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January 2015 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • 'So what are fiction editors looking for in 2015? A handful of British editors have contributed to a recent article in the Bookseller, speaking up for home-grown talent, strong debut novels and - perhaps surprisingly - books in translation...'
  • Nielsen Children's Book Summit has presented a very encouraging picture of what's going on in the children's book world. Children's sales have been rising steadily and, as previously noted, the sales of children's books in the UK market recently exceeded sales of Adult Fiction. Middle grade and YA Fiction has been doing particularly well. But this News Review looks at the surprise statistic that 80% of YA titles are purchased by adults for themselves.
  • 'When David Harsent received the 2014 T S Eliot Prize for Poetry in the elegant surroundings of the Courtyard at the Wallace Collection in London this week, he had won a prize which has recently been increased to £20,000, the richest prize in British poetry. It's appropriate to think of T S Eliot's money going to a contemporary poet through the generosity of the Eliot Estate. Much of this comes from Cats, the hugely successful musical made out of Eliot's beloved children's book Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, adapted by Andrew Lloyd Webber and long a global blockbuster...' Our News Review this week: 'A poet for dark and dangerous days' wins 2014 T S Eliot Prize.
  • Our News Review this week: 'As we enter another new year it seems that the book world is becoming ever more global. Our new list of 2015 International Book FairsInternational Book Fair Information brings home just how many are aspiring to international status and trying to establish themselves as attracting a truly worldwide audience of publishers, booksellers and authors...'
  • 'Two interesting pieces of news from the last week show that publishing - of both the traditional and the new variety - is stronger than you might think. In China the second Shanghai International Children's Book Fair has attracted 250 exhibitors from 25 countries, with 6,000 Chinese and international business visitors and 20,000 Chinese consumers expected to attend This new Fair offers a real challenge to the international children's rights fair in Bologna...'


  • 'As I write, it is 5.30pm on a wet Wednesday afternoon, and so far today I have talked once, to my wife, about which of us is going to take our youngest son to football training. I appreciate how lucky I am in my work. I am able to support myself and my family through my writing. I can watch as many YouTube clips as I want. My lunch hour is when my stomach tells me it should be. But on a normal working day, things are very, very quiet around here... Nick Hornby, author of About a Boy and Funny Girl, in the Sunday Times magazine, quoted in our Comment column, in a piece entitled Screenwriting - a collaborative endeavour...'
  • 'I've always been interested in those painful moments between people which can't be fully articulated, and even if they were fully articulated might become even more unbearable. There's no way out. Nor do I think in situations like that there's that horrible American word 'closure'. Because for all the sexual liberation, the great social changes through the 60s and 70s, one meets loads of people who seem to have been married for ever...' Ian McEwan, talking about The Children Act in the Sunday Times magazine
  • ‘I had about 24 hours when I hovered under my covers and was like, "I killed feminism. Why did I do that? Rats... Then I quickly felt comfortable with what I had written. Women shouldn't be expected only to play nurturing, kind caretakers. That's always been part of my goal - to show the dark side of women... Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl, in the New York Times
  • 'I began with thinking about how almost all families have such a sense of pride in their specialness, even if they have no real reason to make them feel so proud. I think that every family has stories that they choose. They filter out many of the stories that they could have, and they select one or two to be their family's stories. I'm always interested in why those... why not others? Anne Tyler, author of The Accidental Tourist, talking about her new novel A Spool of Blue Thread in the Bookseller.
  • 'I became a reader overnight. I remember exactly what happened. I was 14 and went to John Menzies newsagent. Every book that had a vaguely smutty blurb I bought... The only exception to the highbrow erotica was Alan Paton's Cry the Beloved Country. I thought, "This is as boring as shit..." After 40 pages, something started to change...' Alan Warner, author of The Sopranos and Their Lips Talk of Mischief in the Independent on Sunday
  • ‘Beginners' failures are often the result of trying to work with strong feelings and ideas without having found the images to embody them, or without even knowing how to find the words and string them together. Ignorance of English vocabulary and grammar is a considerable liability to a writer of English. The best cure for it is, I believe, reading. Ursula K Le Guin , author of the classic The Left Hand of Darkness and Dancing at the Edge of the World on Brain Picking.


'Any magazine-cover hack can splash paint around wildly and call it a nightmare, or a witches sabbath or a portrait of the devil; but only a great painter can make such a thing really scare or ring true. That's because only a real artist knows the anatomy of the terrible, or the physiology of fear.'

H P Lovecraft


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:

How Publishers Can Work with Entrepreneur Authors - Publishing Perspectives

These days, writing isn't a career. It's a rich man's hobby - Telegraph

Is Amazon a Hero or Monster? - The Daily Beast

Publishing: Spotify for books | The Economist

Oui, French Readers are Just as E-Trashy as Everyone Else

Readability Is a Myth - The Atlantic

Five Trade Publishing Predictions for 2015

Amazon Says It's Healthy to Give Publishers, Authors Choice

Salman Rushdie, Threatened Over Book, Defends Free Speech - ABC News

Study Finds Reading to Children of All Ages Grooms Them to Read More on Their Own -

No, we haven't banned books on pigs - but sensitivity is key in global publishing | Jane Harley | Comment is free |

Kindle Unlimited and the ongoing commoditization of books - Tech News and Analysis

Top 12 Articles of 2014 on Publishing in Asia and South Asia

BookBrunch - A small price to pay for the writing life

Michel Houellebecq and the Charlie Hebdo Attack - Publishing Perspectives

When Mark Zuckerberg Likes a Book, Sales Soar -

How Much Can Chinese Authors Earn? Millions, Actually - Publishing Perspectives

Academic publishing and scholarly communication: a status report | Harvard Magazine Jan-Feb 2015

Magazine - Library

Publishers Weekly's Top Children's Stories of 2014

The World's 56 Largest Book Publishers, 2014

Worldreader on Book Donations in the Digital Age - Publishing Perspectives

Amazon Not as Unstoppable as It Might Appear -

Flexible and digitised, our libraries have a bright future - Telegraph

Forget Your Preconceptions About Teenagers and Reading

Book Marketing (Still) Starts and Ends with the Website | Digital Book World

Amazon goes head to head with Wattpad in battle for fanfic writers | Books | The Guardian

Should You Hire a Professional Book Publicist? - Publishing Perspectives

James Daunt: the man who saved Waterstones - ES Magazine - Life & Style - London Evening Standard

How Much Can You Fake in Publishing?

Andrew Keen's dark web | The Bookseller research papers made freely shareable | The Bookseller

Are book publishers blockbustering themselves into oblivion? - The Globe and Mail

Mentoring helps close publishing 'chasm' | The Bookseller

Deborah Emin's Theory: Integrating Libraries and Bookstores

The Bad Sex in Fiction Award

BookBrunch - The advocacy of a good agent

Authors Sign Up to Raise Barnes & Noble's Black Friday Sales -

Why Copyright Needs to Be Defended - Publishing Perspectives

Kobo Sees Opportunities for Self-publishing in Europe - Publishing Perspectives

Amazon and Hachette Come to Terms | Hugh Howey

Dan Brown on the Writing Life as a Global Megaseller - Publishing Perspectives

Curiouser and curiouser: What we discovered at FutureBook 2014 | The Bookseller

Virtual Sci-Fi Book Festival Makes Backlist Sexy Again - Publishing Perspectives

Shortlist Announced for 2014 Bad Sex in Fiction Award

Relief at conclusion of Amazon/HBG battle | The Bookseller

Fanfiction and Fandoms: A Primer, A History - Publishing Trends


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.

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. It's worth considering going along to any book fair within reach, to find out how the book trade operates and take advantage of new programmes for self-publishers.

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. I'd always had a feeling that if life ever did allow me a clear run at creative writing, I might just be able to do something with it. 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. Having spent four years writing the book she was quite overwhelmed by its reception, the competition to represent her and then the eleven-publisher auction at the 2013 London Book Fair...'

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...'

Why your book contract needs vetting

A quick look at contract vetting and why it's essentail if you don't have an agent, from our contracts expert.

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. The second part is - Before You Write: What is My Story Going to be? The third part deals with Starting to Write, the fourth part is about Submitting Your Work to Agents and Editors.

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.

2015 International Book Fairs

The most comprehensive listing available on the web International Book Fairs

Do you want your book to be properly published?

There's no reason why a self-publisher shouldn't have as good a chance of finding an audience as an author whose book is coming out from a publisher. But what really lets their work down is if it hasn't been professionally copy edited. Effectively a self-publisher who goes ahead without copy editing is just publishing a manuscript, a work-in-progress which readers will react against because of all the errors. Copy editing for self-publishers

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 Interpreter's Open House 2015 and the Magma Poetry Prize.

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.