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July 2006 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • 'As affluence has increased readers’ ability to buy the books they want to read, the libraries’ ageing stock has relegated them to a lower level of use for readers, many of whom will only use a library if they have to.' News Review reports on the continuing decline in the libraries

  • 'After the dotcom boom and bust it was easy for the book trade to think it could go back to business as usual. It has taken six years for the huge potential of the Internet to become apparent to everyone – and to smash that thinking to pieces.' News Review looks at poor sales from the chains.

  • Random House UKPenguin Random House have more than 50 creative and autonomous imprints, publishing the very best books for all audiences, covering fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children’s books, autobiographies and much more. Click for Random House UK Publishers References listing's acquisition of a majority holding in BBC Books brings its market share to only 0.7% behind that of Hachette Livre.  But what about the US?  And what price profitability in corporate publishing?  News Review investigates.

  • Emma Darwin is about to get published. But her first novel, The Mathematics of Love isn’t actually the first she’s written, but the seventh.  News Review looks at her success and at how Macmillan's New Writing list gives writers a chance.

  • The success of the inaugural Cape Town Book Fair has provided an encouraging signal for the book world. News Review looks at Celebrating Africa and the growing dynamism of black  publishing.


  • 'The facts are brutal: unless you produce the kind of assured bestsellers that will encourage your publishers to pay for chain-store promotions, you have no guaranteed sales... if an author wants his to find its readers, he has to go out there and grab them.' Will Self in the Sunday Telegraph's Seven

  • 'A novel has an energy of its own.  In that sense, it is like riding a horse.  It talks back to you.  It isn't always transient. Sometimes, you wrestle with it.' Jane Smiley, author of 13 Ways of Looking at a Novel in the Observer

  • 'A good agent guides his or her client confidently through mine-fields such as foreign rights, audio, film, radio and TV, the weasel clauses in contracts that may strip authors of rights they need to retain... Self-employed authors live tightrope lives, their careers often poorly paid and wildly erratic.' Helen Dunmore, Chair of the Society of Authors in the Bookseller on why authors' payments to their agents should be treated as a business expense.

  • 'The ensuing challenge is one that all book-lovers should light on with something approaching glee. You know you want something good, something engrossing, something that will hold your attention. You might know, broadly, the kind of things you like, but you're also beset by other imperatives.' Alex Clark in the Observer on holiday reading.

  • 'It's possible to punch above your size and weight and get the kind of coverage much larger houses receive. 'Philip Gwyn Jones of new UK publisher Portabello on small publisher power.

Writers' Quote

  • 'I suppose in the world of publication 40 million buyers cannot be wrong.'
    Mr Justice Peter Smith, comprehensively dismissing Baigent and Leigh's case that Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code had infringed their copyright in The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. (The authors are now taking their case to the Court of Appeal.)

Our Editorial Services for writers

Check out the 15 different editorial services we offer, from Reports to Copy editing, Typing to Contract vetting. Our latest new service is Coaching.

What poets can do to develop their writing

Helpful advice for all poets from the Free Verse report.

Writing Handbooks

Inspired Creative Writing serial

The 6th and last excerpt from Alexander Gordon Smith's stimulating Inspired Creative Writing from the brisk and entertaining 52 Brilliant Ideas series is about learning to let go:

'The big day has finally arrived. You can’t do anything else to your novel – it’s perfect. So stop staring at it and get it out there. The world wants to know your name.

As writers, we often like to write for ourselves, but show me a writer who says they don’t ever want to be published and I’ll show you a fibber.'

Magazine - Man reading

Books for the visually impaired

Our latest article explores the issue of books for the visually impaired, with many useful links.  For self-publishers, it is easy to make your book available in large print if you wish to do so.

Bob's Journal goes into its 6th volume

Bob is pleased with Anthony Horovitz's success, enjoys the new word foosh (an invented medical term meaning to Fall On OutStretched Hand) and takes comfort from Chekhov's view on happiness:

'to feel continuously happy, even in moments of distress and sorrow, the following is needed:

(a) to be satisfied with your present state; and

(b) to rejoice in the knowledge that things might have been much worse.'

This week

Review of ScriptWriter magazine

'So if you’re serious about writing scripts and want a thoughtful magazine which will help you achieve your goal - whilst providing food for thought and some wide-ranging and interesting articles - this magazine could be the one for you.'

Our latest survey results

We investigated your book-buying habits, and found that the author's name is still the most important factor influencing book purchase.

Working with an agent

It can be hard work finding an agent to represent you. Make sure though that, when you set up the relationship, you do so in a professional manner. Our new page shows you how to get the most out of this key relationship.

See also Finding an agent for how to go about getting someone to represent you.

Writers' ForumBritish writers' magazine which is highly recommended for all writers. It features wide range of news and articles which help writers to improve their work and get published: Column

John Jenkins on how books are promoted through the chains, the origins of the word 'spondulicks' and how Catherine Cookson's life translated into sales of 100 million books.

'Did you know that June 27th was the centenary of the birth of Catherine Cookson? Her life story far eclipsed the gritty plots of her books.'

The Editor's View, written by the Editor of Writers' Forum magazine.

Selling adaptations of books to the film industry

A report from the London Book Fair on how to make the most out of selling film rights and writing the script.

Your submission package

Our new page shows you how to put your package together and what you should send.  Essential reading to make sure you give your work its best chance.

You might also like to consider using our Submission Critique service.

It's easier than you think, so get recording! We'll provide a site for you to podcast your work soon.