I just received an email from WOTF entitled: M. O. Muriel Releases The Land of OCKT.
Recent Writers of the Future winner and Illustrators of the Future alum Meghan Muriel has just released her illustrated, young adult novel The Land of OCKT.
Available at Smashwords.
Well done and all that, but this is simply saying to me, win WOTF and you too can self publish.
Well I do anyway. It really does blow apart the notion that winners can go on to bigger things. There may be more to it, the author might have turned down a massive publishing deal to go it alone, but it's still not a good advert for WOTF.
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I don't think it's anything more than writers of the future putting forth a PR effort for a winner. I know the reason she went via Smashwords is that it's impossible for a first timer to illustrate their own work through traditional publishing. For those kind of projects, I see self-publishing via Smashwords as ideal.
As for "blowing apart the notion that winners can go on to bigger things", I'm not sure that the email really means anything either way, especially since Meghan won this year and her winning entry isn't published yet.
The unofficial stat is around 1/3rd of winners go on to be "professional" writers (I may be pulling that out of thin air). If WOTF want to highlight the success stories, they have some pretty big names they could highlight. I think this is simply Meghan being offered some excellent PR. Plenty of people win WOTF and go onto absolutely nothing, but a very significant percentage do go onto bigger things.
Meghan tried to get the book picked up through traditional pub for like two years I think. She said some pub's outright laughed when she said she wanted, not only to illustrate herself, but that she already had and everything was ready to go.
She started entering the WotF in order to be taken seriously, but as it turns out, in the two years since, self pub has gone berserk.
Thus, she's getting her book out exactly how she wants it out, plus, she's got the win to get her name out there. Free promotion.
I see what you're saying about it looking like a step back, not landing a deal with a publisher, but I'm not sure that matters as much nowadays. Not with the success stories coming from self-pubbers. If she sells a million copies of that book - she'll be a success story, and WotF will look prophetic.
Nick, I've heard that number as well. I've Googled past winner's names and sometimes the WotF is all I find on them. =(