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January 2018 - Writers Magazine

 

News Review

  • 'A story in the Bookseller, unfortunately behind the paywall, has provided encouragement for short story writers this week. Short story collections have sold 692,087 units or £5.88m in value in the UK during 2017. This is up 32% by volume and 45% by value over 2016...'
  • 'We don't often cover a specific event, but if you like poetry and are in reach of London this weekend, don't miss a wonderful evening of poetry. Get your tickets for the fabulous T S Eliot Prize Shortlist Readings, to be hosted by Ian McMillan, with all ten shortlisted poets expected to read...'
  • 'The question of funding for literary fiction has been in the news recently and has attracted a range of different views, ranging from the feeling that literary publishers need this subsidy to be able to carry on, to Tim Lott's feeling that literary writers have lost the plot (literally). News Review looks at whether literary novelists deserve public funding...'
  • 'Two of our links this week relate to the report just published by Arts Council England which looks at literary fiction and concludes that it is in sharp decline. A close look at the figures suggests however that literary fiction is not alone, the problem relates to fiction sales in general. Genre sales have gravitated to ebooks, especially in some genres such as romance, where they are enjoying considerable success. But it is in literary fiction where the starkest outcome can be seen...' Our News Review is entitled Authors face declining incomes - should literary novelists receive more state support?
  • There's bad news from the US, where reading scores are declining, just when they are making real improvements in many countries across the world. Basic literacy is at an all-time high around the world and most countries have seen steadily rising reading achievements in the last decade, as is shown by the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study.

Comment

  • 'If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads...' Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles and Something Wicked This Way Comes
  • 'T. S. Eliot said to me "There's only one way a poet can develop his actual writing - apart from self-criticism & continual practice. And that is by reading other poetry aloud - and it doesn't matter whether he understands it or not (i.e. even if it is in another language.) What matters, above all, is educating the ear."...' Ted Hughes, giving advice to his 18 year-old daughter Frieda on becoming a poet
  • 'I do put in complicated ideas because I think children are highly intelligent. Thinking outside the box is natural to them. The heroes of my books are always the creative, inventive thinkers.' She wants her books ‘to feel like sweets not brussel sprouts. Not something that you ought to be doing but something you want to be doing.' Cressida Cowell, author of the How to Train Your Dragon series and The Wizards of Once in the Bookseller, on writing for children.
  • 'A published writer has people pay to read the manifestations of her imagination, soul, and heart. For me, that remains extraordinary. It will always be the dream transaction for me, but it is also the most exposing, the rawest, unavoidable, supremely important fact in my life that I have battled desperately to understand and get a handle on these past three years...' Jessie Burton, author of bestselling The Miniaturist (just very successfully made into an excellent BBC One two-parter) and The Muse.
  • 'I look at a good many poetry scripts every week. Of the great majority, I may say that there is no part of my work which costs me less time and trouble. That is one thing about verse: you can judge from a very small quantity whether the author has any possibilities or not; you can often say, ‘The man who can write as bad a line as that simply hasn't got it in him.' The rarest experience is to come across a new poet who strikes you as so good that you don't need anybody's judgment but your own...' T S Eliot's address to the Society of Young Publishers, on The Publishing of Poetry is this week's Comment.
  • 'The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them - words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they're brought out. But it's more than that, isn't it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way...' Stephen King provides this week's Comment.
  • ‘I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be a novelist, but my father thought I should have a proper job, with a proper salary, a proper pension. The idea of being a writer struck him as the height of foolhardiness. He died very young (58), so he never saw how things worked out... We were very lucky. For 10 years literary fiction was the thing, paperback imprints were starting up, advances huge, every publisher wanted the spin to their list so the literary novelist suddenly found himself in demand with auction bids for the next novel...' Our Comment is from William Boyd, author of A Good Man in Africa, Any Human Heart, The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth and eight other novels in the Sunday Times.

Quote

'Read, read, read. Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window.'

William Faulkner

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:

My Last Conversation with Ursula K. Le Guin

A life in quotes: Ursula K Le Guin

Indie Authors and the Value of Free Content

Poetry world split over polemic attacking 'amateur' work by 'young female poets'

What Are You Even For?

Women write literary fiction's big hitters. So where are their prizes?

The Novelist's Complicity

These authors risk the wrath of readers to keep book franchises alive

TS Eliot prize goes to Ocean Vuong's 'compellingly assured' debut collection

Jonny Geller: the future of books

WikiLeaks shared the full ‘Fire and Fury' book online. Here's why that may be a problem

Ten Tips for Autopilot E-book Marketing

2018 Book Publishing Predictions - Are Indie Authors Losing their Independence?

Buy a cat, stay up late, don't drink: top 10 writers' tips on writing

'Fire and Fury': Anatomy of a Bombshell

If It Wasn't For My Corporate Office Job, I Couldn't Be a Novelist

The Rise and Fall of the Blog

Paying to Play: On Submission Fees in Poetry Publishing

The Most-Rejected Books of All Time

Writing History

10 indie publishing predictions for 2018

Sue Grafton Was a Master at Subverting the Detective Novel

Brexit will usher in a dark chapter for new British authors, warns publisher

Why Rupi Kaur and Her Peers Are the Most Popular Poets in the World

Umbrellas

Why should we subsidise writers who have lost the plot?

Stability in the book marketplace does not mean commercial publishers continue to maintain their share

Literary fiction is in crisis. A new chapter of funding authors must begin

Literary fiction under threat, ACE report concludes

How Bookcase Literary Agency Sells Self-Published Authors' Rights to Editors

Why HarperCollins India is pushing hard to sign up the biggest names in Indian commercial fiction

Cat Person is 'mundane', Austen is 'dross': why do so many men hate female writing?

Best books of 2017: the hits and misses of the publishers' year

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE FIRST DRAFT TO YOUR NOVEL?

The Right Writing Routine

WILLIAM H. GASS'S ADVICE FOR WRITERS: "YOU HAVE TO BE GRIMLY DETERMINED."

Breaking down the barriers - a new chapter in publishing

URSULA K. LE GUIN: WHO CARES ABOUT THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL?

How We Eclipse Women's Literary Brilliance With 'Scandal'

Louise Erdrich, Great American Novelist, Is Just Getting Started

'He began to eat Hermione's family': bot tries to write Harry Potter book - and fails in magic ways

Why Pursue Traditional Publishing? (Are There Enough Good Reasons?)

Science fiction triggers 'poorer reading', study finds

The Year in Best-Sellers

On Rape Culture in Crime Fiction

An Author Photo Is Worth a Thousand Words

6 Things About Self-Publishing You Will Be Tempted To Overlook, But Shouldn't

The Myth of the Lazy Writer

Why Pursue Traditional Publishing? (Are There Enough Good Reasons?)

Science fiction triggers 'poorer reading', study finds

6 Things About Self-Publishing You Will Be Tempted To Overlook, But Shouldn't

Why All Self-Publishers Need a Good Editor

Unpublished Writers and Websites: Should You Have One and What Should It Say?

Let's Talk About Sex: Romance Publishing

The One Thing You Can Do TODAY to Get Your Book Written This Year

Writing Nameless Things: An Interview with Ursula K. Le Guin

Writing Tips for Indie Authors

The Politics of Print & Why We Need It | HuffPost

10 Novels Agents Have Already Seen a Billion 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 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.

Magazines around
January 2018

Want to Be a Better Writer?

A new article from Jane Sandwood: 'We all know what makes for a good novel - an intriguing plot line, beautiful language, a cast of inimitable characters, and always, a shocking twist. As a writer, you are probably conscious of all the ways you can keep your reader reading, but what about your own reading? Many writers can make the mistake of not reading - in general, and in the particular genre or market they wish to enter into with their own book...'

Fact to Fiction

Eleni Cotton's article is about how she used her own family history as the basis for her novel set in Malawi: 'I had managed to remain fairly objective about the story but, quite suddenly, it hit me that these people I was writing about, whose lives I was describing, were my ancestors - the parents and grandparents of my own parents. For a while, this thought paralysed me. Feelings of loyalty and love strangled the blazing need to tell the story as it was...'

Literary magazines with one week's response time

Sandeep Kumar Mishra's useful list, uniquely available on 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 service offers the kind of editing 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 www.joannephillips.co.uk looks at the business side of self-publishing for self-Publishers

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 Writing Opportunities were The Big Idea Competition 2018, The White Review Short Story Prize and The Interpreter's House Poetry Competition. 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.