• strict warning: Declaration of FeedsImporter::copy() should be compatible with FeedsConfigurable::copy(FeedsConfigurable $configurable) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/includes/FeedsImporter.inc on line 94.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsNodeProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsNodeProcessor.inc on line 319.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsNodeProcessor::setTargetElement() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::setTargetElement(&$target_item, $target_element, $value) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsNodeProcessor.inc on line 319.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsFeedNodeProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsFeedNodeProcessor.inc on line 227.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsFeedNodeProcessor::setTargetElement() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::setTargetElement(&$target_item, $target_element, $value) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsFeedNodeProcessor.inc on line 227.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsUserProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsUserProcessor.inc on line 195.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • You must include at least one positive keyword with 3 characters or more.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display.inc on line 1877.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display_block::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin_display::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display_block.inc on line 193.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_field.inc on line 641.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 82.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 585.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 585.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 609.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 128.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 25.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of content_handler_field::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/cck/includes/views/handlers/content_handler_field.inc on line 208.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 745.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 770.

How to Fail on the Internet Without Really Trying: AuthorForSale.com

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

An alert reader sent me this link: AuthorForSale.com.

Gosh, I thought. Are authors so desperate these days that they're selling their favors online? Could it be a patronage thing--authors in search of sugar daddies to finance their careers? Or perhaps you can buy an author to walk your dog or clean your house. Heaven knows they probably aren't cleaning their own, what with deadlines and all.

As you have no doubt guessed, AuthorForSale is none of those things. It's yet another brand new iteration of an old idea: the manuscript display website. These websites, which have been around in various forms since the late 1990's, promise to match writers with agents and publishers, enabling all parties to bypass the slush pile. AuthorForSale describes the process (somewhat opaquely) thus:

Simply put, the author of an unpublished proposal, creative idea or manuscript, creates a Showcase that is tightly profiled in line with a matrix guideline intended to package their offering in a manner likely to suit a prospective publisher's strategic requirements in discovering a business interest in the intellectual property for sale.How does it work? I can't resist another quote:

Upon gaining subscribed, validated membership access to the site, both the Author & Publisher/Agent, will be able to view a Genre Matrix as detailed below, under which there are listed categories, subject-matter fields, or word length options etc intended to add refinement to tightly catalogue and code the author's work or creative intention, as will ultimately be featured in their unique Author's Showcase.

The Author's Showcase displays a generic, yet comprehensive Proposal Template that will identify either a proposed literary project, a work-in-progress being undertaken or indicate a completed manuscript formatted and edited to go. And since both parties will be following the same cataloguing route path in refining their search or profiling interests, they'll eventually meet at the most tightly aligned junction: an author's talent and intellectual property showcased on display in a precise format.What this boils down to is that member authors create a profile of their work, including such basic descriptive categories as genre, target audience, and word count. Publishers and agents can search the resulting database, narrowing or widening their search according to their needs and interests. If they're interested in a property, they can contact the author directly.

As I mentioned above, manuscript display websites have been around since the last century. The early ones were similar to AuthorForSale: categorized, searchable databases of literary properties. The more recent ones add more features: a ranking system, a social media component, peer critiques. But have they ever provided authors with a true alternative route to publication? No. There have been some isolated success stories, but for the most part, display sites merely shift the location of the slush pile, and agents and editors haven't yet manifested a preference for display sites over their own overflowing inboxes.

So AuthorForSale, which bills itself as "The original web-based showcase for authors where publishers find the next Best Seller," offers a service that's neither very original, nor very serviceable. These reasons alone would probably ensure its eventual demise. In its current form, however, it won't need to look to outside factors. Most display websites/online slush piles are free, or keep fees under $100. If there are fees, they're charged to writers, not to the publishing professionals who participate. AuthorForSale dares to be different. For a year's membership, authors must hand over US$225 (act fast, and you'll  get a 25% discount). Publishers and agents must pay...wait for it...US$5,600.

Um, yeah. Good luck with that. Authors, unfortunately, can easily be persuaded to part with their money, but somehow I don't think that publishers and agents will be lining up to pay thousands of dollars for access to what they're already drowning in for free.

AuthorForSale is the brainchild of Australian author and businessman Allen H. Munro, whose publishing credits include publishing service Trafford and fee-charging publisher Morgan James. I see nothing to suggest that AuthorForSale is ill-intentioned--but it is woefully ill-conceived.

"Let us swear while we may, for in Heaven it will not be allowed."
Mark Twain

Random picks

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  • I live in the basement underneath a house where everything has changed. Bugs crawl in through the open window, and on the carpet. Once I found a slug making its way up the wall; I put him in a cup and set him free in the backyard where the dogs do their business.
  • I wanted to read a book that went into theories of total war as part of the preparation for reading best-sellers from the World War II era, and this is the one that I ended up choosing--rather haphazardly. As such, it was not perhaps as theoretical as I was hoping. Marwick uses his edited collection to try to prove points that he's made in other books of his own: that total war doesn't change social structures but rather speeds up or intensifies changes in social structures that are already in process. For the most part, each of the essays help to support Marwick's point in some manner.None...
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Fast fact about writing

Writers not writing for a living often find enjoyment and small payouts from Web sites seeking material to raise their sites higher in the search engine rankings. Although this is a legitimate practice, the writing being published on the Web can often be less than professional. This lack of professionalism distorts the line between qualified and amateur writers. Writing standards are often not the highest priority as Web sites seek to drive traffic to gain advertising exposure. It seems as if readers are not as concerned about the writing quality, as long as they find a relevant account on a particular topic.