Slush for the Rest of Us

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Did you know about Authonomy.com? It’s a book-based social network founded in 2008 by HarperCollins. It’s essentially a self-selecting slush-pile, where users upload their manuscripts and then rate each others. Then HarperCollins editors read the top five manuscripts each month.

Quite frankly, this blogger didn’t know about it, and found out by reading an article in today’s Wall Street Journal about “the death of the slush pile,” which, in fact, in the small press and literary world, is far from dead, but who cares about that, right?

Anyway, here’s what WSJ has to say about the site:

About 10,000 manuscripts have been loaded so far and HarperCollins has bought four.

The first, “The Reaper,” came out in July and sold moderately well. Last November, the publisher released another Authonomy offering, a young adult book called “Fairytale of New York,” which has sold over 100,000 copies and is a best seller in Britain. HarperCollins also launched a similar platform for teen writers called “InkPop.”

In the same vein, there’s also Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award, where writers upload their stuff and get it reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviewers. A winner is picked and published by Penguin. Every year, a vigorous community forms on the contestant message boards.

Do what do you think of this kind of thing? A democratization of an unfair system? Or was slush already as fair as it could be?