My Thoughts On Authonomy

This is a bittersweet post to write. While I greatly enjoyed the interaction with other authors, I found … at least for now … that this site is not an easy way to get noticed by publishers, Christian or otherwise.

To get the attention of an ABA publisher, you have to get your book’s ranking into the top five on the entire website, which is nearly impossible.

To get the attention of a Christian publisher, you supposedly have to get your book’s ranking into the top five of the Christian section. For my own herculean efforts, I achieved, temporarily, a rank of #13, which would have dropped to #8 if the top five had been removed to the “Christian editors desk”.

This did not happen at all during the three months I was there. Not only that, but I checked fairly carefully to see if any of the Christian publishers had commented on any of those top books … but could not find any.

If I had seen any sign of hope, I would have persevered, but alas, I dropped out… With another major push, and with books being removed above me, it is very likely I could have made it into the top five, but I abandoned my efforts.

Not that I think the non-involvement of the Christian publishers is intentional, and this is why:

  • I know how busy acquisition editors are, and I bet they just haven’t found the time for this… Even if they did, the books listed might not be of interest to them, and they are under no obligation to leave a message explaining that.
  • The Authonomy website is showing its age, and I’m not sure it’s even possible to remove the top five books in the Christian section.
  • I just got word that Zondervan laid off 30 people in April… Ouch… That alone could explain everything.

Why is it so hard to rise in the rankings? Doesn’t a book just depend upon the quality of its writing? … Not so much. To rise in the rankings, you need to get others registered on the site to “back your book”.

As is human nature, most on the site have adopted a “you read my book and back it, and I’ll do the same for you.”

For me, I promised others I would at least take a look at their book, but I never promised a backing… There is a LOT of objectionable content, from my personal perspective, and so some books I just had to skip.

There is also a lot of excellent content… Some books I could hardly stop reading!

The best part … the whole place is a bit like a huge critique group! I received very helpful comments, critiques, and advice, and these I have put to use in my current draft.

I also received an incredible amount of praise, which you can now see at the top of my blog in the “What others are saying about MERLIN’S BLADE” section. Because Authonomy was setup by HaperCollins-UK, many of these were from Britishers (as you can tell by the word spellings), and that is really fun considering I’m writing a British historical novel.

To all my blog and facebook friends … thank you so much for joining Authonomy and backing my book… Your efforts helped a lot!

As well … to all my Authonomy fellow writers … I hale your persistence, your sharp pen with my book, and your thoughtful praise and encouragement!

One final note: I wonder if Zondervan and Baker Book Publishing (including Bethany House) know what they’ve gotten themselves into? If indeed they look at the top books in the Christian section, do they know how those books are being judged, and how they rose to their high rank?

Let me be frank … no Christian book can rise to the top of the Christian section without a lot of ABA authors backing their book! This means, effectively, that the top books in the Christian section are being judged by people who do not fit the demographics of the Christian publisher’s target market. Hmmm…

Nothing wrong with that, mind you, it’s just the reality of the way the site is setup, but I hope the publishers know this.

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