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September 2015 - Writers Magazine

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.


  • ‘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.
  • 'The laureateship meant an awful lot more to me than any prize I got, because it happened at home. It takes Ireland a while to accept one of its writers, because there's a very dissenting tradition in Irish writing. Writers are never telling wonderful stories about Ireland, they're telling interesting stories about Ireland, and Ireland doesn't necessarily appreciate that...' Anne Enright, author of The Green Road and the Booker Prize-winning The Gathering, in the Observer in this week's Comment.
  • ‘By rejection number 45, I was truly neurotic. It was all I could think about - revising the book, making it better, getting an agent, getting it published. I insisted on rewriting the last chapter an hour before I was due at the hospital to give birth to my daughter. I would not go to the hospital until I'd typed The End...' Kathryn Stockett, author of the huge bestseller The Help, advises you to 'Give in to your obsession' in our Comment column.
  • 'I've learned that despite all the new bells and whistles, there's no substitute for giving the bookselling community time enough to read a book and get behind it... It starts with the book no matter what. Without that it doesn't matter how much you tweet. You'll get one wave of publicity and then it's over.' Dawn Davis, founder of 37 Ink, in Poets and Writers magazine, quoted in our Comment column.
  • 'One of the most difficult things is the first paragraph. I have spent many months on a first paragraph, and once I get it, the rest just comes out very easily. In the first paragraph you solve most of the problems with your book. The theme is defined, the style, the tone.' Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in an interview in Writers at Work, in our Comment column.


'In the tale, in the telling, we are all one blood. Take the tale in your teeth, then, and bite till the blood runs, hoping it's not poison; and we will all come to the end together, and even to the beginning: living, as we do, in the middle.'

Ursula K Le Guin



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:

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

How Amazon Underground will affect content pricing and business models - Joe Wikert's Digital Content Strategies

On Writing, Rejection, and Persistence

How the Tiny Graywolf Press Became a Big Player in Book Publishing

Why Indie Authors Need Writing Communities

We Need Diverse Diverse Books ‹ Literary Hub

Why the Most Famous Agent In Book Publishing Is About to Become a Famous Novelist Too | Vanity Fair

We're Spending $10 Billion On Kids' Classroom Technology-But Does It Help Them Learn? | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

Ebooks are changing the way we read, and the way novelists write | Comment is free | The Guardian

Desert scene

The Rise of Phone Reading - WSJ

Delhi Tea Seller Finds Success As Author on Amazon - Publishing Perspectives

Can digital community support writing, really? | The Bookseller

When the page is broken: Who writes the books? | The Bookseller

Down, Up, Down Again: The Diary of a Debut Author - Publishing Perspectives

How the Frankfurt Book Fair Helped Launch Shakespeare - Publishing Perspectives

Digital writing: If only community weren't so communal | The Bookseller

The publishing world is changing, but there is one big dog that has not yet barked - The Shatzkin Files The Shatzkin Files

Sara Paretsky interview: ‘I start each VI Warshawski book convinced I can't do it' | Books | The Guardian

Kindle turns five: independent women thrive in ebook bestseller charts | Books | The Guardian

Teymour Shahabi on YouTube for Writers

Why is reading for pleasure important? | Reading Agency

"My Agent By My Side": An Author's Assisted Publishing Experience - Publishing Perspectives

Book Media Amplification is Key to Small Press Success - Publishing Perspectives


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'

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.

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 Opportunity was the EFG Short Story 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.