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July 2007 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • News Review looks at the sale of successful independent publisher Piatkus and what it means for the corporate battle for market share.

  • 'The Harry Potter saga shows that the book world has changed for good, and not in ways that make sense in relation to the simple equation of writer, book and reader.' News Review is still ruminating on the biggest one-day sale of any book in history

  • Is this the last Harry Potter?  'It’s ironic that the book which is the biggest seller on the planet should be treated as just another loss leader.' News Review on Pottermainia.

  • Fopp has collapsed. The British book trade is close to meltdown at the moment, due to circumstances which affect mature bookselling markets across the globe. News Review reports.

  • 'Have those involved in the latest terrorist threats in the UK also been inflamed by news of Rushdie’s knighthood?' News Review looks at the links between literature and terror.

  • News Review investigates the row over publishers’ attempts to rewrite author contracts to allow for changes in technology which make it possible to keep books perpetually ‘in print’.

  • News Review on the news that the campaigning Michael Rosen has been appointed UK Children's Laureate, and will make children's poetry and picture books the focus of his Laureateship.


  • 'I can't imagine setting a novel in a place I've never visited.  I need smells, textures, the colour of the light.  When I wrote a novel set in Antarctica, for example, I went down and lived on a research station for six weeks.' Rosie Thomas in 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:

  • 'We must marshal knowledge from the relevant disciplines — design, the arts, cognitive science, engineering — in order to build tools and interfaces that will help us make sense of the huge masses of information that have been dumped upon us with the advent of computer networks.' Ben Vershbow in

  • 'A good book is a good book no matter what the genre or how many copies it sells.  And a bad book remains bad, whatever the pedigree of the author.'   Scott Pack of the Friday Project in The Times

  • 'The idea that thrillers are peripheral to literature drives me nuts.  The thriller concept is why humans invented story-telling, thousands of years ago.'  Lee Child in Seven

  • 'I don't think writers choose their subjects.  The process seems to work in reverse.  An image, a picture unfurls in your imagination, or a line of dialogue, or a situation...' Joseph O'Connor, author of Redemption Falls.

Writers' Quote

  • 'Pedestrian writing, thin characters-I can handle the criticism. I write to pedestrians. And I am a pedestrian. I write the best I can. I know I'm never going to be revered as some classic writer. I don't claim to be C. S. Lewis. The literary-type writers, I admire them. I wish I was smart enough to write a book that's hard to read, you know?'
    Jerry Jenkins, co-author of the Left Behind series


An Editor's Advice

This new series is based on the advice Maureen Kincaid SpellerMaureen Kincaid Speller a reviewer, writer, editor and former librarian, is our book reviewer and also works for WritersServices as a freelance editor., a long-serving WritersServices freelance editor, has given writers over the years.  It deals with the most common problems she has encountered in the fiction manuscripts which cross her desk.

In the fifth article Maureen deals with points of view - who's telling this story?

'It is a great temptation for the inexperienced author to write from the first-person viewpoint because it somehow seems easier to imagine oneself directly into a situation and to write about how things might seem from that point of view.'

An Editor's Advice 1: Dialogue An Editor's Advice 2: why you need to do further drafts An Editor's Advice 3: genre writing

An Editor's Advice 4  on planning

Is there a book in you?

Our latest new review is for Alison Baverstock's book, which asks a fundamental question for every writer:

'Being realistic about the resources you will need... are what this immensely useful book is all about. It should be required reading for all writers who aren’t sure about their commitment to the craft.'

Creative Commons

Inside Publishing looks at 'a clever and innovative way of licensing material which both makes it widely available and also protects and controls the licence given.'

Magazine - Autumn leaves

Setting as character

Timothy Hallinan, author of A Nail through the Heart on understanding the importance of the setting in a novel:

'Whatever your setting may be, I'd hope you'll work to make it active rather than passive... It will play a role in the story. It will affect your characters. In some ways it will reflect them.'

My Say

Our latest contribution is from Eliza Graham on how she finally got her novel, Playing with the Moon, published as part of the Macmillan New Writing programme.

Bob's Journal goes into its 7th volume

Bob on writing a short story as a displacement activity and the effect of diaries and writing from life:

'For myself, after letting friends and family read my first novel, I rather depressingly saw that their inability to recognise themselves properly was less a reflection of their vanity, more a reflection of my shortcomings as a writer.'

This week

The long and winding road

WritersServices' freelance editor Colin MurrayColin MurrayColin joined Penguin Books after university. He has over the years worked for a number of the major publishing houses in senior editorial positions. His particular interests, apart from sailing, are science fiction, fantasy, crime and thrillers. on his own tortuous path to publication:

'My agent did arrange a meeting with an editor from the publishing house who told me that my book was one of the most accomplished first novels he’d ever come across...

No matter how jaded and cynical one pretends to be, there is nothing like holding a copy of your first book.'

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, editor of Writers Forum magazine, in his last column for the magazine, on sports books, Richard Hammond, winner of the Royal Society of LiteratureThis British site may seem rather formal (stated aim ‘to sustain and encourage all that is perceived as best whether traditional or experimental in English letters, and to strive for a Catholic appreciation of literature’), but has a lively series of lectures and discussions involving distinguished authors. Also administers literary prizes.'s Prize, and film options:

'When film deals are announced they create a great deal of excitement but it should be remembered that Paramount option around 100 scripts each year and make ten pictures.'

Check out our Help for Writers page to find links to the huge number of useful articles on this site 

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