Jeff Seymour - Author of Fantasy, Literary Fiction, & c.: The Grand Experiment: Uploading on Authonomy

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Grand Experiment: Uploading on Authonomy

So this week I finally crossed the 10,000 word threshold and was able to start putting chapters of Soulwoven up on Authonomy. My thoughts below:

The website has a clean, slick, step-by-step interface for uploading stories. First, you input a title, your pen name, a 25-word pitch, and a 200-word pitch, each of which is compulsory. Next, you have the choice of either uploading your own cover image or choosing from a range of stock Authonomy covers. I suppose that's a nice enough feature, but really, I can't see a book being successful without a unique cover, and I think Authonomy ought to at least make mention of that during their upload process. Personalized covers must also wait for Authonomy approval before they will be shown.

Once you choose a cover, you get to fill in some metadata. You can select up to four genres in which to classify your book, but there aren't a whole lot of choices. I ended up going with Fantasy, Young Adult, and Fiction for Soulwoven. You can also denote your story's age appropriateness as either Universal, Moderate (which means it has some scenes unsuited for children), or Over 18. I chose Moderate.

Like Wattpad, Authonomy allows uploaders to select tags. Unlike Wattpad, the site offers a tag cloud (and mentions it in its FAQ), though it takes some digging to find it. I ended up choosing "fantasy, magic, dragons, teens, serious, intense, love, romance, young adult, relationships, family, brothers, action, adventure," based in part on my own thoughts and in large part on popular cloud terms that fit my story.

After your metadata is in, you can upload your work itself. You have to upload each individual chapter as a separate document (.doc, .docx., or .rtf), and you need to scrub it of chapter titles or headings, because Authonomy puts those in itself. The conversion process it uses from .doc and .docx, unfortunately, is less than perfect. My chapters ended up with a lot of deleted paragraph tabs, and I hate the way its reader adds blank lines between paragraphs. It took significant, time-consuming tweaking in order to get the formatting to look decent, though the site's FAQs were able to help. And going back in to re-upload chapters or add chapters is needlessly time consuming, because you have to re-approve all your previous steps (title through metadata) before you can return to the "upload a chapter" page.

On a side note, I uploaded in several steps, and I was pleased to notice that Authonomy saves your book even if you don't finish uploading it all at once (I assume it saves when you click "Next" as you progress through the steps, but I didn't check that specifically).

Overall, I'd say Authonomy has a fine, very workable uploading system. It's a bit of a pain to have to wait for your cover image to be approved, and the monkeying around with formatting it required to get my book looking right was a pain, but it could have been much worse.

It took my cover several days to get approved, but now that it has been, and I'm over the 10,000 word mark, Soulwoven is up on Authonomy. We'll see how things go from here! In the meantime, you can keep reading on Wattpad as well. As of this posting, Chapters 1-5 of Soulwoven have 221 reads and 6 votes on the site, which puts my votes-to-reads ratio much higher than some of the most popular books on the site.  I'm pretty happy about that, and we'll see how things progress going forward.

I'll be on vacation next week, but when I get back I'll do a quick roundup of how things have gone on Wattpad and Authonomy so far, and I'm scheduling a couple of craft blog posts to go up while I'm absent.

Happy reading!

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