"I was writing without sharing my work for years. I finally started submitting to agents and was happy to sign with Luke Janklow, but he didn't sell Bulb in that early form (surprising he signed me for it at all really) and as I was nearly finished A Calculated Embellishment I decided to look for some online groups where I might get feedback before submitting again. I'd never received feedback before Luke so it was a real eye-opener to join Authonomy.
I didn't go to school for writing, and mostly just decided I wanted to write a book, picked up an ax and started swinging. But in those early days members like Bluestocking (Maria Bustillos - who's gone on to write for the New Yorker and the Awl) among others were incredibly kind and supportive.
All the forum dramas were already happening and it was fun to follow. All that funny anger over silly stuff like spam aka marketing of ones book, and "gaming the system". The site was flawed but basic enough to enjoy and when I landed on the desk in ...what was it... 2009? with A Calculated Embellishment and then given the pass to the Writers festival in York UK as a prize - well, that made it all worthwhile.
Although, possibly an equal reward was the amount of reviewing/reading I did to get to the desk.
All those first chapters = great writing lessons, and test of endurance! I made terrific friends on Authonomy - many of which continued off the site: Lee Mundell, Rena Rossner, Sandie Dent, Freddie Omm, Simon Kearns, Billie Storm, Dai Lowe, Jane Alexander, Gerry Dailey(RIP), Daragh McDonnell, Marcella O'Connor, Cait Coog, Oliver Johns...so many.
The help kept coming from many smart and generous members and I started feeling guilty about what I was offering in return (crappy little) but when I saw a need for bookcover help I found my in.
Since Bulb made the desk (and I got that lame review, ha) I've been busy working on a couple projects. I've got another novel I've been chipping away at. I've finished writing and illustrating a children's book...mainly done for my girls, but one day I may push to publish it. ( I'm not a Robot, I'm a Unicorn!) I've started another children's book - reworking a Thich Nhat Hanh story into one for children.
Shame what happened to Authonomy. But from the folks I met in York that managed the site, I'm not sure it ever really had the backing and great interest from HarperCollins - a test of sorts. I had hopes with the new site but obviously it needed to be more.
Ah well. Hope those that contributed to it find success elsewhere. Big thanks to all of you - members, friends, and site developers."