Tuesday, 23 September 2008

YouWriteOn.com Will Publish 5,000 Writers For Free

Arts Council funded YouWriteOn.com (YWO), a UK site with leading publishers involved to find and develop new literary talent, is offering to publish the first 5,000 writers who contact them for free.

The first 5,000 applicants who enter before 31st October 2008 will qualify. Books will be ready to order by readers as a paperback by Christmas through the YouWriteOn website. Open to UK and US residents only.

YouWriteOn authors will receive 60% royalties for each copy sold to the public, compared to 12 to 15% royalties that authors usually receive through mainstream publishing. Books will be of the same quality as a bookstore paperback, according to the website. Authors retain all rights to books at all times without any obligation to YouWriteOn.com.

YWO was funded in 2006 by the Arts Council as the first literary site of its kind to discover new writing talent through feedback from writers and readers from the general public. It now works with publishers such as Random House and Legend Press, and each month the site’s highest rated writers receive free feedback from publishers, as well as YWO adding a number of other services

Boasting over 10,000 members, the site’s recent successes include a six-figure Random House deal for writer Douglas Jackson with his novel Caligula, a two book Penguin deal for a novel called Bufflehead Sisters as a result of online paperback sales alone, and a three book deal for another writer with Costa Award winning publisher Quercus.

“Publishing is changing,” said YouWriteOn Manager Edward Smith, “YouWriteOn.com was the first literary site of its kind, and publishers like Random House and Legend Press quickly saw the potential of writers and readers themselves finding and developing new talent. YouWriteOn has seen writers achieve success through traditional and non-traditional means. We now intend to break the traditional mould of publishing itself. The first 5,000 people who email us at youwriteon@legendpress.co.uk will be able to have their paperback published for free by Christmas and we plan to discover more bestselling writers.”


Mike French said...

Right then: I admire Edward Smith the guy behind YouWriteOn.com, but hmm.

This is a site that helps other writers get feedback on their work to help improve their writing and gives them a chance of some exposure if they make the top 10 each month. All good.

However I'm less sure of their self-publishing links to Legend Press and I'm even more unsure of this first 5000 writers.

If you are a writer and reading this, I would really encourage you to ask these questions....

Will a book produced that quickly be edited properly?

Does transforming your manuscript into a book really help you gain
an agent or publisher?

Do you want to be associated with a mass e-mail in procedure - your book will be lumped in and associated with a load of books that are complete rubbish - come on if the only selection is the first 5000 in gets published there is going to be some real tat.

So there you go, remember Preditors & Editors in an interview here described self-publishing (which this is) as the second worse thing a writer can ever do (the first being vanity publishing)- I agree.
So The View From Here recommendation?

Stay well away from this.

Don't say we didn't warn you!

the Amateur Book Blogger said...

Mike - in principle I agree wholeheartedly for authors who are serious about trying to get published - this is just a way to get printed, and for a very few may be a break, but for the majority unlikely.

I think though, for anyone who just wants to get some writing into print or planned to self-publish anyway, just for fun, and accepts that they must do all the editing, layout and quality control themselves, it means that someone else will take on the print costs.

Users do need however to trust that YWO & Legend plan to set market standard, reasonable cover prices - that is an open point in the contract.

Mike French said...

The books will retail between £5.99-£7.99, although Edward says this would depend on the length of
 the publication.

The problem is that it is not aimed at people who just want to see their book in print for fun or for friends and family. Its aim is "to give the opportunity to new writers to help create success for their books."

Edward says, "We now intend to break the traditional mould of publishing itself."

Is this really in the interest of the mass of writers currently e-mailing YWO.

However I agree with Jen - if you know this is just a gimick, but want to get your book into print and are not really interested in being a published author, then go for it, take advantage of the scheme.

Jane Smith said...

I'm with Mike French on this one, and will advise everyone to stay away from this offer.

On the YWO forum, Edward Smith has insisted that writers will keep all rights to their own work: if he really thinks that's the case, he misunderstands how rights work.

Once YWO publishes the work, the first rights to it are gone for good. And that matters if writers want to see their work published by a mainstream publisher in the future, because mainstream publishers want first rights, not a right to republish something that's already been put out unedited and unrefined.

Jane Smith said...

PS: I blogged about this week, and so did Writer Beware. Here's a link to my piece, which links to the WB one. Both are worth reading if you're still considering this.


Mike French said...

Thanks Jane - you make a good point and thanks for the links - I found the articles there very helpful.