The Inside Track

So here’s an idea, which I didn’t know was legit, though I’d thought of it before.

There’s a catch, of course, which is that you’d have to set up a new profile on a new site, but it can be as bare-bones as you like, and the upside is you can read for free a whole bunch of new books (or fragments of books) that haven’t been published yet.

You know what I’m talking about. Authonomy. As you know, if you’ve been paying attention over here, Authonomy is a Harper-Collins site where people can read and rate each other’s books, in hopes that Harper-Collins will take a shine to their own work and maybe cut a publishing deal. I’ve long thought I’d like to be published by Harper-Collins, so while I haven’t given up soliciting help from literary agents and such, given the difficult-to-classify nature of Favored One, I’m starting to think that maybe getting the book noticed via an alternative route like Authonomy is the way to go.

Here’s where you come in.

Apparently you don’t have to post a book on Authonomy yourself to read and rate and even back books there. One woman (who does have a book on there, which I have yet to read because I have quite a few on my “watch list” already) backed my book and has requested others of her friends to back it, too. Friends who are on the site solely for reading and backing purposes, evidently. They aren’t posting chapters of their own. When I asked her about this, she said, “I noticed the people on the top have half or more of their backers as people who don’t have books [posted on the site]. I think Authonomy wants to see how many connections you have also, as in real life their [sic] are many excellent books, but you have to be able to help get yours out there.”

painting by Jennwith2ns 2006

Revelation 12–and placeholding book cover.

So–can we show them that I have connexions? Those would be you. About half of Favored One is posted on Authonomy right now, and I doubt I’ll put any more up, though it’s finished. You can read it here, and if you’re willing to sign onto the site and back it and comment on it, I’d be grateful. If I can ever figure out how to launch a MailChimp newsletter, I’ll keep you updated on the status of my book, as well as probably recommending other ones you might want to check out.

In the meantime, if you need someone else’s word for it that the book is worth a read, here is what some of the other writers on Authonomy are saying. You’ll find that there’s a pretty good cross-section of readers who like it–both Christians and skeptics, which is just about how I want it:

Jennifer, as a completely non- if not downright irreligious person, I’ve been reading (and enjoying) your book at face value. I’m reading it as a fantasy, but one in which characterisation is more important than the fantasy element. The story of a girl in Roman Judea is very appealing, as is Miryam herself. Joseph sounds like a nice bloke, but I suppose he would have had to be, given the circumstances. I’m looking forward to seeing how he takes the big news. The fact that although I know what happens, I’m hoping for Miryam’s sake that it doesn’t, is a mark of how successful you have been in creating her character.
I very much enjoy your use of authentic names, it makes the whole story sound so much more authentic than if you had used the anglicised versions.
What we sceptics tend to overlook I suppose is the complete and utter faith of early people. While we would all jump to Shlomit’s conclusion and never deviate from it, I can see that in the context of your story, the fantastical, if it has a heavenly source could be believed as easily as a rape is to us today.
Your writing is extremely good. You write easily, and clearly without feeling the need to sound like the King James’ Bible, yet your characters are completely convincing. Miryam is a girl in a context where childhood has an abrupt end, and her experience cannot be compared with that of a young adolescent today. I’m glad you don’t make her a squealing teenager!
Very high stars from me, I can see this book doing extremely well on Authonomy.  –Ja
ne, The Dark Citadel

This is really very good.
It is incredibly difficult to walk the line between dull and saccharin, when writing about faith, but you have danced it. I was spell-bound.  –Lindsay, A Priest’s Tale

A bold and intriguing retelling of the Birth of Christ, offering a fuller and more humanistic perspective…I have written many commentaries on books on this site and one of the most common drawbacks are the pitches, even for books that turn out to be surprisingly well written. On that score, I must say that your pitch is impressive and effective and passes for a model for aspiring writers. It goes to the heart of your story and draws the reader in. You are a gifted writer and you go about your story with the confidence and swagger of one born to write.  –David, The Evolution of Eternity

Have just read the first two chapters and no further because this isn’t something i would choose to read, however, it is very well written. The opening section in particular is quite beautifully done, it really is. To be honest, i like dark gritty fiction, so this type of thing would normally be a turn-off, but the opening was so impressive that i was able to read on. I’m afraid i dont have the requisite skills to give a real critique of this genre, but i can see it doing very well on here, and hopefull further afield too, and have given it high stars.  –Nathan, The World Is (Not) a Cold, Dead Place

Oh. And Natasha, reading it early on, said this:

Jenn, I’m sorry it’s taken a little while for me to get around to reading this. I agree with the comments below that you have a really easy, natural voice that quiets any fears or uncertainties someone unused to your genre(s!) may have. Your opening scene is lovely and it’s got me thinking about all the issues you’ve raised on your blog about how to market a book like this? I think it’d be a shame to limit your readership by seeking out a specifically Christian publishing agency, but honestly I’m not sure I (heathen that I am) would pick up a book about this subject without already being interested in the writer. Your writing is obviously strong enough to maintain your reader’s interest from the first few paragraphs, so the question is just how to get readers to pick you off the shelf…  –Natasha; Sixteen, Sixty-One

Maybe proof of a Readership will help.


6 thoughts on “The Inside Track

  1. Oh yay, I got quoted! When I’m a big deal author that will happen all the time, right?

    This is a great idea, Jenn, but the only thing I’d say is that you should ask your friends to put photos up when they register. I got a few friends and family to do this when I first joined Authonomy and then got attacked in the forums for being backed only by “puppets” (people with no profile image). I guess it is a problem because there’s no way of telling if the author is just creating multiple profiles themselves, but it did seem rather harsh given the guidelines for using the site tell you to get your mates to back you. Just a heads up, anyway.

    • Ah–good call. Well, so far only one has actually made a profile on the post that I’m aware of, and he did post a photo, so . . . so far so good. But I’ll keep on that if it becomes necessary. Thanks for the heads up.

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