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People have been asking if they should be concerned they have heard nothing yet from YWO. I’m tending to think that this can only mean that everything is in order, and that they will next be contacted once their books are published.

I, on the other hand, must by now be in a file at YWO marked ‘High Maintenance Contributors.’

Firstly, my document had changed in transferring from my computer to theirs, so that my prologue began on an even page. To remedy this I was asked to send it in again on PDF.

A couple of days ago I received an email saying that they hadn’t received my back cover blurb. I knew that I’d sent it, so the same gremlins that mixed my pages up had run off, cackling, with a whole file.

At the same time I read a very good review of ‘Tasting the Wind’ from a YWO member, who spotted a grammatical error. Now I’ve always thought that the grammer wot I ‘ave got to be quite good, and that of many of my proof readers even better. But there it was, and it had escaped us all. And not only was it very basic, it was right at the beginning. And not only was it at the very beginning, but it was in a rhyme which was repeated by a major character at various points throughout the entire length of the book.

I would be getting my new baby in December, and even if others commented favourably I would be aware of nothing but the blemish.

So I emailed YWO, explaining what had happened and attaching a corrected copy.

 I was very surprised the next day to receive an email saying that my new PDF had been passed on to Legend Press. This is very reassuring, in light of the fact that the contract said that there would be no correspondence.

I am now back to looking forward to the arrival- and I vow not to look at it again before it’s in print.

Then again I don’t need to, because now it’s absolutely perfect…

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Thanks to Jane for the following:

Allan, Wally asked who was going to print the books–that’s Lightning Source, based in Milton Keynes. Legend is just assigning ISBNs as far as I can see: they don’t print any of their own books.

And so far NO ONE who is publishing via YWO has explained to me why they think it’s better to hand 40% of the profits over to YWO rather than signing up to Lightning Source and keeping all the money for themselves. Anyone can do it, after all. And ISBNs can be bought cheaply: I just don’t understand why people think it’s better to go through YWO, and would love it if someone would explain.

The only think I can think of is that some of the people submitting assume that the Random House editors who read YWO’s top ten are going to get involved in the publishing side of things. As far as I can see, that’s a completely separate scheme and there’s going to be no crossover between the two: the Random House editors have their own slushpile to read, and won’t have time to consider reading YWO’s too.

You can read  Jane’s informative blog on YouWriteOn at:

 http://howpublishingreallyworks.blogspot.com/search/label/YouWriteOn

Jane’s comments have led me to some soul-searching, which is never a bad thing, and I will add something about my motivations to use YWO in a later blog. Meanwhile, here is Wally’s reply:

Hi Jane;
The reason I choose YWO over others, such as Lightning Source, etc (we have some
good “do it yourself publishing” shops here on this side of the Pond as well)
was, to be fair, YWO does have a “name.” I have some writing friends in
Australia; I checked with them, and sure enough they’d heard of YWO and have a
good opinion of this site. So, hopefully belonging here would give us some
recognition. I have been a member here for a while and am impressed with the
quality of writing and critiques. Also one gets to discuss things here with
knowledgeable people, such as yourself, and learn by exchanging ideas. At a
“print-shop” one would be just a number, much like an ISBN.

Best,
Wally

PS: By the way, there will be a difference between the Random House’s slush
piles and YWO’s books. We are “published” and people will be reading our novels
and writing reviews. The other Publishers’ is just that, a static slush pile for
their interns to read on a lonely Sat night.

Thanks also to Paul Ekert for this response:

It does seem as though the world and his wife are now against the YWO deal. Some of the arguments make sense, some of them smack of “people with too much time on their hands”… I have the image of radio 4 being boring and so a number of “Disgusted from Surrey” start writing in…

There has been some anger too, I think mainly the result of the anti-YWO’s being frustrated that some people will still want to be involved and from the Pro-YWO’s who want to be treated as adults making adult decisions.

Here’s the point. No one wants to see someone else ripped off, this is human nature, but at the same time, no one likes to feel bullied for making a specific decision or told they are stupid for doing so.

Yes there are disadvantages for publishing this way, but there was also this wonderful carrot and stick approach that forced writers to focus their minds and get the book published.

Perhaps we have all made a huge mistake. If so, then we will have lost 39.99 at most and really it will not be that tragic. And it will be our own mistake, made willingly.

I hope now the Anti-YWO’s will leave us all alone and go find another battle to fight. Preferably one worth fighting and one that is any of their business!

I’ve just received this from Wally in Ontario:

Allan;

A great topic and an excellent suggestion to ‘pool ideas’ on how to publicise and market our ‘fortune 5000′ books. In case you and some of your other bloggers haven’t seen the excellent series of articles on Writers’ Services, they are available at the following web site:

http://www.writersservices.com/wps/h7_market.htm

PS: Is it Legend Press, Lightening Source or some other printer who will print our books?

Cheers Wally, this is just the sort of thing I’m looking for. YouWriteOn are using Legend Press http://www.legendpress.co.uk/

Once in a while something happens which renews your faith in human nature and in the belief that we are all really here to help oneanother regardless of our differing viewpoints.

Anyone who has been following my blog over the past week will be aware of the debate in the Blogosphere around YouWriteOn, particularly on Jane Smith’s ‘How Publishing Really Works.’ In my last post I bemoaned the lack of support in the forums from anyone in the publishing industry, and also mentioned the need for advice on marketing for the 5000.

Help has come from a most unexpected source- Jane Smith herself. In her comment on my last post she said that despite her opposition to YouWriteOn she knows that the only way that any of the 5000 will go anywhere with their books is through publicity and marketing through  ‘non-bookshop’ outlets. Jane has marketing experience and will be asking some of her contacts in the field to put posts on her blog. So if you are one of the 5000, or the author of a self-published book, keep your eye on http://howpublishingreallyworks.blogspot.com/

Also, if you are one of the people waiting for the publication of your book by Legend Press you will probably have been, like me, thinking how you can get your book out to as many people as possible. I will be blogging about the ways in which I intend to do this, and would like to invite as many contributors as possible to add their ideas, so that there will be a repository of marketting tools here for anyone to access. It would be such a shame if, after all of the hard work that so many people have put into their books, they do not get a decent readership through lack of marketing.

Thanks for your encouragement pennyb22, I look forward to hearing from more of you,

Allan.

  • 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
    http://www.paulekert.com | paulekert@paulekert.com | 80.189.114.176

    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.

    Paul

    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.

    So the debate rages on about YouWriteOn and its publishing 5000 books by Christmas venture.

    Admittedly, I have been concerned that this could lead to 4999 turkeys being available just in time for christmas (or after, if the cynics are correct.) I obviously don’t include my novel in that number because it is high quality writing and has been crafted and edited over several years. Hopefully, the amount of publicity generated by the critics of YouWriteOn will create more interest and lead the curious to test for themselves whether it is statistically possible for 5000 writers all to be bad.

    What I don’t like is the often patronising references to the 5000 and their motives. No, we are not all people who simply want to see our names in print. Some of us have been through the process of submitting to publishers and agents works which we believe in and have worked damned hard on. For us the choice to submit to YouWriteOn comes from the blinkered view of a publishing industry which will not consider anything which cannot be pigeonholed.

    Whether or not any of the 5000 will gain any level of success will have to be seen. But if there is only one, then doesn’t  that make the odds of success rather better than those of an unconventional novel attempting a conventional route?

    For a statement of the arguments against the YouWriteOn scheme see http://howpublishingreallyworks.blogspot.com/2008/09/youwriteon-publishes-5000.html

     


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