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June 2017 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • 'Good news all round this week, with spectacular audiobook sales increases in the US and surprising figures showing that Millennials are the most likely generation of Americans to use public libraries. In the UK children's titles are continuing to outperform the market...'
  • 'Tracy K Smith has been named US Poet Laureate and in the UK National Writing Day has brought a focus on poetry, with two new articles available from the Poetry School... Poets don't have it easy and there's general agreement that poetry doesn't make you a living, or not unless you're very successful. For poets the rapid expansion of creative writing classes, often taught by poets, has been a life-saver...'
  • 'The announcement of the winner of the Man Booker International Prize this week highlights again the growing importance of literary prizes in the international book world...'
  • 'BookExpo and the appointment of a new UK Children's Laureate have dominated the book trade news agenda this week. BEABookExpo America, commonly referred to within the book publishing industry as BEA. The largest annual book trade fair in the United States's move to New York last week was reckoned to be a great improvement over Chicago and Lauren Child said she wanted: 'to inspire children to believe in their own creative potential, to make their own stories and drawings and ignite in them the delight of reading for pleasure. In an increasingly fast paced world, children need the freedom to dream and imagine; to enjoy reading, drawing and telling their own stories without value judgement or restraint...'
  • 'Did you know that China publishes more books per year than the US? Or that it's in India that people devote the most time to reading books? Some interesting but rather bald figures from show that the US with 304,914 books published a year comes second to China's 440,000, the world's highest number. Russia is third with 120,000, followed by the UK...'
  • 'Backlist titles, because they are always available, offer opportunities to benefit from new publicity. The effect of changing exchange rates on publishing is shown by price increases at Wordsworth Editions. Backlist titles kept in print or available for print on demand are always in stock, meaning that all titles are effectively in play now, as Mike Shatzkin has just pointed out...'


  • 'The real world is full of wild, outlandish coincidences that we can't use because fiction has to be realistic. There's nothing realistic about the world now, politics-wise, everything-wise. You couldn't make it up - it's a problem for fiction writers.' Ian Rankin, author of Rather be the Devil, Knots and Crosses and many other novels, in the Sunday Telegraph.
  • On horror -‘It's one of the genres that live across the tracks in the literary community, but what could I do? That's where I was drawn. I love D.H. Lawrence. And James Dickey's poetry, Émile Zola, Steinbeck ... Fitzgerald, not so much. Hemingway, not at all. Hemingway sucks, basically. If people like that, terrific. But if I set out to write that way, what would've come out would've been hollow and lifeless because it wasn't me. And I have to say this: To a degree, I have elevated the horror genre...' Stephen King, author of Carrie, Sleeping Beauty and many other novels in an interview in Rolling Stone
  • 'Stop reading so many articles on the internet about how to write. You're allowed one a week. Instead, spend that time actually writing. Write for 15 minutes every day. Set a time in advance, set a timer. Try to write at the same time every day. Your subconscious will get used to the idea and will start to work like a reliable water spout...' Advice in our Comment column Just do it from Naomi Alderman, author of Disobedience and The Power, which has just won the 2017 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, in the Guardian.
  • 'I think the themes that I am interested in writing about are similar in my crime fiction and in my poetry. I want to write about people, the way they behave, their psychology, the whole gamut of relationships - romantic partnerships, family, friendships. Even formally, I think poetry and crime fiction have a lot in common. In a tightly plotted crime novel and a highly metrical poem, for instance, structure is crucially important...' Sophie Hannah, author of Did You See Melody? plus 18 other novels and 5 poetry collections, provides our Comment from the Guardian.
  • 'I think the themes that I am interested in writing about are similar in my crime fiction and in my poetry. I want to write about people, the way they behave, their psychology, the whole gamut of relationships - romantic partnerships, family, friendships. Even formally, I think poetry and crime fiction have a lot in common. In a tightly plotted crime novel and a highly metrical poem, for instance, structure is crucially important...' Sophie Hannah, author of Did You See Melody? plus 18 other novels and 5 poetry collections, provides our Comment from the Guardian.
  • 'But what is just as obvious - and what is too often overlooked - is the fact that from their earliest years children live on familiar terms with disrupting emotions, that fear and anxiety are an intrinsic part of their everyday lives, that they continually cope with frustration as best they can. And it is through fantasy that children achieve catharsis. It is the best means they have for taming Wild Things...' the great Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator of Where the Wild things Are, in his 1964 Caldecott Medal Acceptance Speech for that book.


From Helen Dunmore, who died that week, two quotes in our Writers' Quotes, one about writing novels and the other about poetry: 'A novel, in the end, is a container, a shape which you are trying to pour your story into.' and 'I have learned so much from working with other poets, travelling and reading with them, spending days discussing poems in progress. There is the sense that we are all, as writers, part of something which is more powerful than any of us.'

Links to this month's top stories

Our 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:

When Totally Normal Books About Girls Turned into 'Beach Reads' - Broadly

One Direction Fanfiction Is Having a Moment in YA Books | Pitchfork

Nine practical tips for new bloggers on the block | The Media

Twenty years of Harry Potter - the 20 things we have learned | Books | The Guardian

Literature's Great Alternative Families - Electric Literature

Controversy as author pulls out of history festival in diversity protest | The Bookseller

History should never be exclusively white and male | David Olusoga | Opinion | The Guardian

How a Small Press Landed a Big Fish in Naomi Klein

The Millions : Don't Talk About Your Book Until It's Published - The Millions

Publishers rejected me, but I went on to earn six-figures selling 1,000 books a day

False Starts, or This Novel-Writing Shit Isn't Easy | Literary Hub

A Confederacy of Dunces: a Pulitzer winner's struggle to find a publisher | Books | The Guardian

Misprint the legends: famous typos from James Joyce to JK Rowling | Books | The Guardian

Rights Pro of the Year: Kate Hibbert on 'the Status of Rights Selling'

National Writing Day: Anthony Anaxagorou on Working as a Poet • The Poetry School

National Writing Day: Publisher Emma Wright on Setting Up a Small Press • The Poetry School

How to Immediately Improve Your Query Letter's Effectiveness | Jane Friedman

Buying houses in cash and selling millions: meet self-publishing's 'hidden' authors | Books | The Guardian

Books on shelves

Protean Miniatures: The Adaptability and Sustainability of Flash Fiction - Los Angeles Review of Books

More science fiction can help us create a better tomorrow

Alice Oswald takes £37,000 Griffin prize with breathtaking' poetry | Books | The Guardian

Joseph Kanon: There Is No Better Place to Write than the Library | Literary Hub

Enough with this ghettoisation of culture | Arts & Culture | Free speech | spiked

So, You Want To Be A Writer? There's Never Been A Better Time Than Right Now... | HuffPost UK

Denis Johnson's Lasting Advice - The New Yorker

Print sales might be rallying, but don't get complacent | The Bookseller

Remembering Helen Dunmore's The Siege | Literary Hub

Helen Dunmore: facing mortality and what we leave behind | Books | The Guardian

5 Writing Tips: Jeff VanderMeer

Tour de Raunch - / current issue

Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood lead campaign for displaced writers | Books | The Guardian

John Grisham's Do's and Don'ts for Writing Popular Fiction - The New York Times

Has social media made author websites obsolete? | The Bookseller

My book went out of print, but I have a plan to revive it - The Washington Post

Online top ranking: what does Amazon Charts mean for the book industry? | Books | The Guardian

Trade rides boom from TV and film | The Bookseller

Spotlight on Middle Grade - Publishing Trends

Jamaica Kincaid on How to Live and How to Write | Literary Hub

The Millions: Dragons Are for White Kids with Money: On the Friction of Geekdom and Race - The Millions

Amazon (AMZN) bookstore in New York City: The first one sucks the joy out of buying books - Quartz


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 Synopsis-writing and our new service, Translation editing. This page provides links to the huge number of useful articles on this site, including Finding an Agent, Your Submission Package and Making Submissions. Our new services are Translation Editing and Writer's edit.

Literary magazines with one week's response time

Sandeep Kumar Mishra's useful list, recently added to the site. The magazines range from literary fiction to non-fiction and include science fiction and fantasy, popular non-fiction, politics, flash fiction, reviews, humour, social issues, the economy, lifestyle, horror, artwork and much more. If you've ever despaired at how long magazine submissions can take, this is the list you need.

Our services for writers

A recently created page lists all 20 editorial services offered by WritersServices, the widest range available on the web. Go straight to the service you're looking for.

The Writer's edit is our top-level new service for writers who want line-editing as well as copy editing. Does your manuscript need high-level input from an editor to help you get it into the best possible shape for submission or self-publishing? This may be the service for you, offering the kind of editing which publishers' senior editors used to do in-house on their authors' manuscripts and which is now hard to find.

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

Have you got 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?" Or perhaps it's written in English but needs polishing? 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.

Our Inside Publishing series offers 19 articles offering an insider's perspective. On Copyright 'Many writers worry about losing their copyright. Before sending out your manuscript it is always advisable to put a copyright line consisting of the copyright sign ©, the year and your name on the title page...' On The Writer/Publisher Financial Relationship: 'There's no escaping the fact that publishers and authors are essentially in an adversarial position. Even in the very best and most supportive publisher/writer relationships there is the tension caused by the fact that authors would like to earn as much as possible from their writing and publishers to pay as little as they can get away with...'

Are you a self-publisher? 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.

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 there are ten articles, including No 9 dealing with  Marketing and Promotion for Indie authors: Online and No 10 dealing with Offline.

Writing Opportunities

Our new Writing Opportunities this month were the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2017, Haus of Liberated Reading's Twin Anthology and the V S Pritchett Memorial Prize 2017. Current Writing Opportunities.

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 5,000 pages on the site.