor's critique.'
But of course it's NOT just that; each top fiver secretly hopes in his innermost heart that his book will be the first to wow an HC editor so much that he'll be offered a contract. Even though it's never happened. To date, eighty-eight writers have won a gold star on Authonomy, and not one of them has been offered a publishing deal. The handful of books HC has published from the site were picked up while they were much lower in the charts.
So why do people bother? Why do they spend hours each day for up to a year reading or pretending to read others' books and writing gushing comments; why do they do the spamming and the the swap-shelving, the touting for support on the forum (because that's what it takes these days)? I really don't know. I do know that some truly excellent reads get nowhere near the top of the charts, as their authors have too much sense to get involved in the frightful struggle.
And I'm quite certain that Harper Collins needs to adjust the system, to make it fairer and a lot less like a dance marathon.
Posted by Lexi at Sunday, February 28, 2010