Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Novel Platform

Yesterday, CompletelyNovel.com launched. According to a press release in BookTrade:
The website is a unique social network of readers and writers integrated with printers, literary agents and publishers to bring the publishing process into the world of web 2.0….Through CompletelyNovel new and unpublished writers can now upload manuscripts and instantly tap into a vibrant book-loving community of readers, establishing almost immediately whether their work is marketable. These writers can publish straight into paperback format through print-on-demand printers also on the site.
According to the press release, CompletelyNovel is also good for readers:
CompletelyNovel keeps readers entertained with book reviews, discussions to join and debate, and author information. This is alongside the opportunity to read all the self-published works online for free or purchase the paperback directly from the writer.
And it has something for publishers as well:
A profile on the website enables them to promote their books and engage directly with a network of potential customers, keen to find their next read….Publishers and agents can also find new writing talent through the website, using the community to crowd-source the best work.
It’s too new to give any kind of review or prediction for the future. But if you check it out, let me know what you think.


  1. Hmmm. Self-publishing ramped up a notch?

  2. Seems to be sort of a cross between self-publishing and GoodReads, with the hope that if your manuscript gets enough buzz, an agent or publisher will notice.

  3. Hey, thanks for stopping by my blog!
    I love the name of yours! "Straight from Hel" made me chuckle.

    In response to your comment, it's not just you! I too have 2 gmail accounts and am annoyed at having to switch back and forth.

  4. Hi Bella! I'm glad to hear that it's not just me, although sorry that you go through the same loops. Google should do something to fix the problem - like they listen to me telling them what they should do.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Helen and Bella - I agree! I wish Google would fix that issue.

    On today's post - not sure what to think about this site. I'd be nervous about posting whole novels on an open site. I may go take a peek, though.

  6. I don't know sounds cagey to me. I don't like my manuscript being out there for all to comment before it is even published. Why bash babies???
    Let them at least get a bit of walk time in first.

  7. Charlotte & Lauri, I agree. I'm either paranoid or protective of my babies. Either way, I'm not sure I would do it. But I know there are plenty out there who will. The lure of an agent possibly seeing it and seeing fabulous reviews from readers will draw in a lot of people.

    As far as I know, the site is legit. We'll see if it lasts. Maybe someone who decides to use it will give us a report.

  8. Skeptical. I'm not posting an entire ms for review before publication. I see the upside, but the downside is bigger. To me.

  9. I agree, Marvin. I'm skeptical also. Can the work be stolen? What rights do you give up by publishing it online? What rights does CompletelyNovel take?

  10. It sounds similar to Harper Collins's Authonomy site, which is an attempt to open up the slush pile to readers. Does anybody really expect readers to jump into the slush? On Authonomy, most of the readers were actually other writers reviewing each other.

  11. Mark, my guess is that this site will turn out that way, as well. And since your reviews can determine your ranking, some authors will be enlisting friends to give good ratings to their books.

  12. Hi Helen and others,
    I'm Anna, one of the team behind CompletelyNovel.com and I thought I would try to answer some of the questions you have on the website.
    We do understand that some writers find putting all of their work online quite daunting and may not be ready to do that. But we would definitely encourage you to do so as soon as you feel comfortable, on the basis that in the earlier stages of your career your biggest threat is not piracy, but obscurity. If you can get your work out there, get some reviews from independent people, constructive feedback and sales, then when you go to a publisher you will be able to prove that there is a market for your book.
    In terms of rights and the security of your work, we've made it as positive for writers as we can. We don't take any of your rights (we're not a publisher or agent, we are a simply a way for writers to self-publish) so you have full control of what you do with your work beyond CompletelyNovel. There is nothing to stop you signing with a publisher or agent afterwards. In fact, we encourage this!
    The way your work is displayed on the site means that it is not downloadable or printable. As we will keep records of when your work was published, it will actually make it very easy to prove that the work is yours, should anyone try to copy it.
    Please do take a peek at the website. You should be able to see that it is not your run-of-the-mill display site. We’ve done a lot of work to ensure that there is much more to it than that.
    For example, you will see that there is lots for readers to do on CompletelyNovel (the Goodreads-type functions) so that our userbase is not just going to be writers (like Authonomy). We can see from our readers' libraries and reviews the kind of books they like, and based on this we can recommend the self-published works to them. They can click straight through and start reading them online and if they like what they see, they can buy a paperback copy. (Although linking to print-on-demand printers is not available in the U.S quite yet, it will be very soon.) Writers can set the price and keep 100% of the profits of the books they sell on the website. It will cost under $5 to produce a single paperback of around 250 pages.
    So why are we doing all of this? I am passionate about books and love the feeling when you discover a great book and Oliver Brooks, the founder, can’t resist looking to new technology to do a bit of problem-solving. We’ve talked to people from all over the publishing industry and can see that the way the publishing process works can be drastically improved to make it much more efficient and enjoyable. We really welcome your feedback and thoughts so we can improve the service for writers and ultimately help readers find great new books. Sorry this is such a long post and yes, "Straight from Hel" made me chuckle too!

  13. Hello Anna.

    Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate that you took the time to do that. My guess is that with a new endeavor and the beginning buzz, you're quite busy.

    It's nice to have you here to talk about CompletelyNovel and to explain it a bit more.



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