As mentioned in a reply I gave to a recent forum post, I want to try to answer as many of the most common questions we receive here at authonomy as I can. I felt the best way to do so would be through a series of blog posts. Over the next few weeks I will post questions and answers up here, two at a time so that the posts are relatively short. If there is anything general about the site that you would like to ask then please leave a comment and I shall do my best to answer in the near future. I hope these posts prove to be of use. I am sure you’ll tell me if they are not.
Isn’t it time authonomy had a revamp?
When Rachel and I first took over management of authonomy back in 2010 we had a number of changes we wanted to make to the look and functionality of the site. Unfortunately, every time we made even the slightest tweak it had a knock on effect elsewhere. Any fix we implemented seemed to break something else on the site. It became clear that the original coding (the programming behind the scenes which makes authonomy work) was not very robust and it was pretty much a full-time job just keeping the bloody thing in one piece. To be honest, it drove us mad, especially as it was clearly a source of frustration to many of you and there was bugger all we could do about it. A major overhaul was needed and that would require a lot of time and even more money.
I am delighted to say that after much planning, budgeting and pleading we have managed to secure a significant investment from HarperCollins that will allow us to completely revamp the site. There are lots of things we want to address: it needs to be faster, the search engine needs refining, the system for rating books could be a lot better, reading books on screen should be easier and more slick, we need to get rid of all the ‘please back mine and I’ll back yours’ spam, there should be an app for your phone or tablet, and so many other things. Trust me, there is a really big list.
I don’t want to make promises I can’t keep but we are looking to start the work in the next couple of months and have it completed this year. Once we have a more detailed timetable we will report back and will be approaching users for feedback and comment.
What’s all this I hear about self-publishing?
We have always linked to self-publishing services here on the site, for a long time it was Create Space, more recently Authoright. Of course, these companies paid for the advertising space and you were free to check them out, use them or ignore as you saw fit. We are looking into the possibility of offering a more comprehensive self-publishing service as part of authonomy but if we do this it would be a separate part of the site and there’d be no obligation to visit it or use it, although I dare say we’ll bang on about it quite a bit.
These plans will also never change our main brief, which is to find new talent on authonomy and publish it ourselves.