AOL Time Warner Launches

Posted on May 2, 2001

AOL Time Warner has launched, a new digital publishing venture. is an online community where aspiring writers can submit their works directly for consideration for publication. AOL Time Warner hopes the new venture will help them discover new writing talent. Selected titles will be published as ebooks and some will also be available in print through print-on-demand technology. The most successful works may also be given the opportunity for national print runs. started its digital publishing program last September, when it released a monthly list of new ebooks.

iWrite is the community area of which offers writers a way to get their work in front of other writers and editors. Writers must review at least three short excerpts from works by other authors before they can post an excerpt of their work for consideration. If an excerpt receives high ratings, an editor will read the full manuscript and decide if the work should be published as an ebook and, if it meets certain requirements, as a print-on-demand book.

The rating system is just one of several ways is a different epublishing model than competitors, and Unlike its competition does not charge writers for publication, however, will also not publish all of the manuscripts it receives. Contract terms and the amount of royalties paid vary widely among other epublishers. takes exclusive digital media rights if the author's work is accepted. The author also agrees not to submit the work to any other publisher for ninety days after it is submitted to Royalties for works accepted by start at 25 percent of net sales. Complete contract information and submission guidelines can be found in the iWrite section of

Greg Voynow, senior vice president and general manager of, " dramatically expands the opportunities for new authors who don't have a high-powered agent in New York. By placing priority on merit rather than connections, we will be able to give the best writers the attention they deserve."

Noting that most manuscripts are returned each year unread, Voynow emphasized that at Time Warner Books represents ``a virtual foot in the door'' to publishers for overlooked writers. He said that boasts a dedicated team of veteran editors from Time Warner Trade Publishing who will be reviewing author submissions. Voynow said will commit full resources to its growing list of titles, including marketing, promotion, and distribution though all major ebook retailers. The most successful ebooks may have the opportunity to be distributed as print editions nationwide with the full support of Time Warner Trade Publishing.

According to Claire Zion, editorial director, is seeking fiction and non-fiction of any length in a wide range of genres, including romance, mystery, science fiction, and business.

Zion says, " gives writers a direct way to reach publishers and get their work recognized. By learning what our online community wants, we can respond to their specific interests, experiment with content, and truly expand the universe of reading."

The site also includes assignments boards which provide information from editors on the specific topics and types of works they are seeking to publish, message boards and publishing tips and lectures. will publish titles in multiple formats including Microsoft Reader, Adobe Reader, Palm Reader, and Gemstar eBook. Print-on-demand titles will be offered through its arrangement with Lightning Source. Prices for ebooks at will about 40 - 60 percent cheaper than print counterparts.

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