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Talking to Publishers 1


Compass Books' own books for writers

Suzanne Ruthven

It would be a great mistake to think that writers' how-to books were only written for beginners - there are times when even more experienced writers also need a bit of helpful advice, especially if thinking about changing direction, or exploring a completely different genre. Every kind of writing has its own idiosyncrasies and trade secrets and it was this element I wanted to explore when, during a visit to Ireland, John Hunt proposed that I join the JHP team and set up Compass BooksAn Imprint Of John Hunt Publishing. Focuses on practical and informative ‘how-to’ books for writers. Having spent 26 years editing creative writing magazines and tutoring workshops, it was probably a natural progression.

Once we get past the fundamental stage of how-to write novels, short stories, poetry or non-fiction and have explored how-to generate ideas, or simple marketing techniques, writers often need something more - like learning the tricks of a new market place, not reading rehashed, basic information found in beginners' books that are used to pad out a how-to title. Several of our titles, such as , Bringing the Soul Back Home, Surfing the Rainbow, The Positively Productive Writer and Life-Writes, all reveal different methods of stimulating ideas and developing a positive attitude to writing - and the secret is discovering the right method for our individual way of working. The first four titles channel ideas on a subliminal level, while the last two are more practical and down to earth.

How To Write and Sell Great Short Stories, So You Want to be a Freelance Writer, How To Write A Romance Novel and The Writer's Internet cater for beginners but the rest of our titles are aimed at specific areas of writing that are often just mentioned in passing in other writing books - such as the valuable The Author's Guide To Publishing & Marketing, which might help to short circuit the continuous round of rejections. We all have these specific interests that we might be thinking about developing - my own areas of 'expertise' are covered by The Country Writer's Craft, How To Write For the How-To Market, The Pagan Writer's Guide and Horror Upon Horror, while Sarah-Beth Watkins goes for Telling Life's Tales and The Life-Style Writer - because that's what we write about when not telling other people how to do it.

But it's important to realise that Compass Books isn't just about how-to books. When author and writing tutor Iain Pattison joined our Facebook page with a book proposal, he said it was just like coming home - there were chums from Winchester, Writer's Holiday and The New WriterThis well-regarded magazine comes out six times a year and publishes the best in fact, fiction and poetry, including top stories from the Fish Prize and Real Writers annual competitions. Runs annual Prose and Poetry prizes, including short stories, novellas and essays, material to be submitted by end November. The magazine is towards the more literary end of the spectrum, but offers more publishing opportunities and market information for subscribers than other UK-based creative writing magazines. to catch up with. Over the next few weeks we will be setting up a Compass Books blog and (hopefully) persuading some of these well-known names to impart some of their words of wisdom so that it will become more like a writers' club than a mere publishing outlet. Writing should be fun, and I've certainly got a lot of pleasure out of it - but more importantly it's getting to know an even wider band of writers, so go to and join the club by 'liking' us.

Suzanne Ruthven is the former editor of The New Writer magazine and commissioning editor for Compass Books, a writer's how-to book imprint for John Hunt PublishingExplore the "Our Imprints" section to learn more about our uniquely qualified publishers and their supporting teams. . She is also author of nearly 40 titles in the MB&S and countryside genres, including two novels. She regularly provides contributions to a wide variety of different magazines and writing-related blogs and Facebook sites.

Talking to publishers - our new series

Talking to publishers 2 on Top Hat Historical Fiction

Talking to publishers 3 on Our Street BooksAn Imprint Of John Hunt Publishing. For children of all ages, deliver a potent mix of fantastic, rip-roaring adventure and fantasy stories to excite the imagination; spiritual fiction to help the mind and the heart grow; humorous stories to make the funny bone grow; historical tales to evolve interest; and all manner of subjects that stretch imagination, grab attention, inform, inspire and keep the pages turning. Our subjects include Non-fiction and Fiction, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Religious, Spiritual, Historical, Adventure, Social Issues, Humour, Folk Tales and more. for and about children

Talking to publishers 4 on Sassy BooksAn Imprint Of John Hunt Publishing. Hip, real and raw, SASSY books share untamed truths, spiritual insights and entrepreneurial witchcraft with women who want to kick ass in life and start revolutions.

Talking to publishers 5 - History is back in fashion! With TV serialisations of periods like The Tudors and The Borgias, history is stepping out of the realms of dustiness and into the imagination of the general public. We want to capture history for a new generation of readers and have created a new imprint, Chronos Books, to provide great books for history lovers.

Talking to publishers 6 - Changing Direction? Exploring a New Genre?
It's been a very good year for Compass Books with lots of interesting new titles on our list and even more in production. Rather than concentrating on beginners' books, we're constantly on the lookout for titles that offer sound, practical advice for the more experienced writer looking at changing genre, written by authors who are widely published in that particular area.

Talking to publishers 7: 6th BooksAn Imprint Of John Hunt Publishing. Investigations, explanations and deliberations on the paranormal, supernatural, explainable or unexplainable. Titles cover everything included within parapsychology: how to, lifestyles, alternative medicine, beliefs, myths and theories. The 6th reader is an intelligent seeker of information and challenge. The 6th author delivers exactly that. - Paranormal and Parapsychology

Talking to publishers 8: Christian AlternativeAn Imprint Of John Hunt Publishing. A space at the edge where the light shines through. Books, for writers at the edge, not writers in the mainstream.

Talking to publishers 9: Lodestone Books for Young Adults

Talking to publishers 10: How-to books for experienced writers

Talking to publishers 11: new thinking on marketing, management, economics, finance and accounting, sustainable and ethical business, heart business, people management, leadership, motivation, biographies, business recovery and development and personal/executive development.

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