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January 2011 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • 'Amazon has just announced that ebooks for its Kindle are now outselling paperbacks... For bricks and mortar booksellers, the news from Amazon was almost totally bad. The rapid increase in ebook sales as the Kindle gains market share is due to the ease with which people can download ebooks on to their devices. In the US a large proportion of paperback buyers are opting for ebooks instead. But it also shows that Amazon are getting a much bigger proportion of the e-book market than they have of the paperback market.' News Review reports.

  • 'An interesting study published recently in the US suggests that writers are at greater risk of depression than most other occupations. The study puts artists and writers among the most vulnerable of professionals, alongside other "at risk" jobs including care workers, teachers, social workers, maintenance staff and salespeople. Irregular pay and isolation contribute to the tendency for writers to succumb to depression, says the site, with nearly 7% of male artists and writers likely to suffer a major episode of the illness.' News Review looks at the evidence.

  • 'Bestselling author J K Rowling is in the clear as regards a case brought against her by the estate of the late Adrian Jacobs in relation to his book Willy the Wizard, which she was accused of using as the basis of the Harry Potter books. The judge said: "The contrast between the total concept and feel of the work is so stark that any serious comparison of the two strains credulity." ' News Review looks at accusations of plagiarism and attempts to defend work against passing-off.

  • 'The old idea of sentimental and formula-driven romances of the sort produced by Mr Mills and Mr Boon has been replaced by a highly efficient publishing machine which has an exact idea of what readers want and long ago set about delivering it. Many of the books they publish now would have scandalised the ‘spinsters’ of the past. New series deliver a much more raunchy read and their books are avidly consumed by a wide-ranging, almost totally female, readership of all ages and from all backgrounds – and across the world, with new markets like India developing fast.' News Review on why romance is perfect for e-readers.


  • ‘Publishers are relevant. We have practical expertise and, of course, money. We give our authors advances which enable them to concentrate on their work in hand… My idea of hell is a website with 80,000 self-published works on it – some of which might be jewels, but, frankly, who's got the time? What people want is selection and frankly that's what we do.' Gail Rebuck, CEO of 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, in the Guardian.

  • 'I was lucky. Susan Watt (his editor) said: "It will take four or five books to establish you." HarperCollins sat out those first books and the fifth Sharpe took off. I really don't know if publishers would have the patience to do that in the current climate.' Bernard Cornwall, author of The Fort and many other novels, in the Observer.

  • 'Through all this "wither the industry" debates, I feel I'm looking on from the outside. It's frustrating not to understand the implications and, truthfully, I realise I resent having to think about it all. Like many writers, I just want to concentrate on the book that I'm working on...' Kate Mosse, author of Sepulchre, in the Bookseller.

  • 'Since 2000, the Anglo-American book business has been rocked by seismic convulsions. Google has digitised some 10 million titles, Barnes and Noble is for sale. Borders, bankrupt in the UK, clings on in the US. Here, Waterstones's parent company, HMV, wants to sell. Amazon's market share continues to soar... Robert McCrum in the Observer.

Writers' Quote

'Beware of self-indulgence. The romance surrounding the writing profession carries several myths: that one must suffer in order to be creative; that one must be cantankerous and objectionable in order to be bright; that ego is paramount over skill; that one can rise to a level from which one can tell the reader to go to hell. These myths, if believed, can ruin you.  If you believe you can make a living as a writer, you already have enough ego.'
David Brin

The 2011 T S Eliot Prize

The winner of this year's Prize has just been announced. It's been a fantastic shortlist and the Readings in the Royal Festival Hall were a glittering success, attracting an audience twice as big as last year's event.

International Book FairsInternational Book Fair Information 2011

Bang up to date, our list of the key international books fairs for 2011.  Some are growing in this competitive sector, some have vanished, and others are still a bit vague, but here's the list as it stands at present.

Colourful Globe


Great review of WritersServices

We're complimented by Stuart Aken's review of our site in his blog for 27 July:

'It is the Resources pages that really make this site stand out from the crowd. Here you’ll find reviews of books and software, listings of agents, self-publishing facts, educational matters, health and safety advice, and there’s a new feature, reviewing writing magazines. You’ll see there is a great deal of information on this site. It’s well presented and easily navigated, which is as well, considering the number of pages. It’s a site I browse often and I think you’ll benefit from a good look at this one.' Read more.

Writing Memoir and Autobiography
Writing Historical Fiction
Writing Romance
Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy
Writing Crime Fiction
Writing non-fiction

Our Editorial Services for writers

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

Publicising your book

Gaining publicity is one of the biggest hurdles a new fiction or non-fiction writer faces. After all, without it, no-one will even know your book exists. Here, media agent Alison Smith-Squire offers some top tips…

John Jenkins' January column

This month John looks at the eternally fascinating question of rejection and how some successful writers have overcome it.

He also quotes from our Rotten Rejections page.

Inside Publishing series

This extremely useful 19-part series is in the midst of being revised to take account of changes in the publishing world. The introduction, How the publishing business works, Advances and royalties, The Relationship between agents and publishers, Subsidiary rights, The English-speaking publishing world and The Marketing department have all just been brought up-to-date.

This second week we're on to The Frankfurt Book Fair, the Sales Department, the Production Department, Pricing and Distribution.

And the third week it's Books clubs and Direct selling.  The fourth covers Creative Commons.

John Jenkins' December column

'Show the reader, don't tell him:

Sooner or later most good tutors will advise you to stop "telling" the reader what has happened and instead "show them." The point is to involve the reader. There are many times when tell is more important but nine times out of ten go for show.'

Agents' listings

Our agents' listings have been compiled from agents' own websites and other information they publish about what they're looking for. You can use them to research which agents to submit to.

The listings cover UK and US agents, with separate listings for children's agents in the UK, and international agents from all over the world.

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 and Submission to publishers and agents

Previous magazines:

August 2010

July 2010

Magazine index

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.

Choosing a Service

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

WritersServices Self-publishing

If you're thinking about self-publishing, this is the place to find out what's involved. If you're ready to go ahead, our high quality service is second to none and there's an economy version for those who want to tackle some of the work themselves. You can estimate the cost for yourself.

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