Innovation That Matters

HarperCollins hopes crowds will spot next bestseller

Publishing & Media

We’ve featured Sellaband numerous times: the music website that lets fans propel the careers of unsigned artists. A similar concept has just popped up in the publishing world. Founded by HarperCollins, Authonomy is a new community that invites unpublished and self-published authors to post at least 10,000 words of a fiction or non-fiction manuscript for visitors to read online. Visitors can review and recommend books, and can showcase their five favourite submissions on a virtual bookshelf that’s viewable from their profile page. Authonomy keeps track of the number of recommendations a book receives and ranks writers accordingly. Readers are also ranked, based on how good they’ve been at spotting books that make it to the top of Authonomy’s charts. To help authors make it from computer screen to printed book, once a month the top five books are delivered to the desks of an editorial board made up of international HarperCollins commissioning editors. The website is free to use both for readers and writers, and HarperCollins hopes the wisdom of the crowds will help them unsource potential hits that individual editors or agents might otherwise miss, or just don’t have the time to read. Needless to say, the site could also prove to be a good marketing tool once manuscripts are actually published, since authors won’t have to build a fan base from scratch. (Related: Crowd-finding the next blockbuster.) Spotted by: Carol Monroe



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