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YouWriteOn - Developing Your Writing & Feedback From Leading Publishers 

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 - who publish bestselling writers such as Dan Brown, John Grisham and Bill Bryson - 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, & 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.           

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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.


YouWriteOn Leading Publishers Success Stories  As a result of developing their writing through YouWriteOn.com, and receiving feedback from leading publishing houses after being rated highly on our charts, members have achieved book deals with publishers such as Random House, Orion and Harper Collins, examples below.


YouWriteOn Book of the Year Award Winners Achieve Mainstream Publishing Success
   The highest rated books in our charts enter the YouWriteOn BestSellers Chart, and are eligible for our Book of the Year Awards in the following year. Entrants are eligible at any time throughout the year. YouWriteOn's Book of the Year Awards have resulted in mainstream publishing deals: Bufflehead Sisters by Patricia J. DeLois, a 2007 YouWriteOn winner that we published achieved a 2 book deal with Penguin after high sales through us; Caligula by YouWriteOn member Douglas Jackson achieved a six figure book deal with Random House, view his feedback on YouWriteOn below, and YouWriteOn children's book winner The Third Pig Detective Agency by member Bob Burke achieved a book deal with Harper Collins after developing his story on YouWriteOn. 


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Examples of Previous YouWriteOn Writers & Winners who have achieved Mainstream Publishing Success




Leading Newspaper On One Writer’s Experience on the YouWriteOn feedback process and their success



The Scotsman's Literary Editor, Scotland’s leading newspaper, writes about YouWriteOn and about YWO member - and now Random House author - Doug Jackson:
.. for the very best there's the reward that induced many writers to submit their stories to the English Arts Council-funded site in the first place: the chance of their work being critically assessed by an editor at a major London publishing house.

That's what happened to The Emperor's Elephant (now entitled Caligula). And as
Jackson
told me about it, I became fascinated: this, I could see, was a publishing innovation that even many people in the industry hadn't latched on to. Because it's all done on the internet, and because restrained criticism seems to desert us in cyberspace, appraisals can be raw and often hurtful, but a good story can find itself propelled up the site's popularity chart by equally uncompromising raves.

Here, for the first time,
Jackson
found himself learning from other writers. So they thought his opening 10,000-word submission didn't live up the book's title, didn't get to the meat of the plot soon enough? Very well, he'd rewrite it and submit it again. The second time, it worked: he was rewarded with a trail of five-star reviews. YouWriteOn put him in touch with Sarah O'Keefe, an editor with Orion, who read the whole novel.

O'Keefe liked it, but wanted still less of a linear structure and even more detailed plotting at the novel's core. It should not be just one book telling Rufus's life story, but at least two. For the first, he should concentrate on the Caligula years, showing how Rufus finds himself in a maze of conspiracies, unable to work out whom to trust.

If
youwriteon.com had crystallised what the book should be about, O'Keefe's advice focused it further. Essentially, she was outlining a different book entirely . It had to remain a page-turner, but a more complex one: readers had not only to feel they were in
Rome, but feel an edge of fear as Rufus found himself enmeshed in political intrigue against a psychopathic emperor, set to end in a grisly death.

By this stage,
Jackson
had acquired an agent, who set up an auction for the book – now called Caligula – with seven publishers. A pre-emptive bid by Simon Thorogood of Transworld won the book for them.

Publishing may be a gambler's industry, but it's not altogether insane. To understand why Thorogood bet so heavily on
Jackson, you have to understand that Caligula is a rare beast: a book written with irresistible pace but also a slowly growing sense of unease. For the nearer Rufus gets to the psychopathic heart of imperial Rome
, the more he has to guess whose side he should take. The wrong choice – or in Caligula's corrupt, compromised, paranoid court, even the slightest suspicion of the wrong choice – would prove fatal."

View Complete Article

Feedback from Doug Jackson:

Youwriteon.com, for example, I just stumbled on when I hadn't a clue about where to go next with the book. They gave me the breakthrough and taught me how to take criticism. It's as if a switch has been flipped. I know that I'll write from now on .. Then that took me to the next step, and if anyone knows anything about historical fiction, it's Sarah O'Keefe at Orion. I remember when she told me I needed to rework the book that I wasn't sure if I could do it, but I knew that if I could it would take me to a completely different level as a writer."


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