If you’ve crafted your inspiring, sometimes hilarious, sometimes heart rendering, memoir of weeks, months or years spent travelling the continents of the world then it’s definitely time to design a cover for it, get it out there and take a stab at getting published. Having a travel book published is the holy-grail for most travel writers and HarperCollins want to ease the way for new talent to find their stage.

So rather than pinning all of your hopes on an agent or sending your pride and joy to a disappointing end – swallowed up by the ‘slush pile’ of manuscripts, at best to be read far too quickly by an over-stretched editor – HarperCollins have created something new for the publishing world: a still beta stage website, pitching ground and peer-appraisal platform called authonomy.com

Victoria Barnsley, Chief Executive and Publisher, HarperCollins said,
“At HarperCollins, we are always looking for new talent and this is another way for us to find it. All our digital initiatives are aimed at one goal – expanding our talent pool and getting more great content out there for the reading public. authonomy.com can only help us achieve that goal.”

This excites me. Your uploaded travel book or books will be sitting on the doorstep of one the world’s largest publishers. Your work is also ripe for discovery by talent scouting agents, not to mention other publishing houses that may dip into the site from time to time spotting the next best thing for their list before HarperCollins themselves get to it.

In layman’s terms, your work sits on the site to be read by fellow writers and readers. It will be commented upon, appraised and criticised. If readers love your book they can place it on their ‘Bookshelf. The more bookshelves that you find your work on, the higher your ranking as the next best thing will be. If you make the top five at the end of the month, 10, 000 words of your book is guaranteed to make it to the head to the Editor’s Desk. You could shine out as the next Dave Gorman or Bill Bryson, and be offered a book deal with HarperCollins.

It’s worth knowing that each book profile page at authonomy has a URL. So you can create ‘hyperlinks’ by quoting this address on the other web pages and blogs that you participate in, and in doing so, direct an audience to your book.

Read the terms and conditions and make up your own mind. Upload your work with a hefty pinch of honesty. You’ll be head to head with hundreds of great writers and, yes, travel writing as a genre is less likely to reach the top ten slots on authonomy.com than say, general fiction. That said, in my opinion there’s little to lose and if your peers deem your writing good enough to be published commercially, there’s lots to gain. If nothing more, this new site is another reason for us travel writers – self-published and aspiring – to lock ourselves away and write the travel books that we have in us.

Let me know if you decide to give it a go and keep everyone posted on how you get on.

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