Just when you thought you had heard every dumb idea the world had to offer! Book publisher HarperCollins UK will soon launch their new social-networking-ish website, called Authonomy, where eager lil' beavers can upload their work and show it to people. (Every old organization, from the NYT to Forbes, has seen fit to start a social network these days.) Your work is reviewed by the other yokels on the site, but as the publisher says, "Readers will be able to support their favourite manuscripts, with HC guaranteeing to consider the most popular for publication." Explains the Guardian:

The idea is that aspirant scribes can upload up to 10,000 words to the site and then have their masterworks judged by what HarperCollins refers to as "keen, talent-spotting readers" - other people, that is, who have registered on the network.

I'm just going to say it: this is a retarded idea. It's an example of everything wrong with the Internet: created ostensibly to help people or create new avenues of communication, but actually designed to be a pointless waste of time. Try starting a blog or joining a writing group or something? Or send it into a big, black hole? Anywho. Authonomy is in "private beta" right now.

Being realistic, I think Authonomy may end up being a nice polite way for the publishers to say that they're not accepting unsolicited submissions anymore. If the launch goes well, I'd wager that anyone asking about submissions will be directed to hit the site, keeping editors' (and editorial assistants') desks clear for them to get on with the books agents have sent them, the ones they are genuinely interested in.

How to Outsource the Slush Pile [Guardian]