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What's New in 2016

2016

19 December 2016 - What's new

December 2016
  • The power of authors to influence their publishers was shown this week when Penguin Random House UKPenguin Random House have more than 50 creative and autonomous imprints, publishing the very best books for all audiences, covering fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children’s books, autobiographies and much more. Click for Random House UK Publishers References listing, which was formed four years ago when Penguin and Random House merged to form the biggest international trade publisher with turnover of £2.4bn, had to climb down after announcing that it had terminated its formal relationship with Unite and the National Union of JournalistsRepresents British journalists and photographers. Has a useful list of links to media resources. http://media.gn.apc.org/The site links to a NUJ freelance fees site. News Review.
  • Although there's only £500 prize money involved, the CWA Debut Dagger 2017 is well worth entering because of the promotion involved. Only unpublished authors are eligible and there's an entry fee of £30 + VAT, closing on 17 February.
  • Are you a self-publisher? Do you want your book to be properly published? There's no reason why a self-publisher shouldn't have as good a chance of finding an audience as an author whose book is coming out from a publisher. But what really lets their work down is if it hasn't been professionally copy edited. Effectively a self-publisher who goes ahead without copy editing is just publishing a manuscript, a work-in-progress which readers will react against because of all the errors. Copy editing for self-publishers
  • 'I wrote just three chapters to start with and sent them to ten agents. I received nine rejection letter in quick succession, but then the tenth letter arrived and it was an agent wanting to see the complete book. That changed everything. I moved in with my boyfriend to save on rent, took a part-time job and began writing two-and-a-half days a week...' Lisa Jewell, author of Ralph's Party, I Found You and ten other novels in our Comment column.
  • From Tom Chalmers of IPR, two articles about rights for self-publishers, Self-publishing - the rights way and How to get your book in the hands of an international audience. 'It's a fact that most self-published authors understand the process that takes them from a written manuscript to a published book, but few realise the additional elements that make publishing a profitable business. Rights licensing is arguably the most vital element in this equation. Whether it's selling translation rights, audio rights or optioning the film rights, these all help balance the book's books...'
  • Our links: an invaluable list for those getting started as writers, How to Be a Writer: 10 Tips from Rebecca Solnit | Literary Hub; the almost sacrilegious suggestion that a box set might be 'better' than a novel, Does Westworld tell a truer story than a novel can? | Books | The Guardian; why print books are better for you, Science Says You Should Still Keep Reading Print Books Over e-Books | GOOD; and a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how reviewers work, 10 Things You Didn't Know About How the NY Times Book Review Works | Literary Hub.
  • Our Publishing Glossary is a really helpful way of finding your way about the business.
  • More links: for years, I knew Octavia E. Butler, the famed African American science fiction and fantasy writer, by her first name only, Public Books - My Neighbor Octavia; the astounding economic impact of Amazon and what it really means to be a bookseller, Bookselling in the 21st Century: The Perils of Shopping Local | Literary Hub; and what does winning prizes really do to small publishers? Small Press, Big Prize: Inside Brooklyn Arts Press.
  • To find a mass of useful material on the site, try this page - Advice for Writers.
  • 'Sheer egoism... Writers share this characteristic with scientists, artists, politicians, lawyers, soldiers, successful businessmen - in short, with the whole top crust of humanity.' George Orwell in our Writers' Quotes.

12 December 2016 - What's new

December 2016
  • Poetry is not often the focus of attention, but this week we've chosen to feature two links to substantial articles which look at the state of poetry and how poets can be supported, from different sides of the Atlantic. Both are worth reading by anyone who is concerned about the state of the poetry world. News Review
  • The Mogford Food and Drink Short Story Prize is something different and perhaps appropriate for the festive season. It's open to all writers from across the world with a £10 entry fee, a prize of £10,000 and closes on 15 January.
  • Our Children's Editorial Services can help you get your work ready for publication or self-publishing. Have you found it difficult to get expert editorial input on your work ? Do you want to know if it has real commercial potential? Or are you planning to self-publish? Two reports and copy editing are available from our particularly highly-skilled children's editors, including essential advice on age groups and vocabulary.
  • Our links: now here's a novelist with an innate talent to cause outrage, A conversation with Martin Amis - Livemint; when novelists move to big publishers once they hit the big time, you have to wonder - Are small publishers doing all the hard work for the big ones? | Books | The Guardian; why is this author driven to write such dark stories? BookBrunch - Why we love psychological suspense; and how do you write across different genres? Idra Novey, Hannah Sanghee Park, Gregory Pardlo, and Mark Richard Talk to Olivia Clare About Multiple Genres - Los Angeles Review of Books.
  • 'The agent works for the writer. He's the writer's interpreter, business adviser, and ideally the stable element in the writer's life - always available at the end of the phone, always ready to read and respond. The agent is the gardener on an author's estate. A writer is like a convict, spending a good part of their time in solitary confinement. So the writer is idiosyncratic, a-socialized, isolated, insecure...' Andrew Wylie, aka ‘The Jackal', of The Wylie Agency, speaking at the Guadalajara International Book Fair, provides this week's Comment on the role of the literary agent.
  • Our article on How to get your book translated into English (without it costing the earth) asks writers with a manuscript which needs translating: "if your English is good enough, what about translating your book yourself, and then getting your translation polished and copy edited by a professional editor who is a native English speaker?" This could be a cost-effective way of reaching the international English-speaking market.
  • More links: a very helpful to-do list to guide your self-publishing project to completion, from a real authority, The Self-Publishing Checklist: Editorial, Production, Distribution; a single book created the "bodice ripper" as a concept and cultural phenomenon, 1972's The Flame and the Flower, The Sweet, Savage Sexual Revolution That Set the Romance Novel Free; a friend recently said to me, "Poetry is the non-profit of literature", How Do We Pay the Poets? | Literary Hub; and poetry and poetry publishing in the UK, Public Poetry - Like This Press.
  • Rotten Rejections - Most of these are taken from Andre Bernard's wonderful little book Rotten Rejections: The Letters that Publishers Wish They'd Never Sent. This extraordinary collection of rejection letters sent by publishers to writers - many delivered to now famous authors of classic books - will make you laugh and provide comfort in the face of your own struggles to get published. Do send your own rejections.
  • Continuing the poetry theme with this week's Writers' Quotes: 'A poet, any real poet, is simply an alchemist who transmutes his cynicism regarding human beings into an optimism regarding the moon, the stars, the heavens, and the flowers, to say nothing of spring, love, and dogs.' George Jean Nathan.

5 December 2016 - What's new

December 2016
  • ‘I wrote my first mystery novel, The Thomas Berryman Number, when I was 26. It was turned down by, I don't know, thirty or more publishers. Then it was bought and went on to win the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. Obviously, and I know this from experience, perseverance is key to making it as a writer. You have to be able to accept rejection and keep going. If you know that it's what you want to do, then you need to make it happen. No one else will make it happen for you...' Our Comment this week comes from James Patterson, author of Cross the Line and many other novels, whose sales amount to 350million + books.
  • It's a measure of the growing interest in short stories, amongst both writers and readers, that Costa launched its short story prize in 2012 and that the public is currently invited to read and listen to the shortlisted stories selected from over 1,000 entries on the Costa Book Awards website, and to take part in the public vote. News Review
  • Writing Biography & Autobiography is a serialisation from our archive of the book by Brian D Osborne published by A & C BlackClick for A & C Black Publishers Publishers References listing. In the first excerpt, 'Managing the matters of truth and objectivity', the author says: 'Just as you need to remember that letters, reports, census forms, legal documents and so forth were not created simply for our convenience, so you also need to remember that what is written in them may not be true...'
  • Our Poetry Critique service and Poetry Collection Editing service might help you to work out where you've got to with your poetry. Do you want to make sure that your poetry is as good as it can be before you go ahead with submitting to competitions, magazines or websites, or do you want help to prepare a collection? Our Poetry Collection Editing service is unique and is a real help when what you need is editorial advice on preparing your collection for self-publishing or submission.
  • Our links: everyone may have a book in them, but what about a bestselling one? Periodically a book comes out of nowhere that captures the imagination - and the public's money - to become a break-out hit, The Bestseller Experiment: can you deliberately write a blockbuster book? | Books | The Guardian; is "the book market in secular decline" or does a brighter future beckon? - a report from the Futurebook conference, #FutureBook16: The future of the book is... human | The Bookseller; from the bestselling crime writer who is publishing her 30th book this year, Val McDermid: ‘It Doesn't Get Easier, It Gets Harder!' | Literary Hub; and Tim Parks asks an important question of readers: "Do we need to finish [books]?" What Does It Mean to Have ‘Read' a Book? | Read It Forward.
  • Have you managed to find a publisher for your work and are now enjoying the thrill of knowing that your book will soon be published? If you're wondering what happens next or just dreaming of being in that situation, Preparing for Publication gives an outline of the processes involved.
  • More links: did you know that "the three top languages combined, English, German and French, account for roughly four in five translations recorded"? Diversity in Translation, a New Report from Europe; how self-published writers can get their books into neighborhood bookshops, How Indie Authors Can Sell Their Print Books at Local Bookstores - DBW; and the spokesperson for this year's Bad Sex in Fiction Award explains why literary copulation is so often terrible, Putting Penis to Paper: When Sex Writing Goes Terribly Wrong | Broadly.
  • 'The test of a writer is whether you want to read him again years after he should by the rules be dated.' Raymond Chandler provides this week's Writers' Quote.

28 November 2016 - What's new

November 2016

21 November 2016 - What's new

November 2016
  • This week we have just launched the Writer's edit, a top-level new service for writers who want line-editing as well as copy editing. Does your manuscript need high-level input from an editor to help you get it into the best possible shape for submission or self-publishing? This may be the service for you, offering the kind of editing which publishers' senior editors used to do in-house on their authors' manuscripts and which is now hard to find.
  • 'So what can we say that's positive about the big changes in the situation for authors over the last few years? It's really a matter of the way writers now have the opportunity to get out there and shape their own destiny. This week's News Review is on how Self-publishing has changed the world for writers.
  • Have you ever wondered why you don't win any of those competitions? Our tips on Entering Competitions will help you to improve your chances.
  • 'But the truth is that sex and love make the world go round, just as much as money does. I think now more than ever, erotic fiction is there to be read and people are reading it. It's maybe taken too long to get to this point, but I think it can only be a good thing...' 'Queen of erotic literature' and author of bestseller The Protector Jodi Ellen Malpas, from an interview in Bookbrunch, provides our Comment on Writing bestselling erotic fiction.
  • 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' The Business of Writing for Self-publishing authors offers terrific advice for all writers: 'Self-publishing authors - also known as ‘indie' authors or author-publishers - have had a steep learning curve these past few years. Getting to grips with the various sales channels available to them, producing top quality ebooks and paperbacks, and finding a place in mainstream outlets have left many writers struggling to keep up with the paperwork. What follows is brief guide to the essentials your self-publishing business needs - because it is a business, even if you only publish one book!'
  • Our links: a witty article asking: is the new book reviewing world a soft touch? Death of the hatchet job; from the tireless writer on writing, really useful Marketing and Publishing Checklists for Writers | Jane Friedman; poetry, it seems, is back, Don't Look Now, But 2016 Is Resurrecting Poetry | WIRED; and you may have a clear vision for what or who your book is about - but do you know how to tell your story? Writing in Third Person Omniscient vs Third Person Limited • Reedsy Blog.
  • The editor of the new imprint in our Talking to pubishers series explains in the eleventh article what her new list is looking for - 'the freshest thinkers and the most successful practitioners in the areas of marketing, management, economics, finance and accounting, sustainable and ethical business, heart business, people management, leadership, motivation, biographies, business recovery and development and personal/executive development'.
  • And, in one of the earlier articles in the series, In Talking to publishers 2 Suzanne Ruthven of Compass BooksAn Imprint Of John Hunt Publishing. Focuses on practical and informative ‘how-to’ books for writers interviews her colleague Autumn Barlow, publisher of the new Top Hat historical fiction imprint at John Hunt PublishingExplore the "Our Imprints" section to learn more about our uniquely qualified publishers and their supporting teams. : 'Periodically we are told that the historical novel is dead - and then along comes Hilary Mantel winning the Man Booker for the second time, setting reading fashion on its head again...'
  • More links: advice for writers in videos from the finalists, from On the Red Carpet at the National Book Awards | Literary Hub; the pan-African award announces its longlist, Longlist Announced for Africa's Etisalat Prize for Literature; and Literary Review Releases Bad Sex in Fiction Nominees 2016.
  • This week's Writers' Quote is from the great William Trevor, who died this week: 'As a writer one doesn't belong anywhere. Fiction writers, I think, are even more outside the pale, necessarily on the edge of society. Because society and people are our meat, one really doesn't belong in the midst of society. The great challenge in writing is always to find the universal in the local, the parochial. And to do that, one needs distance.'

14 November 2016 - What's new

November 2016
  • 'There's been a lot of discussion recently about how things have changed for writers over the last few years. In some ways it's a radically different picture, in others not so much so. When WritersServices was set up in 2001, there wasn't really a market of writers. Compared to the situation now, the web was in its infancy and it had not yet been realised what a brilliant way this would prove to be for writers to self-publish and then market their work.' This week's News Review: Is self-publishing replacing traditional publishing?
  • Finding an agent and Working with an agent - two practical checklists to help set up and maintain this vital relationship. 'Try to find an agency which is ‘hungry' for new clients. To keep their workload under control, an established independent agent might take on something like four new authors a year (this figure came from two agents I spoke to recently), but only to replace four departing clients. This may seem obvious, but whether or not an agent is actively looking to build their list of clients is probably the single most important factor affecting how closely they are looking at unsolicited submissions...'
  • "I think agents mediate and enhance and improve the publishing process. I regard my role as being independent, I will say to an author, 'No, no, the publisher is right in this case.' It is not my job to blindly support the author. I think you support them better by telling them what you regard as the truth..." Literary agent Ed Victor of the eponymous London agency, celebrating 40 years in business, provides our Comment in the Bookseller.
  • Our 19-part Inside Publishing series gives you an insider's take on the publishing world, covering everything from subsidiary rights to the world English language market, from advances and royalties to the writer/publisher financial relationship. 'There's no escaping the fact that publishers and authors are essentially in an adversarial position. Even in the very best and most supportive publisher/writer relationships there is the tension caused by the fact that authors would like to earn as much as possible from their writing and publishers to pay as little as they can get away with. Understanding this is part of working your way through the relationship so as to come out of it in the way that best suits you as the writer...'
  • Our links: a poem went crazy on social media, Why Poetry Is Viral in the Aftermath of Trump's Election - The Atlantic; being able to truly see if you've been successful in writing a compelling work requires objectivity and distance, Should You Hire a Professional Editor? | Jane Friedman; an email interview with a mysterious bestselling author a month before her identity was revealed, 'Be Silent, Recover My Strength, Start Again'; In Conversation with Elena Ferrante | Hazlitt; and publishers reinventing the traditional business, At Singapore's StoryDrive Asia: Proud Publishers, Digital Demands.
  • 'Hardly any authors can copy edit their own writing. It is notoriously difficult to spot the errors in your own work. So professional copy editing does make sense, either if you are trying to give your work its best chance when submitting it or, even more crucially, if you are planning to self-publish...' Getting your manuscript copy edited
  • More links: 'some of my favourite imagined futures include the world paralysed by a giant, perpetual traffic jam (Strange Travellers by Gene Wolfe) and...' Sci fi and literature: how well have writers predicted the future? Halfway through the second decade of this century, independent bookselling is again thriving, Bookselling in the 21st Century: There Will Always Be Bookstores | Literary Hub; and a poetry editor talks about his work, Interview with a Gatekeeper: Wave Books' Matthew Zapruder | Literary Hub.
  • 'Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand - but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied.' Zadie Smith in our Writers' Quotes.

7 November 2016 - What's new

November 2016
  • 'After the turmoil of the Brexit vote in the UK referendum, 2016 has now delivered another stunning and unexpected political turnaround in the United States. It's impossible at this stage to gauge what the effect on writers and publishing of a Donald Trump presidency will be, but many writers have spoken out to voice their anxieties and hopes...' News Review
  • ‘After Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School I took a pause and was thinking about the future. Should I continue? Or should I stop and do something else? I'm only about halfway through (he can envisage at least 20 books in the series). If I can keep them fresh, I will definitely keep going. I'm committed to this series...' Jeff Kinney, highly successful author of the Wimpy Kid series, as his eleventh book comes out, provides this week's Comment from the Bookseller.
  • Getting Your Poetry Published has some suggestions on how to get started with this. 'Don't even try to approach publishers until you have a collection-length amount of material to offer. Your chances will be much better even then if you can point to publication of your poems in magazines. Don't waste any time trying to get a literary agent to represent you...'
  • From our Endorsements page: 'Today I only want to say, "thank you". DM has done a truly great job. I have worked with her suggestions which have brought clarity and depth to my subject. Her work on my punctuation is brilliant. As I read through the manuscript now, it is like gliding on silk.' Helena Dodds
  • Our links: can sophisticated machine learning techniques uncover what makes certain books sell more than others? BookBrunch - The bestseller formula - solved? Tips on getting traction for your online presence, How to Get 10,000 Visits to Your Blog in One Day with No Platform | Jane Friedman; regular US and UK studies examine the role that books play in children's lives and look at how reading fares against other leisure activities, digital and physical, BookBrunch - Children's engagement with books; and (Bookbrunch yet again!) Edward Glover reports on his experiences as the self-publisher of three novels, BookBrunch - On being a self-published author of printed books.
  • If you've come to the site looking for a report on your manuscript, how do you work out which one would suit you best? Which Report? includes our new top-of-the range service, the Editor's Report Plus, introduced by popular demand to provide even more detail. This very substantial report takes the form of a chapter-by-chapter breakdown and many writers have found this detail helps them to get their book right.
  • Our page of Picture library links provides a good starting-point for finding an image for your book, whether it's for the cover or inside. Gograph has just been added with its 18 million stock links.
  • More links: an illuminating article about what it's really like to be a small publisher, 10 Lessons from 10 Years Running a Small Press | Literary Hub; despite the increasing realisation that digital and print can easily coexist in the market, the question of whether the ebook will "kill" the print book continues to surface, The myth of the disappearing book: Misplaced hype over ebooks dates back to the phonograph in 1894 | The Independent; and can a ‘gateway to worldwide subscription services' for self-published authors up the ante for those services? Denmark's New Palatium: Curating Indie Books for Subscriptions.
  • 'Every writer is a narcissist. This does not mean that he is vain; it only means that he is hopelessly self-absorbed.' Leo Rosten in our Writers' Quotes.

31 October 2016 - What's new

October 2016

24 October 2016 - What's new

October 2016

17 October 2016 - What's new

October 2016
  • 'This is a strange week, in London at least. The publishing world decamps to Frankfurt for the Book Fair and the news which rumbles out of the Fair, in an increasingly sophisticated series of trade press ‘show dailies' is very much focused on the doings of big publishing groups and the latest big money book auctions...' News Review
  • Our article on How to get your book translated into English (without it costing the earth) asks writers with a manuscript which needs translating: "if your English is good enough, what about translating your book yourself, and then getting your translation polished and copy edited by a professional editor who is a native English speaker?" This could be a cost-effective way of reaching the international English-speaking market.
  • Translation editing is a polishing service for writers who have translated their work into English or had it translated but now need to make sure it's good enough to publish, or send to a publisher. Acknowledging the growth of world English, Translation Editing is designed for the many non-native English speakers throughout the world who want to publish their work in English.
  • 'I took all the different drafts, false starts and half-finished ideas from my notebooks and worked up a manuscript, with the intention of applying some of the editing principles I'd learned from Don Paterson to my album lyrics. I cut and clarified, lost the baggy bits, interrogated the ideas and looked at the piece as a whole...' Kate Tempest on the gestation of her new album and poetry collection, Let Them Eat Chaos, in Bookbrunch provides this week's Comment, 'Learning from your editor'.
  • Our links: whether Bob Dylan is a good winner or not, Why Has a Children's Book Author Never Won the Nobel Prize in Literature? | ShelfTalker; so, self-publisher or not, how exactly do you control and develop your online visibility, How Indie Authors Can Master Their Online Presence; a personal exploration of combining genre and literary writing, The Best of Genre + The Best of Literary Fiction = Awesome | Literary Hub; and a surprisingly fascinating look at how a ground-breaking publisher continues to expand its remit, How Open Road Uses Agile Marketing to Power Growth.
  • An Editor's Advice is a series of seven articles by one of our editors on really useful subjects for writers such as Dialogue, Manuscript presentation and Doing further drafts: 'I have just finished writing a report on a novel. I've pinpointed various areas of weakness and made various suggestions that the writer may or may not wish to follow. But the nub of the report is a recommendation that the writer produce a further draft of the novel rather than trying to submit it to a publisher now. I wonder sometimes how writers feel when they get my reports and see that recommendation...'
  • More links: Rebecca Kauffman talks about her aversion to social media, Is Social Media Toxic to Writing?; a rare author who is a style icon as well a much-respected writer, The Pieces of Zadie Smith - The New York Times; and exciting newcomers and established poets have delivered a thrilling shortlist for the 2016 T S Eliot Prize, Forward prize winner Vahni Capildeo shortlisted for TS Eliot poetry award | Books | The Guardian.
  • 'There's no doubt fiction makes a better job of the truth'. Doris Lessing in our Writers' Quotes.

3 October 2016 - What's new

October 2016
  • K J Orr, winner of the just-announced 2016 BBC National Short Story Competition, is a debut writer and that makes it surprising that she has won this hotly-contested prize. Her winning story Disappearances was up against a heavyweight shortlist including Man Booker winner Hilary Mantel and Costa Poetry Award shortlisted Lavinia Greenlaw. But her interest in short stories goes back several years and the collection containing Disappearances was published earlier this year by Daunt Books. News Review.
  • Our Writing Opportunity is the UK Novel Writing Competition 2016. It's open to all writers internationally with a fee of £12. Closing on 30 November, it has a 1st Prize of £5000, 2nd Prize £2500 and 3rd Prize £1000 and bills itself as 'the the only Novel Writing Competition where the Public are the Judges'.
  • ‘One of the most important things I'd like to help alter is the general view of writing, this idea that somehow we're amateurs who only do it for love and not for money. That's not the case. Of course we love what we do, but we're also professional people, providing professional services and producing material that generates enormous economic and moral value. Therefore we should get the return on it that we're entitled to. We should be taken seriously... Our Comment is from Tony Bradman, highly successful children's author and new chair of ALCS.
  • As well as our highly-regarded Copy editing service, which will help you prepare your manuscript for submission or self-publishing, we have Manuscript Polishing, which provides a higher-level polishing service, and our top service is Rewriting.
  • Our links: do we have a right to know an author's identity? Elena Ferrante: literary storm as Italian reporter 'identifies' author | World news | The Guardian; can you breathe new life into your self-published book? "Help! My Book Isn't Selling!" 9 Things to Consider Before Giving Up | Huffington Post; can writers be too politically correct? Who Gets to Write What? - The New York Times; and bestselling authors gaining traction in the film world, EL James and Patrick Ness join JK Rowling on Hollywood's 'most powerful' authors list | Books | The Guardian.
  • Our Health Hazards series looks at all the particular dangers faced by writers, from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome to Looking after your eyes and advises on how to position your desk and chair. Essential reading for anyone who spends a lot of time at a desk with a keyboard.
  • The March Magazine is worth going back to for some great links, For me, traditional publishing means poverty. But self-publish? No way | Books | The Guardian, 9 Reasons To Index-Card Your Manuscript | You Write Fiction, George Szirtes - TEN PROPOSITIONS ABOUT POETRY and Wendy's Writing Now: Out of the Slush Pile - How I Found My Agent.
  • More links: some elegant ways of describing the act of translation, 36 Metaphors for Translation - Words Without Borders; anthologist Allie Esiri writes about the power of poetry to change lives, BookBrunch - Poems for life; and, cheeringly for poets, UK poetry sales on the rise, Poetry market celebrates National Poetry Day with highest sales ever | The Bookseller.
  • From our Writers' Quotes, 'What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.' J D Salinger

26 September 2016 - What's new

September 2016
  • Bestselling children's author Michael Morpurgo has savaged school reading culture by attacking the over-testing of children at school and saying it is sucking the joy from reading and putting weak readers off for life. Morpurgo is one of the most celebrated of contemporary children's writers and his opinions are likely to be listened to. News Review
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is the rather unique Notting Hill Essay Prize 2017, which is open to all writers. The entry fee is £20 and the prize is £20,000 with £1,000 for 5 runners-up. There's plenty of time to write the essay, it doesn't close till January.
  • Several other competitions are about to close: Writing Opportunities.
  • ‘I could never imagine being a writer. I come from a generation for whom writers were either very old or dead. We could not imagine that we could have that magical profession. But I could imagine illustrating because I had drawn since I was a child. When I started illustrating, I found the stories I had to work with so boring that I started writing in order to do the illustrations I wanted to do!' Cornelia Funke, author of the Mirrorworld and Reckless series in Bookbrunch provides this week's Comment.
  • Do you need to get your material typed up, but can't face doing the job yourself? We can provide a clean typed version of your work at very competitive rates. Our service offers help for writers who have an old or handwritten manuscript, or audio tapes, which need re-typing before the writer can proceed with submission or publication.Typing Manuscripts
  • Our links: writing is work. Work deserves pay, Yes, Writing Is a Job (Even if it Doesn't Pay Well); when it comes to writing and publishing, indie authors face a unique disadvantage: they foot the bill for everything, Why Indie Authors Have to Spend Money to Make Money; a new way of approaching poetry publishing Getting Paid for Poetry in the Digital Age | Literary Hub; and one of the cold, hard truths of short story writing is that you only get one read, How to Write a Short Story with Clarity and Economy.
  • A while ago we thought it might be fun to add some fictionalised stories of how out editorial servoces work. So we have 13 stories, from How an Editor's Report helped Catherine to How Copy editing turned Tony's work into a publishable manuscript and Manuscript Typing helped John to get his father's wartime diary into good shape for publication.
  • More links: when 21-year-old Alfie Deyes released his first book, it was No 1 on the Sunday Times bestseller list for 11 weeks, the age of self: the strange story of how YouTubers saved publishing; the festival's global appeal, and literature as "the most dissenting art form", Hay Festival's Peter Florence: 'A Huge Canvas To Work On'; and an excllent article on literary agents, Once a complex market, India is now opening up to the idea of well-connected literary agents - Firstpost.
  • 'Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.' Kurt Vonnegut in our Writers' Quotes.

19 September 2016 - What's new

September 2016
  • The growth in self-published books reported last week comes from Amazon, whose DIY print business CreateSpace has become far and away the biggest self-publishing platform in the United States. In a week when the Association of American PublishersThe national trade association of the American book publishing industry; AAP has more than 300 members, including most of the major commercial publishers in the United States, as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses and scholarly societies reported major declines in sales of trade books, there's also been talk about whether depressed digital sales are hurting Amazon. News Review
  • Authors often find it difficult to write their own synopsis for submission to publishers, which is where our Synopsis-writing service can help. If you're preparing to self-publish and having difficulty with your blurb, our Blurb-writing service from a professional copywriter might be what you need.
  • ‘Everyone in publishing and writing thinks about this, about length. Is our ability to sustain concentration over a length of time being diminished because of the internet and the electronic age? Amanda Foreman, chair of the 2016 Man Booker judges in the Daily Telegraph. Our Comment.
  • For anyone thinking about or embarked on self-publishing, our ten-part WritersServices Self-Publishing Guide by 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 is an essential starting-point, taking you through the process step-by-step. 'Self-publishing has changed so much over the past few years it's hard to believe it was once looked down upon by the publishing industry as the last resort of the vain and desperate. At the time of writing many self-publishing authors are identifying with the term ‘indie author', which acknowledges that to professionally publish today, you don't actually have to do everything yourself!'
  • Our links: crowdfunding is becoming a major way of getting books into print, How Kickstarter became one of the biggest powers in publishing | Books | The Guardian; Forbes' list of the world's highest-paid authors came out last month. My name's not on it and it probably never will be, Merritt Tierce on Publishing 'Love Me Back' - How Much Money Authors Make; the rapid growth of self-publishing is matched by the speedy expansion of Amazon's self-publishing arm, Amazon (AMZN) dominates self-publishing in books - Quartz; and in high school I was, like many American intellectual kids, a stranger in a strange land, Ursula K. Le Guin: How I Started Writing.
  • 'Discovering our authentic voice, writing with lasting impact, and standing out from the crowd are high priorities for most of us who write. But how do we go about achieving these intentions? Conscious Writing is a new approach to deep writing with full awareness which takes us into the core of what we're really here to write, and in the process, opens the way for us to realise our true potential as authors in the world...' Julia McCutchenJulia McCutchen is an intuitive creator, writer and mentor who guides people to share their unique gifts through creating, writing and living from a conscious and vibrant connection to Truth. A former international publisher, Julia experienced a life-changing accident in 1999 which triggered a series of major quantum leaps in her spiritual awakening. She subsequently developed a tried and tested holistic approach to access the present and aligned state required for original creative expression in all areas of life, especially writing. She is the founder and creative director of the International Association of Conscious & Creative Writers (IACCW) and the author of two books including, Conscious Writing: Discover Your True Voice Through Mindfulness and More (Hay House). For more information and a free video series visit www.JuliaMcCutchen.com and www.iaccw.com on Conscious Writing.
  • Her second article is A New Approach to Discovering Your True Writer's Voice.
  • More links: the "bestseller" problem: How could you know which books would be blockbusters and which would flop, and why? Algorithms Could Save Book Publishing-But Ruin Novels | WIRED; talking to the author whose first book keeps popping up at the top of the bestseller lists, Paula Hawkins: By the Book - The New York Times; and how an annual literary and arts celebration has become a pan-African event, Kenya-Born Storymoja Festival Opens Its New Life in Ghana.
  • From the inimitable Anne Rice; 'Writers write about what obsesses them. You draw those cards. I lost my mother when I was 14. My daughter died at the age of 6. I lost my faith as a Catholic. When I'm writing, the darkness is always there. I go where the pain is.' In our Writers' Quotes.

12 September 2016 - What's new

September 2016
  • Bowker has published a huge report on self-publishing in the US and, although the detailed figures are rather dry, some of the conclusions are quite explosive in their picture of a rapidly growing self-publishing scene. And where America goes, other countries tend to follow, although not at a uniform speed. Our News Review is entitled New Report shows massive increase in self-publishing.
  • Closing on 31 October is this week's Writing Opportunity, the big international National Poetry CompetitionAnnual poetry prize run by the UK-based Poetry Society established in 1978; accepts entries from all over the world; over 10,000 poems submitted each year 2016, which is open to anyone from anywhere in the world aged 17 or over at the time of entering. Entry fees: first poem £6.50, subsequent entries £3.50 per poem. First prize £5000, Second prize £2000, Third prize £1000.
  • Your submission package - 'Given the difficulty of getting agents and publishers to take on your work, it's really important to make sure that you present it in the best possible way. Less is more, so don't send a full manuscript, as it's very unlikely to be read. Far better to tempt them with a submission package that will leave them wanting to see the rest of the manuscript...'
  • ‘Crowd funding can be quite arduous and you have to be persistent... But if you stop, then the funding dries up pretty quickly. You have to keep going and you need to be of a mindset that you're happy to do that. If you're an author who's so involved in the creative process that you're not interested in getting involved with your readers, then it's probably not the route for you...' David Roche, whose book is being published by the relatively young crowd-funding publisher Unbound and is now fully funded, which means it will hit the shelves sometime next year. Our Comment.
  • Do you need to get your material typed up, but can't face doing the job yourself? We can provide a clean typed version of your work at very competitive rates. Our service offers help for writers who have an old or handwritten manuscript, or audio tapes, which need re-typing before the writer can proceed with submission or publication.
  • Our links: from an author for whom self-publishing was only a back-up plan, Self-Published Book Beats the Odds By Making New York Times Bestseller List | Huffington Post; if prizes are about boosting the book trade then the Booker prize shortlist is not a good one, Booker prize may not have starry names, but it does generate curiosity | Books | The Guardian; the fascinating story of the rise of fan-fiction, Online Harry Potter fans transformed what it means to love a story; and in the week of the hundredth anniversay of his birth, 'Let me reverse your threat': how 'bullying' Roald Dahl was fired by his publisher.
  • Bob's Journal is a long-running column from writer Bob Ritchie described by fellow EastEnders script-writer Pippa McCarthy: 'Just discovered your web page... I've just spent the last hour crying with laughter with periodic yelps of 'been there!'... I'm going to make my entire family read your diary. Then perhaps will understand own bizarre behaviour every time I start a script... Anyway, will shut up now but just wanted to say you have cheered me up no end. It's brilliant.'
  • If you should happen to be in London this weekend, make tracks for Free Verse, the annual Poetry Book Fair, to find out what small poetry presses and their poets are up to, attend free events and buy books and pamphlets!
  • More links: some writing advice from well-known authors, My best writing tip by William Boyd, Jeanette Winterson, Amit Chaudhuri and more | Books | The Guardian; the percentage of American adults reading literature has hit a low of 43 percent, Americans aren't reading less -- they're just reading less literature | Minnesota Public Radio News; and ebooks are not taking over the world! A Return to Print? Not Exactly - Bloomberg View.
  • 'Most beginning writers (and I was the same) are like chefs trying to cook great dishes that they've never tasted themselves. How can you make a great (or even an adequate) bouillabaisse if you've never had any? Daniel Quinn in our Writers' Quotes.

5 September 2016 - What's new

September 2016
  • 'The number of emails WritersServices get from authors who have been trying to contact an agent through our agency listings suggests that, even in an age of self-publishing, many writers would still prefer to find an agent than to self-publish their own work. But what exactly does an agent do? An agent is primarily a sales person and their job is to represent their authors in the sale of rights in their books to publishers. They only make money when...' This week's News Review, The changing role of the agent 4.
  • The Caterpillar Story for Children Prize 2016 from the classy children's magazine is open to all with an entry fee of 12 euros. The 1st prize is €500 plus a 2-week stay at The Moth's Artists' Residence, 2nd prize €300, 3rd prize €200. Closing on 30 September.
  • Writing Biography & Autobiography is a serialisation from our Archives of the book by Brian D Osborne published by A & C BlackClick for A & C Black Publishers Publishers References listing. In the first excerpt, Managing the matters of truth and objectivity, the author says: 'Just as you need to remember that letters, reports, census forms, legal documents and so forth were not created simply for our convenience, so you also need to remember that what is written in them may not be true...'
  • 'There is an element of autobiography in all fiction in that pain or distress, or pleasure, is based on the author's own. But in my case that is as far as it goes. My fiction may, now and again, illuminate aspects of the human condition, but I do not consciously set out to do so, I am a storyteller.' William Trevor in our Writers' Quotes.
  • Our Success Stories series includes Darren Shan and Tina Seskis, of whom we said: 'an irresistible subject for a Success Story because she lives just up the road from WritersServices in north London and because her success as a writer is like a textbook illustration of how to do it'. We have other Success Stories on a wide range of authors.
  • 'One day an agent I know called me and said "Would you be interested in translating Gabriel Garcia Marquez?", and I said: "Are you kidding me?" It was to do his great book Love in the Time of Cholera. It took six or seven months to translate. I mean there's no union representing us, so I tend to work seven days a week...' Edith Grossman, well-known translator of works by Mario Vargas Llosa and Gabriel García Márquez, in the Observer, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Our links: Writers are often told to read, read, read in their genre, is this part of How to Distinguish Yourself Among Agents and Editors; Rupi Kaur's originally self-published Milk and Honey, How To Sell Nearly a Half-Million Copies of a Poetry Book; Whether you are writing your first novel or your fifth, writing a novel requires focus, planning, motivation and discipline, How to write a first novel: 10 Do's and Don'ts | Now Novel; and from a highly respected top editor, insights into the publishing world now past, Interview With a Gatekeeper: Nan Talese | Literary Hub.
  • Which Report? gives the details of the three reports we offer: the full Editor's Report, the basic Reader's Report and the most substantial Editor's Report Plus. There's also our specialist Children's reports, part of our Children's Editorial Services. If you want a professional editor's assessment of your work, here's the place to start.
  • More links: writers whose deals for much-anticipated books were terminated, Pay-back time for publishers: authors forced to return their advances | Books | The Guardian; how the mean storyteller becomes two people, The Editor Inside My Head is a Cruel and Demanding S.O.B. | Literary Hub; and the odd thing is that the current angst over the book's changing face mirrors a strikingly similar episode in history, BBC - Culture - The mysterious ancient origins of the book.
  • 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' The Business of Writing for Self-publishing authors offers terrific advice for all writers: 'Self-publishing authors - also known as ‘indie' authors or author-publishers - have had a steep learning curve these past few years. Getting to grips with the various sales channels available to them, producing top quality ebooks and paperbacks, and finding a place in mainstream outlets have left many writers struggling to keep up with the paperwork. What follows is a brief guide to the essentials your self-publishing business needs - because it is a business, even if you only publish one book!'
  • The February Magazine is ready and featured some great links to stories of enduring interest.
  • 'Don't try to anticipate an ideal reader - or any reader. He/she might exist - but is reading someone else.' Joyce Carol Oates in our Writers' Quotes.

29 August 2016 - What's new

August 2016

22 August 2016 - What's new

August 2016

15 August 2016 - What's new

August 2016
  • 'A recent interview with Sheila Crowley in Bookbrunch throws an interesting light on changing patterns of agenting. She is a wonderfully enthusiastic agent at Curtis BrownSee Curtis Brown listing London, who prior to being an agent worked in publishing sales and marketing, so she is noted for her strong sales approach...'The changing role of the agent is this week's News Review.
  • The editor of the new imprint in our Talking to pubishers series explains in the eleventh article what her new list is looking for - 'the freshest thinkers and the most successful practitioners in the areas of marketing, management, economics, finance and accounting, sustainable and ethical business, heart business, people management, leadership, motivation, biographies, business recovery and development and personal/executive development'.
  • In Talking to publishers 2 Suzanne Ruthven of Compass BooksAn Imprint Of John Hunt Publishing. Focuses on practical and informative ‘how-to’ books for writers interviews her colleague Autumn Barlow, publisher of the new Top Hat historical fiction imprint at John Hunt PublishingExplore the "Our Imprints" section to learn more about our uniquely qualified publishers and their supporting teams. : 'Periodically we are told that the historical novel is dead - and then along comes Hilary Mantel winning the Man Booker for the second time, setting reading fashion on its head again...'
  • 'I have heard it said that, if you want to know the preoccupations of a particular period of the last century, you should read the contemporary crime fiction. The kind of crimes featured in those books reflect the anxieties of the time. So international terrorism - the horror of the atrocity which can strike anyone at any moment - will continue to feature in crime novels of the next five years. So will domestic violence...' Our Comment this week is from Simon Brett in Bookbrunch.
  • If you've come to the site looking for a report on your manuscript, how do you work out which one would suit you best? Which Report? includes our new top-of-the range service, the Editor's Report Plus, introduced by popular demand to provide even more detail. This very substantial report takes the form of a chapter-by-chapter breakdown and many writers have found this detail helps them to get their book right.
  • Links of the week: Scribner's Katie Monaghan provides an exhilarating report on a fabulous barnstorming author tour, An Entourage of One: On the Road with Stephen King | Literary Hub; an excerpt from a veteran editor's account of his dealings with authors, The Accidental Life: An Editor's Notes on Writing and Writers | Literary Hub; different ways of getting your book published, There's More Than One Way to Publish. I Know. I Tried Many of Them; and do you know you are extending your life doing something you love? Benefits of reading include a longer life, claims study | The Bookseller.
  • Top Ten Tips for non-fiction writers is a helpful checklist for writers, compiled by a Creative Writing tutor. No 1 is 'Story, story, story. Make sure that your story can sustain several chapters and tens of thousands of words. Keep asking yourself: Why would anyone want to read this story?'
  • More links: these well-heeled wordsmiths earned a combined $269 million over the last 12 months, The World's Highest-Paid Authors 2016: James Patterson, Jeff Kinney and J.K. Rowling Top Ranking - Forbes; 'I have a large extended family, and only three of its members have read all 19 of my books...', Writing's A Career, Just Not According to My Family; and - of most interest to British writers but excruciating for anyone who loves libraries - BookBrunch - Libraries: no plans and no leadership.
  • From our Writers Quotes, this gem from Jack Kerouac: 'It is not my fault that certain so-called bohemian elements have found in my writings something to hang their peculiar beatnik theories on.'

1 August 2016 - What's new

August 2016
  • 'H.G. Wells was enormously successful, and Jorge Luis Borges writes about his earlier books with the highest respect. It's literature. It's all books. There are good books and bad books. Literary fiction can be bad, and so can sci-fi. Sci-fi can be wonderful and so can literary fiction. As long as it's a good book, who cares?...' Margaret Atwood in conversation with Grant Munroe in our Comment.
  • From Tom Chalmers of IPR, two articles about rights for self-publishers, Self-publishing - the rights way and How to get your book in the hands of an international audience. 'It's a fact that most self-published authors understand the process that takes them from a written manuscript to a published book, but few realise the additional elements that make publishing a profitable business. Rights licensing is arguably the most vital element in this equation. Whether it's selling translation rights, audio rights or optioning the film rights, these all help balance the book's books...'
  • Our links: an argument that authors of thrillers and mysteries who have endured the woes of traditional publishing may find that the indie route is the best way to go, The Rise of Indie Crime Novels; women's fiction is changing. "Chick-lit", a provocative tag, used to be about high heels, handbags and heartbreak - but not any more, BookBrunch - The chick-lit hangover; just who is penning these erotic romance novels? A light-hearted look at The dude behind scores of erotic e-books for women | Fusion; and, as the world's attention turns to Rio, Publisher Miriam Gabbai on the Current State of Brazilian Publishing.
  • Which service should I choose to help me get my work into good shape for submission or self-publishing? This is the question our page Which service? answers and it then goes on to give a quick rundown on our 20 editorial services for writers, which we think is the biggest range you can find on the internet.
  • Some more links with a more serious tone: Sunday Times literary editor Andrew Holgate has reignited the debate about the recent eligibility rule changes, Holgate: inclusion of US authors 'disastrous' for Man Booker | The Bookseller; the future of publishing is fraught with opportunity and peril, here are 10 trends shaping your future as a writer and/or publisher, 10 Self-Publishing Trends to Watch; and a long article with some fantastic insights into the work of the translator, The subtle art of translating foreign fiction | Books | The Guardian.
  • 'Do you find it difficult to get started on your writing? Is it always easier to put off finishing that research/ starting that novel/embarking on the second draft? You are not alone, for many writers suffer from procrastination...' Don't procrastinate!
  • From our Writers' Quotes, 'I often think of a poem as a door that opens into a room where I want to go.' from Minnie Bruce Pratt.

25 July 2016 - What's new

July 2016

18 July 2016 - What's new

July 2016
  • 'Writing isn't generally a lucrative source of income; only a few, exceptional writers reach the income levels associated with the best-sellers. Rather, most of us write because we can make a modest living, or even supplement our day jobs, doing something about which we feel passionately...' Melissa Scott, SF and Fantasy writer, author of Trouble and Her Friends and Conceiving the Heavens: Creating the Science Fiction Novel provides our Comment.
  • Tell any young poet you know about the fabulous Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2016, which is open till 31 July to young poets aged 11-17 from across the world. No entry fee. Winners will have their poems published in the annual Foyle Anthology and will attend a week-long intensive residential Arvon course where they will develop their creative writing skills alongside fellow poets.
  • Other Writing Opportunities are The BookLife Prize in Fiction and the MslexiaStylish and lively site for quarterly UK literary magazine read by 12,000 'committed' women writers. Good range of quality writing, information and advice with news, reviews, competitions and interviews, all presented in a friendly fashion. Praised by Helen Dunmore as 'astute, invigorating and above all an excellent read.' www.mslexia.co.uk Children's Novel Competition 2016.
  • Are you getting ready to publish your book? WritersServices offers a suite of services which help writers get their work into shape before they self-publish. Our nine Services for Self-publishers include Copy editing, Translation editing, Poetry Collection Editing and Blurb-writing.
  • 'There was a time when the main concern of writers coming to the site was how to find a publisher. That's when series such as Inside Publishing were created in order to answer the demand for information about publishing, so that writers could find out about what actually went on behind the scenes. Then there was the era of early self-publishing, when it all seemed a terrific gamble and somehow not very respectable, a refuge for the desperate who couldn't find a publisher to take on their book...' News Review
  • First excerpt - How to Open Doors and Get Noticed the First Time Around is from The ABC Checklist for New Writers, the first of a six-part series of extracts from this useful book by Lorraine Mace and Maureen Vincent-Northam. 'Plenty of authors have sold their books directly to a publisher, but there are a number of benefits in acquiring the services of an agent. Agents are well informed about market trends, able to assess your work and offer it to the most suitable publisher. They will advise, check over your publishing contract and negotiate the best terms on your behalf. So when is the right time to approach an agent and how do you go about it?...'
  • Our links: the two major English language publishing markets have different entertainment-genre priorities. The Americans love love. For the Brits, good literature is murder, Crime Fiction Pays in the UK: Is It About the Setting? Why a freelance writer decided to self-publish, Focus on Your Writing: Tips from an Indie Author; might the future involve a lot more publishing/games business interactivity? Developing a new relationship between book people and games | The Bookseller; and a book's unlikely rise, from underground hit to Big Five-published novel, due predominantly to the marketing efforts of its anonymous author, How 'Diary of an Oxygen Thief' Went from Self-Published Obscurity to Bestsellerdom.
  • Ever wanted to understand what's involved in indexing? The Ins & Outs of Indexing by 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 show how you could produce an index for your non-fiction book yourself or what you might gain by having a professional tackle the job.
  • More links: 'I want a huge catalog of self-published books, nonfiction and novels. I want a massive, raving fanbase full of ideal readers who buy all my books. I want a traditional publisher to come to me with a million-dollar book deal...', Why I'm Writing And Publishing 9 New Books This Year; Twenty-four years after moving to Germany as an au pair, Dodua Otoo not only still lives in Germany, but has just won the Ingeborg Bachmann prize - for the first and only short story she has ever written in the language of her adopted homeland, Black British writer wins major German-language fiction award | Books | The Guardian; and an author with two objectives, to deconstruct the incredibly popular Grip Lit genre 'so I could capture the elements that readers have come to love' and  to base the plot on the current, real world issue of memory science and trauma treatments in the context of a crime, BookBrunch - How grip lit grabs readers.
  • 'If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can't allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.' The late, great Elmore Leonard in our Writers' Quotes.

11 July 2016 - What's new

July 2016
  • 'Not content with deciding they prefer print books to ebooks, young people are further confounding expectations by showing a growing enthusiasm for audiobooks. This is perhaps even more surprising because audiobooks have been seen in the UK as appealing especially to older people, whilst in the US they tend to find a ready audience amongst commuters, given the American habit of driving long distances to work... News Review
  • 'I regret we have reluctantly come to the conclusion that we could not publish it with commercial success... A helpful bookshop may be able to advise you.' Unnamed editor at Constable & Robinson turning down J K Rowling's first Harry Potter book provides this week's Comment.
  • Getting your poetry published can be quite hard, but here are a few general pointers: 'Poetry is not in general given much space in bookshops and it is difficult to find poetry sections that go much beyond some bestselling backlist and a few new volumes. It's hard therefore to achieve any sales for first collections and the publishers have to be realistic about this...'
  • Closing on 30 September, The BookLife Prize in Fiction is open to all authors of unpublished or self-published novels in six categories. The entry fee is $99 and the Grand Prize $5,000, with a publishable critique for every entry.
  • Our links: now the Crime genre is seeing the rise of women writers, After Agatha Christie ... female crime writers delve deep into women's worst fears | Books | The Guardian; there's someone out there who's going to be your translator... You're glad you're going to have another fan of your work, who will be down on her knees before you and your talent. But what if it's not like that? BookBrunch - What I found in translation; before my first books were born they were with me everywhere, growing babies, part of my body and my every move, How To Be A Writer: The Map Is the Territory | Literary Hub; and since long before the publication of Loop of Jade (2015), her debut collection, Sarah Howe has been a highly regarded and much-loved member of the UK poetry scene, The Sound of Her Voice | Boston Review.
  • Our page of Picture library links provides a good starting-point for finding an image for your book, whether it's for the cover or inside. Gograph has just been added with its 18 million stock links.
  • There are 23 other pages of links to recommended sites and we'd love to hear about any more sites you'd like to recommend to other writers.
  • More links: so now there's a formula for writing bestselling novels, The Bestseller Code: The words that make a successful book | News | Culture | The Independent; in the same vein, how "all stories" are one of ten or six or three or eight types of possible stories; Data Analysis of Novels Reveals... Nothing New - Electric Literature; and is the ‘perennial cachet' in fantasy fiction so strong for booksellers in India that ‘writers are told by publishers to base their stories around the time of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata'? Fantasy Fiction in India: Beyond Mythology and Religion.
  • Do you want some help with your writing but don't quite know what you want? Are you a bit puzzled by the various services on offer, and not sure what to go for? This article will show you how to work out which is the right editorial service for you. Choosing a service. Alternatively, email us and we'll do our best to help.
  • 'I wish critics would judge me as an author, not as a woman.' Charlotte Bronte in our Writers Quotes.

4 July 2016 - What's new

July 2016
  • 'From a London perspective the British vote to leave the UK seems seismic, especially if you were a Remain supporter, and no-one could have predicted the intense political turmoil that has followed. What it has also brought about is some musings about the highly international nature of the publishing world and the way that authors can find audiences all over the world...' News Review on why the UK book business is so internationally-oriented.
  • Have you translated your work into English? Or do you have a translation that someone else has done? Or even have you written your book in English, even though it's not your native language? Now you need to make sure it's good enough to publish, or send to a publisher. If you need help to get your work into perfect condition, our new service, Translation Editing, is for you. Acknowledging the growth of world English, this new service is designed for the many non-native English speakers throughout the world who want to publish their work in English.
  • If you're a children's writer, you have until 19 September to get your work entered into the Mslexia Children's Novel Competition 2016. I's open to all unpublished women writers with an entry fee of £25 and a prize of £5,000. Here are other writing opportunities you might have missed.
  • '...If you are an emerging writer now, there are more channels for you to get in front of the eyeballs of a publisher but you have to do a lot of the work yourself. There's less work done by editors and publishers - they wait for writers to come to them with manuscripts that are fully formed...' Sam Cooney, publisher of the Melbourne-based literary journal The Lifted Brow in the Guardian provides this week's Comment.
  • There are some particularly interesting links this week: 'we writers like to talk about elements of craft. Character, theme, setting, voice, point of view, language. But I seldom hear fellow writers talking about plot', Literary or Genre, It's the Plot That Counts | Literary Hub; if you've entered publishing for the love of the art and craft of writing, you need to make room in your heart and mind for the business side of things so that you don't end up wondering what went wrong after it's too late, 5 Entrepreneurial Tips for Authors Who Want to Up Their Game; is it 'hard to tell the story of contemporary African literature without talking about this prize? Is the Caine Prize for Emergent African Writing, or the Best African Writing? | Literary Hub; and here's the winner, so you can judge for yourself, South Africa's Lidudumalingani Wins 2016 Caine Prize.
  • Julia McCutchenJulia McCutchen is an intuitive creator, writer and mentor who guides people to share their unique gifts through creating, writing and living from a conscious and vibrant connection to Truth. A former international publisher, Julia experienced a life-changing accident in 1999 which triggered a series of major quantum leaps in her spiritual awakening. She subsequently developed a tried and tested holistic approach to access the present and aligned state required for original creative expression in all areas of life, especially writing. She is the founder and creative director of the International Association of Conscious & Creative Writers (IACCW) and the author of two books including, Conscious Writing: Discover Your True Voice Through Mindfulness and More (Hay House). For more information and a free video series visit www.JuliaMcCutchen.com and www.iaccw.com's article on Conscious Writing: 'Discovering our authentic voice, writing with lasting impact, and standing out from the crowd are high priorities for most of us who write. But how do we go about achieving these intentions? Conscious Writing is a new approach to deep writing with full awareness which takes us into the core of what we're really here to write, and in the process, opens the way for us to realise our true potential as authors in the world...' Her second article is A New Approach to Discovering Your Writer's True Voice.
  • More links: is self-publishing peopled with ‘increasingly sophisticated authors' supported by ‘increasingly sophisticated consultants'? Self-Publishing and the 'Curatorial Mark': Jon Fine; Alice Adams says writing a novel is a painful and bloody process that takes up all your free time, haunts you in the darkest hours of night and generally culminates in a lot of weeping over an ever-growing pile of rejection letters, Why Does Anyone Write? | Literary Hub; and more on the view from the UK, Philip Jones, editor of the Bookseller, shares his thoughts on what Brexit could mean for the publishing industry » MobyLives; and the author of three, soon to be four, memoirs complains When You Write a Memoir, Readers Think They Know You Better Than They Do - The New York Times.
  • Authors often find it difficult to write their own synopsis for submission to publishers, which is where our Synopsis-writing service can help. A professional synopsis is an essential part of your submission package. If you're preparing to self-publish and having difficulty with your blurb, our Blurb-writing service might be what you need. To give your book its best chance, you have to have cover copy which will attract readers.
  • 'When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art.' I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.' George Orwell in our Writers' Quotes.

27 June 2016 - What's new

June 2016
  • Sometimes an author seems to step new-minted into bestsellerdom and, even rarer, literary acclaim. Lisa McInerney is such a writer and her winning of the Bailey Prize earlier in the month, followed by the Desmond Elliott Prize this week, marks a remarkable debut. News Review on 'a major literary figure of the next generation'.
  • Tips for writers is our 8-part crash course for writers, taking you from Improve Your Writing to Learn on the Job, from Self-publishing: is it for you? to Submission to publishers and agents. 'Think about the market for your book. Research the category and read widely to see what other published writers in this area are doing. Which writers are successful and why? Visit bookshops and analyse what you find there. If you are reading this you are probably already writing, but it really is worth thinking right from the beginning about your readers, as that makes it far more likely you'll eventually find them...'
  • Our Writing Opportunity in Fiction, Poetry and Life Writing, the Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2016 is open to writers of any nationality and any age group with work which has not been previously published. Winners in each category will receive £300 and their entries will be published in Wasafiri. Closing on 15 July.
  • Which Report? gives the details of the three reports we offer: the full Editor's Report, the basic Reader's Report and the most substantial Editor's Report Plus. There's also our specialist Children's reports, part of our Children's Editorial Services. If you want a professional editor's assessment of your work, here's the place to start.
  • ‘The first two books, I didn't think about the readers. I didn't think anyone was going to read it, and I was much freer. Then the reaction came, and it was more and more difficult physically to write about other people. I spared them. It is inhuman, if you push that direction you end up outside humanity...' Karl Ove Knausgaard, author of the international literary bestsellers A Death in the Family and Some Rain Must Fall, provides our Comment from the Bookseller.
  • A great crop of links this week: so what's the effect if Barnes and Noble goes down? Pulp Friction | New Republic; how a bestselling author discovered the difficulties of success, Jessie Burton: ‘Success can be as fracturing to your self as failure' | Books | The Guardian; if you're looking for representation, or smarting from yet another rejection letter, please don't switch off, From Rejection to Representation - 6 Steps to Landing a Literary Agent | WritingMad; and So what is an imprint, and why are there suddenly so many more of them? Covers story: why are there so many new publishing imprints? | Books | The Guardian.
  • Working with an Agent - 'It can be hard work finding an agent to represent you. Make sure though that, when you set up the relationship, you do so in a professional manner Don't let your eagerness to find representation mean that things are left vague. You will be depending on the agent to process all your income from the books they sell, so you need to have a written record of your arrangement, preferably a contract...'
  • More links: although Carole Nelson Douglas has traditionally published more than 60 novels, she wanted more control over her books and decided to go indie, Self-Publishing Is a Lifetime Learning Experience: Tips from an Indie Author; it's hard to be a highly-regarded editor and a successful author at the same time, Toni Morrison: 'Part of the Business of Editing Is Telling People to Shut Up'; how it used to be, the publisher would work with the writers for many years, producing three, maybe four books before the writer really hit his or her stride - and made some money or started winning awards, Emerging writers seek out room to shine amid the gloom of arts cuts | Books | The Guardian.
  • 'The years between fifty and seventy are the hardest. You are always being asked to do more, and you are not yet decrepit enough to turn them down.' T S Eliot in our Writers Quotes.

20 June 2016 - What's new

June 2016
  • ‘It isn't that I can't take the criticism. What you don't need is to hear yourself explained to yourself, or for any sliver of self-consciousness to come into your writing. ‘The greatest enemy to good art is the router in the hall. I have had conversations with other writers who say their concentration is totally shot by their need to check Twitter...' Maggie O'Farrell, author of This Must Be the Place and The Hand That First Held Mine in the Independent on Sunday. Our Comment
  • Suzy Jenvey, vastly experienced children's editorial director and now agent, has written a special series for WritersServices, the four-part The Essential Guide to Writing for Children. The first article looks at the all-important question of age groups and what you should be aware of in writing for each one. The second part is - Before You Write: What is My Story Going to be? The third part deals with Starting to Write and the fourth part is about Submitting Your Work to Agents and Editors.
  • New Nielsen research gives a clear picture of who romance readers are. It's no surprise that 84% are female and only 16% male, but in 2015 53% of readers were in the 18-44 age range, considerably younger than might have been expected, and only 13% are over 65. What is the current state of romance? News Review
  • Our Poetry Critique service and Poetry Collection Editing service might help you to work out where you've got to with your poetry. Do you want to make sure that your poetry is as good as it can be before you go ahead with submitting to competitions, magazines or websites, or do you want help to prepare a collection? Our Poetry Collection Editing service is unique and is a real help when what you need is editorial advice on preparing your collection for self-publishing or submission.
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is the T S Eliot Prize 2016. Submissions may only come from publishers and the Prize is only open to single-author poetry collections published in the UK or the Republic of Ireland during the calendar year of 2016. No entry fee, closing date 5 August. The winner receives £20,000, the ten shortlisted poets £1,500 each.
  • Our links this week: international publishing this season lies downwind of hot blasts of political potentials that many feel could be damaging to various countries' books industries and their readerships, Publishing & Politics: 'Toxic Negotiations,' 'Trumpian Dystopia'; once upon a time, in the smoky, violent neverland of crime fiction, there were seductive creatures we called femmes fatales, ‘Gone Girl' and the Rise of Crime Novels by Women - The Atlantic; 1. Finish the book. You will annoy everybody you query if your novel isn't finished, 10 Steps To Getting A Literary Agent; and are liteary critics being too uncritical? Does Literary Criticism Have a Grade Inflation Problem? | New Republic.
  • Have you ever wondered why you don't win any of those competitions? Our tips on Entering Competitions will help you to improve your chances.
  • More links: do we no longer read because we don't have enough time? Is James Patterson's New Imprint the Second Coming of Pulp Fiction? - Flavorwire; how a novella turned into an 827 page novel, Don DeLillo on Underworld: 'there was no escape' | Books | The Guardian; a revival of the 1960s series that ran to 27 titles until the mid 1970s in a bid to usher in "a new golden age", Penguin Modern Poets series is revamped | The Bookseller; and is the resurgnece of print a "win" over ebooks and digital media, The Myth About Print Coming Back and Bookstores on the Rise | Jane Friedman.
  • 'Most beginning writers (and I was the same) are like chefs trying to cook great dishes that they've never tasted themselves. How can you make a great (or even an adequate) bouillabaisse if you've never had any? Daniel Quinn in our Writers' Quotes.

13 June 2016 - What's new

June 2016
  • ‘In the last three decades of the 20th century rents rose, publishers moved out of central London, new publishers came and went, historical names amalgamated or went bust, agents became publishers, former publishers became agents. No more handing in manuscripts in carrier bags at reception...' Our Comment is from Fay Weldon, author of The Life and Loves of a She-Devil and Before the War in the late-lamented Independent on Sunday.
  • 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' The Business of Writing for Self-publishing authors offers terrific advice for all writers: 'Self-publishing authors - also known as ‘indie' authors or author-publishers - have had a steep learning curve these past few years. Getting to grips with the various sales channels available to them, producing top quality ebooks and paperbacks, and finding a place in mainstream outlets have left many writers struggling to keep up with the paperwork. What follows is brief guide to the essentials your self-publishing business needs - because it is a business, even if you only publish one book!'
  • Recent US figures released by Nielsen show that print sales are up and ebook sales down in the US. EbooksDigital bookstore selling wide range of ebooks in 50 categories from Hildegard of Bingen to How to Write a Dirty Story and showing how the range of ebooks available is growing. http://www.ebooks.com/' share of the total market slipped from 27% in 2014 to 24% last year, although e-book consumption via smartphone grew from 7.6% in 2014 to 14.3% in 2015. Behind these overall figures there was a remarkable movement in sales of particular categories however. News Review on Ebook sales down but SF and Fantasy booming.
  • Our Writing Opportunity is The Moth International Short Story Prize 2016, closing on 30 June, open to all with an entry fee of €12 per story and a First Prize of €3,000.
  • If you are looking for copy editing online, it is difficult to ensure that you are getting a professional copy editor who will do a good job on your manuscript. Hardly any authors can copy edit their own writing or know much about what is involved. It is in any case notoriously difficult to spot the errors in your own work. So professional copy editing does make sense, either if you are trying to give your work its best chance when submitting it or, even more crucially, if you are planning to self-publish. Getting your manuscript copy edited
  • A great crop of links this week: as a short story writer, I lived in denial for years. I pretended that the editors were all wrong when they said that short story collections don't sell, Let Us Now Praise Famous Short Story Writers (And Demand They Write a Novel) - Electric Literature; the latest look at the vexed question of what authors are being paid, How Much Money Are Authors Making? - Flavorwire; fascinting stories of big face-offs between authors and publishers, Brought to book: when publishers go to court | Books | The Guardian; and a long but closely argued and well-informed article about festivals and the hot question of whether authors should be paid for attending them, Fair play: can literary festivals pay their way? | Books | The Guardian.
  • From our Archive, Writing for Children: Rule Number One - Read More than You Write by Sarah Taylor-Fergusson: 'Author opinion falls into two camps on this one, with some writers maintaining that reading fiction while writing is a very bad thing. To this I might say that if you have been working for years as a published author, and you have that degree of sophistication, dexterity and confidence, then maybe sometimes yes. But for the majority of us who are not at that level...'
  • More links: a fascinating study on the effects of books in the home on children, Children who grow up with books earn more, study finds | The Bookseller; some hair-raising stories of writers whose work has been ripped off, The Rise of Plagiarism in the Age of Self-Publishing Books on Amazon, Google Play, and Barnes & Noble - The Atlantic; and imagine discovering that Amazon are stopping you getting your book reviewed, Jeff Bezos and Amazon's Book Review Policy Is Destroying Indie Authors' Ability to Sell Books.
  • From Enid Bagnold in our Writers' Quotes: 'Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it's the answer to everything. ... It's the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it's a cactus.'

30 May 2016 - What's new

May 2016
  • Two recent announcements show how the Internet has made it possible to make vast amounts of information available online, cost-effectively in one case and for public benefit in the other - and to benefit from reaching a worldwide audience. This week's News Review.
  • Our Health Hazards series looks at all the particular dangers faced by writers, from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome to Looking after your eyes and advises on how to position your desk and chair. Essential reading for anyone who spends a lot of time at a desk with a keyboard.
  • ‘For me, that's what gave me my first break, so I wanted to encourage that. Many authors and illustrators find that leap of getting their first book published almost the hardest. I was thirty by the time I had my first book published. I wasn't an overnight success: How To Train Your Dragon was not by any means my first book...' Cressida Cowell, author of How To Train Your Dragon in Bookbrunch provides our Comment.
  • Don't give up the day job. 'Self-publishing offers a route to readers but don't forget that a financial outlay is involved and the return is also likely to be small, unless you are very successful. But there's another reason why you shouldn't give up the day job. Writing works well as a part or spare time activity and there's something to be said for the benefits of staying in touch with the workplace and with other people...'
  • Our links: is the physical book doomed or is there in fact a print resurgence? A Nice Chat About Those UK Publishers Association Numbers; I wake up at night, my mind racing at a frantic pace, the ideas flooding me with a tidal wave of creativity. Afraid that I will forget something, I race downstairs to jot some notes so that I will remember everything in the morning. Are Writers Certifiably Crazy? | Ellis Shuman; in 2013, the Romance Writers of America estimated that sales of romantic novels accounted for 13% of adult fiction consumed that year, outselling science-fiction, mystery and literary novels, Erotic and romantic fiction: Book-publishing's naughty secret | The Economist; and a serious case of book-buying addiction, The Wonderful and Terrible Habit of Buying Too Many Books.
  • Authors often find it difficult to write their own synopsis for submission to publishers, which is where our Synopsis-writing service can help. If you're preparing to self-publish and having difficulty with your blurb, our Blurb-writing service might be what you need. There are eighteen other services if this isn't what you're looking for.
  • More links: proposals for a writer to not have any rights in their work 15 to 25 years after it's first published, Be under no illusion: Malcolm Turnbull wants to destroy Australian literature | Richard Flanagan | Opinion | The Guardian; a wonderful sample from the British Library's new Discovering Literaure 20th Century, 'It needs more public-spirited pigs': TS Eliot's rejection of Orwell's Animal Farm | Books | The Guardian; and 11 poet-publishers interviewed for Literary Hub, asking them what it takes to run a small publisher, Candid Comments on What it Takes to Run a Small Press.
  • Rotten Rejections - Most of these are taken from Andre Bernard's wonderful little book Rotten Rejections: The Letters that Publishers Wish They'd Never Sent. This extraordinary collection of rejection letters sent by publishers to writers - many delivered to now famous authors of classic books - will make you laugh and provide comfort in the face of your own struggles to get published. Do send your own rejections.
  • 'One hasn't become a writer until one has distilled writing into a habit, and that habit has been forced into an obsession. Writing has to be an obsession. It has to be something as organic, physiological and psychological as speaking or sleeping or eating.' Niyi Osundare in our Writers' Quotes.

23 May 2016 - What's new

May 2016
  • 'This year's BookExpo in Chicago seems to have been rather a disappointment. The amount of exhibitor floor space was down by 20% to 25% and the Digital Zone was especially empty. As Publishers Lunch put it, "The ever-diminishing ‘digital discovery zone' is rather unpopulated and undiscovered, making it perhaps the saddest place on the floor."...' Author stars were teh redeeming feature.This week's News Review
  • How to put together your Submission Package - 'Given the difficulty of getting agents and publishers to take on your work, it's really important to make sure that you present it in the best possible way. Less is more, so don't send a full manuscript, as it's very unlikely to be read. Far better to tempt them with a submission package that will leave them wanting to see the rest of the manuscript'.
  • Both closing on 13 June, our Writing Opportunities are the MslexiaStylish and lively site for quarterly UK literary magazine read by 12,000 'committed' women writers. Good range of quality writing, information and advice with news, reviews, competitions and interviews, all presented in a friendly fashion. Praised by Helen Dunmore as 'astute, invigorating and above all an excellent read.' www.mslexia.co.uk Women's Poetry and Pamphlet Competitions 2016, which are open to all women poets. Poetry Prize: £2,000 plus two optional extras, a mentoring session with the editor of The Poetry Review, and a week's writing retreat at Cove Park. For the Pamphlet Prize: publication of the Pamphlet by Seren BooksClick for Seren Books Publishers References listing, plus £250.
  • Tips for writers is our 8-part crash course for writers, taking you from Promoting your writing (and yourself) to Learn on the Job, from Keep up to date to Submission to publishers and agents. 'Think about the market for your book. Research the category and read widely to see what other published writers in this area are doing. Which writers are successful and why? Visit bookshops and analyse what you find there. If you are reading this you are probably already writing, but it really is worth thinking right from the beginning about your readers, as that makes it far more likely you'll eventually find them...'
  • 'It always starts with instinct. Feeling a visceral excitement when I'm reading, that I'm being dragged deeper and taken somewhere I don't already know, through a voice I haven't heard before. For me, the voice is pretty much key. Some editors are plot hounds and understand genre, but I've never really been that person. For me, at least in fiction, it's always the voice...' Editor Rebecca Saletan of US literary imprint Riverhead on Lithub provides this week's Comment.
  • Our links: following John le Carré, who asked (unsuccessfully) to be removed from the 2011 Man Booker International Prize shortlist because "I do not compete for literary prizes", How to turn down a prestigious literary prize - a winner's guide to etiquette | Books | The Guardian; if you want to read the whole article from which our Comment comes, Interview With a Gatekeeper: Riverhead's Rebecca Saletan | Literary Hub; Don't underestimate the commitment it will take to realize your story and write a book. Boil your project down to its core components to see your project through to the end , Six Things You Need To Write A Book | BookBaby Blog; and I get nostalgic for the days before money invaded the internet, Bookslut was born in an era of internet freedom. Today's web has killed it | Books | The Guardian.
  • The Web as a Research tool is fantastic for writers: 'There are some sensational research resources for writers on the web. The search engines and other directories have made these accessible. But it helps to understand a little about how they work.'
  • More links: a first children's book offering what's been described as 'a fully-formed fantasy world', 'Magical' children's series to Canongate | The Bookseller; the ebook market in India is at the cusp of a major revolution, The New Era of Ebooks in India | Digital Book World; a young poet has seen her name recognition spike rapidly since Beyoncé incorporated her poetry in the HBO-released visual album Lemonade, Warsan Shire's Sales Spike After 'Lemonade' Shoutout; and a more serious take on this story, very comforting to poets, Warsan Shire, the Woman Who Gave Poetry to Beyoncé's ‘Lemonade' - The New York Times.
  • Do you want some help with your writing but don't quite know what you want? Choosing a Service will help you work out which is the right editorial service for you so you can self-publish or find an agent and publisher.
  • 'Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.' Annie Dillard in our Writers' Quotes.
  • We're catching up with the Magazines for November and December, which are packed with a fantastic range of Comments, News Reviews and Links.

16 May 2016 - What's new

May 2016
  • 'A notable recent trend in publishing houses is to set up imprints for favoured editors and then, in theory at least, to give the editors free rein. Mostly they're quite commercial and give the editor the chance to concentrate on acquiring and editing a small list of books which will give them a better chance of publishing a few books which do extremely well...' News Review
  • Our article on How to get your book translated into English (without it costing the earth) asks writers with a manuscript which needs translating: "if your English is good enough, what about translating your book yourself, and then getting your translation polished and copy edited by a professional editor who is a native English speaker?" This could be a cost-effective way of reaching the international English-speaking market.
  • ‘I love historical fiction. There are all sorts of historical continuities in life, but the past is always strange. My new novel (Donoghue's first since 2010's Room) is about a little girl in Ireland in the 1850s who doesn't eat, before anorexia was identified. Back then if you had a kid who wasn't eating, all sorts of theories would swirl around her...' Emma Donoghue, author of Room and five other novels, in the Observer magazine. This week's Comment.
  • Our Talking to Publishers series is a loosely connected series of articles and interviews in which editors and other publishing people share their insights about publishing and tell us what they're looking for.
  • For instance there's Chronos Books - 'History is back in fashion! With TV serialisations of periods like The Tudors and The Borgias, history is stepping out of the realms of dustiness and into the imagination of the general public. We want to capture history for a new generation of readers and have created a new imprint, Chronos Books, to provide great books for history lovers...'
  • Our links: bestselling writer and illustrator Susan Branch tested the self-publishing waters three years ago, Susan Branch's 'Fine Romance' with Self-Publishing; publishers are never short of problems. But perhaps the biggest problem is one we rarely talk about... The problem is this: there are far, far too many books, BookBrunch - The real problem in publishing; in the shrewdly competitive world of publishing and publicity, the story behind a novel is often as important as the story between its covers. Like superheroes, modern writers stalk through the media trailing their origin myths behind them, Andrew Michael Hurley on how his debut novel The Loney took the publishing world by storm; and here we have the shortlist for the Caine Prize - and the stories themselves for you to read - The Shortlist - Caine Prize.
  • How to market your writing services online is a useful article from 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 about selling yourself as a writer. 'Recently someone commented to me that I seem to be doing a pretty good job of promoting my writing services on the internet. I was touched by the observation - we writers get so many rejections that a little praise is especially gratifying. And I began to wonder - what does it take to market yourself successfully as a jobbing writer today?...'
  • More links: some interesting new figures about the growth in translations, The Man Booker International prize: a celebration of translation | Books | The Guardian; the Vida Count, men still dominate science fiction reviewing, Sci-fi media coverage dominated by men, survey shows | Books | The Guardian; and Jo Henry reports on how 'older female millennials' are driving the boom areas in publishing, BookBrunch - Harry Potter's girls grow up.
  • 'Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it's the answer to everything. ... It's the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it's a cactus.' Enid Bagnold in our Writers' Quotes.

9 May 2016 - What's new

May 2016
  • ‘I have never thought of myself as a good writer. Anyone who wants reassurance of that should read one of my first drafts. But I'm one of the world's great rewriters. I find that three or four readings are required to comb out the cliches, line up pronouns with their antecedents, and insure agreement in number between subject and verbs...' James A Michener provides this week's Comment
  • The biggest international fair of the first half of the year starts on Thursday 12th May. BookExpo AmericaBookExpo America, commonly referred to within the book publishing industry as BEA. The largest annual book trade fair in the United States is in Chicago this year and continues to be the very substantial domestic fair for the biggest book market in the world. This year there will be more focus on self-publishers, so it's worth exploring what it has to offer if you're interested in reaching the American market through publishing your own book... News Review on book fairs and translations.
  • For anyone thinking about or embarked on self-publishing, our ten-part WritersServices Self-Publishing Guide by 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 is an essential starting-point, taking you through the process step-by-step. 'Self-publishing has changed so much over the past few years it's hard to believe it was once looked down upon by the publishing industry as the last resort of the vain and desperate. At the time of writing many self-publishing authors are identifying with the term ‘indie author', which acknowledges that to professionally publish today, you don't actually have to do everything yourself!...'
  • A new Writing Opportunity is the First Novel Prize 2016. Entry is open to all previously unpublished novelists with an entry fee of £25. The First Prize is £1,000, Second Prize £250 and Third Prize £100. Get your skates on though, it closes on 31 May.
  • Our links: a well-argued and rather anxiety-inducing article on Amazon's ambitions, What the Heck is Amazon up to Now? | The Scholarly Kitchen; the quote which has shocked the publishing world, "We would have paid her the same money if she weighed 500 pounds and was really hard to look at." Publishing, Weight, and Writers Who Are "Hard To Look At" - The Toast; Publisher Kate Medina shut her door. "I said, ‘I'm not doing anything else. I'm not talking to anybody. I'm just reading this book,'" Debut novels: Why new authors are making millions | EW.com; and whether you are writing a children's book or a novel or nonfiction or a personal experience magazine article, your word choice is critical, Writers On The Move: A Critical Skill for Every Writer.
  • Have you ever wondered why you don't win any of those competitions? Our tips on Entering Competitions, which will help you improve your chances.
  • 'Hardly any authors can copy edit their own writing. It is notoriously difficult to spot the errors in your own work. So professional copy editing does make sense, either if you are trying to give your work its best chance when submitting it or, even more crucially, if you are planning to self-publish...' Getting your manuscript copy edited covers our good value, high quality services Copy editing, Manuscript polishing and Translation editing, as well as Proof-reading.
  • More links: I've read thousands of books in my lifetime, so you'd think I'd be fantastic at trivia, know the Jeopardy questions, always win arguments, and bore the patience out of my friends, Why Read What We Can't Remember? What makes a successful bookshop? Interview with a Bookstore: Melbourne's Readings, the best bookshop in the world | Books | The Guardian; and independent publishers and what they contribute, BookBrunch - IPG members' survey: 10 things we have learned.
  • 'Short stories can be rather stark and bare unless you put in the right details. Details make stories human, and the more human a story can be, the better.' V S Pritchett in our Writers' Quotes.

2 May 2016 - What's new

May 2016
  • Book Aid InternationalSupplies much-needed books to developing countries, raising funds from publishers and general public; 'Reverse Book Club' is masterly idea-for just £5 ($10) month you can provide 48 books to go to where they're most needed, a charity which focuses on providing books for Africa, has developed a new programme. Inspiring Readers is a school-based programme that aims to improve the reading opportunities of a quarter of a million African children though the provision of book cupboard libraries in primary schools. Already tested, the scheme has shown that it makes a big difference. News Review
  • 'Downton was a lovely adventure. We were on this incredible magic carpet ride. It was an extraordinary experience and when I'm old and dying it will be one of those things I remember and bore my grandchildren with... As a writer, you're supposed to be this incredibly sensitive person picking up every nuance of human behaviour. Yet you also need to be Attila the Hun with a skin as thick as a trunk...' Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey, whose latest project is Belgravia, available as a serial in 11 episodes from the website or a downloadable app, in the Sunday Telegraph, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Our series of six articles on writing in different categories covers a wide range of genre writing - Crime, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Romance, Non-fiction, Historical fiction and Memoir and Autobiography. So, if you're a genre writer, we've probably got an article on the genre you are interested in.
  • Our links this week: the "novella" grey zone between a short story and a novel, Nick Earls on the unlikely rise of the novella, star of the ebook revolution | Books | The Guardian; One of my daily jobs was to assess the unsolicited manuscripts. We had a template rejection letter which I would sometimes annotate briefly. Occasionally we'd ask for the full manuscript, Writing Advice for Debut Authors; and you might think handing out awards for the best science fiction writing of the year would not be, ahem, rocket science. But you'd be wrong. The Hugo Awards: George RR Martin, Vox Day and Alastair Reynolds on the prize's future | Books | The Guardian; and, in what seems like very expensive freelance editorial work -  Got a spare $3,300? Reedsy's math suggests that success in producing professional-grade indie books may depend on planting a project in some cash, What Does Self-Pub Cost? The UK's Reedsy Reads the Receipts.
  • Do you want to self-publish your work? WritersServices offers a suite of services which help writers get their work into shape before they self-publish, which includes Copy editing, Blurb-writing. Poetry Collection Editing, Typing manuscripts.  Services for Self-publishers    
  • More links: Building bridges is familiar work for Nigerian publisher and novelist Richard Ali, as he talks about the growth of African publishing, A Few Words With Nigeria's Richard Ali; the rather scandalous story of the Pulitzer Prize website failing to attribute publishers' copywrityers, Breaking News: Even the Pulitzer Prize Folks Can Slip Up on Attributions | Vanity Fair; Vinutha Mallya's essay this month describes India's market as a place of many strengths and many challenges, On Publishing in India: '21,000 Retailers Sell Books Here'.
  • If you are trying to get your work into shape for publication, or for self-publishing, there's plenty of advice on the WritersServices website which you may find useful. Advice for Writers takes you to the links.
  • 'Have something to say and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret of style.' Matthew Arnold i our Writers' Quotes.

25 April 2016 - What's new

April 2016
  • The Troubadour International Poetry Prize 2016 is open to all poets over 18 with an entry fee of £5/€6/$8 and a First Prize of £5,000, but closes on 21 June. This week's Writing Opportunity.
  • Subsidiary rights are very much in the news in this week when IPR Licensethe global, digital marketplace for authors, agents and publishers to list and license book rights; launched in 2012, whose former MD has written two articles for us, was bought by the Frankfurt Book FairWorld's largest trade fair for books; held annually mid-October at Frankfurt Trade Fair, Germany; First three days exclusively for trade visitors; general public can attend last two.. But don't think rights are just for publishers, the astute self-publisher also needs to have a clear handle on what might be possible. News Review
  • An Editor's Advice is a series of seven articles by one of our editors on really useful subjects for writers such as Dialogue, Manuscript presentation and Doing further drafts: 'I have just finished writing a report on a novel. I've pinpointed various areas of weakness and made various suggestions that the writer may or may not wish to follow. But the nub of the report is a recommendation that the writer produce a further draft of the novel rather than trying to submit it to a publisher now. I wonder sometimes how writers feel when they get my reports and see that recommendation...'
  • If you'd like to read the story by a British scientist which has just won the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, and much else besides, you can find it on this page.
  • 'I think teenagers are drawn to both worlds so I try to tell stories that have all the darkness of adult books, but which are written with a younger audience in mind. I'm always conscious of not taking it too far, but at the same time I believe YA books can go very far...' Darren Shan, author of the just-published Zom-B: Goddess in Bookbrunch, in our Comment column.
  • Do you need to get your material typed up, but can't face doing the job yourself? We can provide a clean typed version of your work at very competitive rates. Our service offers help for writers who have an old or handwritten manuscript, or audio tapes, which need re-typing before the writer can proceed with submission or publication.
  • Our links: from the Literary Editor of the Sunday Times, Are Short Stories More Challenging to Write Than Novels? | Andrew Holgate; a fascinating discussion between two top book trade jornalists of the differences between publishing in the US and the UK, 'Tales of Two Markets' in London Book Fair's Big Week; from Lizzie Kremer of London agency David Higham Associates

    Agents for the negotiation of all rights in fiction, general non-fiction, children's fiction and picture books, plays, film and TV scripts (home 15%, USA/translation 20%, scripts 10%). Represented in all foreign markets. Preliminary letter and return postage

    All adult submissions should be typed with double line spacing on one side only of A4 paper and pages should be numbered. Be sure to include a covering letter; a full plot synopsis of the proposed book; the first two or three chapters of the book; a CV and a stamped addressed envelope.

    Founded 1935

    , agents are under increasing pressure from the big corporates to make world rights deals, BookBrunch - World rights: why agents should hold firm; and, feeding into the discussion on literary prizes, Do Major Literary Awards Like The Pulitzer Help Boost Sales For Winners? - Forbes.
  • Under 24 different headings we have hundreds of recommended links to sites, including Interesting Literature, a new one, Web Resources, Magazines & Writing Sites and Writers Online Services. Share with us any new links you'd recommend.
  • More links: a lament for vanishing ebooks, I Wish Ebook Retailers Valued Ebooks; more on literary awards and how they deal with short stories, Should Literary Awards Do More to Recognize Short Stories? | Electric Literature; and, from Australia, an in-depth discussion of how editors impact on their authors' work, How an editor brings the writer's work squalling into the world | afr.com
  • From our Writers' Quotes, William Falukner's advice to writers:'Read, read, read. Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window.'

18 April 2016 - What's new

April 2016
  • We have a unique Writing Opportunity this week, The Novella Award 2016 from Manchester Metropolitan University, open to anyone who's over 16, with an entry fee of £17 and closing on 29 April.
  • Sloan Harris, co-head of ICM's book department in the Hollywood Reporter:' The big brand-name authors with a track record, we're still fetching top dollar for them without breaking a sweat. It is progressively more difficult to launch a new voice and to create a sales track that's sustainable...' in our Comment column.
  • Have you got something you'd like to say to our community of writers? My Say gives writers a chance to air their views about writing and the writer's life. So we have Natasha Mostert, 'There are few things as satisfying as typing THE END to a manuscript.' And there's  British author Eliza Graham, author of Playing with the Moon and The One I  Was, on her route to publication and Richard Hall  "Write about what you know" - does this adage always make sense? Contributions should ideally be 200 to 400 words in length and of general interest. Please email them to us.
  • So, another London Book Fair has come and gone. Our links this week include some interesting stories about the Fair but the main thing seems to be that this was a lively and confident affair, with publishers from all over the world bullish and ready to do business. News Review
  • Our links have more stories about the Fair, amongst other things: 'it's still stories and the people who create those stories - the authors - that underpin everything', Gail Rebuck: 'The Power of the Book' in the Digital Age; Mary Hoffman reports from Bologna, the key children's book fair, BookBrunch - Bologna 2016: busy, buzzy and hot; news about big deals at LBF, Chloé Esposito 'bad twin' trilogy bags over £2m at London book fair | Books | The Guardian; and do you know your doohickeys from your gizmos, and are you able to determine which will catapult you out past Uranus, Why Cutting-Edge Sci-Fi Is Often Penned By Marginalized Writers - The Establishment.
  • A recent entry to our Endorsements page: 'As a total neophyte as a writer, I have been doing a huge amount of research suddenly as to what services are available to writers, on both sides of the Atlantic, and am amazed that you are able to have someone read a whole book and give a serious critique for just 180 pounds. I think that is incredible value for money, compared to other similar services that appear to be available out there. I hope to be back to you again for more assistance, once I've cleaned up my work!' Martin Humphries, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • The rest of this week's links: a Munich-based publishing group has just launched a new online community called Sinnliche Seiten (which translates as "Luscious Pages", Random House Germany Courts Romance Readers - Publishing Perspectives; Blanche Knopf built the reputation of the legendary publisher, but her name was left off the masthead, A Publishing House of Her Own | New Republic; and the final word on the London Book Fair from Neil Denny, BookBrunch - The Fair: God, we hate it, God, we love it.
  • Do you want some help with your writing but don't quite know what you want? Are you a bit puzzled by the various services on offer, and not sure what to go for? Choosing a service can help you work out which service is right for you.
  • 'Read, read, read. Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window.' William Faulkner in our Writers' Quotes.
  • And if quotes are your bag, we have More Writers' Quotes and Even More Quotes to keep you happy!

4 April 2016 - What's new

April 2016
  • 'Authenticity is a high priority for most of us who write. As creative souls with a message to share or a story to tell, we aim to come up with original ideas and find the most genuine words to express them to inspire the hearts and minds of our readers...' Our latest article A New Approach to Discovering Your True Writer's Voice from Julia McCutchenJulia McCutchen is an intuitive creator, writer and mentor who guides people to share their unique gifts through creating, writing and living from a conscious and vibrant connection to Truth. A former international publisher, Julia experienced a life-changing accident in 1999 which triggered a series of major quantum leaps in her spiritual awakening. She subsequently developed a tried and tested holistic approach to access the present and aligned state required for original creative expression in all areas of life, especially writing. She is the founder and creative director of the International Association of Conscious & Creative Writers (IACCW) and the author of two books including, Conscious Writing: Discover Your True Voice Through Mindfulness and More (Hay House). For more information and a free video series visit www.JuliaMcCutchen.com and www.iaccw.com is a follow-up to her Conscious Writing.
  • Bob's Journal is a long-running column from writer Bob Ritchie described by fellow EastEnders script-writer Pippa McCarthy: 'Just discovered your web page... I've just spent the last hour crying with laughter with periodic yelps of 'been there!'... I'm going to make my entire family read your diary. Then perhaps will understand own bizarre behaviour every time I start a script... Anyway, will shut up now but just wanted to say you have cheered me up no end. It's brilliant.'
  • We're just entering a particularly key part of the spring book fair season this week, with the Bologna Children's Book FairThe Bologna Children's Book Fair or La fiera del libro per ragazzi is the leading professional fair for children's books in the world. starting on 4 April and the London Book Fair on 12 April. (Pity the poor book fair attendees, rushing from one to the other!) News Review
  • Our Services for Self-publishers include a complete set of editorial services you may need if you're publishing your own book - Copy editing, Proof-reading, Blurb-writing, Children's Copy editing, Poetry Collection Editing, Indexing and Manuscript Typing.
  • 'There are fewer fairy tales in publishing these days, but there's still some magic left and dreams can come true. Don't write for the publishers and don't try to second guess the market; it's elusive and impossible to pin down...' Our Comment this week is provided by Lisa Jewel, author of The Girls and Ralph's Party, and it's from the Mail online.
  • Our links: the joy of selling two million books, all down to self-publishing, 14 hour days, marketing and dealing with snobbery: my life as a self-published bestseller | Books | The Guardian; never judge a book by its cover, as the saying goes, but we do it every time, what difference does a cover make? Why Publishers Should A/B Test Book Covers | Digital Book World; Romance and the importance of book covers, With Romance Novels Booming, Beefcake Sells, but It Doesn't Pay - The New York Times; with increased government investments in education, India's literary rate has risen sharply over the last ten years, Is It Time for India's Book Market to Gain 'Industry' Status? and a fascinating insight into the German children's book market, Klaus Humann of Aladin Verlag on Children's Book Publishing.
  • Our Publishing and Printing Glossary provides a handy reference to any terms you're not familiar with.
  • 'Fantasy doesn't have to be fantastic. American writers in particular find this much harder to grasp. You need to have your feet on the ground as much as your head in the clouds. The cute dragon that sits on your shoulder also craps all down your back, but this makes it more interesting because it gives it an added dimension.' Terry Pratchett in our Writers' Quotes.

28 March 2016 - What's new

March 2016
  • There's a great Writing Opportunity this week with the Daily Mail First Novel Competition, open to UK and Irish writers of 16 and over and has no entry fee. Prizes include a £20,000 advance, the services of a top literary agent - and guaranteed publication by Penguin Random House UKPenguin Random House have more than 50 creative and autonomous imprints, publishing the very best books for all audiences, covering fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children’s books, autobiographies and much more. Click for Random House UK Publishers References listing.
  • 'The battle rages on about whether self-publishing or traditional publishing is best from the author's point of view and it all seems to come down to your own experience. If you're happily settled with a publisher and content with what they're doing for you, then of course you'll advocate that...' News Review this week - To self-publish or be traditionally published?
  • Our 19-part Inside Publishing series gives you an insider's take on the publishing world, covering everything from subsidiary rights to the world English language market, from advances and royalties to the writer/publisher financial relationship. 'There's no escaping the fact that publishers and authors are essentially in an adversarial position. Even in the very best and most supportive publisher/writer relationships there is the tension caused by the fact that authors would like to earn as much as possible from their writing and publishers to pay as little as they can get away with. Understanding this is part of working your way through the relationship so as to come out of it in the way that best suits you as the writer...'
  • ‘The debate about whether you can teach creative writing is a funny one. Nobody ever says to a pianist, "Oh, you don't need a conservatoire, why don't you just practice your piano, then you'll get good." Good creative writing courses provide discipline, advice and criticism... But there is that extra magic fairy dust that good writers have that can't be taught...' Tracy Chevalier, author of At the Edge of the Orchard and Girl with a Pearl Earring, in the Sunday Telegraph's Stella provides this week's Comment.
  • Kevin Morley on how he turned to writing to support the Saltergate Children's Home: 'One of the things I have set up here in Addis Ababa is a small children's home - you need to start somewhere. It is a tiny place but it provides food and shelter for a few kids. Tsege is getting on a bit but she manages the day to day running of the place and makes sure the children behave themselves. Abel, Filimon and Daniel might be too proud to ask for hand-outs but I'm not. Simple request - if you can help with a donation that would be great....'
  • Our links: one writer with strong views about publishing herself, For me, traditional publishing means poverty. But self-publish? No way | Books | The Guardian; a concerted campaign against writers being asked to work without payment is gathering pace on a number of fronts, Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society - The Price Still Ain't Right; there isn't a company that more directly affects book publishing than Amazon, Why Are Amazon and KDP So Weird? | Digital Book World; and the saddening story of Canada's recent copyright reforms, Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society - Oh Canada! How Not to Reform Copyright.
  • If you are looking for copy editing online, it is difficult to ensure that you are getting a professional copy editor who will do a good job on your manuscript. Hardly any authors can copy edit their own writing or know much about what is involved. It is in any case notoriously difficult to spot the errors in your own work. So professional copy editing does make sense, either if you are trying to give your work its best chance when submitting it or, even more crucially, if you are planning to self-publish. Getting your manuscript copy edited.
  • More links: the amazing story of the publishing factory that works on the bestselling author's work, It Takes 16 People Working Full Time to Publish All of James Patterson's Books; an interesting plan from the same source for getting non-readers reading - rather like Quick Books, James Patterson Has a Big Plan for Small Books - The New York Times; and, also featured this week as a competition but containing some great advice for writers from an agent, author and publisher, Your chance to become a novelist! The winner gets a book deal with £20k advance! | Daily Mail Online.
  • And from Booker Prize-winning Anita Brokner, who died recently, 'If I were happy, married with six children, I wouldn't be writing. And I doubt if I should want to.' from our Writers' Quotes.

21 March 2016 - What's new

March 2016
  • ‘I tend to do what I want to do. For a long time I did not write fiction. Then suddenly a fictional world was in my imagination, so I wrote it. It's ridiculous to say I'm passive in relation to these things, because obviously I do exactly what I want to do...' Marilynne Robinson, author of The Givenness of Things and Housekeeping, in the Observer provides this week's Comment.
  • Our Writing Opportunity is the Winchester Writing Festival which has no less than eleven competitions, including two poetry ones, three by and for children, flash fiction, short story, crime, memoir and the first three pages of a novel, all closing on 13 May - and you don't need to attend the festival to enter!
  • An Editor's Advice is a series of seven articles by one of our editors on really useful subjects for writers such as Dialogue, Manuscript presentation and Doing further drafts: 'I have just finished writing a report on a novel. I've pinpointed various areas of weakness and made various suggestions that the writer may or may not wish to follow. But the nub of the report is a recommendation that the writer produce a further draft of the novel rather than trying to submit it to a publisher now. I wonder sometimes how writers feel when they get my reports and see that recommendation...'
  • 'One of our links this week points the way to a final article from Digital Book World about hybrid authors, those who manage to combine the benefits of self-publishing in terms of control with the advantages of being published by a traditional publisher. Not every author wants to market their own book and many are not comfortable or confident about their ability to do so...' News Review
  • Links of the week: a highly practical approach to the writing of fiction, 9 Reasons To Index-Card Your Manuscript | You Write Fiction; exploring a new approach to getting published, How Publishers and 'Hybrid' Authors Are Working Together | Digital Book World; and the story of one successful small poetry press, BookBrunch - Poetry, and the rest is noise: An interview with Jenny Swann from Candlestick Press.
  • Getting your poetry published can be quite hard, but here are a few general pointers: 'Poetry is not in general given much space in bookshops and it is difficult to find poetry sections that go much beyond some bestselling backlist and a few new volumes. It's hard therefore to achieve any sales for first collections and the publishers have to be realistic about this...'
  • Our Poetry Critique service and Poetry Collection Editing service might help you to work out where you've got to with your poetry. Do you want to make sure that your poetry is as good as it can be before you go ahead with submitting to competitions, magazines or websites, or do you want help to prepare a collection? Our Poetry Collection Editing service is unique and is a real help when what you need is editorial advice on preparing your collection for self-publishing or submission.
  • More links: some amazing insights into reader analytics, with worrying implications for authors, Moneyball for Book Publishers: A Detailed Look at How We Read - The New York Times; can reading and listening at the same time prove really attractive? Why Podcasts Like 'Serial' Are Helping English Teachers Encourage Literacy - The Atlantic; and the 2016 winner of the Bookseller's entertaining prize Too Naked For the Nazis claims 38th Diagram Prize | The Bookseller.
  • 'If you do not have an alert and curious interest in character and dramatic situation, if you have no visual imagination and are unable to distinguish between honest emotional reactions and sentimental approaches to life, you will never write a competent short story.' Edward J O'Brien in our Writers' Quotes.

14 March 2016 - What's new

March 2016

7 March 2016 - What's new

March 2016

29 February 2016 - What's new

February 2016
  • The editor of the new imprint in our Talking to pubishers series explains in the new, eleventh article what her new list is looking for - 'the freshest thinkers and the most successful practitioners in the areas of marketing, management, economics, finance and accounting, sustainable and ethical business, heart business, people management, leadership, motivation, biographies, business recovery and development and personal/executive development'.
  • In the other ten articles in the Talking to publishers series the editors of each imprint provide a specific brief for what they're looking for. There's Top Hat historical fiction, for instance, where the editor says: 'Periodically we are told that the historical novel is dead - and then along comes Hilary Mantel winning the Man Booker for the second time, setting reading fashion on its head again...'
  • ‘Writer's block is a reluctance to make decisions. You're trying to keep your options open and hoping a simple idea comes along, so it's hard to commit to one. My wife once told me, as I was having trouble getting going, "That's because you're trying to write the book, and you just need to write a book..." Our Comment is from Christopher Brookmyre, author of Quite Ugly One Morning and Black Widow in the Independent on Sunday.
  • Writing Biography & Autobiography is a serialisation from our archive of the book by Brian D Osborne published by A & C BlackClick for A & C Black Publishers Publishers References listing. In the first excerpt, 'Managing the matters of truth and objectivity', the author says: 'Just as you need to remember that letters, reports, census forms, legal documents and so forth were not created simply for our convenience, so you also need to remember that what is written in them may not be true...'
  • 'The latest fashion in women's writing is explored in an article we provide a link to this week. The authors think that the rash of bestselling books with ‘Girl' in the title are appealing to a female crime fiction audience and they're probably right, but these books are also the heirs to a longer tradition...' News Review
  • The Mslexia Women's Short Story Competition 2016 is open to women from all over the world with a story written in English. First Prize is £2,000 plus a week's writing retreat at Anam Cara and a day with a Virago editor. Our listing of Writing Opportunities.
  • Our links: is there a link between finishing reading a book and your age, or if you are a child? How Does Age Affect Reading? | Digital Book World; what happens when a writer's tv series is far ahead of the book he is writing? George RR Martin: Game of Thrones twist will appear in books, not TV show | Books | The Guardian; more on the monoculture that persists when there's no diversity, "You Will Be Tokenized": Speaking Out about the State of Diversity in Publishing | Brooklyn Magazine; and celebrating one small publisher who has shown how you can survive and thrive, BookBrunch - Independent Publisher Focus: Salt on the Silver Age of the small press.
  • Do you want some help with your writing but don't quite know what you want? Are you a bit puzzled by the various services on offer, and not sure what to go for? This article will show you how to work out which is the right editorial service for you. Choosing a service.
  • More links: the usual amazing crop of extraordinary titles, so completely weird you can hardly believe they're real, Diagram Prize: Oddest Book Titles of the Year battle it out | The Bookseller; why are two books so influential that other new books are constantly compared to them? The 'Girl' In The Title: More Than A Marketing Trend: NPR; is there a tech solution to writing and editing? Growth curve: Reedsy | The Bookseller.
  • 'Only ambitious nonentities and hearty mediocrities exhibit their rough drafts. It's like passing around samples of sputum.' Vladimir Nabokov in our Writers' Quotes.

22 February 2016 - What's new

February 2016

15 February 2016 - What's new

February 2016
  • 'A survey carried out by Booktrust in association with the Open University has found that children of 0-8 prefer reading print books, rather than ebooks. An astounding 76% showed a preference for print books for reading for pleasure and 69% prefer print books for educational reading too...' News Review
  • ‘Novelists are often asked which of their characters is them, as if imagination has no part to play. Most of us will answer that characters develop out of the need of the story itself. So my Cassie and her murderous actions are necessary in The Taxidermist's Daughter for the plot to work. She's not me, any more than is Freddie in The Winter Ghosts or Alais in Labyrinth...' Our Comment this week is from Kate Mosse, author of The Taxidermist's Daughter and Labyrinth, in the Sunday Times.
  • An Editor's Advice is a series of seven articles by one of our editors on really useful subjects for writers such as Dialogue, Manuscript presentation and Doing further drafts: 'I have just finished writing a report on a novel. I've pinpointed various areas of weakness and made various suggestions that the writer may or may not wish to follow. But the nub of the report is a recommendation that the writer produce a further draft of the novel rather than trying to submit it to a publisher now. I wonder sometimes how writers feel when they get my reports and see that recommendation...'
  • Our links: rather alarming figures about how the attention of readers decays while they are progressing through an ebook, Start Strong or Lose Your Readers | Digital Book World; the diamond anniversary of Avon Books, History and Historicals: At 75, Avon Romances the Readers - Publishing Perspectives; so are self-published books doing much better than everyone thinks, or is it an illusion, Digital Arachnid: What Does Author Earnings Say to the Industry? - Publishing Perspectives; and an interview with a bestselling author of fiction whose real love is poetry, BookBrunch - Of grief and desire: Louis de Bernières on love poetry.
  • 'Hardly any authors can copy edit their own writing. It is notoriously difficult to spot the errors in your own work. So professional copy editing does make sense, either if you are trying to give your work its best chance when submitting it or, even more crucially, if you are planning to self-publish...' Getting your manuscript copy edited
  • More links: paid reviews - is the books business a kind of temple based on our regard for literature, or just everyday commerce, Inviting Your Criticism of Criticism: The Paid Reviews Debate - Publishing Perspectives; a fascinating article about a new submission vehicle; Startup of the week: Publishizer | The Bookseller; and a dour picture of the difficulties authors are facing Down Under, Falling book prices could force authors to abandon their keyboards.
  • ‘Twenty years as a teacher, ten years in educational research and five years of directing an educational charity, and in all that time, I hadn't published any fiction or poetry at all. I'd always had a feeling that if life ever did allow me a clear run at creative writing, I might just be able to do something with it...' Bruce Harris's Writing Short Fiction: A Personal Journey is about how he worked his way towards setting up the fantastic website Writing Short Fiction. Under new management now, it's well worth visiting if you're interested in short story writing.
  • 'Perhaps it would be better not to be a writer, but if you must, then write. If all feels hopeless, if that famous 'inspiration' will not come, write. If you are a genius, you'll make your own rules, but if not - and the odds are against it - go to your desk no matter what your mood, face the icy challenge of the paper - write.' J B Priestley in our Writers' Quotes.

8 February 2016 - What's new

February 2016
  • 'According to a study funded by the Quick Reads sponsor Galaxy, 27% of the British population have been inspired by a book to make ‘positive life changes' and 41% of regular readers regard the habit as a better antidote to stress than meeting friends... News Review on the power of reading.
  • ‘Like a lot of authors I have galloping imposter syndrome: as far as I'm concerned I have cunningly infiltrated the writing community. With each book that gets published I have this dread fear that I'm going to be found out. Certainly when The Lie Tree was published, I thought: ‘This time they'll see through me for the fraud I am.' Things have not panned out as I expected!...'Frances Hardinge, winner of the 2015 Costa Book of the Year 2015 with The Lie Tree, in the Guardian, provides this week's Comment.
  • Suzy Jenvey, vastly experienced children's editorial director and now agent, has written a special series for WritersServices, the four-part The Essential Guide to Writing for Children. The first article looks at the all-important question of age groups and what you should be aware of in writing for each one. The second part is - Before You Write: What is My Story Going to be? The third part deals with Starting to Write and the fourth part is about Submitting Your Work to Agents and Editors.
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is the BBC National Short Story Award 2016 - open to UK residents or nationals, aged 18 or over, who have a history of publication in creative writing. Cash prizes of up to £15,000, and a slot for your story to be read on the BBC.
  • Have you translated your work into English? Or do you have a translation that someone else has done? Now you need to make sure it's good enough to publish, or send to a publisher. If you need help to get your work into perfect condition, our new service, Translation Editing, is for you. Acknowledging the growth of world English, this new service is designed for the many non-native English speakers throughout the world who want to publish their work in English.
  • Our links: the internet enables anyone to be an author with access to an audience and increasing numbers of people are discovering that they can earn an income from their own ebooks, How do I become... an ebook writer? | Money | The Guardian; from content creation to manuscript acquisition to distribution to sales, How publishing startups use tech tactics to thrive in the digital era - TechRepublic; the emergence of smartphones and tablets - enabling so-called "mobile reading" - promises to make India a nation of translations, Indian Publishers Rely on Local Authors and Translation; and a specific guide to casting, producing and directing your own audiobook, 5 Steps to Creating a Great Audiobook | Jane Friedman.
  • Our article on Working with an agent gives a useful introduction to what you get out of it and how to handle it.
  • More links: who would have thought that the much bigger issue around diversity in publishing was the huge imbalance of women? Lee and Low Survey: Diversity in Publishing; so what's really going on in publishing? The (Real) Future of Publishing | Digital Book World; and how is Nigeria's literary scene changing? Emma Shercliff, a publisher based in the nation's capital, Abuja, takes a look, The changing face of Nigerian literature | British Council.
  • 'As a total neophyte as a writer, I have been doing a huge amount of research suddenly as to what services are available to writers, on both sides of the Atlantic, and am amazed that you are able to have someone read a whole book and give a serious critique for just 180 pounds. I think that is incredible value for money, compared to other similar services that appear to be available out there. I hope to be back to you again for more assistance, once I've cleaned up my work! Martin Humphries, Vancouver, BC, Canada on our Endorsements page.
  • 'Poetry is a necessity of life. It is a function of poetry to locate those zones inside us that would be free, and declare them so.' C D Wright, who died this week, in our Writers Quotes.

18 January 2016 - What's new

January 2016
  • 'It's a slightly demanding read, but Mike Shatzkin's latest post on The Shatzkin Files is essential reading if you want to understand the contemporary bookselling scene and how it is increasingly controlled and shaped by the huge conglomerates which dominate the web...' This week's News Review.
  • An Editor's Advice is a series of seven articles by one of our editors on really useful subjects for writers such as Dialogue, Manuscript presentation and Doing further drafts: 'I have just finished writing a report on a novel. I've pinpointed various areas of weakness and made various suggestions that the writer may or may not wish to follow. But the nub of the report is a recommendation that the writer produce a further draft of the novel rather than trying to submit it to a publisher now. I wonder sometimes how writers feel when they get my reports and see that recommendation...'
  • ‘From our positions as individual creators, whether of fiction or non-fiction, we authors see a landscape occupied by several large interests, some of them gathering profits in the billions, some of them displaying a questionable attitude to paying tax, some of them colonising the internet with projects whose reach is limitless and whose attitude to creators' rights is roughly that of the steamroller to the ant...' Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials and many other children's books and President of the UK Society of authors, in the Bookseller provides this week's Comment - 'The steamroller to the ant'.
  • Why your book contract needs vetting - 'You are a first-time author without an agent and you receive a contract to publish your book - just how do you evaluate it? Is it fair or biased against the author by prevailing industry standards? Is your publisher looking out for your interests as well as his own - or wording the clauses in a way only advantageous to the company? Would you, for example, know which rights to grant - for how long and on what terms...' Our contracts expert on why contract vetting is essential if you don't have an agent.
  • Our links this week: arguing that writers could soon be "an endangered species" if publishers fail to deliver on fairer terms, Philip Pullman condemns publishers who 'steamroller' authors | The Bookseller; a curious story, one that raises interesting questions about who "owns" ideas and who - if anyone - copied whom, Ladybird Book Parody Sparks a Trend in UK Publishing; and an interesting Huffington Post story about how writers benefit from being involved in screen-writing, From the Box Office to the Books: How Movies Create Better Writers | Mycah Hazel.
  • More links: book publishing has always adapted to an environment shaped by larger forces. That hasn't changed, Book publishing lives in an environment shaped by larger forces and always has - The Shatzkin Files The Shatzkin Files; from a magazine to a poetry press, how one venture battled the odds facing poetry publishers, uHlanga: On the Birth of a South African Poetry Press - Publishing Perspectives; American popular history is a "male preserve", according to new research from the US online journal Slate, with three-quarters of works published last year written by men - and history experts believe the playing field is just as "heavily gendered" in the UK, Popular history writing remains a male preserve, publishing study finds | Books | The Guardian.
  • The web as a research tool is a useful page showing you what a great research tool the web is for writers.
  • ‘In a writer there must always be two people - the writer and the critic.' Leo Tolstoy, in our Writers' Quotes.

 

11 January 2016 - What's new

January 2016

4 January 2016 - What's new

January 2016
  • 'In an extraordinary and unprecedented display of concerted action, authors' organisations have joined together to present a simultaneous major challenge to publishers. In the US the Authors Guild has issued a challenge to publishers, the UK's Society of Authors has done the same, with the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), the Irish Writers Union and more than two dozen writer-advocacy organisations from Europe, Africa, Australia, North America joining with them...' This week's News Review is on how Authors' organisations have challenged publishers, using concerted action for the first time.
  • Our Writing Opportunity is Open House 2016 - The Interpreter's House Poetry Competition is open to all poets over 18 with an entry fee of £4 per poem. It closes on 31 January.
  • Also still open till the end of the month is the rather splendid new Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers' Award 2016, set up in memory of the late literary agent and offering literary novelists residing in the British Commonwealth and Eire the chance to win £10,000.
  • 'You've considered the arguments for and against self-publishing and decided that it's the best option for you. Great; you've got over one of the many difficult hurdles of getting your book out to the world, the next step is to transform the files on your computer into a physical printed book. In theory, this is a relatively straightforward process - get the files ready, find someone to print the book, send it to them and get it printed. Unsurprisingly, it's not as simple as might seem and there are certain tips to bear in mind which will make your life a lot easier as you commence your self-publishing journey...' A Printer's View guides you through printing as a self-publisher.
  • ‘As Taylor makes clear, over the past century the exigencies of making a living have never been enough to stop writers and commentators from debating, noisily and disputatiously, about the direction of literature, its distance from popular taste and which self-appointed minority is fit to interpret and pass judgement on it. These are questions that matter to Taylor too because the vibrancy of our literature, summed up in this wide-ranging, entertaining and thoughtful survey, is a marker of our wider cultural health... Our Comment is from Michael Prodger's review of D J Taylor's widely-praised The Prose Factory: Literary Life in Britain Since 1918 in The Times.
  • Our links this week: Robert McCrum's masterly summary of the publishing world: 'For a nail-biting decade it was said that e-reading would spell death to the traditional book. Actually, the reverse has been true...' Print survives as a new literature is born | Robert McCrum | Opinion | The Guardian; your chance to take part in the Costa Short Story Award Public Vote but you need to act by 13 January, and to get reading immediately - Public vote opens for Costa Short Story Award | The Bookseller; and a regular crystal ball- gazing article looks at the forthcoming year, 5 Predictions for Trade Publishing in 2016 : Publishing Technology.
  • Which Report? gives the details of the three reports we offer: the full Editor's Report, the basic Reader's Report and the most substantial Editor's Report Plus. There's also our specialist Children's reports, part of our Children's Editorial Services. If you want a professional editor's assessmen of your work, here's the place to start.
  • The rest of our links: anxiety expressed about a decline in some authors' income, Solomon: 'once well-known authors now struggling' | The Bookseller; looking forward at the coming year, 10 Industry Predictions for 2016 | Digital Book World; and fiction is sometimes stranger than truth - using a novel as a template for a big robbery, Hatton Garden: Book found detailed 'similar heist' - BBC News.
  • 'People often ask whether my journalism interferes with my serious writing. As a matter of fact, my journalism is serious writing.' Brigid Brophy in our Writers' Quotes.
  • The October Magazine is ready! If you want to look back through a mass of fantastic recent material, this is the place.