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March 2019

18 March 2019 - What's new

March 2019
  • ‘I do think that sometimes the seed that sets you off on the process of writing a novel can have been around for many years, even decades, before it actually - for some mysterious reason - comes to fruition . I think it's almost a good sign if an idea has been fermenting for quite a long time in a sort of semi-conscious way...' Our Comment is from Pat Barker, author of The Silence of the Girls, the Regeneration trilogy, The Eye in the Door and five other novels.
  • New information revealed by The Insights People at the London Book Fair shows that reading is the most popular hobby amongst teenage girls. Girls aged 13-18 have named reading as their favourite hobby, followed by swimming, listening to music, and dancing. News Review reports.
  • Our 6-part Editor's Advice series from one of our editors deals with subjects such as further drafts: 'I have just finished writing a report on a novel. I've pinpointed various areas of weakness and made various suggestions that the writer may or may not wish to follow. But the nub of the report is a recommendation that the writer produce a further draft of the novel rather than trying to submit it to a publisher now. I wonder sometimes how writers feel when they get my reports and see that recommendation. It must be very disheartening, when you've spent eighteen months sweating buckets over 150,000 words of fiction to have a report coming winging back, effectively saying "do it again"...'
  • Closing on 31 July, the fabulous Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2019 is now open to poets from anywhere in the world aged 11-17 years and there's no entry fee. There are a wide range of prizes, opportunities and resources including a week-long intensive residential Arvon course. For young poets, this is a great way to launch their writing career.
  • WritersServices can provide a range of services working on your manuscript, to help you get it ready for submission or self-publishing. We are UK-based, offer exceptional value and our skilled professional editors have been working on writers' manuscripts for 17 years. We have just introduced free samples and free assessments on most of these services, please see the individual service page. Copy editing services.
  • Our links: the Bologna Book Fair is coming up fast and here are some useful pointers on what's going on in children's and YA publishing from agents and publishers, Trends to Watch for at Bologna 2019; Stephen Page of Faber urged publishers to pay attention not only to their individual bottom lines but also to the vital role that publishers collectively play in the cultural ecosystem, This Year's London Book Fair Wraps; for many indie authors, printing remains a crucial aspect of the self-publishing process, DIY: Print-on-Demand 101; and "My job as a crime writer is to thrill and entertain and to keep you turning the page", Crime author AA Dhand: Life and death on Bradford's 'forgotten' streets - BBC News.
  • If you've come to the site looking for a report on your manuscript, how do you work out which one would suit you best? Which service? offers a quick rundown on all the services we offer, but Which Report? covers just our reports.
  • In 2013, at an age past which most people live, W.S. Merwin published three books. One of them was a 1,500-page Collected Poems with Library of America, which even as it landed was out of date, On the Poetic Legacy of W.S. Merwin | Literary Hub; just as important for authors as for publishers, Holding their attention; Toby Faber on the pleasures and surprises of writing the history of the firm founded by his grandfather, Telling the Faber story; and a fascinating conversation involving three children's authors, Reality Meets Fiction at Children's Books Boston Panel.
  • 'We have such a young culture that there is an opportunity to contribute wonderful new myths to it, which will be accepted.' Kurt Vonnegut, in another wonderful quote.
  • For quotes fans we have superb collections in More Writers' Quotes and Even More Quotes.

11 March 2019 - What's new

March 2019
  • 'No writing is wasted. Did you know that sourdough from San Francisco is leavened partly by a bacteria called lactobacillus sanfrancisensis? It is native to the soil there, and does not do well elsewhere. But any kitchen can become an ecosystem. If you bake a lot, your kitchen will become a happy home to wild yeasts, and all your bread will taste better... No writing is wasted: the words you can't put in your book can wash the floor, live in the soil, lurk around in the air. They will make the next words better.' Erin Bow, Canadian YA writer, whose books include Stand on the Sky, The Scorpion Rules and Plain Kate. Our Comment.
  • Last year we launched the Writer's edit, a top-level new service for writers who want line-editing as well as copy editing. Does your manuscript need high-level input from an editor to help you get it into the best possible shape for submission or self-publishing? This may be the service for you, offering the kind of editing which publishers' senior editors used to do in-house on their authors' manuscripts and which is now hard to find.
  • Veteran publisher Michael Legat's 19 Factsheets provide a pithy introduction to many topics of interest to writers, from Copyright to Revision, with writing advice on Plotting the novel and The First and Last Pages.
  • Our links: now it's becoming a major problem for writers, 'I can get any novel I want in 30 seconds': can book piracy be stopped? | Books | The Guardian; our first report from this week's LBF, London Book Fair 2019: Audiobooks Stay Hot; rape, infighting, secrets, financial malpractice; the scandal surrounding the Prize, Do We Still Need the Nobel Prize in Literature? - Electric Literature; and the list of too-hot-to-handle topics (as described by Ms Shriver) include "anything to do with gender, sex, race, immigration, disability, social class, obesity and Islam", Would any publisher dare to print Lolita now? | The Spectator.
  • Your submission package - 'Given the difficulty of getting agents and publishers to take on your work, it's really important to make sure that you present it in the best possible way. Less is more, so don't send a full manuscript, as it's very unlikely to be read. Far better to tempt them with a submission package that will leave them wanting to see the rest of the manuscript'. Here's a page on what you should send.
  • More links: digital books were once heralded as being a replacement for print and everyone in the bookselling and publishing industry was scared, but Our love affair with ebooks is over; this famous poet is 100 on 24 March, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, American Maverick; just hours before Prime Minister Theresa May's latest Brexit deal was heavily defeated in the U.K. House of Commons, writers at the London Book Fair criticized the decision to abandon the E.U. London Book Fair 2019: Ian McEwan Leads Writers Against Brexit; and writing a book is not what it used to be even 20 years ago, Council Post: Everything You Wanted To Know About Publishing Your First Book.
  • 'Writers write to influence their readers, their preachers, their auditors, but always, at bottom, to be more themselves.' Aldous Huxley in our Writers' Quotes.

4 March 2019 - What's new

March 2019
  • 'It was only after two years' work that it occurred to me that I was a writer. I had no particular expectation that the novel would ever be published, because it was sort of a mess. It was only when I found myself writing things I didn't realise I knew that I said, 'I'm a writer now.' The novel had become an incentive to deeper thinking. That's really what writing is-an intense form of thought.' Don DeLillo, author of Running Dog, White Noise, Falling Man, Zero K and 13 other novels. Our Comment.
  • 'It can be hard work finding an agent to represent you. Make sure though that, when you set up the relationship, you do so in a professional manner Don't let your eagerness to find representation mean that things are left vague...' A useful checklist on Working with an Agent.
  • If you haven't got to this stage yet, try our page on Finding an Agent: 'Make sure that your work is in the best possible shape before you send it to an agent. In the past an agent might have taken you on even if your manuscript needed work. These days most won't do so because the publishing houses in their turn are unwilling to commit to the editorial time required to get the manuscript into shape...'
  • An opportunity for young writers of all ages - The Author of Tomorrow. It's open to young people of any nationality writing short stories in English in three different age groups. The Prizes are: 16-21 years £1,000, 12-15 years and 11 and under £100 plus £150 in book tokens for their school, library or charity of choice.
  • Other available Writing Opportunities.
  • The most recent addition to our range of reports is the Editor's Report Plus, a substantial report which offers chapter-by-chapter commentary on your manuscript, with a helpful blueprint for any further work which is recommended. It gives you the kind of expert advice which is usually only available from an in-house editor, which is why it has quickly become our most popular report.
  • Our links: showing someone stole your idea is close to impossible, Secondhand books: the murky world of literary plagiarism | Books | The Guardian; "there's the real belief that we have a responsibility to our society, to the cultures we're part of", Faber's Stephen Page Opens London Book Fair's Quantum: 'Cultural Responsibility'; for indie authors, few free marketing efforts match the power of book reviews and blurbs, The Art of the Book Review Query; and some of these beloved children's classics have been criticized for the way they portray people of color, Dr. Seuss Books Can Be Racist, But We Still Keep Reading Them : Code Switch : NPR.
  • Our Services for Writers, just a list of our 20 services to help you get your work ready for publication. We've been offering editing services for writers from our office in London since 2001 and have the widest and best-value range on the web. Get your work ready for publication or submission with the help of our team of skilled professional editors.
  • More links: female writers have responded to the #MeToo movement by taking difficult themes such as rape and gaslighting and exploring them in some of this year's most anticipated novels, Women's battles become page-turners as #MeToo inspires novelists | Books | The Guardian; Nicola Solomon says writers are increasingly complaining of not being paid or credited where books had formed the basis of hit shows or for research they provided to producers, Society of Authors renews calls for TV shows to pay authors | The Bookseller; big numbers from commercial authors, UK sales of translated fiction grows by 5% | The Bookseller; and finding the right book is by far the most important thing, but getting the small things right is vital and unbelievably hard work, says veteran publisher with new start-up, Richard Charkin: Nine Lessons From a Small Indie Publisher.
  • ‘I've always liked journeys, journeys where people meet sea monsters, or human monsters. There's something about people leaving everything they know and going into what they don't know where you actually learn a lot about people.' Marlon James in our Writers' Quotes.