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October 2015 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • 'Two of our links this week relate to AmazonCrossing's announcement of $10m to be spent on publishing translations, an impressive figure which shows how much translations are entering the mainstream. Whatever your view about Amazon's initiative, there's no doubt that translations in general are garnering much more international attention than they used to...'
  • 'We had intended to report on the Frankfurt Book FairWorld's largest trade fair for books; held annually mid-October at Frankfurt Trade Fair, Germany; First three days exclusively for trade visitors; general public can attend last two. this week, but all we have been able to glean so far is that it was a busy fair, with a great many successful rights deals, and the new layout of the Fair was generally liked. Salman Rushdie spoke at the opening ceremony, saying freedom of speech is not just a human right but a "universal of the human race" which must be defended...'
  • 'This week's story was to have been on the rise in support for short stories, until, that is, Marlon James had his stunning Man Booker Prize win last night. It might have been expected that an American would win this year for the first time since the Prize was opened to novels in English from across the world...'
  • 'The announcement that the subscription service Oyster is to close down has prompted a lot of ruminating on the subject of how these services work. Simon Dunlop, CEO of the competing business Bookmate, said that Oyster had a flawed business model because of publishers' indifference towards the idea. In fact they were worse than indifferent and seem to have been hoping it would fail...' Oyster hits the rocks in our News Review.
  • 'In an unusual move, the UK children's publisher Chicken House and US publisher Little Brown Young Readers have parted company with bestselling children's author Cornelia Funke, who both have published right from the beginning of her writing career. What's unusual about the split is that it's not about money, or more promotion, but about differences relating to editorial advice...'
  • 'The speed with which Penguin Random House has moved to do a world English language deal for Ehrlin's bestselling picture book, The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep, is an indication of how much the big publishers are now relying on self-publishers to produce saleable books. Once the author has established a market, it's easy to see why the publishers want to jump on board...' News Review is entitled 'Penguin Random House swoops on Ehrlin's bestseller'.
  • 'It's the colouring books and a self-published sleep aid which are making the headlines and topping the charts as summer moves in to autumn in the northern hemisphere - not that those of us in the UK feel we've had much summer... News Review looks at surprise bestsellers for the silly season.
  • It's sad to see the end of Authonomy, which HarperCollins UK has decided to close at the end of September. The first of the author submission sites, it worked through peer review in that submissions were ranked by users and the best-ranked were considered for publication by HarperCollins. I remember talking to the staff member at HarperCollins who had been given the job of setting it up. I thought it sounded a great idea from the point of view of authors, offering a real opportunity to get published for those whose work was really good.


  • '...Downton has been a big thing for me. It's been a worldwide sensation to a degree that is unknown in most careers. I consider myself lucky to have had one; I would be astonished if there was another.' Julian Fellowes, creator and writer of Downton Abbey, in the Sunday Times provides this week's Comment.
  • 'Read voraciously and read forensically, whether it's stories you admire or stories you detest. There is a lesson in every one, tricks to steal, potholes to avoid. Treat every story like a crime scene. Take it to pieces. How many adverbs are there? How much does the narrator know? How long are the sentences?...' Mark Haddon, nominated for the 2015 BBC Short Story Award for Bunny is this week's Comment.
  • 'If I can make people think while also being accessible, and possibly make them laugh and cry a bit at the same time, then, frankly, I don't care what they call me. I'd like to be the Puccini of fiction...' Jojo Moyes, author of Me Before You and After You in the Observer, provides this week's Comment.
  • ‘When you have a new development in forensic science, as a crime writer your first thought is how do I work my way around that? Because these new developments do make for a slightly more complicated environment for us to be working in. If you look back 20 years even, what was available in terms of evidential analysis was really quite low level. The writer had a lot of leeway and could leave forensic traces that were never going to be picked up on...' Val McDermid, whose latest book is Splinter the Silence, in the Sunday Telegraph quoted in our Comment column.


'If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.'

Somerset Maugham



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:

What Book Tours Are Like in the 21st Century - The Atlantic

New Pew Survey Finds Kids Reading More Than Adults

Amazon Commits $10 Million to Translations, Prompting Questions - Publishing Perspectives

America's Biggest Publisher of Literature In Translation is Amazon | The New Republic

Fewer Americans are reading books, but don't blame the millennials - LA Times

Nielsen Values Indian Publishing at $3.9 Billion - Publishing Perspectives

BookBrunch - India: Huge possibilities and challenges

How Authors Can Find Their Ideal Reading Audience | Jane Friedman

A manifesto for all writers | The Bookseller

Amazon fake reviews bought for £3 | The Bookseller

Why Traditionally Published Authors Are Choosing to Go Indie

Publishers, Amazon Not to Blame for Author Poverty Wages

Video killed the book star? The rise of the YouTuber author | Children's books | The Guardian

A manifesto for skills | The Bookseller

BookBrunch - The excitement of getting lost

Authors Are the New Gatekeepers to Large Audiences | Digital Book World

Children's Conference: 'Old-fashioned' publishing skills 'still relevant' | The Bookseller

The Curious Case Of The Book Blurb (And Why It Exists): NPR

Why the End of Editors in Digital Publishing is a Mistake - Publishing Perspectives

Is it now the time for something completely different? | The Bookseller

Is an Amy Schumer Essay Collection Worth $10 Million? | The New Republic

A manifesto for serial publishing | The Bookseller

3 Key Takeaways from the Nielsen Children's Book Summit - Publishing Perspectives

Can One Write Serious Twitter Fiction?

When Acquiring Debut Authors, Ask If They Can Compete - Publishing Perspectives

People are Not Reading the e-Books they Buy Anymore

Publishing Colleagues Share Admiration for Carmen Balcells

Why Self-Published Book Covers Are Better Than You Think - Publishing Perspectives

A manifesto on working with authors | The Bookseller

Agatha Christie: genius or hack? Crime writers pass judgment and pick favourites

How Self-Published Authors Can Go Global - Publishing Perspectives

New Guild Survey Reveals Majority of Authors Earn Below Poverty Line


10 Tips to Help Writers Actually Write

The Booker Prize shortlist 2015: the best for years

William Boyd: my advice for budding authors | Books | The Guardian

Kathryn Stockett's 'The Help' Turned Down 60 Times Before Becoming a Best Seller | MORE Magazine

Flat book cover design: Why do all the summer novels have the same look?

A manifesto for reaching readers | The Bookseller

Is Amazon Creating a Cultural Monopoly? - The New Yorker

Stieg Larsson's partner ‘casts a spell' to jynx Millennium series book launch | Daily Mail Online

Why Smart Publishers Build Bad Websites | Digital Book World

Interstitial Publishing | The Scholarly Kitchen

Is Amazon Eating Itself Alive? - Publishing Perspectives

Publishing's decline 'leaves writers on breadline' - The Scotsman

Publisher or Author? Whose Job Is it to Innovate Anyway? - Publishing Perspectives

A manifesto for author-publisher relations | The Bookseller

William Boyd: my advice for budding authors | Books | The Guardian

Stephen King: Can a Novelist Be Too Productive? - The New York Times


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 20 different editorial services we offer, from Reports to Copy editing, Manuscript Typing to Rewriting and our new service, Translation editing. 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.

How to get your book translated into English (without it costing the earth)

Our new article asks writers with a manuscript which needs translating: "if your English is good enough, what about translating your book yourself, and then getting your translation polished and copy edited by a professional editor who is a native English speaker?" This could be a cost-effective way of reaching the international English-speaking market.

Translation editing service

Have you translated your work into English? Or do you have a translation that someone else has done? Now you need to make sure it's good enough to publish, or send to a publisher. If you need help to get your work into perfect condition, our new service, Translation Editing, is for you. Acknowledging the growth of world English, this new service is designed for the many non-native English speakers throughout the world who want to publish their work in English.

Inside Eritrea: A Volunteer in East Africa

Kevin Morley wrote his book Inside Eritrea: A Volunteer in East Africa in order to raise funds from its sales to support the Saltergate Children's Home which he founded in Addis Ababa. He tells his story in Becoming a writer to ‘help kids in Africa'

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.

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 were National Novel Writin Month, better known as NNMMo, The Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition, the National Poetry CompetitionAnnual poetry prize run by the UK-based Poetry Society established in 1978; accepts entries from all over the world; over 10,000 poems submitted each year and C21 Drama Series Script 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.