Continuing this week's unplanned theme on technology, My Helpful Friend sent me a link to a Guardian article called "How to outsource the slush pile," yet another mention of HarperCollins setting up their new Authonomy website. HarperCollins is billing it as a "social networking site" for writers and readers. But really, it sounds to me a lot like the original (to my knowledge) such site, the Del Rey Online Workshop (which moved out from under the Del Rey aegis to become the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror). If writers are posting their work and getting back feedback from other "members" then what's the diff between Authonomy and an online workshop? Unless it's that HarperCollins is planning to actually publish folks who do well on Authonomy?
Of course it's hard for me to compare because HarperCollins has launched their effort as a "by invitation-only" site. They are currently accepting e-mail addresses but won't guarantee when and if you get an actual invite. That might be just because the site is still in beta mode, or it might be an effort to make it more like a "network" than an open-to-all kind of place like OWW or Critters. Either way, it's interesting. I'll keep an eye out (and ask MHF to do the same) for more on this site.
Personally, I blame (or credit) this (and maybe ABNA) on the success of American Idol.