Writers’ Web is an Australian initiative geared toward providing Australian authors with an alternative to the plethora of online book distributors popping up all over the place. I recently chatted to the team from Writers’ Web to see what it was all about.
What is writers’ web?
Everyone knows that a farmers’ market connects the producer direct to the buyer. writers’ web is just like that but for writers – it connects would-be authors directly with readers online to create a community of readers and writers.
It’s really only been possible because of the changes to the publishing industry and technology. Publishers are no longer gatekeepers to the release of new books. YouTube allows musicians to showcase their work direct to the public and now writers’ web does something similar for Australian writers.
How did you come up with the idea?
Everyone knows the story of JK Rowling having the Harry Potter manuscript rejected by publishers, 12 in total. If she had given you her manuscript, you would have passed the word to ten of your friends and them to ten of their friends, going viral. In today’s connected world, this is entirely possible and the idea that underpins writers web. We’d love to discover the next big Australian writer.
Like many good ideas it involved a glass of wine! A few years ago at our bookclub, co-founder Emma Mactaggart was lamenting how easy it is to get stuck in a publisher’s slush pile – it’s so demoralising not to hear anything from publishers after you’ve submitted a manuscript.
It’s this bottleneck that prevents writers getting their work out into the public domain. “Why not change the paradigm?” piped up now partner in writers’ web, Janet Kieseker. And so we did. It took a few years to work through the logistics and technical side of things before we launched at the end of 2011.
How does it work for writers?
Writers complete an online registration form, then submit information to build their writer profile and so we can put their book into our online shop. Our reviewers are invited to read the work and review it. Reviews are posted here. Authors may then use these reviews in their own promotional material.
What is the cost to writers?
There are no up-front costs for writers. We take a 35% commission on book sales.
Is it only for eBooks?
No, writers who have produced hard copy books can be part of writers’ web (WW).
What are the benefits for writers?
There are lots of advantages for writers, including:
- There is no rejection - every book or manuscript we receive (as long as the content is not inappropriate) goes out to our reviewers for their feedback
- Using the feedback from the reviewers to refine their work
- A means of promoting emerging Australian writers for no up-front cost
- Helps writer “discoverability” to targeted Australian reading audiences and as a possible springboard to publishers
- Speeds up the process of getting a work into reader/purchaser hands
- Provides an exclusive or additional promotional channel for authors and their books
- Builds an author’s reading and purchasing networks
- A channel to sell their books.
Are you currently looking for more writers?
YES! We have over 120 reviewers in our system waiting to read the works of writers.
Which genres can writers submit?
Both fiction and non-fiction genres are covered and if there’s enough interest in a genre other than the ones we currently offer, we will look at including it.
- How to
- Chick lit
- General fiction
- Literary fiction
- Historical fiction
- Short story
- Young adult
Writers’ web sounds like a perfect hunting ground for publishers looking for some fresh talent – is that the idea?
Yes, writers’ web complements traditional publishing by providing a chance to demonstrate commercial viability as an author to “traditional” publishers. In today’s competitive market, proven authors have a higher degree of success in securing deals. We would love to be the go-to place where writers “get spotted” by mainstream publishers through the reader reviews and reader profiles on the site.
It’s for emerging Australian writers – how do you define them?
They might be self-published, unpublished, with an edited manuscript or traditionally published through a publisher with a new work not taken up by that publisher. Or already published authors looking for a new way to promote their book.
What’s in store for the next 12 months?
We look forward to having more emerging writers join us. We would be thrilled to discover the next big name Australian author!
Written answers provided by writers' web. For more information, visit the website at writers' web. Or email them here. They're a friendly bunch who would be very happy to answer any queries you may have.