Allan Mayer’s Weblog

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Posted on: November 9, 2008

News From YouWriteOn

One doubt I had about the YouWriteOn contract was related to statements to the effect that changes may occur in my manuscript once transferred from my computer to theirs, and that no corrections would be made to these. The book, it appeared, would just be printed, even if for some reason it had been converted in cyberspace into 364 blank pages.

This didn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

On Friday I received an email from YouWriteOn, asking if I really wanted my prologue to begin on an even numbered page. I replied that this was not how the manuscript appeared on my computer, and asked if they could correct it. Their reply said that they probably could, but could I resend it in PDF.*

So it would appear that YouWriteOn do check on how the books they will print will appear. The lack of editing has been a cause of much criticism. Obviously they won’t be checking grammar, but I am happier now that I know that someone is paying attention to how the books will look.

*For those of you who don’t know about PDF, it is a way of sending your text so that it will arrive in the same form that it left. Just google ‘Free PDF software’ and download it. To convert your document into PDF, choose ‘Print’ and PDF will be one of your printer options.


News From HPRW

‘I’ve made no secret of my opinion of the YouWriteOn publishing scheme: but now that some writers have signed up to it, how can they persuade bookshops to carry their titles?’

Thanks to Jane Smith, professional advice on marketing your book is available at:

3 Responses to "Latest News"

Allan, I was giving your post some thought on the train to work this morning, and I started wondering if YouWriteOn have started paying more attention to the layout of books because they didn’t get 5000 entries. It set me thinking about Carl Sagan’s famous Drake equation, the one about how you deduce how many planets can support intelligent life, by whittling down the numbers. So how about the YouWriteOn equation? How many writers are there in the world? Of those, how many writers knew about the YouWriteOn offer? Of those, how many had a novel ready to be submitted? Of those, how many actually thought the offer was worth doing? Of those, how many were able to tidy up their submission before Octiber 31st? Something tells me this would leave us with a lot less than 5000 people. I might even guess at less than 1000. Any bidders for a lower number? With this reduced workload, perhaps YouWriteOn/Legend can afford to spend a bit more time bringing the products up to a better standard. If only there was a way of collating a list of the entries, to find out how many got taken up.


Thanks Huw. I have been thinking the same thing. From what the contract said I wondered if we were agreeing to them just printing it off and selling us copies which weren’t checked and had all sorts of errors.

According to people ‘in the know’ the task of getting 5000 books out by Christmas is impossible. Also, I have found very few writing sites or blogs which are pro YWO- comments such as ‘stay away from it,’ or ‘I haven’t got a finished manuscript’ far outweigh those which say ‘I’m going for it.

It reminds me of when I sent my work to a small publisher. Unlike other publishers there was no mention on their blurb about sending a stamped addressed envelope, so I didn’t. But the manuscript was returned. With it was a standard rejection letter, saying that they received so many manuscripts per week, blah, blah, blah. I knew that this could not be the case, because what small publisher with a huge slush pile could afford to put stamps on every submission they reject?

They did, however, offer to review my book for £50.

WHich makes me think- yes it would appear that from the evidence we can deduce that YWO haven’t received anything like 5000 books (unless anyone out there knows something different.)

I think it works to our advantage if YWO has time to get our books right. There may be a scramble if they do a free offer again.

Excited and waiting to see my book and all the entries for the free 5000.

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