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Survey comments


Writers’ needs survey - your comments

Quotes from respondents to the ‘What new writers need’ survey, September 2004. This survey threw up some fascinating insights into what writers think about writing and getting published.


The gate-keepers: how to get through to publishers and agents

‘publishing is like an impregnable mountain fortress that has to be broken into by force’

' not to dismiss specialised manuscripts out of hand.'

‘Publishers are unapproachable, and literary agents appear so overworked.’

'an email address for query letters, summaries'

‘no way you can understand what a writer is all about by reading the first three chapters of his work, or his synopsis. I feel editors and agents need to talk to the writer personally in other to understand him and his writing.’

‘agents willing to talk to aspiring authors about their ideas and concepts. I feel I needed to explain my vision.’

‘a scholarship programme should be available to enable new writers to break into the industry.’

‘the lottery of sending samples of work and being rejected hardly seems like an efficient way of promoting new work.’

‘I think it is almost impossible to get an agent.’

‘Some sort of "pre-agency" might be a good thing. A service that reads and grades work and connects those writers whose work is ready with agencies and publishers who are interested in receiving good work in a particular genre. It would save agents’ time in reading unwanted material and would save writers time in sending it.’


‘ is about as weird as the idea that we should all exchange our teenage children, since we can all be the better parent for somebody else's child!’

‘New writers need to know that everyone is different - what is good for one will ruin another.’

‘I feel that mentors for writers of all ages and levels of success would be very helpful, offering support and advice.’

‘link illustrators with writers who are compatible.’

‘ writers need someone to believe in them and to promote their ideas’

‘University of East Anglia has an excellent online 3-month writing course for beginners.’

Prizes and money

‘Most prize-giving organisations target young, fresh out of school people, or students.'

'Perhaps offering a certification that has national recognised vocation for writers and artists.’

‘the main problems facing new writers involve the old chestnuts: time and money.’


‘communication with other like-minded people is also a great help with peer to peer support networks and groups.’

‘What most new writers need is the belief to keep going.’

‘the system shatters confidence’

‘I want a safe environment in which to receive criticism.’

‘I wish there were non-fiction and fiction writing workshops in my area.

Non-fiction writers seemed to feel especially alone.’

‘A "how to" document which could be downloaded, with checklists, tips, ideas, lists of agents, FAQ's etc. would be useful!’ (WritersServices provides some of this information. Ed)

The discipline of writing

‘A person must be disciplined and write every day. If you take a few months off, I'd say you're not a serious writer.’

‘What I have done was done with every inch of my soul. (I) only need to have it published, marketed, and made available to the readers.’

‘Think discipline, discipline, discipline.’

‘Never give up. Good luck.’

Back to the survey results

Back to the November Magazine