Much of the world of writing and publishing has remained almost proudly low-tech. Serious authors like Martin Amis and William Boyd avow a preference for pen and paper, while Paul Auster wrote a whole book in homage to his manual Olympia typewriter.More from Tara Mulholland for The International Herald Tribune.
Amazon.com has successfully dragged the business of selling finished works into the Internet age, but the art of finding and shaping the next great novel has remained decidedly off-line.
"I got the feeling that publishers and agencies had been waiting for the Internet to change things but were never really sure how it was going to happen," said Tom Lodge, co-founder of Thefrontlist.com, a new Web site that aims to haul the process of editing and publishing into the 21st century.
TheFrontList.com works as a peer review site, with writers paying around £10 to read the critique of their work. Any author gaining over a certain points score from a review is guaranteed to be read by a respected agent or publisher.