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Authorscope – Know Where You Stand

You’ve finished your novel manuscript.  It’s been months of work, sometimes in bursts of energy and sometimes a desperate obligation to the characters and the story to slog it through.  Now what?

Most manuscripts are never actually read, which is a terrible shame.  There are literally thousands of good novels which sit on computers and shelves as stories barely told despite the tremendous effort.  Thousands more could be great with just a little bit of coaching and support. But once you’ve finished writing, your work has barely begun because the next thing you need to do is find a way to have it noticed among the incredible noise of the publishing world.  That’s why we created Authorscope.

A caveat:  I have an interest in Authorscope, and was part of the process of creating it.  I hope that you think that it is as good an idea as I do.

The tagline of Authorscope is “Know where you stand” because the first step towards getting good works noticed is having some reasonably objective view of how good they are.  The core of the process is a three-part critique of your work that lets you know what professional writer, writing coach, and publisher thinks of what you’ve done.  Your work will be read in full by a professional and scored based on the criteria that make a novel successful.  The three parts are a public written critique, a numerical score that gives a rough guide of how you stack up, and a private in-depth analysis to help you improve the sections that need the most help.

Ian Graham Leask is the director of the entire operation. He’s been a creative writing teacher and literary consultant since 1980. Ian has taught writing at the University of Minnesota, COMPAS-writers-in-the-schools and the Loft. In addition to his thriving private literary consultancy practice, he is founder and Publisher of Scarletta Press, Inc. in Minneapolis. He can be heard as producer and co-host of KFAI’s Write On! Radio most Thursdays, heard on the air and streaming live on the internet. Ian knows the publishing industry inside and out.

Why have a service like this?  Because the alternative for decades has been something like a desperate cry for attention as manuscripts are sent off to agents and publishers.  Very few actually are read, winding up instead in the dreaded “slush pile” of works.  This world is changing as we move to a self-published and online world where nearly anyone can put their work out for anyone to read – but it still requires you to be noticed.

Our intention at Authorscope is to allow writers to use this new technology to create something like a “Minor League” of new works.  By giving our stamp of approval and coaching new authors along, the process of identifying and developing talent can move ahead in ways that it hasn’t been able to for a long time.  Self-publishing your work is a great help, but if you can honestly tell the world that Authorscope has rated it highly you have a selling point that may get others to read it.

Hopefully, the score sheet and general concept of Authorscope can catch on industry wide.  For now, we are content to ask you for $300 for the first 300 pages or less, $1 per page after that.  We cannot promise that this will get your work read by a famous agent or a publisher, but we will read it, all of it, and tell you what we think.  We see this as a way to start changing the publishing world over to the distributed, democratic open system that the internet and devices like the Kindle promise all of us.

Authorscope is a brave experiment which we hope will be the last piece of the puzzle that opens up the world of writing to a new generation.  We invite you to join us and know where you stand with your writing.  If you have any questions, please write to us as editor@authoscope.com and let us know.  We are still in the process of setting up the paypal accounts and other niceties of web management, so please bear with us.

Authorscope is presented first and foremost as a service to you, the writer, who has poured your heart and arm and brain into your work.  Our goal is a revolutionary new way of approaching publishing that makes good on the promise we’ve all heard about.  Your work, hard as it has been, is just the first part.  Let’s work together now and make tomorrow’s publishing world today.  Know where you stand!

8 thoughts on “Authorscope – Know Where You Stand

  1. What a great idea for a service! I hope you can change the publishing world because it needs it. This is the kind of independent review that has always been missing. Best of luck to you with your new venture!

  2. Probably doesn’t work for me I’m old. But probably works for those younger including sons and daughters. Always interesting.

  3. Thanks! It’s more than just a business opportunity for me, it’s a chance to really give something back to the world. I hope that the standards we’re introducing are improved on but are then taken up by people around the world.

    The most important thing for writers has to be readers, and readers need to be willing to take some chances if we’re going to have space in their heads for new writers. Some way of saying, “Go ahead, it’s worth giving some of your time and $$$ to this author” might just be the kick-start that a whole new world of publishing needs.

    Like so many things, the technology only makes innovation possible. It’s how we use it that matters in the end. I hope that Authorscope can be part of that new world.

  4. Well I’m not a writer, just a reader, and I think it is a great idea! It would be handy to have criticisms of books laid out the way you have it done on your sheets. The numbers are not all that important, but I guess they could be used to screen what reviews I read. I like characterizations so I think I’d look for all books that scored very high on that.

    Excellent idea! I hope it catches on!

  5. Thanks, everyone.

    I don’t know exactly what will prove the most useful for everyone. I do want to be sure we have something that will ultimately be good for readers, not just writers.

    I’m sure we don’t have it perfect, so there may have to be some tweaking. What I’m sure is that we have useful information for writers who want to improve their craft. Your work will be read by a professional and you’ll know where you stand!

  6. It will be interesting to see if this catches on. I like the concept, but I don’t know if writers will be willing to pay for it. Good luck!

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