Ansley Asher

writing thoughts

Archive for Authonomy

Is the Slushpile on Its Way Out?

From Jean Hannah Edelstein’s blog at The Guardian comes a post which outlines HarperCollins’ possible new plan to eliminate their slushpile. They’re betaing a website called Authonomy where writers can submit up to 10,000 words of their unsolicited submissions to be judged by peers. The assumption then is that, should enough people like your work, an editor at HarperCollins will look at it, according to SMP:

“HarperCollins say that Authonomy will be entirely democratic, and allow anyone to participate; either as an author, or as a reader.  They also guarantee that the most popular manuscripts (as voted by the Authonomy community) will be considered for publication.  HarperCollins also anticipates industry professionals looking for new talent to make up a ‘fair chunk’ of the readers.”

I want to be optimistic about this, but honestly it seems like a way to get writers to do HarperCollins’ work–i.e, going through the slushpile–for free. Maybe they look at it as a way for new authors to review each other’s work in order to improve, but do they really believe industry professions will join? I can’t imagine agents and editors signing up to read MORE raw submissions than their own slushpiles offer.