The Arts Council of the UK have introduced this new website called YouWriteOn. You can blame them for the lack of spaces.
The idea is that up-and-coming prose writers can put up the first three chapters of their novels, where they’ll be read, reviewed, and rated by members of the public.
So far so blah. But read on…
The top five rated opening chapters each month get read a free critique by a literary professional (a talent pool currently made of three published novelists and a literary agent).
And if that isn’t good enough, the highest-rated chapters overall in the year will result in a prize – publication of the novel. Course, that could go tits-up if the rest of the novel isn’t as good as the opening chapters. But I’m sure they’ll assign an editor. I hope they’ll assign an editor. They’ve got to assign an editor, right?
So it’s a prize. Big whoops.
But here’s where it gets really interesting:
They’re working on a facility so that everyone can self-publish their book. Which will include an ISBN and distribution.
So if you like someone’s opening chapters you can immediately order their book from Amazon, or place an order at your high-street retailer.
This is as risk-free as it gets for novelists. You don’t have to self-publish until you know that there’s a demand for it, and if you’re getting high ratings you get introduced to the publishing industry anyway.
One to watch.