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Tips for writers 7


Keep up to date

The seventh set of our pages of tips for writers deals with informing yourself about what’s going on in the book business

  1. To improve your chances of becoming a published writer it’s important to keep up with what is happening in the book world. The machinations of big publishers, the state of health of bookselling chains and the economic conditions affecting the book business may seem remote from you sitting at your computer, but all of these are going to have an impact on your writing career. Our  free newsletter is an immediate source of information, particularly with its links to articles from the trade press and other articles of interest to writers. Beyond that you could consider subscribing to the Bookseller in the UK or Publishers’ Weekly in the US, or checking out whether they’re available in your local library. Publishers Lunch (US) and Bookbrunch (UK) offer daily online news updates. Bookbrunch offers a series of articles written by writers.
  2. Keep a close eye on your favoured genre. If you’re writing fantasy or crime fiction it’s obviously important to know who’s selling and what the new trends are, but the same is equally true for non-fiction, where you may suddenly find that someone else has published a book on a subject you’ve been working on. It used to be rather laborious to get hold of publishers’ catalogues but now they are online, so it’s very much easier to do your research. Browse in bookshops too and see what else is out there. Our genre writing series is also worth looking at.
  3. It’s well worth considering a subscription to a writers’ magazine. We can help you find the right one for you, whether it’s Mslexia for serious women writers and Writers’ Online with its Writing Magazine in the UK, Writer’s Digest and Hollywood ScriptWriter in the US.
  4. Don’t underestimate the amount of useful information stored in writers’ reference books. There’s the listings of course, some of which can be found online. But some of these books also have a mass of useful articles from real authorities in the field, many of whom are bestselling authors – and again we’d recommend the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook and its excellent sister publication, the Children’s Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook.
  5. Consider also the many books for writers. Most of these concentrate on advising on how to improve your writing, but there are some that take a wider approach to the book business. Track them down and buy them through a large bookshop or online.
  6. The web is a huge source of information and by tracking down interesting blogs, as well as sites for writers and publishers’ websites, you can find out a great deal about what is going on.
  7. Use the huge resources on the WritersServices site to build up your knowledge of the book world and to find out how you can improve your writing. Go to Advice for Writers to find links to what is available.
  8. The result of all this will be that you have a clearer idea of what is going on in the book world and will be able to make better informed decisions about what to write and how to go about getting it published or deciding to go for self-publishing.

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.


Tips for Writers 1: Improving your writing
Tips for Writers 2: Learn on the job
Tips for Writers 3: New technology and the Internet
Tips for Writers 4: Self-publishing - is it for you?
Tips for Writers 5: Promoting your writing (and yourself)
Tips for Writers 6: Other kinds of writing
Tips for Writers 7: Keep up to date
Tips for Writers 8: Submission to publishers and agents