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Jean M Smith

I have finally received a message informing me that my book is ready for ordering. Great! The only problem is that the book advertised on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Bookbutler does not match the information shown beside it. The book shown is by someone called Toni Sands whose title is Suddenly You Know, whereas my book is called The Unraveller.
The cover of these books is problematic also. Toni Sands book appears to have the same cover design is mine, so if I order some copies of my book, will it be my book inside the cover? The cover design that I have been given is also completely unsuitable for the genre (teenage fantasy.
I would like to know who Toni Sands is because he must be just as frustrated as I am.

D E Gregory

Dear folks at Legend Press, I am not going to shout and rant or hit you with a venomous tirade. I think you have probably had a belly full of slander over recent weeks. Instead, I am going to employ a polite and calm approach to my inquiry.

Like so many others, I am wondering what has become of my novel you so generously offered to publish as a part of your Publishing Initiative. I appreciate that there may have been all manner of complications due to the large number of people who applied and I understand that the workload must have been huge. Having sent numerous emails to the folks at YWO I thought I would change tack and contact you in the hope that you might be able to shed some light on the matter of my missing book.

Having paid the £39.99 distribution fee and spent many long hours formatting my novel according to the specification laid out in YWO’s info, I felt I’d done everything in my power to ensure my book was given physical form easily and with the least amount of hassle to your good selves. Sadly, as February draws to a close I still have no idea where my book is or whether it will even be published.

All I need is some information please. Is there someone somewhere who can inform me either way so I can get on with my life and my writing? If it is going to be published then great, if not, then fair enough and please can I have my money back? I’m sure you have been inundated with many hundreds of similar requests so I don’t hold much hope of getting a response anytime soon but at least I have tried. My novel is called ‘The Darkness Wakes’ – if that is of any help. Any information would be most useful – this limbo is most frustrating.

Yours hopefully

D E Gregory


And if you've stopped laughing, try this one too:


Great job, Ted & Tom. Even Bill & Ben couldn't top that lot.




Just take a look at these two books offered on Amazon. This is getting unbelievable!!!

Jean M Smith

I have received confirmation that my book The Unraveller is ready for ordering. However, with the complete lack of contact allowed, I was unable to have advance notice of how the cover would look so I decided to look my book up on Amazon before I placed an order. I found to my horror that my details had been placed next to another author's work, so there was my book The Unraveller by Jean M Smith sitting next to the ilustrated front cover of a novel by Toni Sands.

To compound my confusion, when I looked on the WHSmith website I found my book, but it had exactly the same cover as Toni Sands, but with my name on it, so now I don't know which book is which. If this is the correct cover for my book, why has is been duplicated for Mr Sands.

I must say that if this is the correct cover for my book I am a little disappointed. It lacks imagination for the cover of a fantasy novel.

A confused author called Jean M Smith.




Hi Guys,
I posted the following comment last week - and it quickly and quietly disappeared! Hopefully, it'll slip through the net this time, at least until the new working week! I'd thoroughly recommend taking a look at the following website for up-to-the-minute discussions on the YWO Publishing Disaster. (There's nowhere you can discuss it on the YWO website, that's for sure...)

Are you still trying to cancel your YWO POD publication before it finally goes ahead?
Do you keep e-mailing "Tom" and "Ted" but receive no reply? Not even an acknowledgement? Have you tried calling, but got a "no such number" message from BT,(YWO no. given on website), or a "full answer machine cut-off" from Legend? I got all the above.

I wanted to cancel, as despite the assurances from YWO that they would help me if I get a publisher or agent in the future,it now appears that no publisher or agent would be interested in anything already published, as "first rights" would have already gone.
I also had doubts that my book would appear in time for Christmas as promised, this being the middle of February...

So... the way around this, if you want to cancel, appears to be the following e-mail sent to both "Ted" and "Tom" on every possible e-mail address, including the message posting facility on their websites.

My cancellation request was accompanied by the following message, to both Legend and YWO:
"If you don’t respond to this Cancellation request by end of day on (next day's date), I shall contact Trading Standards with immediate effect. I have e-mailed you over and over, and your phone doesn’t accept incoming calls. I’ve e-mailed all your other business e-mail addresses, and you ignore all of them.
You are supposedly running a business, and have stated in writing that you will cancel the publication of any book when requested to do so. Enough is enough. Reply to this e-mail, or I shall report Legend Press for business malpractice."
Surprise, surprise, I received two confirmations of cancellation the next day.
One from "Tom."
And one from "Ted" too.
They would appear none too keen on being reported to Trading Standards.
Now why could that be???

YWO is apparently a one man band, and its use of the Arts Council logo on the Legend website is misleading, to say the least. This has been reported many times already to the Arts Council. However, I think the biggest problem is with Legend, who are supposedly a "proper" publishing firm. This sort of behaviour is not what one should expect from any reputable company. One therefore has to draw one's own conclusions.

As for me, that's the easy bit. Now for the tricky business of trying to attract a real agent or publisher!

Jane Smith

Thank you to Steve, who posted a link to my blog earlier in this thread--I've had a lot of visitors as a result, and I've blogged about this again today.

I've just spoken with YouWriteOn's web company, Zarr, and they've confirmed that there is no updating being carried out on the message board: apprently, it's been shut down because YWO is too busy doing other things to be able to "police it" properly at the moment. Zarr told me that YWO planned to reopen it in the middle of this month, but they don't know if this will go ahead or not.


Hi Tom,
How are things in Cloud Cuckoo Land? Nice by the sound of it. You're being paid a salary to do this job, rather than doing us all some big favour out of the goodness of your heart. We didn't ask for free publishing; you came up with the idea, and raised our hopes.

Rather than banging on about "all" these "big successes," take a look at what's happened for most of us. Not simply nothing, but worse than nothing. We've put in hours of work, trying to comply with conflicting instructions from you and "Ted". Don't you guys EVER speak? That last batch of e-mails from you didn't tally with "Ted's" instructions on the YWO website. Whose fault is that? Ours???

Regarding your admission above that "there are also lessons from the challenges and we're working on improving and adding to the service as it develops," what service??? How about an apology to the vast majority of authors who have been totally let down by the failure of this project? Whilst it's nice to know a handful of people, including one in Australia, are apparently "pleased and delighted," that really just annoys everyone else who's been let down, disappointed and ignored, and incredible as it may seem, makes them feel even worse.

Also, those authors MUST have had more contact with you than the rest of us have been allowed, (ie none), as books don't even turn up when ordered, as Maureen states above. In a similar vein, whilst it's nice to know you are learning how to do your job, it really isn't the top of our list of concerns. Is this how Legend treats all its customers?

Does Legend Press know what a shambles this is? Perhaps you'd be good enough to add your line manager's name to this post, so we can bring him up to speed about your lack of it?


Hi Maureen, if you have a book order query best to email youwriteonbookorders@googlemail.com - though I actually went through first thing to deal with any outstanding order queries and yours has now been processed through. Good luck with the school readings!

Re other comments, updates have been sent out over the last two weeks and expect to complete virtually all those remaining by the end of the month. It has been a hugely ambitious project and, for all the success stories so far, there are also lessons from the challenges and we're working on improving and adding to the service as it develops.


Maureen Nicholls

Hi, I too am one of the successful authors and my book has been published and is on view on Amazon - indeed people tell me they have received my book from Amazon and one from Waterstones, however, the wait is long and questions are being asked that I simply can't answer. Also, I have been offered the chance to do several readings for local schools (my book is for children) and for the local book shop but wthout copies to show and hopefully sell, I cannot do any of this. I have been waiting since beginning of January for an order of 20 books. PLEASE can anyone help me? Or at least suggest what to do next? Is anyone from YWO?Legend reading any of this?
Maureen Nicholls


I didn't order the ISBN service, as I was informed in your original info that if I ordered my own book through the website, I would NOT receive royalties, but by implication, but that if I ordered other writers' books through the website, then they WOULD receive royalties. I took this to mean that if someone else ordered MY book through the website, then I WOULD receive royalties, and so long as I could arrange that, then there would be no benefit to me in paying £40 for an ISBN to go on Amazon. I have read elsewhere that NO royalties will be paid out for any books ordered through the YWO website, which I feel is actually misleading, and likely to fall foul of the Misrepresentation of Goods Act. If this is the case, then any books purchased, pig in a poke style at first, can only be obtained at full retail price. In other words, without paying the £40, none of us can buy and sell any quantity of books, except by paying full price. Please could you confirm the situation with royalties once and for all, with specific reference to where the terms are explained clearly in the original contract. I hope I am wrong, but this is looking increasingly like a scam.

Jean M Smith

There was no information given about method of payment for the ISBN, so although I ordered one, I haven't yet sent any money.
I did think that the task of publishing 5000 books by Xmas was ambitious, especially when the final submission date was 31st October.
I am also one of the supposedly successful submissions, but am fast giving up any hope of seeing my book in print.
Please give some hope with a specific message on the web site.


Hey Tom

You heard from Ted...?

What annoys me is that I will be fine (after the heartbreak of christmas) with a Dear Mr Wortley - you are 4999th of 5000 and we are currently processing number 46...


Thanks for listening
Disappointed of Rothwell


Thanks for everyone's comments and sorry for being a bit slow to respond individually - the initiative has generated a huge amount of interest, which is great, and we've still been working jointly with YWO to get everyone's books complete. We're getting the remainder through production as we speak and hope to be able to inform those waiting that their books are now available very shortly!

It's been an ambitious challenge and it's very exciting to see the success stories so far, with successful launches, signings and quite a few large orders. It's also great if the project has prompted some debate - POD technology is a very interesting new aspect of the publishing market and will provide new opportunities for writers.



If anyone's beginning to wonder if they've "been had," I'd suggest follow the following link to a blog I found through the "Writer Beware" anti-scam site.


It makes for interesting reading. For instance, did you know ISBN's cost just over a tenner each? Or that the high percentage royalty promised could be "after deducting printing costs," ie it could be a high percentage of sixpence??
A lot of people must have bargained on getting "their" books for Christmas presents, and will obviously be disappointed. I suspect, though, that everyone's afraid to say anything for fear of upsetting "Ted" and having him "pull" their book.
With no contact or queries allowed, and no books appearing except for single figures at most, as shown by photos on the Youwriteon website, one has to wonder whether the whole thing was

a - a scam to get people to part with money for ISBN's (and don't forget, queries won't be answered!!) - Is "Ted" still in the country?


b - just a total ambitious and incompetently handled cock-up?

You pays your money (if you sent in forty quid for an invisible ISBN!) and you takes your choice.

To be honest, neither appeals! Incidentally, has anyone ever seen "Ted" in the same room as "Tom Champagne," the old Reader's Digest Prize Fund Manager? Come to that, has anyone ever seen either of them?

Marit Meredith

I had decided to wait with any enquires until the end of January, because of the e-mail that we all had in December, but as I haven't heard anything about my own manuscript at all since submitting it, I'm beginning to wonder whether it disappeared into the ether. An update would be good.

Susan Baccino

I do wish Ted would open up the Message Board or at least send out emails to those of us who are still waiting.
I did everything that was asked of me, followed their instructions, replied to emails by return, was promised my book by Christmas. It's now mid-January and no sign of my book, Birthrights.
I don't want to cancel, but I'm beginning to think it's the sensible next step. But will I get back the £39.99 that I paid in good faith, and how long would it take?
I'd like to think that YWO and Legend Press will honour their promise.


I was also "one of the kucky ones..."
Followed instructions to the letter, and still waiting.
Out of the 5,000 books promised by Christmas, does anyone know anyone who's received one? I suspect only a handful of perfectly formatted PDF files have been transferred, ie the authors did all the work for them.
If the demand took YWO by surprise, and they offered 5,000 books, and they accepte 5,000 books, then where's the surprise?
This looks like a scam to secure last-minute Government funding from the Arts Council. Surely not???


Hi, I'm one the lucky ones chosen for the free publishing. Would like to know if the books available to purchase will go through grammatical correction, etc. Because those that will be on the YWO website won't go through that process. Also, will the books be stocked in store? Many thanks


I'd like to send my MS in as a Word document, but I'm a bit concerned about the 'Hard Returns' problems and how to correct them.

Anyone else formatting in Word - or are you all using PDF?

Regards, Kaz


Hi all,

Edward from YWO has sent me some FAQs which should hopefully cover most of your questions - hope they are of some help!

1. We will aim to publish books at marketable prices. For example, a 300 page book we recently published called Bufflehead Sisters which achieved a two book deal with Penguin was retailed at £6.49. This is a guide, book prices will depend on size of books.
2. Authors will be able to order copies of their own books. Author discounts on their own books will be advised upon publication as uptake has been very high which should enable us to arrange more advantageous discounts for writers. We will be able to inform writers nearer publication in December.
3. Books do not have ISBNs added for free publishing, they are sold through the YouWriteOn site, the UK's most popular Arts Council funded site for new writers. Should you wish to potentially achieve a much higher readership through being available to order through the ordering services of major booksellers throughout the UK, US and worldwide, such as Waterstones, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and WH Smith's, then you can do so for £39.99 through our separate partnership with Legend Press. Legend Press has been shortlisted for five publishing and business awards over the last 18 months, and in 2008 one of their titles Salt & Honey by Candi Miller was named as one of World Book Day's 'Top Ten Books to Talk About'. Email youwriteon@legendpress.co.uk and add 'Book Distribution' in your email header, along with your details and book details inside the email. Legend Press will send you detail of how to apply.
4. Cover design. Writers can provide their own covers or we will prepare one if they do not have one. See submission instructions that we have sent you for further details.

We look forward to publishing your book.


Sarah Turner

I am also one of the lucky ones and wonder about the chapters starting on even numbered pages only -this creates quite a lot of blank pages which looks rather odd - also I wish to send the cover as a pdf file and would like to know the spine calculation for a 364 page book


It took about 24 hours.


Hi Reggie & Chris,

I too have applied to be included in this initiative. How soon after applying did you know you were "in"?

Best, Kaz

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