Authonomy – Social Network for Writers - StartupWizz | StartupWizz

Authonomy – Social Network for Writers

Social networks for writers are a great idea – I should know, I run one myself. There are various specialised social networks for writers on and they do provide a service the bigger social networks like Facebook can’t. On a specialised network writers can find each other and make contact more easily, and if the network is organised right the good writers do rise to the surface and show so that the publishers who join can find them. I’ve seen two authors picked up by publishers in this way so it can be done.

Authonomy is a little different to many of the specialised social networks for writers because it’s organised by HarperCollins. However, that doesn’t show from the interface as it’s set up in a way that’s just like a standard writers’ network. You can join, create your profile, promote your writing (published or unpublished), join in with discussions on the forum and upload your writing to share and get feedback. Members are also encouraged to recommend their favourite books, and favourite writing by other members, and the books can be from any publisher.

I joined and will be using this site and would recommend it to any writer. I also believe publishers should be looking at these social networks to find the talented authors – they do rise head and shoulders above the rest. A difficulty can arise if these social networks also get so large that they have a similar problem to that created on Facebook: too many writers and pieces of writing being submitted to showcase so they get lost in the crowd.

It will be interesting to see if this site does lead to authors being talent-spotted, and if not it’s still a great way to meet other writers. The social network approach seems almost compulsory nowadays for many types of business, and I think all publishers should be providing this kind of site. The articles with helpful advice for writers are especially useful.


Authonomy – Social Network for Writers
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3 Responses to Authonomy – Social Network for Writers

  • Susan Colquhoun says:

    Hello Orthonomy,
    I’m new to the UK (although was born here) and arrived here on March 28 from Zimbabwe. I arrived with just my manuscripts and am now settled and trying to find an outlet for publishing a trilogy – fiction based on fact – about what is happening in Zimbabwe. The principle focus is on the van Tonder family and its descendants, from the period 1899 in South Africa up to the present date. Basically, Piet van Tonder, an orchard farmer in the Cape rapes his Malay house servant Vaida and impregnates her. Although married, his wife is seriously ill with tuberculosis so he takes his frustration out on the young Malay, earning her hatred and the need for revenge.
    His wife discovers the adulterous and violent affair and the shock causes her death. The doctor who attended upon the birth and knew the truth, is murdered by Vaida and van Tonder and they forge a death certificate for the wife and a birth certificate for the child. The doctor’s body, and the dead wife, are driven over the edge of the mountain in the pony and dray the doctor used and a ruling of ‘accidental death’ is returned by the coroner.
    The child is brought up believing his mother died giving birth to him and Vaida (his true mother) is his ‘Nanny’ and domestic worker. The boy, Jonathan, grows up on the farm never realising the ‘Nanny’ is his true mother and, like his father, treats her with contempt and arrogance.
    When Jonathan reaches his majority, he is sent to England to study law and ends up sharing accommodation with an Irish artist, in a brothel, run by a beautiful Euroasian prostitute called Pol Lee. His relationship with Pol is casual and sexual, but although he is fond of her, his racist upbringing inhibits any closer emotional intimacy. Pol, however, falls in love with Jonathan and eventually becomes pregnant by him and when she tells him, he is revolted by the idea he is to become a father to a child of mixed blood. He decides to marry the Irish artist’s sister, Cassandra and tries to persuade Pol to have an abortion, which she refuses.
    In the meantime, Vaida who remains on the farm in the Cape discovers Piet, who is now a wheelchair invalid, is afraid of her and has written a damaging document to his lawyer to open in the event of his death. She intercepts the document and murders Piet van Tonder, framing a young coloured boy who is retarded, for the murder.
    Jonathan and his bride return to South Africa upon hearing of his father’s death and the couple decide to resettle in Africa. Jonatha does not want to farm, and decides to open his own law practice in Capetown after studying as an articled clerk. To do this, he intends to sell up the farm, little knowing Vaida has every intention of claiming the farm for herself eventually. She dislikes the other woman in her son’s life and does everything to break up their marriage, causing Jonathan to lose his patience and dismiss her. In her desperation, Vaida confesses to him that she is his true mother and produces some of the evidence.
    Shocked and horrified to learn he is ‘coloured’ Jonathan beats Vaida to death in an attempt to locate any further evidence that could prove his parentage. Before she dies, Vaida curses the van Tonder family.
    Cassandra is heavily pregnant with twins at the time Jonathan carries out his crime. Vaida’s remains are concealed in an old well on the farm and her hut and possessions are burned, before she is reported as missing.
    Cassandra’s pregnancy becomes another threat to Jonathan, who attempts to cause her to miscarry through maltreatment and beatings. He is afraid the soon-to-be born twins will not be white.
    The police continue to investigate the missing Malay woman’s mysterious disappearance and Detective Inspector Lindique, is very attracted to Cassandra and notices she is badly treated.
    Ultimately, Vaida’s remains are discovered in the well and evidence found in an old metal trunk under the charred foundations of her hut, prove she is, in fact, the mother of Jonathan van Tonder. Jonathan is arrested for the murder.
    Cassandra’s twins are born white, but she is persuaded by Detective Inspector Lindique to move to Southern Rhodesia where she can start her life anew without fear of racial restrictions against her babies.
    In London, however, the Battle of Britain is underway and Pol Lee’s child is born during the blitz. He is very darkskinned, but inherits his mother’s amazing green eyes. She names him Michael.
    Pol suffers leukaemia and knowing she won’t live for too long, she takes baby Michael to South Africa to find Jonathan, his father. She locates him at the prison and, at first, Jonathan is happy to know someone still cares for him but when he sees his baby son for the first time, he falls into a deep depressive state and hangs himself in his cell.
    Cassandra conceals the truth of their birth from her twin children and remarries. Her second husband is based in Guinea Fowl in Rhodesia, where he trains pilots in the Royal Airforce. Cassandra’s children, Christopher and Sarah, adopt their stepfather’s name of Rushworth.
    The curse of Vaida continues to dog the family relentlessly. Sarah becomes a drug addict and runs away from home, ending up eventually being rescued by a black missionery by the name of Silika and going to work at the mission station in Umtali on the Rhodesian/Mocambique border.
    Michael, Pol’s son, is adopted by a coloured family in the Cape but the curse reaches him also and he eventually joins up with a terrorist group operating in Mocambique as he searches for Cassandra and his lost heritage.
    Struck down by Malaria, he is taken to the mission station where he meets Sarah. They fall in love and Sarah and Michael decide to marry regardless of the differences in their colour.
    Sarah becomes pregnant and bears Michael a daughter, they name Pantha. They are about to marry, when Michael discovers by chance that Sarah is his half sister and the daughter of his sworn enemy, Cassandra van Tonder, now Rushworth, who sold the farm in the Cape when she left South Africa. He walks out of Sarah’s life, without explaining his reasons.
    Vaida claims another life with her curse – Sarah, who commits suicide by throwing herself from the top of World View, a high mountain in Upon learning of the tragedy, Michael’s determination to destroy Cassandra and the van Tonder family, he enlists with a rebel group and begins attacking white owned farms until he locates the farm where Cassandra and Christopher’s family live. The family are murdered, apart from Christopher, who Michael takes as a hostage.
    Debra, Christopher’s young wife, get a military man to search for her husband, and the story now enters the Rhodesia-Zimbabwe war era.
    Michael is found in an underground prison cell, but in a terrible condition after enduring torture and starvation. Michael is mistaken for one of the operatives of the Rhodesian military, who move amongst the villages in the disguise of Africans, so brilliantly done, nobody can tell the difference. Michael’s green eyes led the rescue team to believe he was ‘under cover’ and had lost his contact lens, so he was able to get close once more to his quarry, Christopher. He kills him and tries to get across the Zambezi river, but his wounds have weakened him and he is taken by a crocodile.
    Vaida has claimed more victims, but the curse is not extinguished until every member of the van Tonder family and the descendants are destroyed.
    The second volume, Legacy of Vengeance, covers Pantha’s life, the missing tourists and corruption in the new Zimbabwe.
    The final book in the trilogy, A Time for Mourning, continues with the last of the van Tonders and the period of starvation, violence and destruction of what had been Rhodesia by the rebel regime in power.
    All names are changed to protect those who are vulnerable, but the facts about Zimbabwe are clear and the suffering of the people continues – and will continue until the leadership changes and some vestige of sanity returns to what once was the most beautiful and wealthy treasure of the Commonwealth.
    NOTE: Harper Collins in Harare had both books proof read and on the ‘back burner’ for publishing, until it was closed down. For my safety also they advised this book must be published outside of Africa. Of course, there’s no way I can afford ‘vanity’ publishing fees, but finding an established publisher here or in the USA has been difficult as they state in every instance, they do not publish ‘unsolicited material’. So where does one go to get published?

  • admin says:

    Hi Susan,

    This isn’t Authonomy, but I know trying to get a book deal by mailing or cold calling publishers is almost impossible. They just don’t have the resources to sift through all the manuscripts looking for hidden gems.

    Whatever you do don’t send in your full manuscript to publishers. Send in a very brief (and humble/modest) covering letter, with a small sample and brief overview of the book.

    Don’t be put off by most publishers who say no unsolicited manuscripts, they just mean FULL manuscripts. Send three sample chapters and a very brief summary.

  • Amanda says:

    Susan!!! It’s Mandy!! I emailed you on your old zol address but from the look of things I won’t get a response from you! 🙁 I hope you see this and get back to me! I’m looking for you everywhere! Please email me on
    All my love xxxxxxx

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