There are hundreds of websites out there where you can post your work online and get feedback. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were thousands. I’m going to generalise about a specific kind of site, and then I’m going to talk about three of the largest: TriggerstreetLabs, Zoetrope Studios, and Authonomy. This post will cover sites to avoid and Authonomy. No, I'm not saying Authonomy should be avoided. Zoetrope & TriggerstreetLabs will be discussed in a separate post.
Part 1 – The Ones To Avoid
The ones to avoid are very easily identified. All you have to do is read some of the posted reviews which in their entirety read like this:
“Cool story dude.”
“Awesome characters, man. I liked Jessie she was hot.”
“Great fantasy story. If you like fantasy you might wanna check out my story.”
If you’re serious about writing you have no place signing up to such sites. It’s ego boosting, and the one thing an aspiring writer doesn’t need is an inflated ego. Inflated egos don’t cope well with editors asking for revisions.
There’s one other type of site that I’d avoid and that’s paid membership peer review sites. I’ve stumbled across a couple which I’m not going to name. The reason I won’t name them is that they could be excellent but in principle I just don’t get why writers would pay. There are decent free peer review sites so why pay? If anyone does have a positive experience of a paid peer review site let me know. I’ll do a feature on it.
Part 2 – Authonomy
I’ve been a member of Authonomy for a few years but I rarely log on. Before I start sounding too negative let me say straight away that Authonomy is big. It’s run / owned by HarperCollins and ‘YES’ there have been some success stories with authors being published. Some authors have also secured agents by use of the site.
The site is aimed at novelists. You can upload 10,000 words of your novel. Less than 10,000 words is not permitted. This can also be 10,000 words of an unfinished novel.
Members recommend / review other members work and the most highly ranked work gets reviewed by a selection of HarperCollins commissioning editors.
Sound good? Well, in a sense it is good. However, what are they really offering? If you’ve written a novel you can send it to any publisher. All you need to do is a little bit of research. Find out who to address your query letter to. Find out the submission guidelines, and off you go. The John Jarrold literary agency requires you to send in your first three chapters, some details of your writing career if any, and they want you to tell them why your work is relevant to the fantasy genre which is what they specialise in. Comply with their guidelines and somebody who could get your work published will be reading your work. So I ask again…what are they offering?
One answer to that might be ‘peer reviews’. However, the reviews on Authonomy are very, very lightweight. There are one or two members who are exceptions but on the whole the reviews are minimal. It’s more about networking, back slapping, camaraderie. Recommend my book and I’ll recommend yours is a phrase you will hear many times.
If you’ve written a novel, and you’ve had stock rejection letters back then it might be worthwhile if you’re prepared to do some online networking. Otherwise I really don’t know what they’re offering. It’s easy to get your work read if you follow the guidelines laid down by the companies you’re sending your work to. It’s easy to find addresses via resources such as the Writer’s Yearbook.
Here’s a link to Authonomy if anyone is interested: http://authonomy.com/
I’d be happy to hear from anyone with positive or negative feedback on Authonomy. The above is just my opinion.
I’ll cover off Zoetrope and Triggerstreet in a separate post.
M J Wolfson - That's me.