Allan Mayer’s Weblog

The YouWriteOn 5000 authors Debate, cont’d…

Posted on: October 31, 2008

  • It’s good to have received so many early responses to my latest blog. It would be good to hear from more of the 5000, and from anyone who has got any good marketing ideas.
  • jellyjones said:
    October 31, 2008 at 12:51 am eI think it will be a damp squib.Anyone who expects anything more than being able to sell a few copies to family and friends is most likely to be disappointed.Maybe one or two people will go on to greater things. But I doubt it.
  • Jane Smith said:
    October 31, 2008 at 7:57 am e  Like you, I do hope that writers do well out of the YWO scheme: although I doubt there’ll be anyone who makes the same sort of sales that would be achieved through commercial/mainstream publication. I’d be very interested to hear from anyone who makes a decent number of sales as a result, though, because In cases like these it’s always good to be proved wrong!And yes, you’re right: a lot of the blogs I’ve read about this scheme have proved one-sided; but mostly because the people arguing for it weren’t terribly well-informed about publishing, and were quickly out-reasoned by the people who were. I’ve yet to see a substantial argument in favour of the scheme which sets out why it’s better than self-publishing: perhaps you could provide me with one?(And no, that’s not intended to be snarky: it’s difficult to ask certain questions online without seeming so, but I would genuinely be interested in such an argument.)

    Paul Ekert | |

    I submitted a PDF copy of my book “Ordinary Monsters” to YWO yesterday.

    The book was written two years ago and has bounced back from many a publisher. Twice it was short-listed in competitions, one with an agency, and the other with an arts council. Both times, it failed the final hurdle.

    A number of agents have written to say the liked it a lot, but didn’t love it enough to risk time and money. Two publishers that said they were interested, found themselves under pressure from an early version of the credit crunch and bailed out on my book before we got to the contract stage.

    I’ve gone through a lot of edits with this book. I’ve spent a whole load of money on stamps and envelopes, but I never lost faith in the story, in the characters and in my own writing style.

    I just couldn’t get it noticed.

    I’m a published author with Pearson’s Education. I write non-fiction books and articles on computers, most of which are published in the US. Non-fiction is where I make my money, but fiction is where my heart lives.

    When the YWO “offer” arrived in my mailbox, I was on the brink of giving up and tossing the MS into a darkened drawer never to be seen again. I had considered Self Publishing, but the process appeared complex and full of traps, reading a few blogs and hearing of their bad experiences was enough to put me off. And as Jane says, no one makes money from self publishing fiction, apart from the golden few, but if you are going to bet on those odds, you may as well buy a few more lottery tickets this weekend.

    So why did I bother? Because I believe in the book. I think it deserves to be published and because I don’t want to get personally involved with self-publishing directly, I prefer it to be handled by someone else. Yes I know there are others out there, but the advantages as I see it are wafer thin. The thickness of a fag paper, as my dad used to say, isn’t really that much help!

    Once the book is published, I intend buying a copy, then looking to see if there are any good blogs on marketing.

    As I say, my main income is non-fiction, but this will be an interesting sideline. I hope other people are viewing it in the same light, as making money, getting rich, becoming famous through his scheme is NOT going to happen for 99.9% of all 5,000 books (someone tell me how many books 0.1% is).

    Good luck to all and to any “well meaning” individuals that reply to this telling me I am a fool and I should do this that or the other instead, please don’t bother. My freedom of expression as an individual living in a democracy is to be apart of YWO initiative. If that is a con, then big boy that I am, I will take it on the chin.

    That’s all folks.


    I am obviously in Paul’s camp on this one. I believe in what I have written. People have read it and I know that they are not just being polite when they say that they enjoyed it, laughed out loud and cried, and one of them not only read it in the space of a weekend but went back and reread it. I won’t be so vain as to claim that it is a great work of literature, but a major problem as I perceive it is that I have written a thriller in which the ‘hero’ is a ‘lad novel’ character, not a square jawed athletic professor- and publishers do not like mixed genre.

    And like Paul I don’t have the ability (or the money) to self publish, neither do I have Jane Smith’s compendious knowledge of publishing (Do visit her blog, it is very informative.) I agree with Jane that it would be good to hear from someone from the industry who can put a more solid argument forward. Unless the truth is that there is no such person, in which case it would be good to hear from Ted Smith of YouWriteOn.

    Although I suspect that he is rather busy at the moment.

    2 Responses to "The YouWriteOn 5000 authors Debate, cont’d…"

    You Have A Great Blog Keep Up The Good Work ..Cheers 🙂

    Allan, I’ve made no secret of my concerns about this whole YWO scheme, but now that so many of you have gone with it I do want to see you all do the best that you can with your books.

    Publicity and marketing is what you all need to focus on, probably to non-bookshop markets.

    I’ll see if I can find a couple of people to post about publicity and marketing on my blog–it’s a much-neglected area which many self-publishers struggle with: I used to work in marketing, so know a bit about it. Meanwhile, I’ve got what looks like a great book about marketing to review on my blog, which might be useful: give me a few days to finish it and write it up. I’m reading it now and it looks very promising.

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