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The You Write On Route to Publication

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YouWriteOn was established in 2006 with Arts Council funding to assist new writers to develop their writing. This enabled YouWriteOn to become one of the UK’s leading independent review exchange sites with editors for leading publishers such as Random House and Orion reviewing YouWriteOn.com’s highest rated writers each month.

YouWriteOn Members have been discovered and achieved book deals as a result with publishers such as Random House, Orion, Penguin, Harper Collins,  and Little Brown. These include a six figure book deal for youwriteon member Doug Jackson and his novel Caligula with Random House, and The Legacy, by YouWriteOn member Katherine Webb, became a Channel Four TV Book Club winner and Amazon top three bestseller after being discovered on YouWriteOn.com by Orion.  Ireland’s Bob Burke also landed his publishing deal for The Third Pig Detective Agency through YouWriteOn and you can read more about that here in Fairy Tales Do Come True: Bob Burke’s Story.

YouWriteOn’s premise is simple: members upload opening chapters or short stories and the YouWriteOn system randomly assigns these to another member to review. You then review another member’s story excerpt – assigned to you at random – each time you want to receive a new review back in return. After 5 reviews a story enters our chart system and the highest rated writers receive free feedback each month from editors for leading publishers Orion and Random House.

Feedback can be diverse, but the experience of the site over its history has been that collective feedback from a range of reviewers helps writers to get a collective viewpoint of what works well and what needs developing in their stories. The result has been that the majority of stories are higher rated as a result of revising their writing through feedback. Each year, the most highly ranked books are eligible for the YouWriteOn Book of The Year Award. The winners for 2013 are displayed below with book excerpts to view.

YouWriteOn.com 2013 Overall Winner A Kill in the Morning by Graeme Shimmin joins the previous YouWriteOn book award winners who have achieved mainstream publishing successes. Graeme will be published in 2014 by Transworld, publisher of authors such as Terry Pratchett and Dan Brown.

Graeme says “I did find the YouWriteOn process useful and changed the first few chapters quite substantially based on the feedback I received. It was also a big morale boost when I won the ywo Book of the Month.”

Click here to view Winning Entrants and excerpts on youwriteon

YouWriteOne believe that as the winners and bestseller chart finalists considered develop and complete their stories that they will have great opportunities and do very well too. The stories for 2013 were considered from the highest rated YouWriteOn chart entrants in 2012, the YWO book of the year is always 6 to 10 months after the qualifying year to enable writers to develop/complete their work further from the feedback and leading publisher critiques that they receive on youwriteon. The calibre of all the stories considered was extremely high.

Every month on YouWriteOn the highest rated ten stories receive feedback from editors for Bloomsbury, Random House and Orion, publishers of authors such as JK Rowling and Lee Child. Click here to visit youwriteon.

The YouWriteOn Book Awards 2013

1. Overall Winner

Title : A Kill in the Morning  Author : Graeme Shimmin   Genre : Novel, Thriller

Read Opening Chapters

Read Feed: “I don’t like killing, but I’m good at it. Murder isn’t so bad from a distance, just shapes in my sight. Close up work though, the garrotte around the neck, the knife in the heart, it’s not for me. Too much empathy, that’s my problem. Usually. But not today. Today is different. ”

Synopsis
An alternate history espionage thriller set in the fifties, during a cold war between Britain and Nazi Germany. Driven by revenge, a rogue British agent attempts to assassinate notorious Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich, but, on reaching Heydrich’s lair, everything he thinks he knows about the world is brought into question.

2. Title : The Grape’s Joy Author : Patrick Hilyer    Genre : Mystery, Novel, General Fiction

Read Opening Chapters

Read Feed: “I wondered, as I often did in my darker moments, when the third death would strike. These things always come in threes, like the chimes of the angelus that rang clearly over the empty valley to announce midday.”

Synopsis
Jeanne Valeix is the owner of a struggling winery in Saint-Emilion. A handful of people will change her life completely. But not all her visitors are who they claim to be. All she needs to do is find out who’s telling the truth, rescue her business and solve a murder.

3. Title : French Train Author : Pat Dobie    Genre : Historical, Literary Fiction, Novel

Read Opening Chapters

Read Feed: ““It’s the visa stamps,” Ferguson said. “Look. Here’s my name.” He pointed with a smudged and trembling finger. The light was not dim after all. Now that his eyes had adjusted he could see the individual hairs on the backs of the agent’s hands and the ridges on his thumbnails.”

Synopsis
Alec Ferguson desperately needs a fresh start, and he’s got one: an assignment to cover the 1889 Paris International Exhibition. Things go wrong, however, when Ferguson meets an old friend and becomes embroiled with the ruthless and amoral Thomas Edison in a race to patent the world’s first motion-picture camera.

4. Title : To Butcher: To Bleed   Author : R. J. Brown    Genre : Crime, Historical, Mystery, Novel

Read Opening Chapters

Read Feed: “My aunt knew better than anyone that once a man discovers a few unexpected gems within a whore’s mind he can’t wait to get inside her knickers to find out what might be lurking up there too.”

Synopsis
It’s 1888 and a British government agent is slaughtering women in London’s East End. His aim? To implicate Irish leader, Parnell, in horrific Fenian crimes. Prostitute, Rosa Moran, is at the centre of the intrigue, fighting to preserve Ireland’s hopes of Home Rule as well as her own life.

5. Title : Becoming Jack Author : Jonathan Skinner   Genre : Novel, General Fiction

Read Opening Chapters

Read Feed: “Jack would be a neurosurgeon or a bullion dealer, dating models called Trixie or Selina. Or living off goat meat in the desert while disabling nuclear missiles. Or splashing around in a frogsuit tracking Russian submarines. Jack certainly wouldn’t be ironing his underpants. Or living in Dulwich.”

Synopsis
Bored with his mediocre existence and dismal prospects, Roger Broadbent decides he no longer wants to be Roger Broadbent. But is it possible to wipe out all traces of his current life and metamorphose into somebody else? Inspiring role models are thin on the ground. Until Roger remembers Jack…

Teenage Fiction / Children’s Fiction  Winners for 2013 are:

1. Title : Jacob Groat & the Ghosts of Warehouse 33  Author : Mike Hanson

Read Opening Chapters

Read Feed: “At 8:27 he panics. They haven’t tracked it down. It’s still on the loose. He can feel his room closing in on him and is suddenly aware of his breathing, and his heartbeat. ”

Synopsis
Twelve year old Jacob Groat has waited a long time to begin his education at Warehouse 33. Unfortunately, his first year of guardian angel training is not quite going to plan

2. Title : Margaret Ethel  Author : Bill Scott

Read Opening Chapters

Read Feed: ” It’s not every day someone dies in Mr. Sample’s sixth period physics class. I guess if Freddie Johnson were telling this story, she’d say, “It’s not every day you kill your best friend in the Samp’s sixth period physics class.” ”

Synopsis
Electrocuted in sixth period physics lab, sixteen-year-old Margaret Ethel is given two options — go to Heaven or return to Earth to save the girl who killed her.

3. Title : Jack Par(r) Author : David Llewellyn

Read Opening Chapters

Read Feed: “I knew it! Matt had set Tikka up. He’d probably stolen the squid this morning and… And I bet he’d tried to colour it in at break, to make it look like a vampire squid. That would explain the black marks. Only Matt would be dumb enough to try to colour in a squid.”

Synopsis
Jack is adrift in the middle of everywhere. When you are bright enough to ask the questions but not so clever to understand the answers, the world can be a difficult place. And as everyone knows, the world is just a metaphor for school.

4. Title : NUMBERED    Author : Bill Scott

Read Opening Chapters

Read Feed: ” I was happy to get on my bike and go, but nervous about seeing Mom and Dad. I knew they were going to be numbered. It seemed like everybody was and I was the only one that could see it. ”

Synopsis
Deranged teenager or prophet? Jacob is hearing voices and seeing numbers. The numbers could be the key to catching a killer or they could get Jacob locked away for life.

5. Title : Earth Child Author : Tony Groom

Read Opening Chapters

Read Feed: “Our planet is beset by a cataclysmic disaster. One in a million 4 year olds survives their first years on their own. Those numbers reduce, year on year until they mature, until they find a way to exist, to stay alive. They must all survive. As far as they know, they ‘are’ the human race.”

Synopsis
Imagine a world with no adults. Imagine a world where no one is above the age of twelve. Four children find each other and become companions. They strike out on the biggest and only adventure of their short and turbulent lives.

Find out more about similar online communities where your writing can be critiqued and reviewed here in Publishing Opportunities from Online Communities.

Blackstaff Press have launched their own community SkyPen, find out more about that by clicking the link.

YouWriteOn’s premise is simple: members upload opening chapters or short stories and the YouWriteOn system randomly assigns these to another member to review. You then review another member’s story excerpt – assigned to you at random – each time you want to receive a new review back in return. After 5 reviews a story enters our chart system and the highest rated writers receive free feedback each month from editors for leading publishers Orion and Random House.

Feedback can be diverse, but the experience of the site over its history has been that collective feedback from a range of reviewers helps writers to get a collective viewpoint of what works well and what needs developing in their stories. The result has been that the majority of stories are higher rated as a result of revising their writing through feedback.

About the author

  • The Dark Room: A thrilling new novel from the number one Irish Times bestselling author of Keep Your Eyes on Me
  • www.designforwriters.com

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