I think it’s time I go into more detail about AuthorSalon.com, the online community for writers that has led me to some of the changes that the past few posts describe. I can’t say enough positive things about my experiences with Author Salon so far, so you can certainly consider my opinion biased. But my bias comes from the fact that I have enjoyed more progress on The Tome of Greystone in the past month with Author Salon than I had during the previous year. Yup, I am a fan.
The website describes itself as a place which “creates and maintains a rigorous work-to-publish writer conference environ and enhances it with a professional social network for beginners, veteran writers, and published authors”. The creators of Author Salon then up the ante by integrating editors, literary agents, and publishers directly into the mix, so that authors at all stages of their creative efforts get the one thing every author craves: exposure!
When I first joined the community, I thought that it was no more than a glorified Facebook for wannabe writers. But I was quickly impressed by the rigor of the Author Salon process. It begins by having each writer fill out a lengthy, multi-part profile about their work-in-progress. This is far more tricky than it might sound, requiring one to boil down their synopses, their pitches, their hook, descriptions of characters, and information on setting within a preset template. These profiles include writing samples of both dialogue and descriptive writing. Why such a comprehensive profile? Because THAT is what is used to begin the Salon’s peer review process. After profile reviews are completed (and multiple rounds of them in most cases), each writer’s work is able to move along to the next phases of the process.
This is why I included the word “serious” in my post title: unlike the label “Author Salon” suggests, this website is NO day at the spa. I could immediately tell that the experts who put the concept together wanted to weed out writers who were not prepared to go the distance with their work. This produces a great side-effect; those that remain are pretty high quality writers, and therefore are able to provide high quality feedback in the peer review process.
And then there are the experts. I never would have expected or asked for this, but some of the administrative staff of the website (experienced editors, published authors, agents, and the like) occasionally take the time to engage Author Salon members in one-on-one discussions about their work-in-progress. Like, in depth discussions. The type of advice that I would have paid real money for if someone had offered me the chance to spend it! I cannot say enough about how great that has been for the progress of THE PROVING and the rest of The Tome of Greystone. Because the only thing better than feedback… is EXPERT feedback. While not everyone may get the chance to interact with Author Salon staffers, the mere fact that it can happen is a big deal.
So the bottom line is this: if you are a writer, and you have a book that you are just sure would be one of the next-big-things if you could only get it published, and you are willing to WORK on it and take feedback and make changes, you need to come to AuthorSalon.com. Look me up if you do. I’d love to be in your peer review group!