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October 2011 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • 'Amazon has been much in the news this last week. After the announcement of it first big purchase for its new publishing arm at the Frankfurt Book FairWorld's largest trade fair for books; held annually mid-October at Frankfurt Trade Fair, Germany; First three days exclusively for trade visitors; general public can attend last two., which sent tremors through the publishing world, it is now consolidating its position on e-books. The deal in question may have garnered the book for Amazon because of the high ebook royalty offered. But the question is going to be whether the company can get the book into the book trade – or will Amazon sales be enough? News Review reports.

  • 'There is an increasing trend for older people to write their own memoir and then to self-publish it, sometimes in a nice gift edition. For many people looking back over their lives, the motivation for this is to set it all down for the family, particularly the grand-children, so that the story of their lives will not be lost but can be passed down through the generations. To have a handsome volume to give to your relatives is one thing, but for your own personal slice of family history to be preserved for the future is also a great motivator.' News Review looks at the trend.

  • ‘On the surface, there is little to distinguish this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair from any other but beneath the frantic meetings, crowded aisles and over-priced hotels the subtle shades of digital are stealing across the landscape… a new global market in English-language e-books is fast developing as the growing number of English-speaking readers worldwide opt to buy the cheaper English variant instead of the more expensive local-language product,’ says Publishing Perspectives Editor-in-Chief Ed Nawotka. News Review at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

  • 'The Historical Writers’ Association, which we reported on last year, seems to have marked the coming of age of the genre of historical fiction... It is strange how genres come and go, with no obvious explanation, although sometimes the success of one or two books can have a knock-on effect, reviving the market for other similar books. News Review reports.

  • 'A new Harris poll has revealed that the number of Americans reading ebooks has doubled in the last year. One in six Americans who do not have an ebook reader are planning to buy one in the next year.' News Review reports on the latest developments in ebooks. 

  • Comment

    • 'There's just too much stress on authors. The business model seems to be that publishers want a book a year. I wanted to spend time on my novels, but that isn't economically viable... Steph Swainston, fantasy author, who is abandoning writing to become a chemistry teacher, in the Independent on Sunday.

    • 'Peter (Kravitz - her editor) said to me, I'll give you money for this. It had never occurred to me that anyone would give you money for writing: I thought writers were wealthy people who just wrote things out of the goodness of their heart and gave them as gifts. Janice Galloway, author of All Made Up, in the Guardian

    • 'Here’s the flat truth of it, my friends: If you are a midlist writer and you sign a traditional publishing contract with most modern terms, and you do so with an agent—and not an IP attorney—negotiating for you, you will not make any more than your advance on that book. And the advance is not enough to live on. Kristine Kathryn Rusch

    • ‘The next time you parachute a non-editor into a commissioning role, take your best real editor and promote them to - let’s call it - Structural Editor< and pay them most of what you are going to pay the commissioning editor in lieu of the kudos (and the rest of the salary); let them work hand in hand with the commissioning editor and take care of the editorial work that the commissioning editor isn’t really qualified to do.' Advice to publishers from Stephen Guise, former editor at Mitchell Beazley, Cassell and at Little, Brown.

    • 'One child in Edinburgh asked me who my main competitors were. If Julia Donaldson didn't exist and her books didn't exist, then I wouldn't have the readers. If I didn't exist then Anthony Horowitz and Jo Rowling wouldn't have their readers. Children need lots of different books. Adult writers are a lot more competitive, but with children you need this vast amount... Francesca Simon, author of the Horrid Henry books, in the Independent on Sunday

    Writers' Quote

    'If booksellers wanted to be millionaires, they'd be in another line of business.'
     Godfrey Smith

    Success story

    Darren Shan’s first book, Ayuamarca, was published in 1999 by Orion and didn’t have much impact. The sequel, Hell's Horizon, sold fewer copies than the first. But in January 2000, Shan released Cirque du Freak, the first book of The Saga of Darren Shan series in the UK and Ireland and this was the beginning of his tremendous success and as a YA (and, more recently, adult) horror writer.

    Help for Writers

    Set up your own blog

    In order to be in the best position to promote yourself and your writing, it’s well worth setting up a blog. In case you find this idea a bit alien, here’s why you should take the trouble to do this.

    A blog offers you the opportunity to start building an audience for your work and the chance to experiment with writing about yourself and with different kinds of writing. Many successful writers’ blogs start with a small readership of family and friends, but build a good audience over the years. Relax and just write what comes naturally, it makes sense for your blog to be more informal, more personal than a standard piece of non-fiction writing and more lively than a slice of autobiography, as there are no conventions that go with it.

    Mountain reflection

    Help get your book ready for publication with an editorial service

    Marti Norberg, who has worked as a reporter and managing editor for several Colorado newspapers, advises on how to use an editorial service (such as WritersServices) to get your book ready.

    Great review of WritersServices

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

    '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.

    We Watch the web for writers

    Our huge section on technology and the web, and how writers can make use of them, takes you from beginner-level articles to advanced technology.

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    Magazine index

    Our book review section

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

    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.


    Our new service is for anyone who is having difficulty producing their cover of jacket copy and may be especially helpful for self-publishers. Let our skilled editor/writers do the job for you, so that you end up with a professional blurb.

    John Jenkins' September column

    'Every biography begins with a single sentence - 'Have you ever fancied writing your life story?

    There is always a market for biographies. Your story is equally exciting – a piece of social history, fascinating to your family and perhaps a wider audience if you go about it in the right way.'

    Rotten Rejections

    Our latest new contribution: 'One agent wrote to say my titles were so uncommercial that reading my synopsis made him laugh and that he couldn't sell any of my titles to a publisher even if he had a million years to try.'

    Update to our links

    Our 23 lists of recommended links have just been updated with many new links to sites of special interest to writers. these range from Writers Online Services to Picture libraries and from Software for writers to Writers Magazines & Sites.

    Getting your manuscript copy edited

    If you are looking for copy editing online, it is difficult to ensure that you are getting a professional copy editor who will do a good job on your manuscript.

    WritersServices has now made its copy editing service unique, as it will offer as standard two versions of your script, one prepared using 'track changes' and one with all the changes accepted.

    Writing Historical Fiction

    Our revised article on Writing Historical Fiction brings this subject up to date.

    Other articles cover Writing Crime Fiction Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Romance Writing Non-fiction and Writing Memoir and Autobiography.

    Inside Publishing series

    This extremely useful 19-part series has just been 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 covered The Frankfurt Book FairWorld's largest trade fair for books; held annually mid-October at Frankfurt Trade Fair, Germany; First three days exclusively for trade visitors; general public can attend last two., the Sales Department, the Production Department, Pricing and Distribution.

    And the third week it was Book clubs and Direct selling. The fourth covered Creative Commons and the fifth The Financial relationship between writers and publishers. This completes the update of the whole series.

    Our Editorial Services for writers

    Check out the 17 different editorial services we offer, from Reports to Copy editing, Typing to Rewriting. Check out this page to find links to the huge number of useful articles on this site, including Finding an Agent and Making Submissions.