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A regularly updated page of interesting new stand-alone articles and series recently added to the site

Why your book contract needs vetting

Why your book contract needs vetting - 'You are a first-time author without an agent and you receive a contract to publish your book - just how do you evaluate it? Is it fair or biased against the author by prevailing industry standards? Is your publisher looking out for your interests as well as his own - or wording the clauses in a way only advantageous to the company? Would you, for example, know which rights to grant - for how long and on what terms..' Our contracts expert on why contract vetting is essential if you don't have an agent.

Success Story - Tina Seskis

Our Success Story this week is that of Tina Seskis: 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. After university, she went on to work in marketing and advertising for more than 20 years and it was this experience which stood her in good stead when she found herself with a book to market. This was a book which she'd had the idea for whilst on holiday in Venice. Here's its brilliant starting-point: "It's funny how easy it is, when it really comes down to it, to get up from your life and begin a new one. All you need is enough money to start you off, and a resolve to not think about the people you're leaving behind..."

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, author of our WritersServices Self-publishng Guide and of The Business of Writing, has now turned her attention to self-publishers with The Business of Writing for Self-publishing Authors. 'Self-publishing authors - also known as ‘indie' authors or author-publishers - have had a steep learning curve these past few years. Getting to grips with the various sales channels available to them, producing top quality ebooks and paperbacks, and finding a place in mainstream outlets have left many writers struggling to keep up with the paperwork. 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!'

Review of Wonderbook by Jeff VanderMeer

'Wonderbook by Jeff VanderMeer, with art by Jeremy Zerfoss (and many others), is unlike any other writing instruction manual I have ever seen. Heavily illustrated with fantastical paintings and specially commissioned illustrations, it is, in VanderMeer's own words, ‘a kind of cabinet of curiosities that stimulates your imagination'. It reflects VanderMeer's own belief that ‘an organic approach to writing should be coupled with a systematic practice and testing to improve your fiction'. It is also, quite simply, a very beautiful object, gorgeous to look at, its contents by turns playful and inspirational.' Review

My Say - Richard Hall

"Write about what you know" - does this adage always make sense? For those planning a contemporary novel it may be sound advice to write about what you know. But what about writers of historical novels? They cannot have personal knowledge of anything before the recent past. So for historical fiction should we take the adage to mean ‘know' in the sense of having academic knowledge of the subject, from reading and other research? And should we therefore adapt the injunction to say: "write about what you've studied"? I doubt it, for that would encourage a desiccated and unduly research-based approach. Richard Hall's My Say. Other articles in the My Say series from writers.

WritersServices Self-publishing Guide

Joanne Phillips completes her ten-part WritersServices Self-publishing Guide: 'Self-publishing has changed so much over the past few years it's hard to believe it was once looked down upon by the publishing industry as the last resort of the vain and desperate. At the time of writing (July 2013) many self-publishing authors are identifying with the term ‘indie author', which acknowledges that to professionally publish today, you don't actually have to do everything yourself!...' The tenth article deals with Marketing and Promotion for Indie Authors: Offline.

The Essential Guide to Writing for Children

Many of you are interested in children's writing and we're thrilled to launch a new series by Suzy Jenvey, vastly experienced children's editorial director and now agent, called 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: 'Children's publishers divide their editorial departments according to age group. The editors and designers in each division are expert at the language, content, word length and style for their particular age group. As a children's writer, you have to aim for a specific age group, and show through your writing that you understand the requirements...' Now up to part three.

2014 Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book title of the Year

The prize was originally conceived in 1978 by Trevor Bounford, co-founder with Bruce Robertson of publishing solutions firm The Diagram Group and has been administered every year by the Bookseller and Horace Bent, the magazine's diarist. The shortlist and the winner.

Getting My Novel Published

Getting my novel published by Garth Garston: 'I had done all the textbook advice actions - buying and studying The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook, writing a submission cover letter and synopsis plus my first three chapters, and getting my manuscript seriously proof-read. I had had my first rejection.'

Starting from Scratch: setting up a new literary agency

‘It was quite an endeavor for me to start my own literary agency. You have to find the right name and the right type of projects to work on as a literary agent. You have to find ways to let writers know about your agency and what qualifies you to be a literary agent...' Jane Dowary of the Jane Dowary Agencyset up in 2013 by fiction writer who saw how hard for writers to get representation for their work on Starting from scratch: setting up a new literary agency

The 2013 T S Eliot Prize

Sinead Morrissey wins the T S Eliot Prize The Poetry Book SocietySpecialist book club founded by T S Eliot in 1953, which aims to offer the best new poetry published in the UK and Ireland. Members buy at 25% discount. The PBS has a handsome new website at, which awards the T S Eliot Prize for Poetry, announced the winner on 13 January at an elegant award ceremony in the Courtyard of the Wallace Collection in London.

2014 International Book Fairs

The most comprehensive listing available on the web is our annual update of the international book fairs which will be held in 2014. 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. If you're a self-publisher, it's well worth thinking about visiting a book fair, to find out as much as you can about the book trade in your own country and internationally.

The Literary Review Bad Sex Prize 2013

Manil Suri's third novel, The City of Devi, has won the most dreaded award in the world of books: the Literary Review Bad Sex Prize. The award was presented by Joan Collins in a ceremony attended by 400 guests at the Naval and Military Club in London, which is generally known as the In & Out. Manil Suri's publishers accepted the bad sex award on his behalf, and urged readers to take the book to bed. The Literary Review Bad Sex Prize 2013

Copy-editing for self-publishers

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. Our new page looks at Copy editing for self-publishers.

A Review of Booklife

'Indeed, what is a ‘book life'? Author Jeff VanderMeer sees the ‘book' as any creative project requiring text, be it a traditional print book, an e-book or a podcast. The point of Booklife is to provide a strategic and tactical guide to being a writer in contemporary times. It is not a how-to guide to creating a blog or website, nor is it an instructional manual about writing. Instead, Booklife is a more subtle examination of the business of being a writer, intended to help the reader to create a modus operandi that works for them' Our reviewer looks at Jeff VanderMeer's Booklife.

A Printer's View 1

A Printer's View 1 is the first in a series of occasional articles looking at self-publishing from the printing perspective. In Self-publishing? How do you prepare your files for print? Andy EdmonsonManaging Director, Purely Digital, a quality digital printing service based in Derby; over 20 years' experience in printing industry; written for various publications including Print Week and popular blog Just Creative, Managing Director at Purely Digital, looks at this central question. 'You've considered the arguments for and against self-publishing and decided that it's the best option for you. Great; you've got over one of the many difficult hurdles of getting your book out to the world, the next step is to transform the files on your computer into a physical printed book...'

Writing for children: Rule Number One

Read more than you write: 'Author opinion falls into two camps on this one, with some writers maintaining that reading fiction while writing is a very bad thing. Many other authors, however, believe the opposite to be true, that reading and being well-read is essential to good writing, and it is this argument that I am exploring here...' Sarah Taylor-Fergusson in Rule Number One of Writing for Children.

Conscious Writing

'Discovering our authentic voice, writing with lasting impact, and standing out from the crowd are high priorities for most of us who write. But how do we go about achieving these intentions? Conscious Writing is a new approach to deep writing with full awareness which takes us into the core of what we're really here to write.' Julia McCutcheon, the founder of IACCW, contributes a new article on Conscious Writing.

Poetry Collection Editing

We've just launched our latest new service, which is our Poetry Collection Editing service. Intended for poets who want to prepare their poetry collection for self-publishing or for those who just want to get their poetry into the best possible shape before submitting it to publishers, this will provide a skilled editor to copy edit your work, correcting grammatical and spelling errors, and also to edit it, providing suggestions for improving the poems and the collection as a whole.

Self-publishing - the rights way

A new article from Tom Chalmers of IPR Licensethe global, digital marketplace for authors, agents and publishers to list and license book rights; launched in 2012 which explores the importance of rights to self-published authors: 'It's a fact that most self-published authors understand the process that takes them from a written manuscript to a published book, but few realise the additional elements that make publishing a profitable business. Rights licensing is arguably the most vital element in this equation. Rights sales are an increasingly important aspect of a title's profitability for publishers, yet the potential income is often overlooked by self-published authors....'

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