- Do creative writing courses work? 'Following on from Hanif Kureishi's attack on creative writing courses this week, this old chestnut of a question has turned up again. Kureishi has dismissed creative writing courses as "a waste of time" and said he would never have gone on one himself, despite the fact that he currently teaches a writing course at Kingston University.' News Review investigates.
- In Joanne PHillips' fantastically useful WritersServices Guide to Self-publishing we're now up to the eighth article, which deals with EbooksDigital bookstore selling wide range of ebooks in 50 categories from Hildegard of Bingen to How to Write a Dirty Story and showing how the range of ebooks available is growing. http://www.ebooks.com/: Pricing Strategies for Indie Authors: 'Never has price been a more essential factor in the success or popularity of a particular title. With prices for ebooks ranging from completely free to upwards of £6/$10, ebook pricing is a minefield for the indie author...'
- ‘My initial career conformed to my original notion of authorship. You wrote a book, you struggled to get it published, if you were lucky you found a kindly editor who paid you a bit of money, and later perhaps you'd be paid for another book. And so on. In the meantime you did other things like secretary work or journalism to make a bit more. But then, between 2007 and 2010, everything changed.,. Being a writer stopped being the way it had been for ages - the way I expected it to be - and became something different...'Joanna Kavenna interviewed by Robert McCrum in the Observer for his article From bestseller to bust: is this the end of an author's life? | Books | The Observer in our Comment column.
- 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 on The Slush-pile: 'When I started working in publishing over thirty years ago it was part of my job to check through the pile of unsolicited manuscripts that arrived on a daily basis, and like every other enthusiastic young editorial assistant, I dreamed of finding the next bestseller in the ‘slush pile'. I was soon disillusioned..'
- Our links this week: Danuta Kean on why writers should be paid Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society The Price Ain't Right, the director of World Book Day on the brilliant Quick Reads BookBrunch - World Book Day: Helping non-readers to climb their first mountain, Anna Metcalfe's calm and self-effacing article on prizes and Creative Writting BookBrunch - Longlists, shortlists and lists of other kinds and, a much angrier article, Kureishi slams creative writing courses | The Bookseller.
- Our Tips series is an 8-part series which starts with Improve your writing and ends with Submission to agents and publishers.
- Our Writing Opportunity this week is the The CWA Margery Allingham Short Story Competition for Unpublished Stories 2014. You'll need to move fast to get your story into this competition, as it closes on 16 March.
- Garth Gunston, the author of Getting my novel published has further intriguing news - his book has been set up for crowd-funding to raise the money for a film.
- '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.
Check what's changed and when:
- The site is normally updated every Monday (London dateline).
The email newsletter keeps you informed about what's new in the WritersServices site.
- Kerry Wilkinson's blog, Self-publishing changed my life, but my publisher grew my sales, is a useful corrective to the view that publishing is dead and the counter-view that self-publishing is rubbish. Everything is changing very rapidly and that offers many new opportunities for writers, who need to navigate their way through the shifting sands... From Robert McCrum in the Observer, there's a sad story of two authors, Rupert Thomson and Joanna Kavanna, who used to make a decent living out of being writers but don't do so any longer. News Review
- As usual, the shortlist for the 2014 Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book Title of the Year contains plenty of extraordinary front-runners. Join in the fun by voting for your own favourite.
- We've added a page listing New articles on the site, which you can use to find recently published individual pieces which have been aded to the WritersServices site in the last few weeks.
- 'The technical side of writing a novel is fascinating. You can strip a novel down like a car and see how it works. They are beautiful machines if they purr nicely. I like to write a book that is so utterly compelling that you want to read on, and in all my novels I try to build that motor energy in it..' Our Comment this week is from William Boyd author of Waiting for Sunrise in the Bookseller.
- Getting your manuscript copy edited is a useful page about why you need to do this. Our copy editing service uses professional editors to make sure you get a good result.
- This is an especially strong week for links to topical stories. First there are the links to the stories discussed in this week's News Review, Self-publishing changed my life, but my publisher grew my sales | FutureBook and From bestseller to bust: is this the end of an author's life? | Books | The Observer. Then there's Do book awards bring out our inner hipsters? » MobyLives, Is this a golden age for Australian debut novelists? | Culture | theguardian.com and Why Huge Publishing Advances can be Huge Steps Backwards | FutureBook.
- Our Writing Opportunity this week is the Mslexia 2014 Women's Short Story Competition, open to previously unpublished stories of up to 2,200 words by women writers. Entry fee £10. Prize £2,00, but hurry because it's closing on 17 March.
- Writing for Children by Linda Strachan is a 3-part serialisation from our Archive of a fantastic book on tackling children's writing.
- And finally words from the master: 'It's none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.' Ernest Hemingway in our Writers' Quotes.
How WritersServices can help you...
- Word count to page (122)
- Ebooks and discounts drive 98 publishers out of business | Books | theguardian.com (98)
- New Novelist--Start Writing Your Novel - (86)
- Agent Listings (85)
- Rotten Rejections: The Letters That Publishers Wish They'd Never Sent - Andre Bernard (62)
- Advances & Royalties | Inside Publishing (60)
- Dictionary of Printing and Publishing - P.H. Collin (58)
- 101 Ways to Make Poems Sell: The Salt Guide to Getting and Staying Published (Salt Guides for Readers and Writers) - Chris Hamilton-Emery (53)