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August 2009 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • '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 the year.
  • 'The romance genre is doing very nicely, thank you, in spite of the recession. When conglomerate publishers such as HarperCollins and Simon and Schuster have been announcing sharp downturns in sales (see last week's News Review ), Harlequin/Mills & Boon (the US and UK companies respectively) just go from strength to strength.' News Review looks at a success story.
  • 'Recent results from two big international publishing companies show that the recession is hurting quite badly.'  News Review looks at the rather dismal results from Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins.
  • 'Recent changes in the ranking of British publishers by market share show how vulnerable even big publishers are to the recession and the extraordinary effects of just one megaselling book...  A year ago, just 0.2% separated Hachette from its nearest rival Random House UKClick for Random House UK Publishers References listing. Now the gap has widened, Hachette has 16.1% of all book purchases and Random House has slipped back to 13.1%.
  • 'Since News Review last reported on e-books and e-book readers in the spring what’s happened to the ‘big story’ of the book world? Well, everyone’s been pretty preoccupied with what else is going on right now, with all eyes on the developing recession and how this is affecting booksellers and publishers, but ebooks and the effects of digitisation are still the hot topics of the moment.'

Comment

  • '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
  • ‘Some people think they know what my books are about when they haven’t read them. They feel I’m in favour of bad behaviour or swearing.  Some even think I write about drugs.  There’s nothing of that kind.  Mostly, my books are about outsiders, kids who don’t fit in.' Jacqueline Wilson, bestselling children's author
  • 'I completely understand people’s reluctance to pick up a literary novel that is not going to entertain them in the 30 minutes they have before they go to sleep at night.  I think the world of books forgets that because so many of us do our reading during the day. That’s a luxury so many people forget.’ Nick Hornby in the Bookseller
  • ‘Of course publishing companies should spend money and time on trying to define how the new digital world will work, making it easy to read books on whatever electronic devices appear. What I have a problem with is the inordinate amounts of time spent on the touchy-feely side.' Trevor Dolby, Publisher of Preface, on Bookbrunch
  • 'It’s imaginary encounters with death that generate life on the page… ‘There are plenty of books that tell you how to become a writer, but not one that suggests how, if you want a normal life, you might reverse the process.’ Hilary Mantel, whose latest book is Wolf Hall, in the Observer.

    Writers' Quote

    'Nobel Prize money is a lifebelt thrown to a swimmer who has already reached the shore in safety.'
    George Bernard Shaw (attrib)

    John Jenkins

    Our first column from the former editor of Writers' ForumBritish writers' magazine which is highly recommended for all writers. It features wide range of news and articles which help writers to improve their work and get published: www.writers-forum.com 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 remarkable success.

    Latest changes in the book trade: publishing

    In the second part of this series, Chris HolifieldChris HolifieldManaging director of WritersServices; spent working life in publishing,employed by everything from global corporations to start-ups; track record includes: editorial director of Sphere Books, publishing director of The Bodley Head, publishing director for start-up of upmarket book club, The Softback Preview, editorial director of Britain’s biggest book club group, BCA, and, most recently, deputy MD and publisher of Cassell & Co. She is also currently the Director of the Poetry Book Society; During all of this time aware of problems faced by writers, as publishing changed from idiosyncratic cottage industry, 'occupation for gentlemen', into corporate business of today. Writers encountered increasing difficulty in getting books edited or published. Authors create the books which are the raw material for the whole business. She believes it is time to bring them back to centre stage. gives an update on recent changes in the publishing world, including conglomeratisation, the effects of recession and an even greater focus on bestsellers.

    First article: Bookselling

    My Say by Jae Watson

    '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...'

    Self-publish your way through the recession

    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 self-publishing.

    Magazine - Dog reading book 

    Synopsis-writing service story

    Danny found that WritersServices' Synopsis-writing service was just what he needed to get his submission package ready to go out to agents.

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

    Review of The Weekend Novelist Redrafts the Novel

    by Robert J Ray

    Maureen Kincaid SpellerMaureen Kincaid Speller a reviewer, writer, editor and former librarian, is our book reviewer and also works for WritersServices as a freelance editor. 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.'

    Choosing a Service

    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.

    Tips for Writers Our new series for writers:

    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

    The Slush-pile

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

     

    Don't give up the day job

    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.

    The business of writing
    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...'

    Review of Writers’ Market UK and Ireland 2010 

    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

    Saving Salt Publishing

    Salt's Just One Book campaign.

    Kate Mosse's advice to unpublished writers

    'There’s only one difference between published and unpublished writers and it is this – the first group see their work in print on the shelves of Waterstone’s or Tesco or online at Amazon; the second group are yet to have physical evidence of the hours, weeks, years spent fashioning words into their patterns. You are already a writer.' From the Foreword to the Writers and Artists' Yearbook 2009.

    New Categories series

    Writing Romance

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

    Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy

    Writing Crime Fiction

    Agents' Listings

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

    UK agents

    US agents

    Agents from the rest of the world

    Children's specialist agents

    Our Editorial Services for writers

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

    Help for Writers

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



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