authonomy basics


What is authonomy?
Tell me more!
How much does it cost?
How do you make money? What’s the catch?
What does registering enable me to do?
How do I register?
What is the security question and answer?
What is the strange image of squiggly text in the registration and what is it for?
I don’t live in the UK – can I still join?
How many user accounts can I open?
I am already published – can I still join?
Who will be able to see my profile?
I’ve uploaded an avatar/profile image, so why can’t I see it on the site?
How do I leave the site?


reading and recommending


I want to find great books – where do I start?
How do I tell everyone about the great books I’ve found?
What’s this Bookshelf thingy?
What books should I put on my bookshelf?
Why can I only put five books on my shelf?
What’s a Watchlist?
There are so many great books – how can I keep track of the books I’m interested in?
Some of these aren’t finished – what’s the point of reading half a book?
Do I have to read whole books online?
Do I have to provide a star rating for books I’ve read?
What star ratings should I be giving?
Can I change my star rating?
Do I have to comment on books I’ve read?
What comments should I be making?
What’s this tagging business?
I’ve found offensive or copyrighted material. What should I do?


rating and ranking


How does authonomy calculate my book’s rank?
What do the numbers next to my book mean?
What is the Editor’s Desk?
What is the Book Chart?
What’s the difference between the Book Chart and the Editor’s Desk?
What does the medal next to a book title mean?
What do the stars next to a book title mean?
Why doesn’t a book’s rank correspond to the number of bookshelves it’s on?
Why has my book suddenly been removed from everyone’s bookshelves
Any tips for improving my book’s ranking?
What is ‘Top Talent Spotters’ all about?
How do I become a talent spotter?
How does authonomy calculate my talent spotter rank?
What do the numbers next to my profile mean?
Will I be rewarded for being a top talent spotter?
Is it possible to cheat?
Isn’t this just a popularity contest, rather than a true judge of quality?
Is there a genre bias here?
Who has a place on the HarperCollins Editorial Board?
Is my book be eligible for re-assessment by the Editorial Board now I’ve improved it so much?
Can I quote the HarperCollins review on my book/blog/submissions letters etc?


community


I’m overwhelmed. How can I keep track of what’s going on on-site?
What is the point of friends on authonomy?
Are messages between users on authonomy private?
How can I send a private message to someone on authonomy?
I’m getting unwanted spam messages. How can I make them stop?


uploading your book


Basics


What kind of manuscripts do you accept?
What kind of manuscripts don’t you accept?
Can I upload more than one book?
I would like my new book to appear at the top of my list of books on my profile. How can I reorder my books?
How much of my book should I upload?
Why do you need to display so much of my work?
I write poetry/short stories/children’s novels etc. that are shorter than 10,000 words. Can you make an exception on the word limit?
I’ve got images / diagrams / illustrations. Is this a problem?
What does it cost?
Who will be able to read my book?
Will HarperCollins be reading my work?
Will HarperCollins be publishing books from authonomy?
What rights do I give up by submitting to authonomy?
Will you keep my manuscript?
How do I encourage visitors to read my book?
Can I take my book down?
I’m self published – can I post on authonomy?
I’m already contracted to a publisher – can I post on authonomy?
Can’t I just email/post my manuscript to you instead of uploading it here?

upload process


What’s my author name?
What’s a short pitch?
What should I put in my pitch?
What is "Pitch me"?
How do I get my book to appear on "Pitch me"
How do I upload a cover image?
Do I have to have a cover image?
I’ve uploaded a cover image - why can’t see it on the site?
How long does it take for book covers/ avatar images to be approved?
My book fits into more than one genre!
What’s this classification business?
What’s a tag?
How do I upload my text?
My book doesn’t have chapters – do I still need to split it up?
I have a prologue / epilogue / introduction / acknowledgements etc. – how do I handle that?
I’m seeing strange line breaks in my uploaded text – what’s happened?
The paragraph indentation is wrong/ has been lost – what’s happened?
Which font should I use?
Why does my book have ‘Private’ written beneath it?
Why does my book have ‘Public’ written beneath it?
Why can’t I make my book public?
My book’s live – can I still change it?
Who can comment on my book?
Who can star rate my book?
What is a Cherry Pick?

copyright and concerns


Does posting work on authonomy affect my copyright?
Does posting work on authonomy affect the value of my manuscript?
Can people steal my work from the authonomy site?
Why won’t HarperCollins read all the manuscripts itself, instead of enlisting internet users to help them?
Can you help me with a legal query?



authonomy basics


What is authonomy?

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authonomy is a unique online community that connects readers, writers and publishing professionals. It was conceived and built by editors at HarperCollins Publishers.


Tell me more!

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authonomy invites unpublished and self published authors to post their manuscripts for visitors to read online. Authors create their own personal page on the site to host their project - and must make at least 10,000 words available for the public to read.

Visitors to authonomy can rate and comment on these submissions – and can personally recommend their favourites to the community. authonomy counts the number of recommendations each book receives, and uses it to rank the books on the site. It also spots which visitors consistently recommend the best books – and uses that info to rank the most influential trend spotters.

We hope the authonomy community will guide publishers straight to the freshest writing talent – and will give passionate and thoughtful readers a real chance to influence what’s on our shelves.


How much does it cost?

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Nothing. It costs nothing to create a profile, to upload your book, or to read and recommend the books on offer.


How do you make money? What’s the catch?

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HarperCollins hopes to find new, talented writers we can sign up for our traditional book publishing programmes – We've already successfully published a number of books found here and we’ll be reading the most popular manuscripts each month as part of this ongoing search.


What does registering enable me to do?

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Registering enables you to create an online profile, upload your books, rate and comment on other people’s books, take part in forum discussions and truly experience the social networking aspects of the site.


How do I register?

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All you need to do to register is provide us with a screen name, password, email address, complete the security question and confirm that you’ve read the Terms and Conditions. Once registered you have the option to provide us with further information about yourself. We won’t share your information with any other parties.


What is the security question and answer?

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If we need to confirm your identity in future, we may ask you the security question you enter here and you’ll need to provide the answer. This should be something you’ll remember easily, but will not be well known to others e.g. the name of your first pet or your place of birth.


What is the strange image of squiggly text in the registration and what is it for?

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This is called a CAPTCHA – it ensures that your registration is being completed by a human and not another computer. This helps prevent spam and other malicious activity


I don’t live in the UK – can I still join?

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Yes! Everyone aged 18 or over is welcome to join. Whether from Austria or Zimbabwe, we’d love to have you on the site. But please make sure that your manuscript is written predominately in English as this is the only language we currently support.


How many user accounts can I open?

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Only one – we reserve the right to close down duplicate accounts.


I am already published – can I still join?

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Yes! You’re more than welcome to join and take part in the site.

If you’re self-published or hold the rights to your work, there shouldn’t be a problem with you uploading your own manuscript onto the site. If in doubt, check with your publisher.


Who will be able to see my profile?

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Everyone and anyone who visits authonomy, so be sure to make the most of it! Use it as a tool to promote yourself and your books.


I’ve uploaded an avatar/profile image, so why can’t I see it on the site?

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We monitor all the images that are uploaded to the site, both book cover images and avatars.I If your image hasn’t appeared on your profile it’s probably because a moderator hasn’t yet approved it. Please be patient, it will appear shortly. If it’s deemed inappropriate you’ll be notified. Please refer to the Terms and Conditions for a guideline of what’s acceptable.


How do I leave the site?

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You can retire your account by clicking on the 'retire my profile' button on the edit profile page. This will remove your profile page from the site, make all your books private and clear down your bookshelf of favourites. Any comments you have made on other people’s books and your forum posts will remain on the site. We’ll send you an email with instructions on how to reactivate your account at a later date if you so wish.




reading and recommending



I want to find great books – where do I start?

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There are loads of ways to start surfing the site. The different book charts will show you the books considered by the community at large to be the best. If you’ve more specific requirements, you could start searching for books by genre or keyword – just use the search box. If you’re a bit more laid back you could also browse through the latest books or the site tag cloud by clicking the ‘books’ link, up there in the navigation bar.

And a really good way to find interesting books is by visiting other members' personal pages – there you can see both what each of your fellow authonomists have uploaded and which favourite submissions they’ve promoted to their bookshelf.


How do I tell everyone about the great books I’ve found?

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Every book has its own URL (the unique locating address that appears in the address bar on your browser). You can create ‘hyperlinks’ by copying and pasting this address on the other web pages and blogs that you participate in, and in doing so, direct an audience to your book or to other’s that you’ve discovered. Onsite you could use the forum to discuss and your profile to promote your findings.


What’s this bookshelf thingy?

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authonomy isn't just about displaying your own work - it's about recommending the work of others. As soon as you register for authonomy you receive a virtual bookshelf, viewable from your profile page, where you can showcase your favourite submissions from the site.

There are many talented authors jostling for attention on the authonomy site – your bookshelf gives you the opportunity to reward those you feel really deserve a wider readership with a little more visibility. But the bookshelf also generates the authonomy rankings, both for books and for talent spotters. Every time a book finds a home on your bookshelf, your continued recommendation will help push the book up the rankings. And while that book sits on your bookshelf, your reputation as a talent spotter will be linked to the books success in the charts.

Your bookshelf is empty when you first register, so you need to go find some books to showcase on it. When you find a book you like, look for the 'back the book’ link to add it to your bookshelf. You can remove it later, as you wish.


Why can I only put five books on my bookshelf?

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There are a lot of books out there, and we want to flag up only the very best material. Having space for a limited number of books forces you to make tough decisions about what your favourites really are.


What books should I put on my bookshelf?

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Your bookshelf should be used to showcase the very best you consider the site has to offer. It should be reserved for your favourite books only.


What’s a watchlist?

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Your watchlist is where you can store all the interesting books you come across on the site. If you like the look of something, you can add it to your watchlist and come back to it later – or you can decide to promote it from your watchlist onto your bookshelf, bringing it directly to the attention of all visitors to your profile page. While the whole world can see your bookshelf, only you can see your watchlist.


There are so many great books – how can I keep track of the books I’m interested in?

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Use your watchlist. Your watchlist is where you can store all the great books you come across. If you like the look of something, add it to your watchlist and come back to it later. No-one can see your watchlist – think of it as a private ‘maybe’ pile for books that may one day make it onto your publicly visible bookshelf. To add books to it look for the ‘add to watchlist’ link on every book page. You can access and edit your watchlist by clicking on the ‘manage my bookshelf’ link on your profile page.


Some of these aren’t finished – what’s the point of reading half a book?

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If you want to find only entire books, make sure you click the ‘complete manuscript’ tab when you search – or check for the ‘incomplete book’ warning on each book’s page.


Do I have to read whole books online?

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Right now you can’t download books from the site, so if you want to read the submissions you’ll have to do it online. Read as much, or as little as you like. Sometimes you’ll know within a paragraph or two that a book doesn’t interest you – sometimes you’ll be so drawn in you won’t want to stop. But however much of a book you read, be sure to provide a star rating and help the author by adding a comment to let them know what you thought.


Do I have to provide a star rating for books I’ve read?

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No. It’s totally up to you whether you rate a book or not, but if you have read enough of a book to make a judgement then why not rate the book. It is quick and easy to do and may help the author and other readers on the site.


What star ratings should I be giving?

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The star ratings represent the blended average star rating given to a book by the community and are broad measure of the ‘quality’ of a book. Everyone’s sense of what each rating from one to a possible six stars will represent differs, but to provide some calibration, here is our guidance on what each rating should mean:

6 stars – Excellent: Publish it. I’d buy it myself and recommend it to everyone!
5 stars – Very good: Should be on the bookstore shelves already!
4 stars – Good: Shows real promise.
3 stars – Average: Readable, but still needs work.
2 stars – Poor: Unlikely to attract readers in its current form.
1 star – Awful: Pulping is too good for it!


Can I change my star rating?

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Yes. There may be a number of reasons why you’d want to change your rating, for the better or worse, over time. For example, a book may be significantly revised while it is on authonomy and you may decide your previous rating does not reflect the merit of the latest version. Alternatively you may have made a judgement on a book based on a limit read of a few chapters and a fuller read may change your mind.


Do I have to comment on books I’ve read?

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No. It’s totally up to you whether you comment on a book or not.


What comments should I be making?

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Make your comments as constructive as possible. It’ll help the person whose work you’re critiquing, it adds to the community and if you have uploaded your own work, it’ll encourage them to be equally constructive. Try not to veer off the topic at hand too much – if you want to discuss something other than the user’s book, leave them a message on their profile page or go discuss it with the community in the forum.


What’s this tagging business?

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Tags are keywords that describe the content of a book. Tags might describe a genre (Crime, Non-Fiction) or a subject (cats, Ancient Rome) or even an emotion (scary, happy, reflective etc).

Tags make it easier for readers to find exactly what they’re looking for. You can see a list of all the tags attributed to books on the site by looking at the site tag cloud. Alternatively, on each individual book’s page you’ll find a list of the tags describing that specific title.


I’ve found offensive or copyrighted content. What should I do?

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We rely on our visitors to identify and report abuses across the site, so please don’t hesitate to drop us a line if you spot anything out of place. Click the ‘report abuse’ links which you’ll find on each page – and leave our moderators the details of your complaint. Help us keep the authonomy community running as it should!


How does authonomy calculate a book’s rank?

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We use two methods to rank books. The most important one, which appears on a book’s page, is based on the power of recommendation and determines the Editor’s Desk chart. Rather like the book market at large, here at authonomy, a book’s rank depends on people recommending a book by adding it as a favourite to their bookshelves. The more people who are recommending a book, the longer they have been recommending it, and the greater those recommenders’ talent spotter ranking, the higher the book ranking it will achieve.
Confused? Suffice to say, we look for the books that the community consider to be their favourites – the books on their shelves.

The second method is based on the average star rating given to a book by the members of the community.
authonomy’s weekly Book Chart is derived from the star ratings given to books over the last week. The more stars a book has been awarded during the last 7 days, the higher up the chart a book will rise


What do the numbers next to my book mean?

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This refers to your book’s ranking on the Editor’s Desk chart, measuring its popularity against other books on the site – whilst the number in brackets refers to how far your book has risen or fallen since this time last week.
If a book has reached the top of the Editor’s Desk chart in a previous month and been sent to the Editorial Board for review, it will no longer be included in the Editor’s Desk and its rank will simply be denoted with a medal.

If you want to delve deeper or are nuts about a particular type of reading matter, the Book Chart can also be filtered by genre and time span.


What is the Editor’s Desk?

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At the end of every month the five top ranked books of the month are delivered to the desks of an editorial board made up of international HarperCollins editors. The board read at least 10,000 words and deliver feedback to the author’s authonomy profile. In fairness to all the fabulous new writers on the site, our board will only consider a book once, so this chart only features books that haven’t already passed across the Editor’s Desk.


What is the Book Chart?

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authonomy’s Book Chart is derived from the star ratings given to books by the authonomy members over the last week. The more stars a book has been awarded by the community during the last 7 days, the higher up the chart a book will rise.

The Book Chart is a great way of spotting up and coming titles, which may be worth checking out and even finding space for on your bookshelf. If you want to delve deeper or are nuts about a particular type of reading matter, the Book Chart can also be filtered by genre and time span.


What’s the difference between the Book Chart and the Editor’s Desk?

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The Book Chart displays which books have been given the highest star rating over the last 7 days – it’s a live view of what’s popular right now. You can filter the genre, or view ratings over a different time period, if that’s what you want to see.

The Editor’s Desk, meanwhile has a very specific role of displaying the community’s favourites and these are the titles that are likely candidates for review by the HarperCollins editorial board. The rankings in this chart are determined by the total number of members who have recommended the book since it was first uploaded to the site – but books that have previously been read by HarperCollins are stripped out.

Once a month, the top five books on the Editor’s Desk will be delivered to the desks of an editorial board made up of international HarperCollins editors. 10,000 words will be read, and those authors will receive feedback delivered to their authonomy profile.


What does the medal next to a book title mean?

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These signify the books that have been at the top of the Editor’s Desk chart in a previous month.


What do the stars next to the book titles mean?

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The star ratings represent the blended average star rating given to a book by the community and are broad measure of the ‘quality’ of a book. Everyone’s sense of what each rating from one to a possible six stars will represent will differ, but to provide some calibration, here is our guidance on each rating:

6 stars – Excellent: Publish it. I’d buy it myself and recommend it to everyone!
5 stars – Very good: Should be on the bookstore shelves already!
4 stars – Good: Shows real promise.
3 stars – Average: Readable, but still needs work.
2 stars – Poor: Unlikely to attract readers in its current form.
1 star – Awful: Pulping is too good for it!


Why doesn’t a book’s rank correspond to the number of bookshelves it’s on?

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The number of bookshelves that a book is currently on is displayed on the book page. This is only an instantaneous measure of the book’s popularity. The Editor's Desk chart, on the other hand, is a measure of a book's popularity over the month. The current number of bookshelves doesn’t necessarily relate to how popular the book has been over a longer-time period, since people who recommended the book at one time may have removed it from their bookshelves in favour of another preferred title.

Finally, the contribution to a book’s overall rank provided by of each bookshelf recommendation will vary depending on the talent spotter ranking of the bookshelf owner: The support of higher ranked talent spotters counts for more than lower ranked ones.


How can I see who is backing a book?

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On the book page a count of the number of bookshelves, on which the book sits, is shown. Clicking on this label brings up a list of all the authonomy members who are backing that book at that time.


Why has my book suddenly been removed from everyone’s bookshelves?

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If you deliberately make your book private, it will be removed from any bookshelves and watchlists it happens to be on. Any books that drop below 10,000 words will also be made private. You’ll be warned if this is going to happen during the edit process – please be careful and don’t ignore these warnings or you’ll have to begin gaining support for your book all over again!

If you retire your profile, your books will also be made private, with the same effect.

Finally if you delete your book it will be removed from the site and obviously disappear from all bookshelves and watchlists.


Any tips for improving my book’s ranking?

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Firstly, and most obviously, make sure your script is as appealing and as well-written as possible. Concentrate on drawing your reader in, and keeping a well-structured narrative journey (this is as true for non-fiction as for fiction) The authonomy team believes there is no substitute for good writing!

Ensure your book is an all-round tempting offering. Make sure your short pitch and long pitch are as good as they possibly can be, because these are the first things a reader will see. Make sure you classify your book by the correct genres, and do remember to pick a good few tags that accurately represent the content of your work. An eye catching cover image is the icing on the cake!

The next step is to increase your visibility by being a good reader and a high-performing talent spotter. Fill your bookshelf with top titles; comment helpfully and insightfully on other books, and members will do the same for you

Attracting external readership can really boost your visibility on the site. So if you already have champions from outside the authonomy community – whether that’s family, friends, colleagues or visitors to your blog, facebook profile or other website, you might also encourage them to join the site and get involved. If they can prove their credentials to the community by building their talent spotter rank, then they'll be in a position to be noticed and in turn help you raise the profile of your book.

It’s worth knowing that each book profile page at authonomy has a URL (the unique locating address that appears in the address bar on your screen). You can create ‘hyperlinks’ by quoting this address on the other web pages and blogs that you participate in, and in doing so, direct an audience to your book.


What is 'Top Talent Spotters' all about?

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The ‘top talent spotters’ are the members of the authonomy community that managed to spot a popular book before it’s been placed on many bookshelves.

If a member has publicly recommended a book and that book then gains popularity on other member’s bookshelves, their talent spotting ranking will rise.


How do I become a talent spotter?

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Simply log in and start adding books to your bookshelf! If someone else recommends that same book by placing it on their bookshelf, your talent spotter ranking will improve.


How does authonomy calculate my talent-spotter rank?

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Every time you place a book on your bookshelf, you start to share in the success of that manuscript. As that book becomes more popular across the site, your reputation as a trend-spotter will rise accordingly, but should that book begin to fall, so too will your rank!

We know better than most, how difficult it can be to break a new book, so here at authonomy we reward members who are in it for the long run, who are early to spot a great book and will champion it until it reaches the very top. Conversely, if you back books that are already popular, you’ll find your reputation might not rise as quickly as you’d like.

Once you’ve removed a book from your shelf, you won’t continue to gain in reputation from its further success – but that’s alright, because you’ll have found something new and exciting to champion in its place. Right?


What do the numbers next to my profile mean?

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This refers to your talent spotter rank over the last 30 days – if other people like and subsequently back the books on your bookshelf, your reputation as a talent spotter will rise. The number in the brackets represents how much your reputation has risen or fallen since this time last week.


Will I be rewarded for being a top talent spotter?

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Yes, your backing becomes more important the higher your talent spotter ranking becomes. Therefore the better your ranking as a talent spotter, the more likely your recommendations are to impact the Editor’s Desk chart. It will also increase your visibility on the site and encourage people to take more notice of your own submissions.


Isn’t this just a popularity contest, rather than a true judge of quality?

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Just like the books market at large, there may be a few flutters and fads at authonomy. And in this day and age, there’s no denying you need to think about actively promoting your book to readers by networking if you want to gather a healthy army of support.

However, we believe quality of writing and book construction will be the ultimate test to sustained support and success on the site. When your book is assessed by the editorial board or by any visiting agent or publisher, quality of work is by far the most important consideration


Is it possible to cheat?

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We’ve done everything in our power to prevent cheating and are always re-assessing how we might be able to do this better. However, if a member is desperate to cheat they will probably find a way. Cheating essentially goes against what authonomy stands for and it might be good to remember that if your book doesn’t have the quality to back up it’s ranking, it won’t get published, whether it lands on an editor’s desk or not.


Is there a genre bias here?

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It’s true that the editorial board are currently committed to reading the most recommended books on the site, and some genres are more likely to find mass following than others. However, we developed the Book Chart’s Sort by Genre mechanism for a reason – and that’s to allow talent scouts and readers to focus on some interesting, niche areas in which to find their gems.


Who has a place on the HarperCollins Editorial Board?

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The Editorial Board is made up of a selection of international HarperCollins editors. We do our best to deliver books selected for review to an editor working on a relevant list.


Is my book eligible for re-assessment by the Editorial Board now I’ve improved it so much?

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An important purpose of authonomy is to help writers improve their work and grow in confidence. But in fairness to other new writers at the site, the Editorial Board will only provide reviews of books it hasn’t already assessed. Rest assured, if your all-improved book is keeping a consistently high rank in the Book Chart you can be sure that it is doing well and gaining maximum visibility for anyone scouting the site for talent.

If you feel your book has improved so much it is unrecognizable, it might be worth considering deleting it and re-uploading to authonomy as a new book – although bear in mind that with this fresh start, you will also have to start again with getting it on to members’ bookshelves and establishing its rank.


Can I quote the HarperCollins review on my book/blog/submissions letters etc?

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Of course. You can use your hard-earned review as you see fit (providing you do not knowingly seek to misrepresent the words of the editor.) We’d love it if you provided attribution for the review through a link to the authonomy website where possible.


community


I’m overwhelmed. How can I keep track of what’s going on on-site? / What is ‘my news’?

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The easiest way to keep track of activity on the site, which is most relevant to you, is through the ‘my news’ feature on your profile page. This is your personal information feed. If anyone comments on your books or adds them to their bookshelf, you’ll get a notification here. If someone has sent you a message or a friend request it will appear here too.

You’ll also find site-wide messages and announcements about activities on the site, new features and updates sent from the authonomy administrators, appear on your news feed, so keep your eye on it.


What is the point of friends on authonomy?

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By making connecting with other users on authonomy as a friend (just send them a friend request) you have a much easier way of keep track of those users. A list of your friends appears on your profile page making it simple to browse their profiles. Some of your friends’ activities on the site are reported in your news feed, so you’ll be amongst the first to get the inside track on their new book finds. And if you’re a private type, it is possible to set your profile preferences so that only your friends can send you messages.


Are messages between users on authonomy private?

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No. All messages sent from one user to another on the site are public and can be read by anyone visiting the authonomy. You have been warned!


How can I send a private message to someone on authonomy?

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This is not possible on the site.


I’m getting unwanted spam messages. How can I make them stop?

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We’re all in favour of self-promotion at authonomy, but if you feel that the fine line between legitimate marketing and out-right spamming has been crossed, it is possible to set your profile preferences so that only your friends can send you messages.


uploading your book


Basics




What kind of manuscripts do you accept?

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All original, non-illustrated manuscripts, both fiction and non-fiction, are eligible for the site.


What kind of manuscripts don’t you accept?

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You can not currently upload:

- Anything you didn’t write yourself.

- Fan fiction – manuscripts that include characters or locations from copyrighted work

- Manuscripts containing images, diagrams or illustrations.

Check out our Terms and Conditions for more detailed information.


Can I upload more than one book?

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Yes, you can upload as many of your works as you wish under your authonomy account. They will all be listed on your profile page.


I would like my new book to appear at the top of my list of books on my profile. How can I reorder my books?

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Your books are listed on your profile page in the order they were uploaded/edited, with the most recent at the top. If you wish to promote a different title to the top, simply run through the edit process on that book, without making any changes.


How much of my book should I upload?

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You must make a minimum of 10,000 words available online, but we encourage you to upload as much as possible – even the entire book. No-one can support or honestly recommend a book if they can’t read a good amount of it first!


Why do you need to display so much of my work?

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Two reasons.

Firstly, we want to attract serious writers to authonomy (who have complete or near complete manuscripts), who in turn will attract keen, enthusiastic readers to the site. The ten thousand word minimum ensures this.

Secondly, we firmly believe that writers should be judged on the quality of the work they produce, not on their ability to pitch, market or publicise themselves. Personal recommendations are by far the most effective way of building support for a book, and writers on authonomy stand to gain the support of a community of readers who are really motivated to spread the word about the best new writing. But they can’t help you unless you’re prepared to show them what you’ve got!


I write poetry/short stories/children’s novels etc. that are shorter than 10,000 words. Can you make an exception on the word limit?

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Sorry, but the minimum 10,000 word limit applies to all submissions. If your form of writing is much shorter than this you might want to consider creating a collection or anthology that does fulfil the word count criteria and also showcases more of your work, so readers can get a more complete picture of the quality of your work.


I’ve got images / diagrams / illustrations. Is this a problem?

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We are not currently accepting illustrated manuscripts – text only please! You’ll need to remove the images before you upload your files. Check back soon for more information on this.


What does it cost?

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It costs nothing to showcase your book on authonomy – the service is entirely free.


Who will be able to read my book?

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Once you make your book public, anyone visiting the authonomy site will be able to view it. Only registered members will be able to rate or comment on your book or back it on their bookshelf.


Will HarperCollins be reading my work?

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Once a month we’ll be pulling out the top five books from the Editor’s Desk Chart, and passing them on to our Editorial Board. HC editors will read from the first 10,000 words of each manuscript, and will feed back their comments to the appropriate authors, who will be able to decide whether or not to make these comments available to the community at large.


Will HarperCollins be publishing books from authonomy?

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We set up authonomy in the hope of finding new authors for our various publishing lists. We’ve already successfully published a number of books, across a range of genres, that were found on authonomy, some of which have gone on to become bestsellers and launched new writing careers.

We continue to be on the look out for promising books – as will other publishing houses and agents, who have also acquiring new authors from the site.

But we only buy books we really believe in – as such, we’ll never guarantee to publish anything submitted to us. In this way, you can be sure that any books picked off authonomy will have been chosen because we really love them.


What rights do I give up by submitting to authonomy?

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None. You will have to grant us a very specific licence to display the book on the authonomy site, but that’s it. We won’t ask for a ‘first option’ to publish or take away any of your rights of ownership, and you can continue to submit to publishers and agents by other methods.


Will you keep my manuscript?

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HarperCollins doesn’t create duplicate copies of your work – once you take your manuscript down from authonomy it will leave our system too.


How do I encourage visitors to read my book?

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Firstly, make sure you complete the upload process correctly. Make sure your short pitch and long pitch are as good as they possibly can be, because these are the first things a reader will see. Make sure you classify your book by the correct genres, and do remember to pick a good few tags that accurately represent the content of your work.

Secondly, increase your visibility by being a good reader. Fill your bookshelf with top titles; comment helpfully and insightfully on other books, and members will do the same for you.

Thirdly, use the forum. Introduce yourself to active members, and use the Shameless Plugs message board to lure people to your work. But don’t overdo the onsite plugging or people may become irritated.

And if you already have support from outside the authonomy community – whether that’s friends and family, or visitors to your blog or other website, you might also encourage them to join the site and help support your book and any others you recommend.


Can I take my book down?

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You’re free to take your book down from authonomy whenever you choose – click the appropriate ‘delete book’ button next to your book’s listing on your profile page. But be careful – you can’t recover your book once you’ve deleted it.


I’m self published – can I post on authonomy?

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Absolutely. Setting up a profile on authonomy can be a really effective way of bringing your self published book to the attention of readers and publishers around the world. You can even link to your own sales site by adding the website address to your profile page.


I’m already contracted to a publisher – can I still post my book on authonomy?

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Quite possibly – but you’ll need to check with your publisher first.


Can’t I just email/post my manuscript to you instead of uploading it here?

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No. We have built authonomy to connect authors, readers and publishing professionals and allow them to use the various site tools to reveal the very best manuscripts.
We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts directly and the authonomy team do not acquire books themselves.



Upload Process


What’s my author name?

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The username you use around the site has to be unique, but having a separate author name means you can associate any name you want with your book. This might be your real name, or it might be a pen name – it’s entirely up to you.


What’s a short pitch?

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Your short pitch is a sentence or strap line (no more than 25 words) that will represent your book when it shows up in lists and search results around the site. Make sure it reflects the content and themes of your book – and that it makes readers desperate to find out more.


What should I put in my pitch?

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Your pitch is your chance to sell the book to readers – think of it as the blurb on the back of the book. You’ve only 200 words to make your book sound as interesting and compelling as you can, so don’t try to sum up the whole plot. Instead, set the scene for your reader – and convince them that your book is worth their time.


What is "Pitch me"?

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"Pitch me" are randomly selected pitches from uploaded books.


How do I get my book to appear on "Pitch me"

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Sadly you can’t nominate your book to be selected for "Pitch me" – they are picked at random and change every time the page is refreshed.


How do I upload a cover image?

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authonomy accepts most image formats. Simply browse for your image and click upload. Your image will be shrunk and cropped to 80 x 120 pixels

Please note that any cover image you upload will need to be approved by our moderators before it appears around the site. If you upload your image on a working day (Monday – Friday), you can expect it to be approved within 24 hours, if it was uploaded on a weekend however, it may take longer.

Do I have to have a cover image?

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Yes, you need to have some kind of image to represent your book on the site. If you don’t have a specific cover, you might want to upload any interesting or relevant image to grab the community’s attention - or you can pick from the template images we’ve provided. You can change your book’s cover at any time.


I’ve uploaded a cover image - why can’t see it on the site?

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We monitor all the images that are uploaded to the site, both cover images and avatars – if your image hasn’t appeared on your book it’s probably because a moderator hasn’t yet approved it. Please be patient, it will appear shortly (unless of course it’s deemed inappropriate in which case you’ll be notified). Please refer to the Terms and Conditions for a guideline on what’s acceptable.


How long does it take for book covers/ avatar images to be approved?

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If you upload your image on a working day (Monday – Friday), you can expect for it to be approved within 24 hours, if it was uploaded on a weekend however, it may take longer.


My book fits into more than one genre!

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Not all books fit neatly into genres – indeed sometimes the best ones don’t fit any genre at all! You can pick up to four genres from our lists to classify your book, and you can change your classification at any time. And remember, any other keywords you think are relevant to your book can be added as ‘tags’.


What’s this classification business?

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Every writer is asked to classify the content of their book, to ensure all readers have fair warning of any violent or other potentially offensive material. Writers need to pick between three different classifications:

Universal – this book is suitable for all

Moderate – this book contains scenes that would not be suitable reading for children

Over 18 – this book contains scenes that would not be suitable for readers under the age of 18.


What’s a tag?

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Tags are keywords that describe the content of your book. Tags might describe a genre (Crime, Non-Fiction) or a subject (cats, Ancient Rome) or even an emotion (scary, happy, reflective etc).

Tags make it easier for readers to find exactly the kind of book they’re looking for. You can add as many tags as you like to your book, separating each one with a comma.


How do I upload my text?

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authonomy accepts Word documents (‘.doc’ and ‘.docx’ files) and also accepts files in rich text format (‘.rtf’ files). But authonomy doesn’t support uploads of entire books – it requires you to build your book one chapter at a time.

So to get the most from authonomy, you’ll need to split your manuscript up into chunks, each saved as a separate file. If your book has chapters, one chapter per file would be ideal. DON’T upload your entire book in one file, and DON’T include any chapter headings in your text – you can add these in later. Please also make sure your documents aren’t open on your desktop when you try to upload them to authonomy.

Simply browse for your file when prompted, add in the appropriate chapter heading (either a chapter title, or simply ‘Chapter One’ etc) and start building your book. You can upload several chapters at once using our bulk upload system.


My book doesn’t have chapters – do I still need to split it up?

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Regardless of whether your book is written in parts, chapters or with no breaks at all, you will still need to split it into sections of one type or another for uploading and reading on the site.

By clearly defining individual sections you'll be able to maintain your manuscript more easily on the site - and in turn your work will be more accessible for the authonomy community to discover, read and promote.


I have a prologue / epilogue / introduction / acknowledgements etc. – how do I handle that?

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We ask you to upload your book in chapters – please treat each section as a different chapter. DON’T include any chapter headings in your text – you can add these in later.


I’m seeing strange line breaks in my uploaded text – what’s happened?

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When you upload your work onto authonomy it reflows the text for the screen this might not match how you’ve chosen to format your original document.

Your word processor probably has a mode to show extra formatting on your document. In Microsoft Word for example look for this symbol ¶ in your toolbar or go to View> Show Paragraph Marks to identify where you’ve put in unnecessary returns, line breaks or spaces


The paragraph indentation is wrong/ has been lost – what’s happened?

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If you want to indent your work you must hard tab (use the tab key on your keyboard), this is the only form of indentation authonomy recognises. If for example your document has been auto-formatted on Microsoft Word, it will be ignored by authonomy


Which font should I use?

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Avoid using obscure and exotic fonts - use a font that’s simple, easy to read and well supported across all browsers, if you want a sans-serif font Helvetica and Arial work well, for serif Times New Roman.


Why does my book have ‘Private’ written beneath it?

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Your book is private, which means it is not visible to visitors of the site.

Make sure your book is over 10,000 words long. If it isn’t it will automatically remain private. If your book is over 10,000 words in length and you want to make it visible, click on the edit book link and, when prompted, select the option to make the book public.


Why does my book have ‘Public’ written beneath it?

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This means it’s visible to everyone who visits authonomy. Change it to ‘Private’ if this was not your intention.


Why can’t I make my book public?

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You must upload at least 10,000 words before your book can be publicly viewed on authonomy. If you upload less than this, your book will not be visible to anyone other than yourself until you’ve uploaded sufficient text to reach the minimum word count.


My book’s live – can I still change it?

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Of course. Just find the ‘edit book’ button on you page on your profile page or on your book’s page, and take it from there.


Who can comment on my book?

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Any registered member can add a comment on your book’s pages.


Who can star rate my book?

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Any registered member can submit a star rating for your book.


What is a Cherry Pick?

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If an author takes the time to upload their book to authonomy, they’ll also want some kind of control over the comments that appear beneath it. We don’t believe writers should be able to delete comments – all authors should be prepared to receive fair and frank feedback on their work – but by using the ‘cherry pick’ function authors can select which comments appear most prominently.

By clicking the cherry icon to the right hand side of each comment, authors can select up to five messages to appear directly under their book or text. Think of these like the supportive quotes printed on the front or back of published books – they should reflect the most supportive feedback received.

Authors can deselect their cherry picked comments by clicking again on the appropriate cherry icon.

copyright and concerns


Does posting work on authonomy affect my copyright?

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No. In the UK, and in many other countries, you own copyright of your work as soon as it’s created (whether written down or saved to a file).

Publishing on a blog; broadcasting a reading on internet radio; handing out free printed copies on street corners – none of this invalidates your right to be recognised as the author of your work, or allows anyone to use that work without your permission.

Authors posting to authonomy grant us a very specific licence to display the book on the authonomy site, but they don’t give us anything else – and they’re free to remove their book at any time.


Does posting work on authonomy affect the value of my manuscript?

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We really see no particular reason why a manuscript that’s been showcased online should lose any of its value to an interested publisher.

Indeed, it’s central to the authonomy concept that a writer with a proven readership is often more valuable to a publisher, not less. Book companies now regularly snap up volumes from high profile bloggers and promising self-publishers with existing readerships. It’s a good thing to prove that you’ve the enthusiasm and the skills to help make your project a success.


Can people steal my work from the authonomy site?

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We’ve taken some small practical steps to make authors feel more secure: we’ve disabled the ability to ‘cut’ and ‘copy’ on the pages on which your work will be displayed, and we don’t offer an option to download the text. But if someone really wants to pass off your efforts as their own they’ll probably find a way.

It’s immensely unlikely that someone will choose to steal your work; unpublished authors who’ve already invested time and effort into creating their own careful manuscripts are unlikely to want to steal yours, and publishers themselves certainly aren’t in the business of stealing your work – they’ve got plenty of writers of their own.

Some writers are very relaxed about the actual likelihood and impact of plagiarism – others more anxious. As for us, here at authonomy, we believe that your talent is better displayed than kept hidden – and that the chances of good things happening are more likely the more hands your manuscript passes through, and the more people you enlist in your support.


Why won’t HarperCollins read all the manuscripts itself, instead of enlisting internet users to help them?

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HarperCollins, like all publishers, is inundated with new manuscripts, and cannot hope to consider them all fairly. We don’t feel that our current, closed ‘slush pile’ system is fair to authors themselves – nor do we believe it is giving us the best chance of finding the brightest new talent. authonomy is a genuine attempt to find a better way to determine the books on our shelves – and it hands selective power to the readers who will ultimately be buying them.

Can you help me with a legal query?

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No, unfortunately we can’t assist individuals on case-by-case basis.