Traditional publishing has always been incredibly exclusive. In order to even hope for a publishing contract, writers have to secure a literary agent. From there, a literary agent may or may not find a publishing house that will publish the book. However, an independent publishing house is looking to change the game of publishing by utilizing crowdsourcing to find its newest author.
Kensington Publishing Corp. is teaming up with the popular writing platform Wattpad to host The Write Affair, a romance writing competition. Aspiring authors have about a month, beginning January 23 and ending February 27, to submit the manuscript of their romance novel. The Wattpad community, which boasts 35 million members and counting, will then vote on their favorite manuscript. The community will select a Top Ten and the winner will have their novel published by Kensington Publishing Corp.
I think that this is such an innovative idea. Traditionally, the power of publication has been limited to the executives at publishing houses. Now, Kensington Publishing Corp is giving the power to authors and readers and allowing them to pick which manuscript they would like to see published. Instead of trying to guess what the audience wants, Kensington Publishing Corp is going straight to the source and having their audience pick a new author for them.
Another incredible part of this writing competition is that it is open to authors around the world and there is no entry fee. Many writing competitions, such as the Writer’s Digest writing competitions, require authors to pay an entry fee. Depending on how many competitions an author enters, they could definitely spend a lot of money with little return. The only requirement for The Write Affair competition is that the competitor should be at least 16 years old and have an email account and Internet connection. I think that this definitely opens the field up to more authors in comparison to other competitions that charge a fee or limit submissions based on country.
The contest isn’t a perfect solution to the exclusivity of the publishing world. The contest specifies that the Wattpad users vote based on the first 4,000 to 5,000 words of an author’s manuscript and their 1,000 word synopsis. An author might have an incredibly polished first 4,000 words, but what if the rest of the manuscript is below par? Although the finalists are voted on by a panel of judges, it doesn’t seem quite right that a very polished first chapter is all an author could need in order to get voted into the Top Ten.
I’m not sure if any of the major publishing houses would ever adopt this method in order to secure a new author, but I think it’s a trend that could crop up within other independent publishing houses. Not only would the publishing house have the opportunity to read a manuscript from an otherwise unknown author, but that unknown author would be handpicked by a selection of their peers. I think the format is a really fascinating one and it gives authors a tremendous opportunity to get into the publishing industry without the risk of self publishing. I am interested to see the outcome of this competition and I hope we see more writing competitions like this one in the future.
For more information on how to enter your manuscript into The Write Affair contest, click here. If you decide to enter, I wish you the best of luck! If you have any thoughts on The Write Affair contest, please share them in the comments.
Until next week,