Those who know me well know that I prefer politeness to political correctness, so my personal reference to Columbus Day as Discoverer’s Day is not (I repeat, not) (I tell you three times, NOT) the usual anti-Columbian protest on behalf of the American aborigines.* Rather, when the government decided that Presidents Washington and Lincoln would share a holiday with all the others who have occupied that office, I decided that other holidays named after famous people should also be renamed to share with those with similar accomplishments. The obvious exception to this is Christmas, since I can’t find anyone else in history who has changed the world as profoundly as did Jesus Christ.
End of rant/sermonette, and Happy Discoverer’s Day to one and all.
In other news, I was pointed to what appears to be an experiment by Harper Collins to let the online reading public sort through their slush pile for them. Called authonomy, it’s “a brand new community site for writers, readers and publishers, conceived and developed by book editors at HarperCollins.”
From their FAQ page,
authonomy invites unpublished and self published authors to post their manuscripts for visitors to read online. Authors create their own personal page on the site to host their project – and must make at least 10,000 words available for the public to read.
Visitors to authonomy can comment on these submissions – and can personally recommend their favourites to the community. authonomy counts the number of recommendations each book receives, and uses it to rank the books on the site. It also spots which visitors consistently recommend the best books – and uses that info to rank the most influential trend spotters.
…. HarperCollins hopes to find new, talented writers we can sign up for our traditional book publishing programmes – once we’re fully launched we’ll be reading the most popular manuscripts each month as part of this search.
In a way, this is similar to the process on Baen’s Bar whereby short story submissions to Jim Baen’s Universe can be critiqued and catch the eyes of the editors. The electronic slushpile for Baen Books works a little differently — the submissions aren’t available to every member of the Bar.
I’ll be interested to see how the Harper Collins experiment works out.
*Disclosure: I may fall into this category myself, having a percentage of Cherokee blood; I’ve never gone the route of documenting how much to see if I qualify for tribal membership.