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March 2009 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • 'Although there were fears that the Bologna Children’s Book Fair was going to be less busy this year as a result of the recession, the most important annual rights fair for children’s publishers seems to have been business as usual.'  News Review on Bologna and children's books.
  • News Review looks at libraries and how cuts in funding and book budgets are balanced by successful promotions. We argue that we should support them because libraries are a prerequisite of a civilised society.
  • 'How is the economic slowdown affecting books? We’ve managed to stay off the subject of the recession for over two months, so now is the time to have another look at how it is affecting the book business. The first thing to say is that things look bleaker in the US than they do in the UK, although no-one is having a particularly comfortable time... News Review finds that the news from the sharp end is not all bad.
  • News Review summarises the triumphs of World Book Day 2009, including Reading Aroud the World, Books to Talk about and Quick Reads
  • News Review looks at the recent relaunch of the Kindle and what it means for the book business, with its challenge to the traditional book and possible infringement of authors' audio rights. 

Comment

  • 'Writing is a very emotional thing, especially when words come in a way that you know is right.  At the heart of the writer’s life there can be a great sweetness.  And it’s also a great adventure: your whole life, from book to book, is a constant adventure.’ Graham Swift in the Observer.
  • 'It is through the power and music and magic of stories and poems that children can expand their own intellectual curiosity, develop the empathy and awareness that they will need to tackle the complexities of their own emotions, of the human condition in which they find themselves.' Michael Morpurgo in The Times.
  • 'If backlist sales decline significantly - notwithstanding the questionable "Long Tail" argument - will publishers have to rely on frontlist and ancillary revenues?...  We're in an industry that produces perhaps 100,000 new consumer titles every year. We publish as many consumer titles in a day as Hollywood releases movies in a year, each supported by marketing budgets book publishers cannot emulate.' Lawrence Orbach CEO of Quarto, in the Bookseller
  • 'I think readers who aren’t used to reading contemporary poetry are surprised to find it’s about our world now, our experience; it talks about movies and pop music and stuff. It’s not some fuddy-duddy thing, and most of it contains a good deal of imaginative brilliance.'
    John Stammers, poet
  • 'Just get it all down without being too self-conscious.  I carried a notebook, but I kept losing it; so I just store ideas in my head.  With the first draft you should get it all out, then revise later.  I never know what will happen when I sit down and that's what keeps me hooked on writing.  I want to know how it will end.' Catherine Alliott on her own writing and her advice to writers, in the Sunday Telegraph's Stella

    Writers' Quote

    'This before all: ask yourself in the quietest hour of your night: must I write? Dig down into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should be in the affirmative, if you may meet this solemn question with a strong and simple, I must, then build your life according to this necessity.'
    Rainer Maria Rilke

    The Slush-pile

    WritersServices editor Kay GaleWritersServices editor who has worked for many years as a freelance editor for number of publishers. She is also a practising homeopath and her website is www.twickenhamhomeopathy.co.uk has many years of experience dealing with the slush-pile.  Here are her tips on how to get your submission through it.

    Tips for Writers 8

    The eighth and final set of our new pages of tips for writers deals with the all-important subject of submissions to publishers and agents.

    Improving your writing

    Learning on the job

    New technology and the Internet

    Self-publishing - is it for you?

    Promoting your writing (and yourself)

    Other kinds of writing

    Keep up to date

    Submission to publishers and agents

    Keyboard skills

    Think how much learning to touch-type would speed up your typing and help you avoid errors!  Our new list of free and very cheap software makes it easy to access what's available online.

    Success story: Michelle Harrison

    ‘There were times when I wondered if it was really worth it as I kept getting kicked down. But you have to really believe in what you're doing – it was my dream. I knew from the age of about 14 that I wanted to be a writer and I was writing short stories and was encouraged by teachers...  I was drawn to children's fiction because it gave me the opportunity to both write and illustrate.'

     

    Magazine - Reader in chair

    Manuscript Typing fictionalised story

    The latest in our series shows how John used our Manuscript Typing service to get his father's George's wartime diary typed up and ready for submission to publishers.

     

    Here's our index of fictionalised stories, which explain how the services work and what they might be able to do for you. Ranging from the Editor's Report to Private Publishing, these provide a different picture of what the services can do for you.

    International Book Fairs 2009

    Our annual updated listing of the world's book fairs is now available on the site.

    How to market your writing services online

    Ghostwriter Joanne PhillipsUK-based freelance writer and ghostwriter. She has had articles published in national writing magazines, and has ghostwritten books on subjects as diverse as hairdressing and keeping chickens. Visit her at www.joannephillips.co.uk shows you how you can market yourself online through your own website, optimisation, ezines and freelance writing websites.  Essential reading for any writer who wants to promote themself on the web.

    See also our more general article on Copyright in ourInside Publishing series and our article Print on demand and the Long Tail in Changes in Publishing.

    Choosing a Service

    Are you having difficulty deciding which service might be right for you? This useful new article by Chris HolifieldManaging director of WritersServices; spent working life in publishing,employed by everything from global corporations to start-ups; track record includes: editorial director of Sphere Books, publishing director of The Bodley Head, publishing director for start-up of upmarket book club, The Softback Preview, editorial director of Britain’s biggest book club group, BCA, and, most recently, deputy MD and publisher of Cassell & Co. She is also currently the Director of the Poetry Book Society; During all of this time aware of problems faced by writers, as publishing changed from idiosyncratic cottage industry, 'occupation for gentlemen', into corporate business of today. Writers encountered increasing difficulty in getting books edited or published. Authors create the books which are the raw material for the whole business. She believes it is time to bring them back to centre stage. offers advice on what to go for, depending on what stage you are at with your writing.

    New Categories series

    Writing Romance

    This is the third article in a new series by Chris HolifieldManaging director of WritersServices; spent working life in publishing,employed by everything from global corporations to start-ups; track record includes: editorial director of Sphere Books, publishing director of The Bodley Head, publishing director for start-up of upmarket book club, The Softback Preview, editorial director of Britain’s biggest book club group, BCA, and, most recently, deputy MD and publisher of Cassell & Co. She is also currently the Director of the Poetry Book Society; During all of this time aware of problems faced by writers, as publishing changed from idiosyncratic cottage industry, 'occupation for gentlemen', into corporate business of today. Writers encountered increasing difficulty in getting books edited or published. Authors create the books which are the raw material for the whole business. She believes it is time to bring them back to centre stage. which will cover the major writing genres. It looks at romance, which is dominated in the UK and the US by Mills and Boon Harlequin, which brings out 120 books a month.  Study their guidelines before you get started or at least before you submit to them.

    Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy looks at Science Fiction and Fantasy and suggests how you should get started, what special considerations you should bear in mind and what the market's like.

    Writing Crime Fiction looks at the international market for crime novels and shows what is working for this readership and how you can give your own crime fiction its best chance of getting published.

    Success stories: Seamus Heaney and Eric Carle

    Seamus Heaney won the ninth David Cohen Prize for Literature this week, while Eric Carle celebrated the 40th anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

    Winner of the 2008 Diagram Prize for the Oddest Title of the Year

    Here's the winner and shortlist for the 2008 Diagram Prize.  It's been another strong year. So, was it  Baboon Metaphysics, Strip and Knit with Style or The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-miligram Containers of Fromage Frais?

    Sell, don't tell

    Some do’s and don’ts if you want to sell a script

    If you want to turn your book, dream or idea into a performance script for film, stage or radio, it is going to be a very tough pitch. There are a some pretty strict ‘rules’ which you need to follow if you are to maximise your chance of success. Chas Jonesauthor; formerly nerd responsible for keeping the site running; spent over 25 years in computer business; started out dusting bugs off valves, but in time graduated to writing software and managing projects; as published author with stack of waiting-to-be-published manuscripts tucked away, WritersServices is answer to his silent prayer; his book 'Ordinary Heroes' An extraordinary true story of wartime adventure; recently published book about Battle of Fulford-'Fulford the forgotten battle of 1066', published by Tempus ISBN 0752438107's two part article shows you how to make a successful pitch. Part 1 and Part 2

    Agents' Listings

    The agents' listings from the 2009 Writers' and Artists' Yearbook can be searched:

    UK agents

    US agents

    Agents from the rest of the world

    Children's specialist agents

    Inside Publishing series

    This extremely useful 19-part series is in the midst of being revised to take account of changes in the publishing world. The introduction, How the publishing business works, Advances and royalties, The Relationship between agents and publishers, Subsidiary rights, The English-speaking publishing world and The Marketing department have all just been brought up-to-date.

    This second week we're on to The Frankfurt Book Fair, the Sales Department, the Production Department, Pricing and Distribution.

    And the third week it's Books clubs and Direct selling.  The fourth covers Creative Commons.

    Our Editorial Services for writers

    Check out the 17 different editorial services we offer, from Reports to Copy editing, Typing to Rewriting.

    Help for Writers

    Check out this page to find links to the huge number of useful articles on this site, including Finding an Agent and Making Submissions.