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August 2013 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • Elmore Leonard, who died this week at the age of 87, was for most of his writing life ignored by the critics. Starting as a writer of westerns, even then belittled by the literary establishment and now little published, he graduated later to the tough crime novels which made his name.
  • This week has brought the debut of a new star-in-the-making - or should she be described as having leapt straight to stardom? Samantha Shannon, whose first novel The Bone Season is published in the US and the UK this week, seems like an ordinary kind of superstar.
  • Many observers were completely shattered this week by the completely unexpected news that Jeff Bezos had bought the Washington Post. Apparently the Graham family used an investment firm to approach six "potential suitors" amid tightest security before choosing Bezos.
  • Two press articles have this week raised an interesting debate about the role of writers and what it's reasonable to expect them to do, and the importance of readers in the writing-and-reading continuum.
  • 'Ebook sales growth in the UK seems to be flattening this year. A recent Bowker study showed that digital is taking a much greater proportion of the fiction market than of narrative non-fiction, as in the US...'


  • 'The size of the book was a real surprise to me. It just kept growing and growing. My publishers would be able to tell you that I had been lying to them about when the book was going to be ready for the last three years. But I'm much more interested in the entertaining, immersive qualities of writing than I am with more abstract formal qualities. Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries, which has just been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
  • 'When I was at primary school my father gave me a broken alarm clock and I used to take it apart and put it back together again. When I think of a plot I think of its components, which can be characters or incidents. The important thing is never to force a component into a place where it will not fit... Keigo Higashimo, author of The Devotion of Suspect X, in The Times
  • 'I don't set out to write a book that will deliberately traumatise children or introduce them to dreadful things. I just try to reflect what life can be like. If you happen to write children's books, people often think your books are like childcare manuals: you're saying this is the way your children should be. And I'm not saying that at all. I'm just trying to write books that are interesting and entertaining and involving.' Jacqueline Wilson in the Sunday Telegraph
  • 'I don't see female characters as vicious. In literature, you find so many instances of male characters who are immoral, tormented or angry - all the things that male characters seem very freely able to be...' Gillian Flynn, the author of Gone Girl, who has sold the film rights and will be writing the screenplay, in The Times
  • 'On the internet everyone is writing. There is a great flowering of writing. Going in to Knopf (his US publisher) today is not like going into a publisher 50 years ago. That world is changing... 'You're lucky if a book stays in print for 30 or 40 years. James Salter, author of All That Is is, in the Observer.

Writers' Quote

'Don't be dismayed by the opinions of editors, or critics. They are only the traffic cops of the arts.'

Gene Fowler

Links to this month'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:

Can I Publish Myself? An Interview With Author-Speaker-Publisher Phil Simon - Forbes

Reports of Barnes & Noble's Death Are Greatly Exaggerated | Publishing Perspectives

Seth Godin on Why Vilifying Amazon Makes No Sense | Publishing Perspectives

Ether for Authors: How Clear a View of Publishing Do We Have? | Publishing Perspectives

Don't tell me the truth about Amazon | FutureBook

How Do Literary Agents Fit Into The New Book Publishing Ecosystem? - Forbes

Amazon vs. your public library - Fortune Tech

The Head of FSG Reflects on Hothouse -- Vulture

Two Experiments Running: Agent-Publishing in London | Publishing Perspectives

'I turned down 'Robert Galbraith'': Editor admits rejecting JK Rowling's secret novel - News - Books - The Independent

Agent-Assisted Publishing: An Interrupted Debate | Publishing Perspectives

What the Writers' Guild Can Do For You

Folio Academy Highlights Literary Gems of the Past | Publishing Perspectives

E-Book Ruling Gives Amazon an Advantage -


Our series about writing in different genres

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 Editorial Services for writers

Check out the 19 different editorial services we offer, from Reports to Copy editing, Manuscript 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.


WritersServices Guide to Self-publishing

This week we start Joanne Phllips' essential new series, the WritersServices Guide to Self-publishing, a ten-parter which will take you through what you need to know about self-publishing. First up is What is Self-publishing?

Adding the second part of Joanne Phillips' WritersServices Self-publishing Guide, Choose Your Self-publishing Route: 'When I started my research into indie publishing way back in May 2012, there were so many routes open to authors it was mind-boggling. I made pages and pages of notes and distilled all my research into a useful spreadsheet comparing the most prevalent options. Now I can narrow down the options to two main routes...'

Joanne has also produced our easy-to-follow guide to the Business of Writing, The Ins and Outs of Indexing (a subject she knows well) and How to Market Your Writing Services Online.

Talking to publishers

Talking to publishers 4 - Sassy BooksAn Imprint Of John Hunt Publishing. Hip, real and raw, SASSY books share untamed truths, spiritual insights and entrepreneurial witchcraft with women who want to kick ass in life and start revolutions. is an exciting new imprint for today's new generation of girl-power readers, but how would publisher Lisa Clark define her readership for the benefit of new writers interested in writing for her?

Press coverage for the site

This week we've sent out a press release and had some good coverage for the site, including this piece in Bookbrunch.

Colour printing now available for Print on demand

Our WritersServices Self-Publishing printer Lightning Source has just announced that it can now handle colour printing in the UK as well as the US. This exciting breakthrough means that we're now able to offer colour printing for a very good price, with all the benefits of print on demand - a huge advantage for any self-publisher who is thinking of producing a colour book, whether it's a children's book, a cookery book, a high-quality art book or any other book where colour is essential.

Talking to publishers 3

Maria Maloney of Our Street BooksAn Imprint Of John Hunt Publishing. For children of all ages, deliver a potent mix of fantastic, rip-roaring adventure and fantasy stories to excite the imagination; spiritual fiction to help the mind and the heart grow; humorous stories to make the funny bone grow; historical tales to evolve interest; and all manner of subjects that stretch imagination, grab attention, inform, inspire and keep the pages turning. Our subjects include Non-fiction and Fiction, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Religious, Spiritual, Historical, Adventure, Social Issues, Humour, Folk Tales and more. on Writing for and about children in Talking to Publishers 3: 'Speak directly to the children on their own level and not at them or down to them. It is helpful if you have an educational background or write from experience. Ensure you aim the style of language at the appropriate age group. Sophisticated language won't suit the very young for instance. We often get picture books for children 3-6 with language more suited to teenagers.'

Talking to Publishers 2

Suzanne Ruthven interviews her colleague Autumn Barlow, publisher for the new John Hunt PublishingExplore the "Our Imprints" section to learn more about our uniquely qualified publishers and their supporting teams. imprint for historical fiction, Top Hat BooksAn Imprint Of John Hunt Publishing. Historical fiction that lives. We publish fiction that captures the contrasts, the achievements, the optimism and the radicalism of ordinary and extraordinary times across the world.: 'As I see it, "historical" isn't actually a genre itself. Within historical fiction there are literary works, thrillers, romances, action-adventure, and of course Alternate Histories and historical fantasy..,'

Book review

Our new review of Writing: A User's Manual  - A practical guide to the craft of planning, starting and finishing a novel by David Hewson concludes that:'The great strength of Hewson's guide lies in the detailed focus on the actual process of putting together a novel, the decisions that need to be made, the best way to approach the task and so on.'

Talking to Publishers 1

Suzanne Ruthven kicks off our new series with an article about their books for writers: 'It would be a great mistake to think that writers' how-to books were only written for beginners - there are times when even more experienced writers also need a bit of helpful advice, especially if thinking about changing direction, or exploring a completely different genre...'

Writing Opportunities

This month's writing opportunities are the Manchester Metropolitan University Poetry and Fiction Prizes 2013, closing on 30 August.  They are for poetry and a short story and each offers a prize of £10,000. They are open to all.

New PhD editing service

Our new PhD editing service is just launched. Are you working to prepare your PhD for submission? Professional editing can help you improve the presentation of your work and iron out any grammar or spelling errors.

Update to our links

Our 23 lists of recommended links have hundreds of 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 4,000 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.