- 'So what are fiction editors looking for in 2015? A handful of British editors have contributed to a recent article in the Bookseller, speaking up for home-grown talent, strong debut novels and - perhaps surprisingly - books in translation... News Review
- Are you interested in Getting Your Manuscript Copy Edited? As well as this article we have one from our 19-part Inside Publishing series about Copy editing and proof-reading and we offer a Copy editing service, as well as a Proof-reading service and our special Manuscript Polishing service, which involves more intensive work, 'polishing' and improving the text, and correcting the English if you are writing in English as a second language.
- 'As I write, it is 5.30pm on a wet Wednesday afternoon, and so far today I have talked once, to my wife, about which of us is going to take our youngest son to football training. I appreciate how lucky I am in my work. I am able to support myself and my family through my writing. I can watch as many YouTube clips as I want. My lunch hour is when my stomach tells me it should be. But on a normal working day, things are very, very quiet around here... Nick Hornby, author of About a Boy and Funny Girl, in the Sunday Times magazine, quoted in our Comment column, in a piece entitled Screenwriting - a collaborative endeavour.
- From our Archive, a two-part serialisation of Linda Strachan's Writing for Children: 'One of the most exciting things about writing for children is the sheer diversity. You have different ages to choose from; you can write picture books, easy readers, short books for more confident readers, or novels - each quite different in length and often in content... Do you want to write for the educational market - books written for use in schools - or would you rather write poetry or plays, a series or a ‘stand alone', or perhaps a picture book for the very young?...'
- Links of the week: Judith Curr's positive view, How Publishers Can Work with Entrepreneur Authors - Publishing Perspectives; a writer's cri-de-coeur, These days, writing isn't a career. It's a rich man's hobby - Telegraph; four people from the centre of the book world debate - Is Amazon a Hero or Monster? - The Daily Beast; the sad story of a languishing genre, Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society RIP Children's Non-Fiction?; a warning about the subscription business, Publishing: Spotify for books | The Economist; and a sardonic comment, Oui, French Readers are Just as E-Trashy as Everyone Else.
- 'Any magazine-cover hack can splash paint around wildly and call it a nightmare, or a witches sabbath or a portrait of the devil; but only a great painter can make such a thing really scare or ring true. That's because only a real artist knows the anatomy of the terrible, or the physiology of fear.' H P Lovecraft in our Writers' Quotes.
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- Nielsen Children's Book Summit has presented a very encouraging picture of what's going on in the children's book world. Children's sales have been rising steadily and, as previously noted, the sales of children's books in the UK market recently exceeded sales of Adult Fiction. Middle grade and YA Fiction has been doing particularly well. But this News Review looks at the surprise statistic that 80% of YA titles are purchased by adults for themselves.
- You have until 1 February to enter this week's poetry-based Writing Opportunity, The Interpreter's House's Open House 2015, which is open to anyone over 18 with an entry fee of £4 for single poems, £10 for three poems.
- 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 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.
- ‘I had about 24 hours when I hovered under my covers and was like, "I killed feminism. Why did I do that? Rats... Then I quickly felt comfortable with what I had written. Women shouldn't be expected only to play nurturing, kind caretakers. That's always been part of my goal - to show the dark side of women... Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl, in the New York Times, quoted in our Comment column.
- Our expert script editor provides a service for scripts, plays and screenplays. He is a skilled professional with particular expertise in assessing and editing writing for performance. Scriptwriting assessment service
- Links of the week: what's the most difficult book you've ever read? Readability Is a Myth - The Atlantic; looking forward to the coming year, Five Trade Publishing Predictions for 2015; a conversation with Amazon, Amazon Says It's Healthy to Give Publishers, Authors Choice; the author of The Satanic Verses stands up again for free speech, Salman Rushdie, Threatened Over Book, Defends Free Speech - ABC News; the supreme importance of reading to children, Study Finds Reading to Children of All Ages Grooms Them to Read More on Their Own - NYTimes.com; and a contributin from Oxford University Press to the debate on children's books, No, we haven't banned books on pigs - but sensitivity is key in global publishing | Jane Harley | Comment is free | theguardian.com.
- 'Retiring from writing is not to retire from life, but retiring from writing is to avoid the inevitable bitterness which a writing career is bound to deliver as its end product, in almost every case.' Jim Crace in downbeat mode in our Writers' Quotes.
- When David Harsent received the 2014 T S Eliot Prize for Poetry in the elegant surroundings of the Courtyard at the Wallace Collection in London this week, he had won a prize which has recently been increased to £20,000, the richest prize in British poetry. It's appropriate to think of T S Eliot's money going to a contemporary poet through the generosity of the Eliot Estate. Much of this comes from Cats, the hugely successful musical made out of Eliot's beloved children's book Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, adapted by Andrew Lloyd Webber and long a global blockbuster. Our News Review this week: 'A poet for dark and dangerous days' wins 2014 T S Eliot Prize.
- Our Latest Writing Opportunity is the Magma Poetry Prize, one for shorter and one for longer poems, both with a first prize of £1,000 and closing on 19 Janaury.
- 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.
- 'I began with thinking about how almost all families have such a sense of pride in their specialness, even if they have no real reason to make them feel so proud. I think that every family has stories that they choose. They filter out many of the stories that they could have, and they select one or two to be their family's stories. I'm always interested in why those... why not others? Anne Tyler, author of The Accidental Tourist, talking about her new novel A Spool of Blue Thread in the Bookseller, quoted in our Comment column.
- 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.'
- Our links this week: it's not Amazon but an overcrowded writing field which is killing writing, Kindle Unlimited and the ongoing commoditization of books - Tech News and Analysis; articles about China from last year's archive from US trade journal Publishers' Weekly, Top 12 Articles of 2014 on Publishing in Asia and South Asia; musings on the writer's life, BookBrunch - A small price to pay for the writing life; a sensational new French novel, Michel Houellebecq and the Charlie Hebdo Attack - Publishing Perspectives; the power of recommendation by the powerful; When Mark Zuckerberg Likes a Book, Sales Soar - NYTimes.com; and some amazing figures, How Much Can Chinese Authors Earn? Millions, Actually - Publishing Perspectives.
- 'All the information you need can be given in dialogue.' The great Elmore Leonard in our Writers' Quotes.
- We've just published our annual listing of books fairs across the world, 2015 International Book Fairs, an update on the most important fairs across the globe. Although these are mainly directed at publishers and booksellers, many also offer author events and other attractions such as festivals for the general public and also events of interest to self-publishers. As indie publishing has grown, so have the seminars and other events catering for authors who are publishing their own book. Even if you're not self-publishing, your local book fair offers a really good opportunity to see what's happening in the book world.
- 'I became a reader overnight. I remember exactly what happened. I was 14 and went to John Menzies newsagent. Every book that had a vaguely smutty blurb I bought... The only exception to the highbrow erotica was Alan Paton's Cry the Beloved Country. I thought, "This is as boring as shit..." After 40 pages, something started to change...' Alan Warner, author of The Sopranos and Their Lips Talk of Mischief in the Independent on Sunday, quoted in our Comment column.
- Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl has qualified for the Nielsen Book Platinum Award, achieving sales of more than 1m copies recorded by BookScan in the UK. Added to this are her huge international sales, especially after the release of the highly successful film. Gillian Flynn was the subject of our Success Story back in 2013. We have other Success Stories on a wide range of authors.
- Our News Review this week: 'As we enter another new year it seems that the book world is becoming ever more global. Our new list of 2015 International Book Fairs brings home just how many are aspiring to international status and trying to establish themselves as attracting a truly worldwide audience of publishers, booksellers and authors...'
- Still on an international theme, Book Aid International has just reached one million books sent to Africa in its 60th year (They say that for every £2 ($3) you give they can send a new book to Africa.)
- This week's links are strong on year-end lists of articles on particular themes, offering the chance to read up on them if you're interested: a fascinating overview on changes in the academic publishing world, Academic publishing and scholarly communication: a status report | Harvard Magazine Jan-Feb 2015; a range of articles on children's publishing, Publishers Weekly's Top Children's Stories of 2014; so what effect are subscription services having on sales of low-priced ebooks? Ebooks in 2015: Dull new world - Tech News and Analysis; change and stability in the world of global publishers, The World's 56 Largest Book Publishers, 2014; and - related to our Book Aid International link above, Worldreader on Book Donations in the Digital Age - Publishing Perspectives.
- 'Fiction is not a dream. Nor is it guess work. It is imagining based on facts, and the facts must be accurate or the work of imagining will not stand up.' Margaret Culkin Banning in our Writers' Quotes.
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