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April 2015 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • Good news on children's books - 'Recent figures from Nielsen BookscanUK bibliographic organisation, describing itself as 'the definitive retail monitoring service for books', which shows UK bestseller lists on its website. show that children's print books are doing well in eleven out of the twelve countries the research tracks, the exception being India. That means there's a real boom going on in children's books, heartening news for children's writers...' This week's News Review is entitled Children's print book sales booming.
  • After a London Book Fair (LBF) which was all about publishers from across the world talking to each other, a Bookseller article enables us to look in more depth at last week's link Authors call for better communication with publishers | The Bookseller. This week's News Review is about the London Book Fair and how authors are disappointed by publishers.
  • 'This year's Bologna Book Fair reflected the strength of children's publishing worldwide. Although relatively new fairs such as the China Shanghai International Children's Book Fair are making ambitious strides in terms of attracting children's publishers, Bologna is unsurpassed in its appeal as the international rights fair for children's books...' Our report from the Bologna Children's Book FairThe Bologna Children's Book Fair or La fiera del libro per ragazzi is the leading professional fair for children's books in the world. is in News Review.
  • Two big authors, one American and one British, have moved UK publishers in the last week. Danielle Steel has a new ten-book contract with Pan MacmillanOne of largest fiction and non-fiction book publishers in UK; includes imprints of Pan, Picador and Macmillan Children’s Books and Kate Mosse has a deal for her new trilogy with the same publisher. Our News Review this week is about big authors changing publishers - and why.
  • 'It's not the first time an author has ‘written' from beyond the grave (Virginia Andrews and Robert Ludlum come to mind) but the just-announced news that, 11 years on, a fourth book in Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy will be published still strikes a cynical note...' This week's News Review looks at the announcement of the fourth book in Stieg Larsson's 'trilogy'.


  • ‘We change whilst we are in the midst of writing a book. We change, and I dare say we become better people. A novelist is always wiser when inside a novel than when outside. Stories shape their storytellers as much as storytellers shape their stories...' This week's Comment is from Elif Shafak, author of The Architect's Apprentice and Turkey's bestselling female novelist, in the Observer.
  • Our Comment this week is by Akhil Sharma, author of Family Life, which has just won the Folio Prize: ‘If you write only the true things people get bored... ordinary life is shapeless... When I write, I'm here to use everything I can to make this a good book. It's not me expressing my inner soul. It is me using everything that I have, so I can tell this story...'
  • ‘Publishing was like throwing stones into a swamp - nothing happened. My aim was altered by that experience. I decided that the big thing was not getting published; the great thing would be to satisfy myself. It was the first time I'd found my voice. I found a way of telling a story that involved inhabiting a consciousness that could float free - it's not omniscient, it's a sort of sprite that can hover here and there... Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials and many other bestsellers, in the Sunday Times, quoted in our Comment column.
  • 'It's good not to think too far ahead. If you have got a story that you feel you want to write, just write it...' Kate Hamer, whose 21st century 'Little Red Riding Hood', The Girl in the Red Coat, is tipped to be a bestseller, in the Independent on Sunday, in our Comment column.
  • 'Do publishing imprints matter? The excellent article by Philip Jones, editor of the Bookseller, in this week's Futurebook, is an interesting examination of imprints and their importance within the publishing business. But it does seem that most authors will be indifferent to the imprint and in a way they're right...'


'If you go too far in fantasy and break the string of logic, and become nonsensical, someone will surely remind you of your dereliction....Pound for pound, fantasy makes a tougher opponent for the creative person.'

Richard Matheson


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:

'Huge inequality' in writer earnings | The Bookseller

Book Publishing's Digital Disruption Hasn't Even Started | Digital Book World

Jane Friedman on Open Road Media, Five Years After Launch

The businesses of books | The Bookseller

The Girl on the Train: how Paula Hawkins wrote ‘the new Gone Girl' | Books | The Guardian

When Will Publishers Learn? Direct to Consumer Doesn't Work

London Book Fair's Evolution Reflects Publishing's New Ecology

The civil war for books: where is the money going? - Spectator Blogs

From Potter to Tartt to Ferrante ‹ Literary Hub

This Is Your Brain on Podcasts: Why Audio Storytelling Is So Addictive - The Atlantic

Can you really make a living by selling used books on Amazon for a penny? | Books | The Guardian

Penguin Random House Might Not Understand the Subscription Market, But They're Getting Into It Anyway | Ink, Bits, & Pixels

Traditional books on paper open a new chapter of success | Books | The Guardian

As Seen from Uganda, African Writing is Alive and Well

Authors call for better communication with publishers | The Bookseller

Maya Angelou's misquoted stamp - and other famous lines we all get wrong | Books | The Guardian

Sunset 2

How Do Amazon-Publisher Disputes Affect Authors and Readers?

Twelve Ways to Update Print Book Production Habits | Digital Book World

George RR Martin says rightwing lobby has 'broken' Hugo awards | Books | The Guardian

Stet by Me: Thoughts on Editing Fiction

Why crime fiction is leftwing and thrillers are rightwing | Books | The Guardian

Bologna 2015: Authors in the Aisles and on the Town

Tributes to Sir Terry Pratchett | | Terry Pratchett

What You Need to Know About Crowdfunded Publishing | Jane Friedman

Authors: end to censored versions of books is 'victory for the world of dirt' | Books | The Guardian

Why modern fiction has turned its back on friendship | Books | The Guardian

Grégoire Solotareff on Writing Books for Very Young Readers

To Automate or Not to Automate the Rights Business? - Publishing Perspectives

Sarah Ardizzone on Translating Two Worlds: Children's and Adult's

JK Rowling reveals frustrations over manuscript rejections | Herald Scotland

Median author advance under £6,600 | The Bookseller

Asking whether Amazon is friend or foe is a simple question that is complicated to answer - The Shatzkin Files The Shatzkin Files

BookBrunch - No work being done

How to rebuild a publishing business | The Bookseller

5 Tips for Online Book Marketing Today


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.

Top Free Contests for New Writers

From guest contributor Michael McPherson: 'Are you a talented writer who wants to get noticed? Then what better way to start your career than participating in writing contests? There are a lot of free online competitions for new writers from all over the world...' and here are five of them.

2015 International Book Fairs

Use this page to find our unique authors' listing of the major book fairs across the world. Most of these are primarily intended as trade fairs for the book trade, but an ever-increasing number have extensive programmes of cultural events and opportunities to meet authors.

Writing Short Fiction: A Personal Journey

‘Twenty years as a teacher, ten years in educational research and five years of directing an educational charity, and in all that time, I hadn't published any fiction or poetry at all... But by 2004, with the charity going nowhere fast, I decided to make my own opportunities rather than wait for them to come to me...' Bruce Harris's Writing Short Fiction: A Personal Journey is about how he worked his way towards setting up the fantastic new website Writing Short Fiction.

Talking to publishers

The tenth article in the Talking to publishers series covers How-to books for experienced writers - by experienced writers: 'In reality, no writer can exist for ever in a comfort cocoon of familiar marketplaces since editors are constantly changing, publishers frequently alter their focus, and all too often published authors find themselves redundant. That's why it's necessary for relatively new or middle list authors to be constantly re-inventing themselves to stay ahead of these market changes...'

Jessie Burton's Success story

'Jessie Burton's road to success is interesting...'

Which report?

A new page gives the lowdown on the three reports we offer.

How to get your book in the hands of an international audience

The second article from the MD of IPR, How to get your book in the hands of an international audience, expands on his theme of authors and rights and shows how the international book rights business works amd why it's important for all authors, particularly self-publishing ones.

Success Story - Tina Seskis

Tina is an irresistible subject for a Success Story because she lives just up the road from WritersServices in north London and the reasons for her success as a writer are like a textbook illustration of how to do it...'

The Business of Writing for Self-publishing Authors

Joanne PhillipsUK-based freelance writer and ghostwriter. She has had articles published in national writing magazines, and has ghostwritten books on subjects as diverse as hairdressing and keeping chickens. Visit her at looks at the business side of self-publishing for self-Publishers: 'Self-publishing authors - also known as ‘indie' authors or author-publishers - have had a steep learning curve these past few years... What follows is brief guide to the essentials your self-publishing business needs - because it is a business, even if you only publish one book!'

The Essential Guide to Writing for Children

Suzy Jenvey, vastly experienced children's editorial director and now agent, has completed her four-part The Essential Guide to Writing for Children. The first article looks at the all-important question of age groups and what you should be aware of in writing for each one...'

WritersServices Guide to Self-publishing

In Joanne Phillips' fantastically useful WritersServices Self-publishing Guide we've now published all ten articles, No 9 dealing with  Marketing and Promotion for Indie authors: Online and No 10 dealing with Offline.

New articles on the site

A regularly-updated page linking you to new stuff on the site.

Services for self-publishers

Do you want to self-publish your work? WritersServices offers a suite of services which help writers get their work into shape before they self-publish. New to the site, our page of Services for Self-publishers.

Writing Opportunities

This month's Writing Opportunities are the unique Novella Award, the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor's International Poetry Prize and the Londn Magazine Poetry Competition 2015..

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.

Advice for writers

Use this page as a springboard to over 4,500 pages on the site.