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April 2014

21 April 2014 - What's new

April 2014
  • 'New research carried out by DJS Research Ltd on behalf of the book charity Booktrust has found a divide in the UK between readers and non-readers, linked to wellbeing and deprivation. A significant number of adults have negative attitudes to reading - despite the fact that people who regularly pick up a book are, on average, more satisfied with life and are more likely to think that what they do in life is worthwhile.' This week's News Review looks at trends affecting readers.
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week needs swift action, it's closing on 30 April. The Bristol Short Story Prize is open to all published and unpublished writers, UK and non-UK based, over 16 years of age, with an entry fee of £8 per short story. 1st Prize is £1,000 plus £150 Waterstone's gift card + 19 other prizes.
  • 'The world of spying is my genre. My struggle is to demystify, to de-romanticise the spook world, but at the same time harness it as a good story. As someone once said, the definition of genius - not that I'm a genius - is to have two conflicting opinions about any one subject and that's what I do all the time. Some call it ambiguity. I call it lack of resolution...' Our Comment this week is from John le Carré, author of A Delicate Truth and nineteen other novels, in the Sunday Telegraph's Seven.
  • Our Health Hazards series looks at all the particular dangers faced by writers, from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome to Looking after your eyes and advises on how to position your desk and chair.
  • This week's links: Innovation is in the blood | FutureBook; Why Do Celebrities Think They Can Write Children's Books? | Publishing Perspectives; more on reading in Reading Agency survey finds 63% of men rarely read | The Bookseller; the latest thoughts on self-publishing from Hugh Howey London Book Fair 2014: Howey Champions DIY Publishing; and Is There a Formula for an International Bestseller? | Publishing Perspectives.
  • Our My Say column offers you a chance to put your own point of view: Jae Watson on the magic formula which enables writers to 'cross that fine, elusive line dividing unpublished and published writers'  and Natasha Mostert, 'There are few things as satisfying as typing THE END to a manuscript' are just two from our archives.  Send us your own contributions to this column.
  • And finally, from Dr Samuel Johnson in our Writers' Quotes: 'It is advantageous to an author that his book should be attacked as well as praised. Fame is a shuttlecock. If it be struck at one end of the room, it will soon fall to the ground. To keep it up, it must be struck at both ends.'

14 April 2014 - What's new

April 2014
  • Many of you are interested in children's writing and we're thrilled to launch a new series by Suzy Jenvey, vastly experienced children's editorial director and now agent, called The Essential Guide to Writing for Children. The first article looks at the all-important question of age groups and what you should be aware of in writing for each one: 'Children's publishers divide their editorial departments according to age group. The editors and designers in each division are expert at the language, content, word length and style for their particular age group. As a children's writer, you have to aim for a specific age group, and show through your writing that you understand the requirements...'
  • 'Last week was dominated by the London Book Fair and it's good to be able to report a very buzzy fair, with confidence returning and a mass of business being done. LBF is a rights fair and has increasingly come to be the major book fair of the spring, balancing the Frankfurt Book FairWorld's largest trade fair for books; held annually mid-October at Frankfurt Trade Fair, Germany; First three days exclusively for trade visitors; general public can attend last two. in the autumn. The American BookExpo is much larger but is essentially focused on the huge US domestic market. London is easy to get to for publishers from many European countries but also increasingly a magnet for publishers from much further afield, such as Japan, China, Brazil and (this year's LBF Focus) Korea...' This week's News Review looks at LBF.
  • This week's Writing Opportunity is The Guardian Legend Self-Published Book of the Month, open to all self-publishers but you'll have to move fast as this month's Competition closes on 18 April.
  • We have list of Writing Opportunities, which can be viewed in closing date order from this page.
  • This week's Comment on writing poetry comes from Simon Armitage, whose latest books are The Death of King Arthur and Black Roses, in The Times: 'I don't dedicate my day to poetry like you would do with a job. You can't get yourself a office and sit there from 9 to 5 writing poems - it just doesn't work. With prose I can knock it out, but it's an effort to write poems because they're so intense. You need a lot of energy and stamina and patience to just sit there and fall under a poem's spell. I'm not casual with my poetry, though. When I'm engaged and writing poems I'm completely disciplined and deadly serious. I really mean it...'
  • Our links of the week: firstly an amazing translation publisher, Archipelago Books: 10 Years, 100 Titles, 26 Languages | Publishing Perspectives; more talk about the future of literary agents, Paper Lantern Lit and the Rise of the Hybrid Agent; a thoughtful piece from the London Book Fair, LBF's Digital Minds: The Golden Age or End of the Book? | Publishing Perspectives; and, from the Bookseller's Futurebook, always an interesting and often provocative blog, The end of the beginning | FutureBook.
  • Writing Non-fiction? Have a look at our Top Ten Tips for Nonfiction Writers, written by Julie Wheelwright, programme director, MA Creative Writing Nonfiction, City University, London.
  • Are you thinking of submitting your book to an agent?  Try our Finding an Agent page or your Submission package. Our Submission critique service may also help.
  • 'It is a delicious thing to write, to be no longer yourself but to move in an entire universe of your own creating. Today, for instance, as man and woman, both lover and mistress, I rode in a forest on autumn afternoon under the yellow leaves, and I was also the horses, the leaves, the wind, the words my people uttered, even the red sun that made them almost close their love-drowned eyes...' Gustave Flaubert in our Writers' Quotes.

7 April 2014 - What's new

April 2014
  • 'Following on from a buoyant Bologna Book Fair, recent figures show that children's books are doing well on both sides of the Atlantic. Now that the UK and US economies are both coming out of recession, this is probably no longer because parents are prioritising books for their children. Perhaps it might be because they have seen the advantage that having their own books at home gives children. There is a high demand for middle grade fiction and in YA the trend is towards great realism. It's become apparent how much YA sales are boosted by adult purchase for their own reading...' News Review
  • This week's Writing Opportunity is the 12 Winchester Writers' Festival competitions, closing on 16 May. Entry fee £7 for each and attending the Festival is not necessary.
  • 'I do not wish to write prose that draws attention to itself, rather than the world it describes. I write quickly partly because of my own boredom threshold. The experience of being absorbed in a book is one of the best experiences you can have. There is a way of engaging with a larger readership. It is troubling that what we regard as important books are basically taking no part in the cultural conversation in this country.' Nick Hornby, author of A Long Way Down and About a Boy in The Times, quoted in or Comment column.
  • We have a series of six articles on writing in different categories, including SF and Fantasy, Crime, Romance and Non-fiction, to provide some background on how to approach different genres.
  • Our Success Story this week is Jax Miller, whose first thriller has just been sold around the world in a two-book deal.  Her agent, Simon Trewin, said: ‘My Kindle almost caught fire with the speed I was clicking onto the next page.' Other Writers Success Stories featured on the site.
  • Our links this week include an account of the Bologna Book Fair - BookBrunch - A writer at the 2014 Bologna Book Fair; a radical look at ebooks, 'The ebook revolution hasn't even begun' - Telegraph; and How Self-Publishing Led Amazon to German Ebook Dominance | Publishing Perspectives. An especially intriguing article from agent Andrew Lownie describes how this very impressive agency goes about its business BookBrunch - How the Andrew Lownie agency places its authors.
  • 'To be a writer is to sit down at one's desk in the chill portion of every day, and to write; not waiting for the little jet of the blue flame of genius to start from the breastbone - just plain going at it, in pain and delight. To be a writer is to throw away a great deal, not to be satisfied, to type again, and then again, and once more, and over and over...' John Hersey in our Writers' Quotes.

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