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September 2011 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • '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.

  • 'Last week saw the unusual spectacle of an author leaving her publisher because she thought the covers they put on her new book were inappropriate. Polly Courtney said the image was too racy – and she wanted her novel to be taken more seriously.' News Review reports.

  • Following an appeal by two female customers from Tonbridge in the English county of Kent, the bookseller W H Smith has agreed to remove all references to ‘women’s fiction’ in its shops from October. The two women, Clare Leigh and Julia Gillick, complained that the women’s fiction section was ’very light, with lots of pink fluffiness’ and there were no classic authors.' What price women's fiction? News Review reports.

  • 'The advent of ebooks and consumers’ reluctance to accept the high price of hardbacks are having an impact on the traditional relationship between hardback and paperback publication. Traditionally, one year has been the norm and publishers have stuck to this for many years, in spite of the growth of sales of paperback editions.' News Review investigates.


  • ‘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

  • 'The big debate for anyone at the moment is where does publishing provide value? What is our role? In my view what we do is we select, we nurture, we position, we promote, we leverage - but author care, editorial expertise, design excellence - those things are absolutely critical... Tom Weldon, CEO of Penguin UK in the Bookseller

  • 'The biggest thrill of my life was selling my first novelette. It was a Western for Argosy magazine in 1951, called "Trail of the Apaches". I'd done a lot of research about the Apache Indians in the 1880s and they seemed like ruthless individuals out to raise hell, which fascinated me... Elmore Leonard in the Independent on Sunday

  • 'By encouraging and effectively subsidising the creation and distribution of so many free apps by providing free distribution, Apple has given rise to a situation where anything that's not free has to work incredibly hard to prove its value, and in which consumers feel a tremendous sense of entitlement to be amused and pandered to for basically next to nothing... Simon Appleby, Digital Projects Manager for Octopus Publishing in the Bookseller's Futurebook.

  • 'I write full-time, it's my job, I have nothing else to do. I've got no excuse for not writing a book a year... I have no truck at all with this supposed link between quality and quantity, tell that to Mozart...  I understand that it's not everybody's cup of tea, but because I come from a performance background, I'm not shy when in comes to standing up at festivals or in bookshops. Mark Billingham, author of Good as Dead, interviewed by Alice O'Keeffe in the Bookseller.

Writers' Quote

'If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.'

Edgar Rice Burroughs

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.


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.

Help for Writers

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

Coming from the University of San Jose, this entertaining competition challenges the writer to compose the opening sentence of the worst of all possible novels. Follow its 'childishly simple' rules, 'wretched writers welcome'.

The winner of the 2011 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is Sue Fondrie, an associate professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

Professor Fondrie is the 29th grand prize winner of the contest that that began at San Jose State University in 1982. At 26 words, her submission is the shortest grand prize winner ever.

Given annually since 1982, the competition, sponsored by the English department at the University, is inspired by the melodramatic first line of Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton's 1830 novel Paul Clifford

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.

Magazine - Timepiece

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.


Previous magazines:




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.

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.'

John Jenkins' August column

John provides a lively and rather cynical view of this year's Booker shortlist.

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.

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.