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June 2015 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • 'When John Spurling won the £25,000 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction recently with The Ten Thousand Things it was much more than a good win against a formidable shortlist, which included Martin Amis, Helen Dunmore, Adam Foulds and Kamila Shamsie. The subject was obscure perhaps to a western audience, the story of Wang Meng, one of his era's great masters of painting and the novel was Spurling's fourth, although it had taken him 15 years to write...'
  • The brilliant British author Jim Crace has just won the International 2015 IMPAC Dublin Award, which at €100,000 is the world's largest literary prize for a single work published in English. His 2013 novel Harvest, published by Picador, won out of a shortlist of ten novels. But is he retiring from writing?
  • 'Mike Shatzkin's long piece on his blog gives an update on why the publishing business as we have known it is not going away anytime soon. Shatzkin is one of the most respected but also down-to-earth commentators on the publishing world...' Our News Review gives a summary of his blog.
  • 'It's been a pretty good surprise for the book trade that in two weeks' time (perfect timing for summer reading) E L James will publish a new book featuring the same characters as Fifty Shades of Grey. This time the story is told from Christian Grey's point of view and the book is simply called ‘Grey'...' Another big bestseller for E L James.
  • '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.


  • 'Becoming a writer is like changing your gender. When I was young, my identity was as a Paki, a mixed-race mongrel boy from nowhere. The idea of having another identity as a writer seemed like a splendid solution to that. My place in the world was different. It created a future for me...' Hanif Kureishi in The Times magazine.
  • 'Amazon has done one good thing, which is to make books available to everyone. But they've done it at terrible cost to authors by selling books so cheaply. It gives the impression that books don't cost very much to create...' Our Comment this week is from Philip Pulman, author of His Dark Materials and The Ruby in the Smoke.
  • 'I think most women are amateur psychiatrists. We're brought up to be like that. We think much more about the whys than most men do: ‘Why has someone done that?' And that is an advantage in writing crime novels.' Our Comment is from Minette Walters, author of The Cellar, in the Guardian.
  • ‘In talking to other writers and getting a bit older and realising how it works, (I discovered) that the gestation period for a new book is very tender - it's like a new shoot, you can't expose it to the light too quickly or it might wither. You'll lose the impetus, you'll lose the belief in it.' Laura Barnett, whose just-published three-pronged first novel, The Versions of Us, has sold in 18 countries, in the Bookseller.
  • '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".


'Life being so short and the quiet hours of it few, we ought to waste none of them in reading valueless books.' John Ruskin



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 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

Production team

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

Self-Publishing Now More Like Traditional Publishing - Publishing Perspectives

Chris Riddell, Children's Laureate: 'Everybody can draw - just do it! - Telegraph

VAT changes are a mere nuisance for huge retailers, but a real blow to self-published authors | Books | The Guardian

Partners' Corner: BEA 2015 Edition - Publishing Trends

At BEA 2015, E-Books May Help Indie Authors Enter Publishing, But They're Not Ready To Give Up Print Just Yet : T-Lounge : Tech Time

Books about women less likely to win prizes, study finds | Books | The Guardian

'Fair Contract Initiative' from Authors Guild | The Bookseller

Major Publishers Are Screwing Readers with High e-book Prices

Up the Amazon with the BS Machine | Book View Cafe Blog

Blackman tells of 'surprise' at laureate 'vitriol' | The Bookseller

BookBrunch - The ebook plateau - what's really going on?

Into the woods: Margaret Atwood reveals her Future Library book, Scribbler Moon | Books | The Guardian

With Publishing Tools Like These, Who Needs Enemies? | TechCrunch

Launch of Open Access UCL Press | The Bookseller

Why Book Abundance Is a Problem and How Publishers Can Fix It : Book Business

Libraries could outlast the internet, head of British Library says - Telegraph

‘Muse': A Fictional Sendup of the Publishing Industry - WSJ

McEwan defends freedom of expression | The Bookseller

Richard Nash on the Democratization of Publishing

Krasznahorkai wins Man Booker International | The Bookseller

Publishing Leaders are Temporary Custodians of Their Houses

The Year of the Very Long Novel -- Vulture

The Next 'Gone Girl'? Meet the 6 NYC Book Scouts Most Likely to Find It - Hollywood Reporter

Is the self-publishing stigma fading? | Books | The Guardian

Man Booker International prize 2015: the finalists speak | Books | The Guardian


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 Troubadour International Poetry Prize and the No Exit Crime Short Story Competition.

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.