Carla Acheson

Historical Fiction Author

In January 2010 my book,’ The Last Gift’ was featured on Authonomy, (a popular site designed by the major publishing house Harper Collins to flush out new and talented authors.) The strategy behind this site was to allow authors to feature chapters of their books on the site to be ‘read’ by members of the public and of course, other authors.

No sooner had my book been submitted, I received a barrage of positive comments, shelvings and backings, and the book suddenly catapulted, to what appeared to me, instantaneous stardom. I was quite overwhelmed at first with the great critiques my story seemed to garner, when all I had initially intended, or even hoped for, was perhaps a trickle of feedback on my efforts.

I have to say that receiving over 100 favourable reviews on this website, not only boosted my confidence in my own writing abilities, but also gave me a very helpful view into the world of publishing as a whole. In my experience, there was much to be excited about, but also just as much to be very wary of.

Without going into excessive detail of the writer’s ‘commonly known’ stumbling blocks in the publishing world, I’ll just say that I took a great deal from what Authonomy offered me, and used it to my progressive advantage.

Within a few weeks of being made available online, ‘The Last Gift,’ reached no 5 in the Historical Fiction Charts, and then it pushed the barrier into the Top 200 in All Genres, then the struggle to keep it there began. I very much disliked the idea of having to beg and tap and push people to keep it ranked highly, or indulge in petty and ‘unfavourable games’ in order to gain even higher ranks. With over 7,000 books on Authonomy one can only imagine the struggle for the very top! It is a tireless journey of never-ending swings and roundabouts, and all without a clear cut notion of what exactly was going to happen to your book in the first place.

Ultimately, I like to write for pleasure, and also in the hope that some people who read my work, might in turn receive some pleasure from my words. I don’t play mind games, I don’t beg, and I don’t steal commentary ‘favours’ to ride high into charts. I am simply a lover of words, and I truly believe my book went up quickly on its own merit, for since the moment my book was made available, and until I removed it, I never asked one single person to read it.

So ultimately,  after three months I pulled my work away from HC and decided to let it rest here for the time being. After getting so much lovely feedback from some very genuine people after its stint there, I am satisifed that I have written a story which ought to appeal considerably to many lovers of historical fiction.

My next book project will be revealed at a later date this year, and of course I want to thank every person who helped me on journey. One such very helpful person that springs to mind is Bradley Wind, who has designed literally thousands of wonderful book covers, and also wrote a marvellous book himself entitled A Calculated Embellishment which recently reached number one in the overall book charts!

Also thanks to those who read my book and commented favourably or unfavourably.

2020 UPDATE TO POST – Authonomy no longer exists as a platform for undiscovered authors. Check out the following page to read what happened and why!

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/aug/20/authonomy-writing-community-closed-by-harpercollins


RELATED ARTICLES

5 Things Your Readers Hate

1. AMBIGUITY Basically anything in your story that is uncertain or unclear, or puzzles the reader and really shouldn’t. This doesn’t, by the way, extend to the premise of a ‘whodunnit’ because ambiguity is a great tool used in the crime genre to create suspense.…

You Can Finish Your Book in 2020

Every writer faces worries and doubts during the writing process, but allowing setbacks to prevent you from achieving your goal is the game-changer between finding success and ending up back at the starting line. Here’s some advice on how to tackle these common niggly issues.…