'Authors’ advances are being cut radically as a result of the recession.
Together with the cancelling of contracts because a delivered manuscript is
‘not good enough’ or is late, this is all part of publishers’ attempts to cut
their costs.. New authors are
experiencing greater difficulty than ever before in getting their books taken on
by a publisher. Now evidence is emerging that even big authors are having their
advances cut. News Review investigates.
News Review reports that Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol is a huge
bestseller but, as agent Jonny Geller commented: ‘If the most popular book on earth is a
fiver, what does it tell the punter? Books are worthless. Retailers are just
throwing away their industry.’ Amazon has also announced that the Kindle
e-book version has been outselling the hardback edition in the US. So, it this Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘tipping-point’? Well, it just might be.
'So why is it that the Man Booker Prize manages to generate so much
interest across the world? Entries are limited to novels written in English and
American writers’ work is excluded, but in spite of all this the Prize seems to
generate considerable interest year after year.' News Review reports on an
Was it ever reasonable to think that such a revolutionary,
unprecedented pact, negotiated in secret over three years by people with loose
claims of representation, concerning a wide range of stakeholders, both foreign
and domestic, involving murky issues of copyright and the rapidly unfolding
digital future, could be pushed through as a class action settlement within a
period of months, in the teeth of a historic media industry transition?’
News Review quotes Publishers' Weekly in the investigation of the Google
'You can’t have missed the news that Dan Brown’s latest thriller, The
Lost Symbol, will be released worldwide on 15 September. As readers
queue up to place advance orders for one of the most eagerly anticipated books
in history, there are also anxieties about how this one book will distort the
performance of the book trade. News Review investigates the biggest book of
‘Publishing is often an extremely negative culture… The sheer
book-length nature of books combined with the seemingly inexorable reductions in
editorial staffs and the number of submissions most editors receive, to say
nothing of the welter of non-editorial tasks that most editors have to
perform...' Daniel Menaker, former Random House US executive
editor-in-chief, in the Barnes & Noble Review
‘I was already writing The Lost Symbol when I started to realize
The Da Vinci Code would be big... I temporarily became very
self-aware... Then the furore died down, and I realized that none of it had any
relevance to what I was doing. I'm just a guy who tells a story.’
‘I find it bewildering how often people are rude about commercial fiction
and how many really mediocre pretentious literary books are published every
year. A lot of attention is paid to books that I quite often think are really
shoddy.' Harriet Evans, editor turned author of I Remember You in the
'Although I don’t wish to be a harbinger of doom, I don’t think it’s
unrealistic to predict that that the global book market will reduce by 30% to
50% in the next 10 years... It is perhaps worth thinking of
alternative ways that publishers, authors and booksellers can survive.'
Andrew Crawford of The Book Depository, in the Bookseller
'Some chapters on a hard drive in a spare room, increasing by 500-word
increments every day, will change the publishing landscape from 2012 and beyond.
That is a certainty.
And that’s what makes the business of books so thrilling.' Julia Churchill, UK children’s agent at The Greenhouse, in Writers’ Forum
'It is splendid to be a great writer, to put men into the
frying pan of your words and make them pop like chestnuts.'
Chas Jones' fourth report from Edinburgh:
'Beyond the named performers who dominate the large venues such as the
Pleasance, its formulaic nature has rather degraded the genre of fringe comedy.
Much of the club comedy has degenerated into little more than crowd manipulation
with the compere, bursting with enthusiasm, telling them just how brilliant the
next person is going to be...'
Our first column from the former editor of Writers' Forum
is entitled 'Move over Harry Potter' and is about Joe Delaney, who
followed his agent's advice to switch to writing for children - and is having a
In the second part of this series, Chris Holifield gives an update on recent changes in the
world, including conglomeratisation, the effects of recession and an even greater focus on
'Before publication I wondered what the key was, the magic formula. I
attended conferences and literary festivals, nurturing a fading hope of
finding the answer. Here are the things I gleaned, helping me cross that
fine, elusive line dividing unpublished and published writers...'
First published in the spring issue of The Self-Publishing
Magazine, this article by Chris Holifield looks at what's going on
in the publishing world and why it might make sense to consider
by Robert J Ray
Maureen Kincaid Speller reviews this new book from the author of The
Weekend Novelist, concluding that:
'For the first-time redrafter, Ray’s methods provide a good foundation,
and most importantly, they use a clear timetable. Over eighteen weekends
(that is, four and a half months), a writer can carry out the work necessary
for an effective rewrite of a novel, and have the manuscript ready to go.'
Are you having difficulty deciding which service might be right for you?
This useful new article by Chris Holifield offers advice on what to go for,
depending on what stage you are at with your writing.
Our huge section on technology and the web, and how writers can make use of
them, takes you from beginner-level articles to advanced technology.
Improving your writing, Learning on the job, New
technology and the Internet,
Self-publishing - is it for you?,
Promoting your writing (and yourself), Other kinds of writing, Keep up to date
and Submission to
publishers and agents
Check out this page to find links to the huge number of useful articles on this site,
including Finding an Agent
and Making Submissions.
Services for writers
Check out the 17 different editorial services we offer, from Reports to
Copy editing, Typing to Rewriting.
'Very few works of non-fiction can do without an index of some description...
If the reader is lucky, the index will allow them to find the term they seek and
take them immediately to a relevant and useful mention of that term or
concept... So why can’t a computer programme achieve this?
Joanne Phillips' article on Indexing looks at why non-fiction books need
them, why it's a specialist job and why computers can't achieve the same result
as a skilled indexer.
A professional index is essential for any work of non-fiction. Readers expect
to find a useful, well-presented index at the back of a book, and can get very
frustrated if the index doesn’t quickly lead them to the information they seek.
|Are you an author planning to compile your own index? |
|Have you been asked by your publisher to provide an index for your
|Are you self-publishing your work? If so, don’t let your readers
down by offering them a sub-standard index.|
A professional index will set your work apart from other self-published
books. Indexing need not be expensive – and an effective index is the key to a
good non-fiction book.
It’s a common enough fantasy for writers: maybe now I can leave that dreary
job and devote myself whole-heartedly to writing... Perhaps you’ve even been
indulging in it as you lay on the beach this summer, or more likely spent your
precious holiday working on your latest novel.
A report from the Winchester Writers' Conference
'The road which led to Michael Morpurgo’s appointment as Children’s Laureate
did not get off to a good start. His primary schools in the 60s taught him to
fear words. But then, like many boys of that time, he discovered that there were
comic books that told all the classic stories with skilful imagery and a minimal
use of words which might be challenging to their young readers.'
by Joanne Phillips
'Writing is undoubtedly a creative art... But writing is also a
business, with invoices to raise, accounts to be submitted and records to be
kept. Writers, like artists, can find themselves floundering when it comes to
the ‘business end’ of the job. Read on for our easy-to-follow guide to the
business of writing...'
Our reviewer's view was that: 'This packs a lot of information into its
976 pages and is very good value for money at £12.99... The result is a useful
handbook for any writer, which delivers a great deal of useful information in an
easily accessible form.'
Our book review section
New Categories series
This is the third article in a new series by Chris Holifield which will cover
the major writing genres. It looks at romance, which is dominated in the UK and
the US by Mills and Boon Harlequin, which brings out 120 books a month.
Study their guidelines before you get started or at least before you submit to
Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy
Writing Crime Fiction
The agents' listings from
the 2009 Writers' and Artists' Yearbook can be searched:
from the rest of the world
Children's specialist agents
If you're thinking
this is the place to find out what's
involved. If you're ready to go ahead, our high quality service is second
to none and there's an economy version for those who want to
tackle some of the work themselves. You can
the cost for yourself.