I just got fired from my gig (since 2015) as a writer for Bill James On Line, and I was very lucky –in several senses, but especially in the sense that I had spent my last few days of employment backing up all my work on Authory, a service that collects the online work of writers and locates it on a dedicated website (Authory.com), devoting a place on it (in my case Authory.com/StevenGoldleaf) that will remain accessible to the writer and anyone who cares to read his or her work, whatever the fate or status of the original websites turns out to be. It could be that the original website goes belly-up, a common enough fate for publications of all stripes these days, or that the original website’s owner does the same, a fate that will eventually, kinehora https://momentmag.com/jewish-word-kinehora/, befall Bill James, in which case who knows if his website will remain up or down for very long. If down permanently, I feared all my work would be lost, the website scattered to the winds, and since I’ve kept only spotty copies on my hard drive, that would scarcely satisfy anyone needing to see copies of my published work.
So rather than entrust my body of work (180-odd articles, some very odd) for BJOL to the continued health of the body of Bill James, which has already lasted over 70 years, many of those weighing in at close to 300 pounds, as I recall, I decided to back up all my work on Authory.com.
I was fired almost immediately afterwards (for insulting Bill, not for employing Authory) and was relieved that the main source of regret, losing access to my work, was no longer a consideration.
Authory is, as I understand it (which is still imperfectly), a free resource to its readers, and its income derives from the authors, who pay something like $100 per year for the service, so if you’d like to see what it’s like as a reader, log in to Authory.com/StevenGoldleaf, and check it out for free.
If you’re a writer, and in need of having your online publications backed up professionally, I will try to explain as best I can what you are getting for your $100 per year:
As I understand it, Authory will harvest ALL of your online publications for you, website by website (all you need do is provide the name of the website and your byline) and sort them in a variety of ways, such as by the name of the website’s publications, going back to the dawn of time or the 1970s, whichever comes first. The material must be accessible to the public—Authory can’t break through paywalls to retrieve your articles (although they can reach through “soft” paywalls, so you can give a paywalled site a shot—worse come to worst, they just inform you that XXXX journal has an impenetrable paywall). I’ve only posted articles from BJOL so far, but I expect to be posting from all sorts of places I’ve freelance-published over the decades.
As I understand it (which again is not very well), you can also have PDFs of your work posted on Authory—this is a bit more involved: you must download the PDF yourself, rather than entrust Authory to bust into your laptop and get it for you. But it also means that if you have copies of articles whose website is down, or which has a hard paywall (and presumably if you have the rights of re-publication), then you can have that put up on Authory as well.
I’m a dinosaur (first published a piece for pay in 1975) so I have a LOT of stuff that’s not anywhere on the web-- I am looking forward to putting it all into a portfolio that anyone can view. And if I can get more recent publications, such as my recent articles and reviews for The F. Scott Fitzgerald Review that are protected by a hard paywall, into PDF form, then I’ll be good to go.
Even better, I understand that I may be able to get non-textual stuff up on Authory. This is terrific news for me personally, since I also have a career as an oil painter, with over 100 of my paintings up on my website, and if Authory can back up jpgs that represents a big bonus to me. I have corresponded with Eric Hauch, who runs Authory, and he has been encouraging (which only makes sense, since he is looking for clients) and scrupulously truthful in answering my many questions. This is quite remarkable, to get e-mail answers from the head of an online entity within hours, all written personally and responsively—I don’t know if I’ve just been lucky in this regard, but even if my emails have reached him at times that were particularly convenient for a quick personal response, that’s still a big improvement over the rest of the online world, where machine-generated (and unresponsive) responses are the norm.
I’ve asked Eric for clarity on hard and soft paywalls, on my peculiar questions about jpgs, and a wide variety of other subjects in the past two weeks, and he has always given me honest, truthful, comprehensible, and quick answers to my questions. Very rare.
In the interests of full disclosure, I must share my motivation for writing this review, which is that Authory offers its first year free to anyone who publishes an online review of over 500 words. (“500” was my 910th.) But I am impressed with Authory no end so far, and I look forward to having my life’s work archived on its site, and invite any writer in need of backup to look into its capabilities. I also invite any reader curious about my work to peruse the already-impressive catalog of articles up on Authory.com/StevenGoldleaf, to which I hope to add many articles (and paintings) over the next few weeks and months.