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What writers need

Magazine

Writers’ needs survey

For the last 2 months we have been asking you what new writers need.

The survey questions asked you to assess various options so there is no right or wrong answer. To get the best from the 100+ replies, each one was analysed and a pattern quickly emerged. For every question, one or two options were significantly more popular than others. The results make interesting reading and are set out below. We’ve also compiled a page of the many interesting comments made by those who completed the survey.

What sort of training would you regard as useful?

  • You want more mentoring schemes. The comments you added emphasised this point. Peer review was a popular option.
  • Many people felt that secondary education could do much more to teach writing. A few also noted that schools were failing to produce enough avid readers to consume all the writing that was being produced.

What would help writers obtain early exposure?

  • The overwhelming first choice was for more support from the big publishers.
  • Trailing into second place were writing groups.
  • A publishing deal was, not surprisingly, seen as the best way to reach readers.
  • Specialist book clubs were also seen as a good way to obtain exposure.

What would help you prepare your work for publication?

  • Everybody, it seems, wants a literary agent to help bring their work to publication.
  • Easy access to editors was also seen as vital to preparing for publication. Increasingly, publishers want writers’ work presented to them after an editor has worked on it.
  • Interestingly, a part-time job was not seen as the answer. Several respondents pointed out that part-time jobs had a habit of filling the day and because the pay was lower than for full-time work, it required even more hours than a ‘proper’ job.

How would you like to see money supporting new writing?

  • Scholarships and subsidies were, surprisingly, not popular with respondents.
  • The popular choices were more investment by publishers in new writers and publishers adjusting their payment of royalties to ease the cash-flow problems that writers face.

Who were the respondents?

  • The median age of respondents was 42 but with a fairly even spread from 20 to 65. There were 109 completed surveys. This means that 1 in every 2,500 visitors to the site completed the survey.

 

Your comments from the survey

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