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December 2014


15 December 2014 - What's new

December 2014
  • There's been quite a lot of talk about ghostwriting this last week. It's been sparked off by the revelation that Zoella Sugg, Britain's biggest female vlogger, had a ghostwriter working on her first novel, Girl Online. What adds urgency and focus to this story is that Zoella's book shot to prominence, selling 78,109 copies in the first week, and thus outselling the first week record of any other author, including bestselling writers such as Dan Brown, J K Rowling and others. Penguin knew they were on to a sure thing when they signed up Zoella's book. She currently has 1.9m Facebook fans, 2.55 Twitter followers, and no less than 3.49m Instagram disciples for her blog, which is devoured by teenage girls. News Review
  • In our archive we have a series of six articles on writing in different categories, including SF and Fantasy, Crime, Romance, for Children, Historical fiction, Memoir and Non-fiction, providing some background on how to approach different genres.
  • ‘I didn't follow the sf rules and conventions unless I felt like it; essentially I went on writing what I wanted to write, and they could call it what they liked. To publish genre fiction of course branded me as a sub-literary writer in the eyes of the literary establishment, critics, award-givers, etc., but the great potentialities of the field itself, the open-mindedness of its editors and critics, the intelligence of its readers, compensated for that. Genre fiction was looked at as a ghetto, but I wonder now if realist fiction, sealing itself off in the glum suburbs of a dysfunctional society, denying the uses of imagination, was the ghetto...' Ursula Le Guin, author of The Left Hand of Darkness and Lavinia in Salon, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Our 19 editorial services will help you get your book published or prepare it for publication. Which service? provides a guide to the individual services, which range from reports to copy editing, submission critiques to blurb and synopsis writing.
  • Our links this week: Are Wattpad already too far ahead? Amazon goes head to head with Wattpad in battle for fanfic writers | Books | The Guardian; a useful article for indie authors, Should You Hire a Professional Book Publicist? - Publishing Perspectives; a cheering report from bricks and mortar bookselling, James Daunt: the man who saved Waterstones - ES Magazine - Life & Style - London Evening Standard; and, tying in with our News Review story, How Much Can You Fake in Publishing?
  • 'I like to live in a nice house. I like to play to a big audience. A lot of people enjoy the stories. I don't think that's anything to get all pumped up about, and I don't think it's anything to get depressed about.' James Patterson in our Writers' Quotes.

8 December 2014 - What's new

December 2014
  • 'Two extremely different but very successful novels have launched new book-writing careers. On the more traditional side there is Milena Busquets' This Too Shall Pass, a thinly-fictionalised second novel about her relationship with her mother, the publisher Esther Busquets, who developed the Catalan family publishing house, Lumen, into a successful business with an international reputation for literary publishing, and died in 2012. Milena's book is now sold in 26 countries and will be publishing in the UK and the US next spring...' News Review
  • This week's Writing Opportunity is the Skylark Literary Magical Competition for new, unagented and unpublished fiction authors who are writing for middle-grade (aged 8-12) readers. It's closing on 24 December.
  • Our Children's Editorial Services offer a Reader's and Editor's Report and Copy editing, all from expert children's editors.
  • Thinking of becoming an indie author and publishing your own book? 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' fantastically useful WritersServices Self-publishing Guide consists of ten articles which guide you through self-publishing from the writer's point of view, with many useful tips and a lot of good up-to-the-minute advice.
  • 'I grew up in London for the first 10 years, then my parents divorced, which was agonising. But it was while I was at boarding-school that I made the connection between putting my mind into some imaginative world and finding solace for homesickness and sadness. If I did that, I felt better. It would be like crying. I discovered this miraculous thing that has held true all my life, which is that writing can take me out of myself to such an extent that it's a great palliative for bad times. Rose Tremain, author of Restoration and The American Lover, in the Sunday Times magazine, quoted in our Comment  column.
  • The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, the subject of our last Success Story, has been chosen by British chain Waterstones as its Book of the Year. See our other Success Stories, which over the years have included newcomers like Evie Wyld and big sellers such as Darren Shan.
  • Links of the week: a riveting and rather scary interview, which makes essential reading, Andrew Keen's dark web | The Bookseller; a major breakthrough for scientists, academisc and students, research papers made freely shareable | The Bookseller; are publishers only buying bestsellers? Are book publishers blockbustering themselves into oblivion? - The Globe and Mail; a new appraoch of writers helping each other, Mentoring helps close publishing 'chasm' | The Bookseller; does it make sense to combine bookshops and libraries, Deborah Emin's Theory: Integrating Libraries and Bookstores; and that annual jolly, the Bad Sex in Fiction Award.
  • 'Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.' Leonard Cohen in our Writers' Quotes.

1 December 2014 - What's new

December 2014
  • ‘Twenty years as a teacher, ten years in educational research and five years of directing an educational charity, and in all that time, I hadn't published any fiction or poetry at all. I'd always had a feeling that if life ever did allow me a clear run at creative writing, I might just be able to do something with it. But by 2004, with the charity going nowhere fast, I decided to make my own opportunities rather than wait for them to come to me...' Bruce Harris's Writing Short Fiction: A Personal Journey is about how he worked his way towards setting up the fantastic new website Writing Short Fiction.
  • 'I hope I never condescend to the audience. I think you should write as if people who are smarter than you are will read it, because they are out there... I don't know where these great governing clichés (about writing) come from - that you have to follow a convention, or that the first sentence has to hook the reader in. That's just poison. So much of the time I spend teaching, I actually spend unteaching. I think my childhood made me very aware of language. I was interested in writing before I really had any conception that there were professional writers. I just did it for the pleasure of it...' Marilynne Robinson, author of Housekeeping and Lila, in the Sunday Telegraph's Stella, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Suzy Jenvey, vastly experienced children's editorial director and now agent, has written a special series for WritersServices, the four-part 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. The second part is - Before You Write: What is My Story Going to be? The third part deals with Starting to Write and the fourth part is about Submitting Your Work to Agents and Editors.
  • 'It is sad to read about the death at 94 of the highly-respected and much- loved P D James. Most people know her as an author and her body of work has given vast enjoyment to a great many people. At the age of 93, she said she wanted to write just one more crime novel. She will be remembered by many as a friend and I am one of those who had the privilege of knowing her from when I was her paperback editor many years ago...' News Review
  • P D James memorably said: 'What the detective story is about is not murder but the restoration of order.'
  • Links of the week: expert agents from the Committee of the Authors Agents Association give their views, BookBrunch - The advocacy of a good agent; authors offer book trade a helping hand, Authors Sign Up to Raise Barnes & Noble's Black Friday Sales -; a thought-provoking article on copyright, Why Copyright Needs to Be Defended - Publishing Perspectives; AAA's new guidelines 'promote good practice' for self-publishing | The Bookseller; and Kobo Sees Opportunities for Self-publishing in Europe - Publishing Perspectives.
  • ‘Tell the readers a story! Because without a story, you are merely using words to prove you can string them together in logical sentences.' Anne McCaffrey in our Writers' Quotes.


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