Monday, July 20, 2009

Online Readers’ and Writers’ Community Popular

New changes to an already popular website for readers and writers are proving to be a big hit. was created by Kiwi entrepreneur Aaron Cook, to give writers the chance to gain free feedback on their manuscripts from the general public. Book lovers can preview and vote for what they would like to see published and available for sale on bookshelves, and leave comments to help authors improve their writing.

One of the most recent upgrades to the website was the message centre, which allows members to communicate with each other directly to share tips and ideas. This compliments the already popular comments section, where members post comments about a writers work for the public to view.

The website has also been made more transparent, so when a reader rates a book their rating is displayed beside the comment they have left for that book.

Cook says the new upgrades have proved to be very popular amongst members, and has definitely brought a more community feel to the website.

The overall concept originated from China around a decade ago. Since the establishment, it has helped numerous authors become recognized by the public and achieve dramatic success. It was mentioned at the most recent Frankfurt Bookfair that the world's eyes are on the growth of China's publishing industry, which has been driven by the internet.

Last year twenty percent of China's bestsellers originating from the internet, many of them have been previously unheard of authors discovered on similar types of websites to in China.

Just one of the many examples of a Chinese author becoming a huge success through the internet is Tian Xia Ba Chang, who wrote a book called “Candles Blown by a Ghost" which is a thriller/adventure novel. Over time this book reached over 3.6 million hits online and once finally published sold 500,000 copies in one year.

The highest rated manuscript currently on is Daniel Williamson's popular fantasy trilogy Magician, Man and Beast.

With most publishers cutting back on new titles due to the recession, authors must seek more ingenious ways to sell their manuscripts. New Zealand is famous for cultivating a 'can do' attitude towards opposition, often creating industry leaders. I feel the website serves to fill an important niche in the publishing process. Williamson says he often felt frustrated with the shortage of options available for emerging authors. It was surprising to me that although New Zealand has an international reputation for creating hit fantasy film franchises like 'The Lord of the Rings,' and 'The Chronicles of Narnia,'we don't publish any working fantasy titles of our own.

Since its inception, Williamson's book has attracted international exposure, providing honest 'real-time' critique. This is creative democracy at its best, giving the power of choice back to the people, and allowing authors invaluable feedback from potential readers.

Staying true to New Zealand's pioneering spirit Williamson has created a press-ready novel, complete with interior illustrations and cover. The distinctive, full-colour cover which he personally illustrated brings the time-honored elements of craftsmanship to his literary work. The cover can be viewed below, whereas several sample chapters can be viewed online for free at . Become directly involved in the publishing process and read tomorrow's bestsellers. The future of publishing is in your hands.


Julian Hernandez said...


Thanks for letting us know about this. After some digging on, it seems the site is currently targeting the Australian market. Is there a more mainstream site that does the same thing? There's got to be similar sites where authors can post their work for others to read and comment on. Any thoughts?


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