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July 2009 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • '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.'
  • 'The London book world was shocked last week by Penguin’s announcement of 100 redundancies, 10% of the workforce. The company had seemed to be relatively unscathed by the recession and to lead a charmed life when other large companies in the UK, such as HarperCollins and Random House UK, were announcing 5% redundancies.' News Review reports.
  • 'Authors should get better discounts on the books they buy direct from publishers, claims  the President of the UK Association of Authors', but they're also suffering from the 'high discount' clause. News Review on the thorny questions of authors' copies discounts and high discount royalties.
  • News Review looks at the latest prize announcements, the Carnegie, won posthumously by Siobhan Dowd, and the innovative new Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets.

Comment

  • ‘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.
  • 'It’s about warmth and empathy and getting that fuzzy feeling. Knowing that when you open the book you bought during your lunch break, it’s guaranteed to take you to a place you really want to be, meeting characters you really want to know.’ Kate Thompson, author of The Kinsella Sisters on Irish women writers in the Independent on Sunday.
  • ‘It's a colossal irony to have the guys and gals of Amazon, Google and their ilk lusting for free book "content" as premium material on which to stake their enlarged claims to commercial riches. For these clever mathematicians and engineers who are shaping the electronic business of our time and the archives of the future, these baby-faced young entrepreneurs, have risen to their mercantile eminence without encountering books, and don't think they need to. Veteran American editor Elisabeth Sifton of Farrar, Straus & Giroux in The Nation

Writers' Quote

'For books are more than books, they are the life, the very heart and core of ages past, the reason why men worked and died, the essence and quintessence of their lives.'
Amy Lowell

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. 

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.'

Magazine - Statue reclining

Writing for Children 1

Writing for Children 2

Two extracts from Linda Strachan's Writing for Children:

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.

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.

The business of writing

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

'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.

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

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.



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