If You’re Not Already On It, Check Out Online Writing Community Wattpad.com

In the last few years, a plethora of online author platforms and communities have cropped up trying to harness the digital world’s capabilities for authors. In the last few months, specifically, the press releases have been flying.

Children’s book publisher Macmillan recently announced a new crowdsource imprint called Swoon Reads which will allow authors to submit their work directly to the publisher, rate other authors’ work, weigh in on cover design, and the like. Writer Erik Bowman recently launched Authr.com, a fundraising platform along the lines of crowdsource funding site Kickstarter.com. Then, last week, Canadian start-up Wattpad.com was in the news as Random House announced they would publish 17-year-old Beth Reeks’ novel after her story garnered 19 million reads on Wattpad.

Like many online communities for aspiring writers, Wattpad allows authors to submit their work to a digital jury of peers, readers, and apparently, publishers for the ever precious feedback. Launched in 2006 by Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen, Wattpad has been criticized for facilitating book piracy, while others like veteran author Margaret Atwood are lending their clout to the service.

It’s not clear whether Atwood is an official spokesperson for Wattpad, an organic advocate, or both, so take her endorsement as you will. What’s most intriguing is that, as these sites continue to crop up, they’ll have to offer authors a better, stronger experience to survive. As you contemplate which of these services to invest your time in — and share your writing on — it’s encouraging that Wattpad in particular is still standing six years after its founding.

Now, YA Authors Don’t Need An Agent to Submit to Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Macmillan Children's Publishing Group launches crowdsource YA Romance imprint Publishers Weekly reports Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group has launched a new crowdsourced imprint called Swoon Reads. The YA Romance imprint will create a community online allowing writers to submit their manuscripts directly to the publisher. Visitors to the site will be encouraged to read, rate, comment on submissions, and share feedback on cover design and marketing. The manuscripts achieving the highest ratings by readers and an in-house Swoon Reads editorial team will be published in paperback and e-book editions. The Swoon Reads website will launch in spring 2013; the first Swoon Reads novels will be released in 2014. Between this venture, Random House’s recent signing of a 17 year old YA novelist, and the New York Times’ distinction between YA and Middle Grade on their Children’s fiction bestseller list, 2013 is shaping up to be a good year for Children’s Book authors. Of course, with all eyes on the Children’s Book genre, backs will be turned to some other completely fresh book/author that will, like E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey did, completely take everyone by surprise.