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December 2008 - Writers Magazine

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News Review

  • This week's News Review looks at the responsibility of publishers in the developed world to help the developing countries get books and access to them through Creative Commons and the work of the book charities.
  • Newspapers' book review sections are under threat as part of the general pressure on the papers to keep their print editions going. But does this matter for books? News Review takes a look.
  • 'It’s been a torrid week in the US and UK book trades, as destabilising staff cuts underline the poor situation in retail... the book trade is on tenterhooks about the outcome of Christmas. Will consumers spend their scarce resources on books? News Review looks at job losses and the acquisition of Wisden.
  • Christopher Paolini is a publishing sensation to rival J K Rowling. In these difficult times his is an inspiring story of raw talent with a large dose of hard work and a dash of luck. News Review reports
  • News Review looks at how publishers are going for print on demand to keep backlist in print, and how online bookselling supports this trend.
  • 'The storm clouds are gathering as more economies go into recession.  The book trade looks gloomier in the US than the UK, where Christmas may still show good sales. News Review reports.

Comment

  • ‘Culture, as I have said, belongs to us all, to all humankind. But in order for this to be true, everyone must be given equal access to culture. The book, however old-fashioned it may be, is the ideal tool. It is practical, easy to handle, economical. It does not require any particular technological prowess, and keeps well in any climate.' Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature, in his Nobel lecture

  • 'I think every year we sell fewer books, but every time we do sell a book now it's for more money... it takes longer for publishers to make decisions than it used to, and there is a little less room for flexibility than there was.' Simon Trewin of United AgentsClick for United Agents Agents References listing in the Bookseller

  • 'Cultural identity, it could be argued, is best developed like a language, at an early age. Children can absorb these ideas before they are corrupted by the prejudices and complications of the adult world...' Maria Dickenson in the late lamented Publishing News

  • 'The mood of the times is changing. There is a return to be made from publishing good books but perhaps not sufficient to pay for atriums and limousines. Could it be that some conglomerates are just too big, too costly and no longer offer value for money?' Clare Alexander in the Bookseller

  • Saturday Night and Sunday Morning hits 50: 'It's something that comes from within you, the need to write. You're born with it...  As long as I'd had a roof over my head and food on the table, I would have carried on writing whether I was published or not.' Alan Sillitoe in The Times

Writers' Quote

'For me a poem is a place where one invites someone in. You build a little house, fix it up real nice. Inside you’ve got a painting on the wall, a new couch, some knick-knacks and souvenirs, a swell meal all laid out on the table, and you open the door and hope somebody comes in…'
US Poet Laureate Charles Simic

New Categories series

Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy

This is the second article in a new series 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. which will cover the major writing genres. This one looks at Science Fiction and Fantasy and suggests how you should get started, what special considerations you should bear in mind and what the market's like.

Writing Crime Fiction, the first article. looks at the international market for crime novels and shows what is working for this readership and how you can give your own crime fiction its best chance of getting published.

How to market your writing services online

Ghostwriter 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 shows you how you can market yourself online through your own website, optimisation, ezines and freelance writing websites.  Essential reading for any writer who wants to promote themself on the web.

Vase

See general article on Copyright in our Inside Publishing series and our article Print on demand and the Long Tail in Changes in Publishing.

if:book - the future of the book

Chris Meade, the founder of if:book, explores the future of the book and the creative potential of new media for readers and writers, in his look at the exciting new possibilities for the book.

Story - Submission Critique

In our latest fictionalised story Australian journalist Ben finds that a Submission Critique helps him get his submission package into good enough shape to get his novel taken on by a London agent.

Our Submission Critique service.

Services stories index

Also available, stories on the Reader's Report, the Editor's Report, Editing, Contract vetting, Private publishing, Manuscript Polishing and Self-publishing.

Agents' Listings

The new agents' listings are now available on the site. Coming from the 2009 Writers' and Artists' Yearbook, these listings can be searched and provide the most up-to-date information about literary agents across the world:

UK agents

US agents

Agents from the rest of the world

Children's specialist agents

Writers' and Artists' Yearbook 2009

Our review of the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook

Tips for Writers 5

The fifth set of our new pages of tips for writers deals with promoting your book (and yourself), and explores the many specific ways in which you can promote and sell your own work.

Tips for Writers 1: Improving your writing

Tips for Writers 2: Learning on the job

Tips for writers 3: New technology and the Internet

Tips for writers 4: Self-publishing - is it for you?

Changes in the book trade

This new series 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. looks at the book trade and investigates how fundamental changes in how it works are affecting writers. 

The first article is on Bookselling, the second on Publishing, the third on Print on demand, the fourth on Self-publishing - 'really great' or career suicide?, the fifth on Writers' routes to their audiences, the sixth at at copyright under pressure and the seventh deals with Creative Commons.

Our Editorial Services for writers

Check out the 16 different editorial services we offer, from Reports to Copy editing, Typing to Rewriting.

Choosing a Service

Are you having difficulty deciding which service might be right for you?  This useful new article by Chris Holifield offers advice on what to go for, depending on what stage you are at with your writing.


Help for Writers

Check out this page to find links to the huge number of useful articles on this site, including Finding an Agent and Making Submissions.