Harper Collins creates ‘talent network’ with social site Authonomy

Not sure how sites like ABCtales will take this, but publisher Harper Collins UK is launching a community website for budding authors called Authonomy.

The new social networking site launches in 2008 and aims to create a hot bed of new talent with popular authors getting their work considered for publication.

Internal user recommendations and votes will play a role in recognising new talent, but we’re assuming web traffic to author profiles will also be thrown into the mix.

Victoria Barnsley chief executive of HarperCollins told Brand Republic that the site will help authors get support and feedback from a large audience – in addition to the usual praise from family, book group or wide circle of friends.

Nice idea this. But we’ll leave you with four questions:

1) How will new authors take to the platform? Sure, there’ll be an initial flurry of profile creations and manuscript uploads, but how will authors react when the big bad multinational publisher only picks the top one per cent of all manuscripts uploaded (if that)?

2) How’s this going to make money? Charging an admission / subscription fee would be like a one of those dodgy modelling agencies which charges wannabees a fee to get on their books, only to never, ever get an assignment. No, ads are the way forward, especially personalised ads. So can we expect to see an ad for an Andy McNobb novel whenever we visit a profile which mentions ‘war’, ‘soldier’ or ‘pot boiler’?

3) How soon will it be before music publishers or film distributors set up something similar (if not already?). Once partnerships between publishers and existing social networks like MySpace take off, how long will it before they set up their own social network or ‘talent’ network? There’s huge potential for long tail social networks, but music, literature and film are obvious no brainers when it comes to uploading media to the web.

4) What’s happening with the ‘1999.com’ look Harper Collins UK website? Didn’t the publisher appoint a web agency to revamp it? Like, last year?