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December 2012 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • 'December ended with a piece of news combining the two big news stories of the year - the continued rise of the ereader market and the efforts of Pearson to work out a future for itself. Pearson announced that it had moved into the ereader market by taking a 5% stake in Barnes & Noble's new digital books and college bookstore unit for $89.5m (£55m).'
  • 'The recent news of a £15m (over $24m) deal between Wilbur Smith and HarperCollins worldwide, a new publisher for the author, has caused some controversy this week. The deal is for six books but the Sunday Times claimed that Smith will not write them himself. The author, who turns 80 next month, will concentrate on plot lines and characterisation, whilst others do the writing...'
  • 'The Bookseller's big Futurebook conference last week gave top publishers an opportunity to lay out their stalls in terms of the future. The keynote speaker was Charlie Redmayne, CEO of Pottermore... '
  • 'Audiobooks have long been the Cinderellas of the publishing business, with many anticipated new dawns which have failed to produce much bigger sales... '
  • 'Recent figures from Bowker show self-publishing continuing its rapid growth in the US. The number of self-published books coming out has nearly tripled since 2006, with 235,625 new print and ebook titles published in 2011... '


  • 'The poem is a form of texting ... it's the original text. It's a perfecting of a feeling in language - it's a way of saying more with less, just as texting is. We've got to realise that the Facebook generation is the future - and, oddly enough, poetry is the perfect form for them. It's a kind of time capsule - it allows feelings and ideas to travel big distances in a very condensed form...' Carol Ann Duffy in an interview in the Guardian
  • 'I don't think people always understand the scale of what we have done in the past 12 months. The level of work has been very intense. What we've done with Pottermore is harness a fanbase of millions of the biggest Harry Potter fans. In terms of producing value to all of the rights holders - be it J K Rowling, Bloomsbury, Scholastic, Warner Bros, or indeed our sponsor Sony - that's an immensely valuable thing, as any new books, content or products come out.'
  • 'Read. But assuming they are already people who can't sit down at breakfast without reading the cereal packet, then I would say write the sort of things you like to read. Don't write what anybody else tells you is popular...' Philip Pullman in The Times
  • 'A brand is a job in its own right. You feel like you can't leave it. I'm very fond of Charlie and Lola but there was a time when I really just wanted it to end. You want to walk away because you want to get on with something else, but if you walk away you can't be sure how it might move without you... ' Lauren Child, author of the Charlie and Lola series, in the Sunday Telegraph
  • 'All my books work in the same way in that they draw upon a whole lot of experience that I've already had. I'm not just talking about life experience but knowledge of Chartres... I will already know about what I'm writing about. I will do some research a) to remind myself; b) to make sure I haven't got it wrong; c) to bring it to life again...' Salley Vickers, author of The Cleaner of Chartres in the Bookseller

Writers' Quote

'Poetry isn't sexy. It's a quiet work. I always thought it was only clever or dead people who wrote poetry, but then I realised it was a way for me to settle scores in a funny way. Putting into words what I couldn't and can't say.'

Roger McGough

Links to this week's top stories

Our new feature links to interesting blogs or articles posted online, which will help keep you up to date with what's going on in the book world:

Publishers brace for authors to reclaim book rights in 2013

Michael Morpurgo: What Michael Gove calls 'rigour' I call 'rigor mortis'


Writing Memoir and Autobiography

Writing Historical Fiction

Writing Romance

Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy

Writing Crime Fiction

Writing non-fiction

Our book review section

Choosing a Service

Are you having difficulty deciding which service might be right for you? This useful 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.


Our new service is for anyone who is having difficulty producing their cover or 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.

Our new Poetry Critique service

Are you ready to show your poetry to magazines and publishers, but worried about rejection from the people you most admire? Do you feel you need some help editing your poetry to really make it shine?

Our new service provides a line-by-line critique on up to 150 lines of poetry from our expert editor, plus advice on marketing your poems.

Driven to Distraction: Writers and Social Media

Jonathan Franzen famously wrote that, 'it's doubtful that anyone with an internet connection is writing good fiction', and many writers are open about blocking sites that harm their productivity. But with eight out of ten people in Britain now having access to the internet, and social media sites growing at an alarming rate, social media can be an effective and useful tool for writers to promote themselves.

This article highlights ways in which writers can utilise the two main social media sites, and reach out to an ever growing creative online community without it getting in the way of the writing itself.

New words added to Oxford Dictionaries reflect changes in society

Oxford Dictionaries Online, Oxford University Press's free dictionary and language reference service, has just added its new quarterly words, which present a fascinating picture of our changing language.

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. There's a new Writers' Blogs listing which needs populating, so please send in your suggestions.

Help for Writers

Use this page as a springboard to over 3,000 pages on the site.

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.

Our Editorial Services for writers

Check out the 18 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, Your Submission Package and Making Submissions.