It's a remarkable old world, chaps and chapesses. Really.
Many of you will be all too familiar with my involvement in Harper Collins Publishers' authonomy, the peer-review writers' site that involves thousands of writers clambering up a greasy pole to get their work in front of an HC editor for review. Every month the top 5 books, voted by the 'community' get reviewed by an HC editor (or janitor, we can't quite be sure which sometimes). To date not one top 5 book has moved beyond a read and crit, apart from a suspected 'token full read' given to my mate Simon Forward. The crits have been of variable quality, that afforded my own first book, Space, a good example IMHO of the WTF quality of some of the crits that HC hands out.
(If you would like to read some quality stuff, try my second book Olives, BTW. I ain't 'plugging' that one, though - it's a serious book about the Middle East, while Space was a comedy about chickens and stuff.)
But that hasn't stopped thousands of new writers from posting their work up there and trying to climb that self-same slippery pole. It's hard, folks - you have to chivvy people to go and read your book by participating on the forums, plugging the book and generally shouting a lot. And then they have to like it enough to vote for it - vote enough times for it to beat out everyone else and rise to the top of the begrudging souffle that is the online slushpile. You need hundreds of votes.
But, rather brilliantly, uber-gamer Vineet Bhalla, 'Klazart' to his mates, posted a YouTube video urging fellow gamers to pop over to authonomy, log in and vote for his book. (It's here...)
In a marvellous demonstration of the sheer power of social media, hundreds of gaming fans (possibly thousands) have done just that - garnering Vineet's book over 700 votes in the past 48 hours and launching it up the authonomy charts by some 3,000 places to its current 17 - and rising.
The howls from the authonomy 'community' of writers, bilked by the brash 'gamers' who've suddenly appeared on the site, have been wonderous indeed - suddenly the place has come alive again and started to pop and splutter with action and life - from apopleptic authors ranting pompously about cheats and darn gamers to gamer punks telling them all to piss off as they scrawl on the walls and pour beer on the carpets. The gamers have a point - the authonomy 'rules' make it clear you're welcome to invite friends and family. HC can't have imagined that 'family' could include over 8,000 gaming fans who follow a popular gamer's YouTube space!
Authonomy's forums, which had settled down to a rather sedentary and boring repetition of every topic, from how you deal with POV (Point of View. If you don't know, don't bother. It's not critical to your life, believe me) to whether book titles that contain leopard testicles are saleable in today's market, have suddenly come alive and thrill to the sound of argument, contention and challenge - battle, even.
It's great. It's like an invasion of anarchists at an old people's home. Any half-decent anthropologist would get a thesis and at least two bacon sandwiches out of this lot.
But the influx of new voices has been too much for the site - authonomy has gone down, baby, a mere few thousand new readers has been enough to smack the servers for six and deny access to many, the site's up and down like a tart's knicks. (Well, it is Sunday and sysadmin Rik will be down the pub sinking a few nutty browns before dragging his weary arse into the laughter factory tomorrow morning.)
Meanwhile, I do heartily recommend nipping over and taking a look at the writers vs gamers debate - it takes me back to the late 1970s and, for me, that was a good time.
Oh what larks, Pip!