Allan Mayer’s Weblog

Youwriteon 5000: today’s the day… or is it?

Posted on: October 31, 2008

As I write this it is the beginning of a portentous day… Halloween? No, it is the final date by which manuscripts must be submitted to YouWriteOn for publication.  Will this be remembered as the date when publishing changed forever, or will it be a damp squib?

Whatever the answer, if any of the novels in the ‘thriller’ and ‘adventure’ categories are written with an iota of the passion and expertise  evident in the many blogs on the YouWriteOn scheme to publish 5000 authors, we are guaranteed at least one work of genius.

I would like to draw the attention of readers of this blog to Jane Smith’s comment on my last post. Apologies to Jane for lifting such a large chunk from her blog- her site gives permission for only one hundred words, and I went far beyond that- but thanks Jane for graciously letting me keep it. And for the link on your site to my blog, which has brought several hits my way. This will mean that a few more people will hear of my novel ‘Tasting the Wind’ and if that increases its sales in any way that will benefit Derian House, the children’s hospice that will benefit from my royalties.

I am also hoping that more of the 5000 will contribute to the debate and give their reasons for going down the YouWriteOn route. The contributions on several sites are boringly one-sided and could do with a greater mix of viewpoints.

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3 Responses to "Youwriteon 5000: today’s the day… or is it?"

I 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.

Allan, you’re welcome, and there’s no need to apologise again for quoting so extensively from my blog: just be aware, in future, that such use constitutes copyright infringement which can have very serious consequences for a writer.

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.)

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 thing. 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.

Paul

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