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June 2009 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • News Review looks at the latest prize announcements, the Carnegie, won posthumously by Siobhan Dowd, and the innovative new Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets.
  • 'Two-thirds of book-buyers in the US are 43 and older.' This stark statistic was revealed in the recent Book Industry Study Group study. Younger people are reading less than their parents did. News Review investigates.
  • 'The announcement of the sixth UK children’s Laureate this week was greeted with great enthusiasm. Andrew MotionEnglish poet, novelist and biographer; Poet Laureate of United Kingdom from 1999 to 2009; during his laureateship founded the Poetry Archive, an online resource of poems and audio recordings of poets reading their own work, the Chair of the Children’s Laureate Panel, said: ‘Anthony Browne is an absolutely distinctive and extraordinarily skilled artist – someone whose work entrances children and has influenced an entire generation of illustrators.’ News Review reports
  • J D Salinger is suing an author who is publishing a sequel to The Catcher in the Rye. The notoriously secretive author is charging in court that this is ‘a rip-off pure and simple’. News Review has the story.
  • 'This weekend the Javits Center in New York has been thronged with the thousands of people attending BookExpo, the biggest annual book show in North America.' But for how much longer will the Fair continue? News Review investigates.
  • 'Astonishing new figures just released by Bowker in the States show that US book production declined by 3% in 2008 but print on demand publishing almost doubled. '  News Review looks at print on the latest figures from the States.

Comment

  • ‘Every agent has their own style.  Ed Victor goes to a party and signs up someone.  Luigi Bonomi goes and talks to a film company or football agent.  But I like doing it this way (through his website) because it brings in interesting books, often ordinary people doing extraordinary things. I love the range and serendipity…' Andrew Lownie in the Bookseller
  • ‘It's a colossal irony to have the guys and gals of Amazon, Google and their ilk lusting for free book "content" as premium material on which to stake their enlarged claims to commercial riches. For these clever mathematicians and engineers who are shaping the electronic business of our time and the archives of the future, these baby-faced young entrepreneurs, have risen to their mercantile eminence without encountering books, and don't think they need to. Veteran American editor Elisabeth Sifton of Farrar, Straus & Giroux in The Nation
  • 'Poetry waves a flower in the face of a highly utilitarian age...  But poetry sings the song of itself, and offers a musical gratuity. Just as no one should have to justify, in pragmatic terms, playing the piano or listening to Bach, so no one should have to justify reading Keats or Wallace Stevens.' James Wood, the critic for The New Yorker, at the recent Griffin Poetry awards
  • 'A screenplay is really just a set of instructions, it doesn’t actually have any value of itself.  You can read a screenplay and be entertained by it but unless it’s made, it’s worthless... Writing fiction is inevitably much more personal.' David Nicholls, author of One Day and many TV scripts, in the Bookseller
  • 'Should we, who read books and believe that books and the stories within them contain such power, be surprised that kids read, that books survive? Of course not.  We should be celebrating these facts.’ David Almond, author of Skellig, in The Times

Writers' Quote

'I don't know much about creative writing programs. But they're not telling the truth if they don't teach, one, that writing is hard work, and, two, that you have to give up a great deal of life, your personal life, to be a writer.'
Doris Lessing

Synopsis-writing service story

Danny found that WritersServices' Synopsis-writing service was just what he needed to get his submission package ready to go out to agents.

Here's our index of fictionalised stories, which explain how the services work and what they might be able to do for you. Ranging from the Editor's Report to Private Publishing, these provide a different picture of what the services can do for you.

Review of The Weekend Novelist Redrafts the Novel

by Robert J Ray

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. reviews this new book from the author of The Weekend Novelist, concluding that:

'For the first-time redrafter, Ray’s methods provide a good foundation, and most importantly, they use a clear timetable. Over eighteen weekends (that is, four and a half months), a writer can carry out the work necessary for an effective rewrite of a novel, and have the manuscript ready to go.'

Magazine - Statue reclining 

Latest changes in the book trade

Bookselling

Chris HolifieldManaging director of WritersServices; spent working life in publishing,employed by everything from global corporations to start-ups; track record includes: editorial director of Sphere Books, publishing director of The Bodley Head, publishing director for start-up of upmarket book club, The Softback Preview, editorial director of Britain’s biggest book club group, BCA, and, most recently, deputy MD and publisher of Cassell & Co. She is also currently the Director of the Poetry Book Society; During all of this time aware of problems faced by writers, as publishing changed from idiosyncratic cottage industry, 'occupation for gentlemen', into corporate business of today. Writers encountered increasing difficulty in getting books edited or published. Authors create the books which are the raw material for the whole business. She believes it is time to bring them back to centre stage. gives an update on recent changes in the bookselling world, including the effects of recession and an even greater focus on bestsellers.

London Book Fair Masterclass 2009

Here's our report from the 2009 Masterclass at the London Book Fair, where a packed audience listened intently to a varied group of speakers in a session chaired by journalist Danuta Kean. Bill Swainson, senior editor at Bloomsbury and  Simon Trewin, co-head of the book department at new agency United AgentsClick for United Agents Agents References listing, were joined by authors Kate Mosse, Lola Joye and Gareth Sibson.

Writing for Children 1

Writing for Children 2

Two extracts from Linda Strachan's Writing for Children:

Poetry: Notes from a passionate poet

Benjamin Zephaniah describes his fascinating route to being published in an excerpt from the Writers and Artists’ Yearbook 2009.

Help for Writers

Check out this page to find links to the huge number of useful articles on this site, including Finding an Agent and Making Submissions.

Review of Writers’ Market UK and Ireland 2010 

Our reviewer's view was that: 'This packs a lot of information into its 976 pages and is very good value for money at £12.99... The result is a useful handbook for any writer, which delivers a great deal of useful information in an easily accessible form.'

Our book review section

Saving Salt Publishing

Salt's Just One Book campaign.

Kate Mosse's advice to unpublished writers

'There’s only one difference between published and unpublished writers and it is this – the first group see their work in print on the shelves of Waterstone’s or Tesco or online at Amazon; the second group are yet to have physical evidence of the hours, weeks, years spent fashioning words into their patterns. You are already a writer.' From the Foreword to the Writers and Artists' Yearbook 2009.

New Categories series

Writing Romance

This is the third article in a new series by Chris HolifieldManaging director of WritersServices; spent working life in publishing,employed by everything from global corporations to start-ups; track record includes: editorial director of Sphere Books, publishing director of The Bodley Head, publishing director for start-up of upmarket book club, The Softback Preview, editorial director of Britain’s biggest book club group, BCA, and, most recently, deputy MD and publisher of Cassell & Co. She is also currently the Director of the Poetry Book Society; During all of this time aware of problems faced by writers, as publishing changed from idiosyncratic cottage industry, 'occupation for gentlemen', into corporate business of today. Writers encountered increasing difficulty in getting books edited or published. Authors create the books which are the raw material for the whole business. She believes it is time to bring them back to centre stage. which will cover the major writing genres. It looks at romance, which is dominated in the UK and the US by Mills and Boon Harlequin, which brings out 120 books a month.  Study their guidelines before you get started or at least before you submit to them.

Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy

Writing Crime Fiction

Agents' Listings

The agents' listings from the 2009 Writers' and Artists' Yearbook can be searched:

UK agents

US agents

Agents from the rest of the world

Children's specialist agents

Our Editorial Services for writers

Check out the 17 different editorial services we offer, from Reports to Copy editing, Typing to Rewriting.

The Slush-pile

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 has many years of experience dealing with the slush-pile.  Here are her tips on how to get your submission through it.

Tips for Writers Our new series for writers:

Improving your writing

Learning on the job

New technology and the Internet

Self-publishing - is it for you?

Promoting your writing (and yourself)

Other kinds of writing

Keep up to date

Submission to publishers and agents

Choosing a Service

Are you having difficulty deciding which service might be right for you?  This useful new article by Chris Holifield offers advice on what to go for, depending on what stage you are at with your writing.