Introducing a new site for authors to hone their project and attract agents: AuthorSalon

I’ve been heavily utilizing AgentQuery Connect to hone my query and synopsis and I highly recommend it. Yesterday, though, I was lurking in some of their forums and saw a post about a new social network called AuthorSalon and decided to check it out. Their tagline is: “Where writers work and network, and where agents and editors discover them.”

It is currently in their Beta phase and anyone who joins during that phase has a free membership for life. After this ends, which should be pretty soon, it will be 9.99/month. If you are on AgentQuery connect, the interface will be familiar because it’s either the same group of people or they hired the same web developer.

What attracted me even more was the structure and hard work required. So I decided to give it a go. Filling out their registration form is not the simple fill-in-the-blanks you’re used to. It took me about an hour, and I’d say that was on the fast side because I had a lot of the information they needed already developed. However, if you’ve not yet been forced to boil your plot down to one logline or even a 250 word summary, it could take a lot longer. It forces you to look at your work in a new way by getting down to the essence of the plot and conflict. This can ONLY be of benefit when you go to write your query.

I got approved by the time I got home from work, so I only had a short time to play around on the site and kick the tires. Unfortunately the membership seems to be on the weak side for romance, so I’m hoping some of my fellow romance writers will join. How it works is that the information you filled out on joining, which asks you for your logline, short synopsis, first 50 pages, a dialogue sample, a narrative sample, etc., becomes your profile which is now open for critique. You put out a call in their forum for peers at your level (which is In Production) and self organize about 5 people who will grade your profile. You also do the same to theirs. Through this process, you hone your profile until you feel like it’s pretty solid. You then call for a vote from your peer group, and if it passes, it moves up the chain to the staff. If they agree, you graduate to Editor Suite status and form a new peer group and get critiqued again. When you’re ready, you call for a vote and if it passes, a mentor will look at your profile and decide if indeed your profile is ready. If they agree, you graduate to Marquee status. At this level, agents and editors will be looking at your profile knowing you’ve done the hard work and due diligence to arrive there.

Anyone want to join me?

From their site, they freely admit that this will not be for the faint of heart. No one will coddle you. Here is their mission statement:

First, to make Author Salon a preferred source of discovery for literary agents, producers, and publishing house editors. Author Salon opens channels to professionals to keep them updated on desirable projects, and for those who wish to search, we provide detailed writer and project profiles, multiple search parameters, and lists of high-rated projects, thus enabling professionals to more quickly obtain a range of information, and in a manner conducive to productive decision-making.

Second, to create a 24/7 writers conference environ utilizing a criteria-based step by step workshop approach that includes a primary and upper level peer-and-pro review process, a separate two level review by Author Salon, additional forum-based draft workshops, as well as a final top level review on the part of seasoned peers and players in the publishing business. We tell the writer what works, what doesn’t work, and what needs to be developed further – while they can still do something about it – and before an agent or publisher shuts the door in their face.

Third, to sustain a suitable and pragmatic work space for the nonfiction and novel writing community that combines the technical advantages of a Facebook-like environ (instant chat, site mail, video embeds, etc.) with the content approach of Publisher’s Marketplace. In other words, Author Salon provides the communication and features technology the writer community needs while enabling easy access to a backdrop of publishing news, as well as writer resource and craft content.

Fourth, to make Author Salon a trusted source of tie-breaking, valuable information on fiction and nonfiction writing, craft, publishing, and book marketing that avoids the myths and sticks only to the facts.

If you need more convincing, here are the advisory agents and editors and here is a partial list of publishers and agents communicating with the staff about projects posted:

  • ATCHITY ENTERTAINMENT INTERNATIONAL
  • ANDREA HURST AGENCY
  • LARSEN POMADA AGENCY
  • KIMBERLY CAMERON AGENCY
  • GAIL ROSS AGENCY
  • THE RIGHTS FACTORY
  • SANDRA DIJKSTRA AGENCY
  • INTERNATIONAL CREATIVE MANAGEMENT
  • WILLIAM MORRIS AGENCY
  • SIGNATURE LITERARY AGENCY
  • RANDOM HOUSE PUBLISHING
  • PENGUIN GROUP USA
  • HENRY HOLT
  • HARCOURT BRACE JOVANOVICH

Up for it? Register here and then friend me! I’m AngelaQ

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17 Comments

  1. That sounds awesome! Count me in. And I’ll represent Romance too. ;) Do you know how much longer it’s going to be free? I’m not sure if I’ll have time to fill out the form until the weekend.

    Reply
    • Yay! It’s so new, it hasn’t hit the critical mass yet needed, so definitely please join! I don’t know how much longer, it just says “early 2012″ but I’d be surprised if it switched by this weekend, since they need folks to join. And definitely do your best filling out the profile, because they can reject you if they don’t feel your project will have viability and/or it doesn’t look like you’re serious.

      Reply
      • Wow. I just read through the Profile Guide and it’s heavy-duty! Fortunately I have everything they’re looking for in terms of my current WiP. But this isn’t some namby-pamby critique group website! This is serious! And seriously fun if I don’t lose my mind putting it all together.

        Incidentally, the whole project won major points for me when I looked at the list of agents and editors and saw Cary Tennis. I read his column every day and I love him! Thanks for alerting me to this! =D

  2. Pauline Gruber

     /  March 28, 2012

    Thanks for this post – I’m seriously intrigued! I’m at work and don’t have time to check out the site yet, but I love merryfarmer’s comment above that this isn’t some namby-pamby critique group website. I will check it out tonight and hope to join by Friday (depending on how long it takes to fill everything out).

    Reply
  3. I’m going to check it out and sign up. I’ve been struggling to find criq partners, so this looks like a great alternative. And I’ll be another person writing about men in tight pants in the 1830s ;)

    Reply
    • Pauline Gruber

       /  March 28, 2012

      Finding critique partners has been a struggle for me, too.

      Reply
    • Oh cool! It’s such an under represented era!! I can only think of three who have published in this time period: Loretta Chase, Courtney Milan and Delilah Marvelle…

      What’s your project?

      Reply
      • Everybody seems to write either Regency or skip straight to late Victorian. I think late Georgian is a fascinating time in history. We will just have to start our own trend. My MS is YA Steampunk set in 1836 – because I love a guy in tight pants, Hessians and carrying a blade :)

        It took me well over an hour to go through all the screens. Didn’t help I had to do one twice cause I hit instead of ! And it was right after I had spent ages agonising over details of my protagonist, antagonist, conflict etc. Arrgghhh…

        The address screen is set up for US writers, it doesn’t have a “non-US” option. I expect it will have a fit at my New Zealand postcode & phone number… lol

      • Cool, is the YA Steampunk the one you set up on AS? That sucks about losing all that work, though!! Let me know when you get approved…

  4. It sounds great but I can’t get the scheduling worked out to meet their guidelines for being serious. I’d rather take my time and work around what my kids need while slowly crawling my way from the bottom.

    I do wish you all luck!

    Reply
  5. Wow, sounds like a great site, thanks for the heads up:) BTW, if you’re interested, I’m doing an Easter Basket Full of Books giveaway on my blog this week~Cheers!

    Reply
  6. I will take a look for sure. Thanks for the heads up.

    Tim

    Reply
  7. This is very cool.
    I wish I could say I was ready for this, but at least the application process looks like it will help me figure some things out about where I’m going with my WIP. Thanks for the info. :) I’ll give it a shot FWIW. I love the work ethic they’ve got going in there!
    (Also, you might want to check for a typo on the ‘AuthorSalon’ link, I had to fill it in myself to get there.)

    Good luck with your queries!

    Reply
  8. Cerridwen

     /  April 3, 2012

    Author Salon has been a fantastic tool for my WIP and I know my writing has improved even since I joined as a result of reading and critiquing so many profiles and reading the critiques of my own work. A great resource, but definitely not for the faint of heart – even I get frustrated on occasion, and I am about as non-frustrated a writer as they come, lol It’s good, though, because it has really pushed me to be better and challenged me to get to the next level – worth a few ego bumps and bruises along the way, I should imagine! :o)

    Reply
  1. Author Salon (And Why It’s Brilliant!) | Merry Farmer
  2. Challenges become opportunities: The Author Salon Experience | Writerly Goodness

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