LitMatch: Research Literary Agents and Track Submissions

Monday, October 12, 2009

Preview #11 - Putting It All Together

So far, each of the previews I've posted here on the blog have focused on a single piece of functionality that the new AuthorAdvance site has to offer. With all the new features, it's easy to feel a little lost, and easier still to ask, "How does all this really help me?" The real power of AuthorAdvance lies, not just in the features themselves, but in the way that they all work together.

In AuthorAdvance, separate features like Listings, Blogs, Forums and Groups all connect to each other and work together to create a network, not just between users, but between users and data. To illustrate just some of the possibilities that this level of connection brings, I'll spend the next few previews walking you through some scenarios that show just how the new site can be used.

Scenario 1: A New Agency
While surfing the Internet, Alex comes across a website for a literary agency he's never heard of before. After a quick search on AuthorAdvance, he sees that it's not listed yet on the site, so he spends a minute adding basic information that he finds on the agency's website to a new agency profile. He then sends a query letter to the agency and records the submission in the tracking system.

A short time later, Katie comes across the listing on the Recent Updates page. She's never heard of the agency either, so she posts a quick note in the Forum asking other users if they have any more information about its history, whether they've made any sales to major publishing houses, and if anyone has queried them. She remembers to link the post to the agency's profile, so now anyone who views the profile will see the link to the discussion she started.

Over the next few days, more users find the listing, along with Katie's forum post. Erin fleshes out the listing, adding a new listing for the agency's owner and lead agent. Nicole finds some information about recent sales the agency has made on an industry magazine's website and adds that information to the listing and the forum discussion. Alex gets a polite rejection letter, updates his submission, and posts a favorable comment on the agency's profile. Steven, another user who queried the agency, gets a request to read his full manuscript. He blogs about the good news and links the blog post to the agency profile.

James finds out that the agency's owner is scheduled to speak at a conference that's already listed as an event in the system. He updates the conference listing, associating it with the new agency. Now the forum discussion, the blog post, and the conference are easily found from the agency's profile page.

A small network has now evolved around the agency's listing, lending depth and detail to an otherwise anonymous set of data. As time goes on, the network can grow further, using the agency's profile as a hub for collecting facts, opinions and anecdotes, all of which help a user make an informed decision about which agents to query.

And that's just one example. In my next preview, I'll take a look at the dark side of the publishing world, and how writers can use AuthorAdvance to keep each other safe from predators and scammers.

Christopher Hawkins

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Christopher, thanks - I've only been here a day, and already I feel this is working for me. May I suggest an improvement? The drop-down list for categorising responses from agents does not include one that says 'Acknowledgment'. Sometimes agents simply say they've received a submission and will read it and get back to you. That's what happened to me today, and I could not find a suitable option. It would be neat to create it when you migrate everything to the new skin. Once more: I appreciate this site - its a boon to any writer.
Rosanne Dingli