The Big Authonomy Question

When I went to the Writer’s Digest Editors Intensive one of the things that they talked about is www.Authonomy.com. It is a website developed by Harper Collins (Major Publisher) where writers can post up all or some of their work and get people to look at it. The best books are determined by the readers and the top books get looked at by Harper Collins’ editors. This is a big deal as Harper Collins does not accept direct submissions, you have to have an agent, and a good one at that, to get their editors to look at your work.

I am going to post the first part of my book Midnight In Vegas as soon as I get my cover art done. (You have to have a cover, I am working on mine, I’ll do a post on that later.) I am excited at this new way of getting noticed. Not only is Harper Collins reading the posts but other publishers and agents are scouring the site for new talent.

The big uproar at the moment however is all about a single book. It is called Lesser Sins by Vineet Bhalla. The buzz about this book isn’t about how good it is. It is about the author’s use of community to get it pushed, unfairly some people claim, to the top of the readers list.

Vineet, as it turns out, is a big time member of a online gaming group, a massive online gaming group. So when he posted his book he went online and told all his online buddies (like 800 or so) to go and vote for his book. Which they did. He went on YouTube and posted videos on how to do it. He went out and marketed his work like nobody else has ever done. He shot straight to number 1. Not on the merit of his book, but on the power of his community.

So the question is: Did he cheat?

I don’t think so. I think he was very, very clever. When I post up my book Midnight In Vegas on Authonomy I intend to announce it to everyone who will listen. I am sure that everyone who has posted anything on that site did the same thing. It is a popularity contest! It is stupid not to. They just didn’t take it to the level that Vineet did. 

I wish I had Vineet’s following. I am working on building one right now. I think what he did is genious, the man took the word platform and showed the world what it really means. The Internet is boundless, get used to it.

There is a great interview with Vineet on Lauri Shaw’s blog (http://www.laurishaw.com/vineet-bhalla-klazart-interviewed-about-authonomy/) I suggest that you read it.

I would like to say that coincidentally Lesser Sins is the first book I read on Authonomy when I signed up. Not because it’s popularity but because it has a great cover picture and the summary is excellent. I’ll save my opinion of the book’s content for another post.

So did Vineet achieve anything he wouldn’t have achieved without his community? I don’t think he did. I think he achieved it faster.

Ultimately his work and the work of every author will be judged by agents, editors and publishers before it gets published. They will NEVER give anyone a book deal because they have lots of on line friends who are willing to go do something that is absolutely free. His work has to stand on its own feet if it is going to go any further. What he received was attention, lots of it, and that can only be a good thing. It is all up to him and his work from here.

That is my opinion but I would like to hear what you think.

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One Comment

  1. I voted no he did not cheat. He used a tatic that has been used on American Idol and Dancing with the Stars, using votes to get or keep on the top of the list. The more votes the longer you last. Isn’t that the point of the site to create an online “Contest” to see which story was more popular! If you feel that this was cheating then you must think that every High School Homecomeing Queen cheated to win her crown!!!


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