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July 2015 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • 'According to some sources, the audiobook market is growing rapidly. Orion audio publisher Pandora White called the sector "the fastest-growing in publishing" and Booktrack is growing exponentially, but is the quality of the recordings being sacrificed in order to achieve the lowest price? The download has injected new life into a rather quiet corner of the book world, so what are the issues?'
  • A kind of fever seems to have gripped a large number of book-buyers who have rushed out to buy Harper Lee's ‘new' book Go Set a Watchman, making the book a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic. HarperCollins in the States says that the book has broken its own record for the number sold. But why is there such a huge surge of interest? Go Set a Bestseller is this week's News Review.
  • 'At the London Short Story Festival a month ago writers lamented the lack of a publishing market for short stories. With one or two notable exceptions, such as Comma Press, which is publicly funded, publishers do not find it economic to publish short story collections.' News Review asks 'Can short stories find an audience?'
  • The news that Scribd is reining back on successful erotica and romance titles exposes the weak link in the subscription model of bookselling. Readers who are addicted to reading these books read them in large quantities and at great speed, so any subscription model which offers as many books as you want for a fee are certainly going to be in trouble...' This week's News Review looks at a technical hitch with subscription services - readers are reading too much!
  • 'This was a week packed with news, much of it from Book Expo, so this is just a short summary...' News Review ranges across BookExpo - Richard Charkin saying that power was shifting to authors - to Google's latest action and how authors' groups are offering support to their members.
  • Independent London publishing house Atlantic has recently had a new managing director, Will Atkinson. He put forward the company's publishing philosophy very clearly in an article for Bookbrunch, which sadly is behind their paywall. It is possible however to quote what he says in his article, ‘Publishing culture and commerce'.
  • 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.


  • ‘The prize thing was absolutely wonderful. It brings you readers and that's the thing you want with every bone in your body but - how to say this without sounding churlish? - I'm very aware that people will have been saying, "Huh? Really? when it won prizes, so I don't take it as a sign that I've got there yet. I'm still working out how to write books. I need more time...' Katherine Rundell, author of Rooftoppers and the forthcoming The Wolf Wilder, in the Bookseller, provides this week's Comment.
  • Our Comment is from author and agent Bill Clegg: 'When I finish a week of writing, I'm sick of my own head and desperate to get into the work of someone else.(Going between agenting and writing) is like a series of reunions, you're always happy to be where you are.'
  • 'Most authors are driven to write - would probably write whether or not they were ever published or paid, just for the joy of it. This is their strength and their downfall. With the exception of a canny few who treat art as a business, writers are often reluctant to think of their work as just another product...' Joanne Harris, author of The Gospel of Loki and Chocolat, provides this week's Comment in the Daily Telegraph.
  • ‘With a shortlist so splendid and accomplished, it was not surprising that in the end our final decision came down to taste... The issue of taste is important here because it is one that affects the decision-making process not only for prize judges but for the industry as a whole: and that's something all authors have to come to terms with throughout their careers. You can't please all of the people all of the time - even hugely well-known authors have some books that do better than others...' Our Comment is from Louise Doughty, author of Apple Tree Yard and chair of the judges for the Desmond Elliott Prize.
  • 'At some point, I will get down to actually writing. I don't believe in waiting for inspiration to strike. I'm sure inspiration does arrive at some point, but I would never embarrass it by noticing its arrival or departure...' Anne Enright, author of The Green Road, in the Sunday Times magazine
  • 'What I love about fantasy is that it is all about the world, and that world can be showcased in so many different ways, be it film, games, books or artwork. That's part of the reason fans feel so passionately about fantasy. There are already 35 fan fictions about the Summoner trilogy on Wattpad, for example.' Taran Mathan, author of just-published Summoner, Book One: The Novice, which has already attracted more than six million reads on Wattpad, in the Bookseller
  • ‘Yet a writer's life is not limited to the dramatic moment of first exposure or the excitement that greets the new work of the well-established. In particular, as suggested by the phrase "the difficult second novel", things can get tough after first publication. If your first book has gone like the clappers, you'll probably be feeling pressure, both self-generated and from expectant publishers...' Alex Clark provides this week's Comment on "The difficult second novel".


'I have never thought of myself as a good writer. Anyone who wants reassurance of that should read one of my first drafts. But I'm one of the world's great rewriters.I find that three or four readings are required to comb out the cliches, line up pronouns with their antecedents, and insure agreement in number between subject and verbs...' 

James Michener

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:

The ghostwriter, the secret plot and a ‘grave-robbing' Stieg Larsson sequel | Books | The Guardian

In a digital world, movies and books face different and similar problems « TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics

Crime writers are the victims as Sherlock's too slow for forensics - Telegraph

Another wake-up call from Amazon as they serve author interests better than publishers have - The Shatzkin Files The Shatzkin Files

Is Baby Boomer Lit the Next Hot Genre? - Publishing Perspectives

Thinking about Internet Scale | The Scholarly Kitchen

5 reasons to wish Amazon an unhappy birthday -

Let the right edition in | The Bookseller

UK Society of Authors Advises: Always Compare Contracts

Escaping the new media cargo cult - Boing Boing

New Publisher Canelo Offers UK Authors Strong Incentives - Publishing Perspectives

UK Group to Fight Bias Against Older Debut Authors - Publishing Perspectives

George R R Martin urges fans to vote on Hugo Awards | The Bookseller

Ten ways self-publishing has changed the books world | Books | The Guardian

Mills & Boon: And you thought romance was dead! After 35,000 tender clinches, 30,000 kisses and 10,000 ‘I do's' Mills & Boon is still booming 100 years on | Daily Mail Online

Publisher strategies around first serials pretty obviously need to be rethought - The Shatzkin Files The Shatzkin Files

Found in Translation - The New York Times


The Caine Prize

The Persistence of Litmags - The New Yorker

Shirley Hughes: 'It's my job with a picture book to slow children down' - Telegraph

Should an Author Favor PR or Marketing? - Publishing Perspectives

Boom time for children's books as sales soar, but where are readers? - Telegraph

10 independent bookshops you should visit worldwide: our readers recommend | Books | The Guardian

Arcadia's vision for a new way of reading | The Bookseller

How do I become ... a literary agent | Money | The Guardian

Scribd cuts romance and erotica titles | Books | The Guardian

How Andy Weir's The Martian became so successful - Business Insider

BookBrunch - Subscriptions: a recap, a forecast

Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society The ALCS News Interview: Malorie Blackman

AuthorBuzz Founder M.J. Rose on Book Marketing

Authors Licensing and Collecting Society Charles Dickens, Copyright Pioneer

Indie revival: high street bookshops upbeat about next chapter in story | Books | The Guardian

Publishing's Swiftian future | The Bookseller

Killer timing: why comedy and crime writing share a secret weapon | Books | The Guardian

How big is self-publishing - the results | The Bookseller

Is This the "Golden Age" for Chinese Web Authors? - Publishing Perspectives

How to Survive the Death of the Book | Digital Book World

When Authors Embellish: Let's Dub Such Books 'Beautiful Stories'

Guild Calls for Higher Royalties, Contract Limits

Amazon Changes the Structure of KDP Select

These Female Writers Want To Stop "Chick Lit" Being Used To Describe Work By Women

The publishing business as we have known it is not going away anytime soon - The Shatzkin Files The Shatzkin Files

UK reading habits an embarrassment, says Edinburgh book festival director | Books | The Guardian

At 96, Poet And Beat Publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti Isn't Done Yet: NPR


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?

This  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 Hodderscape Open Submission and the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award.

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.