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November 2018

12 November 2018 - What's new

November 2018
  • 'I was a lot dumber when I was writing the novel. I felt like a worse writer ... I would come home every day from my office and say, ‘Well, I still really like the story, I just wish it was better written.' At that point, I didn't realise I was writing a first draft. And the first draft was the hardest part. From there, it was comparatively easy...' Miranda July, film director and author of The First Bad Man and three other books, provides our Comment.
  • The Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize 2019 is open to unpublished female writers, aged 21 or over, who live in the UK or Ireland. The entry fee is £12. The winner gets £1,500 and all shortlisted entrants receive a half-hour one-to-one consultation, with the competition sponsors PFDRepresents authors of fiction and non-fiction, children's writers, screenwriters, playwrights, documentary makers, technicians, presenters and public speakers throughout the world. Has 85 years of international experience in all media. PDF now have a POD section. Some good advice for those seeking a representative.. Closing 8 February.
  • Other live Writing opportunities.
  • From our nineteen-part Inside Publishing series, you can read up on Advances and royalties: 'Publishers usually offer to pay authors advances against royalties. How do you work out how much money you might earn from your book? You need to understand for yourself how advances and royalties work and what they mean for you...'
  • From the same series, Copy editing and proof-reading explains the difference between the two. Copy editing is the painstaking job of going through a manuscript line by line to correct the spelling, grammar and punctuation. Proof-reading at a later stage is a separate check through the book when it is set up in pages, before it goes to press or is finalised for ebook publishing.
  • We have an eclectic bunch of links this week: a deeper, more thoughtful form of engagement with ideas and for that - thankfully - there's still no better medium than a book, Desperate for nuance, no wonder we are turning to the nonfiction shelves | Stephanie Merritt | Opinion | The Guardian; why is it that some self-published authors have sold millions of books while others spend thousands of dollars and only manage to sell 122 copies - mostly to friends, acquaintances, and their mom? Three Keys to Self-Publishing Success; over six decades of work like The Incredible Hulk and The Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel Comics' Stan Lee Dies At 95: NPR; and book sales are up, and they're up because a few people are buying more books, not because a lot of people are buying some books. And that is a symptom of an industry in dramatic decline, Seth Godin's mini-guide to publishing, selling and marketing books now | The Bookseller.
  • Are you looking for an assessment of your book? Which Report? helps you work out which of our three reports might be the right one for you. Or do contact us, we'd be glad to advise.
  • More links: in the rollercoaster boom and bust of publishing, in Ireland and elsewhere, most publishers survived for only a few years, David and Goliath, piracy and censorship: the history of Irish publishing; a rare concerted uprising against any part of Amazon by any of its millions of suppliers, leading to an even rarer capitulation, After Protest, Booksellers Are Victorious Against Amazon Subsidiary - The New York Times; ‘Publishers aren't the greedy sharks they're sometimes portrayed to be.' Richard Charkin: Why Do Authors Feel Hard Done By? A writer of unfettered imagination and undeterred ambition with a career spanning three-and-a-half decades has broken new ground with seven novels and a collection of interlinked stories, Kazuo Ishiguro: A writer of the floating world.
  • Rotten Rejections provides a note of the things publishers wish they'd never said: Animal Farm by George Orwell ‘It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA' and Carrie by Stephen King 'We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.'
  • From our Writers' Quotes: 'Hitler's original title for Mein Kampf was Four and a Half Years of Struggle Against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice. Everyone needs an editor.' is from Tim Foote, editor & journalist.

5 November 2018 - What's new

November 2018
  • ‘They are authors who are unique, they are brilliant at what they do. For every company, there are must-haves. Lesley is a must-have. (Commercial) authors are, in fact better off than ever because people can see how good their books are now, they can read reviews on Amazon, and the way we can spread the word - using newsletters and Facebook pages - is fantastic...' Louise Moore, MD of Michael Joseph, in a joint interview with her author Lesley Pearse (who has achieved 10 million sales worldwide) in the Bookseller. Our Comment is on Commercial fiction writers.
  • An Editor's Advice is a series of seven articles by one of our editors on really useful subjects for writers such as Manuscript presentation, Doing further drafts and Planning: 'The idea of planning doesn't fit well with the idea of the writer as inspired genius, frantically scribbling away. However, I am willing to bet that, no matter what they would have you think, most successful writers plan as much as they write. They just don't tell you about it. The biggest objection that most inexperienced writers raise when someone broaches the delicate matter of planning is that it will get in the way of their inventive powers. A plan will be like a straitjacket. They'll be stuck with this plan and if they come up with a good idea along the way, they will not be able to use it. They are genuinely horrified at the thought...'
  • The International Rubery Book of the Year Award 2019 is open to all writers internationally who have published or self-published their work. Entry fee £37. First Prize £1500 plus £150 for at least three category winners. Closing 31 March 2019.
  • Which service should I choose to help me get my work into good shape for submission or self-publishing? This is the question our page Which service? answers and it then goes on to give a quick rundown on our 20 editorial services for writers, the biggest range you can find on the internet.
  • Our links: it isn't enough that a person should strive to write interesting things. They ought also, we feel, to have an interesting life, Having No Time is the Best Time to Get Writing Done | Literary Hub; it may sneak up on you once in a while - maybe even more than once in a while, How to Conquer Writer's Block; a similar belief about the relative potential for girls and boys to have adventures still holds true in children's literature, regardless of strides made in the nonfictional world, The Golden Ratio of Sexism in Children's Literature; and an interesting result from a still-running open submission, Avon snaps up four books from open submissions | The Bookseller.
  • Getting Your Poetry Published has some suggestions on how to get started with this. 'Don't even try to approach publishers until you have a collection-length amount of material to offer. Your chances will be much better even then if you can point to publication of your poems in magazines. Don't waste any time trying to get a literary agent to represent you...'
  • More links: a writer on creating a new series character - and letting go of the successful, existing one, Getting to know someone new; the Oxford Professor of Poetry on the requirements for the new UK laureate, Poet laureate: the highest office in poetry | Simon Armitage | Books | The Guardian; signing with a publishing house is undoubtedly a very exciting experience, but it can also cause some confusion, especially for debut authors, Your publisher's decisions - Phoebe Morgan; and the new Staunch prize sets out to reward thrillers that shun brutality against women, We need to read about trauma - the perpetrators as well as the victims | Global | The Guardian.
  • 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.
  • 'Short stories demand a certain awareness of one's own intentions, a certain narrowing of the focus.' Joan Didion in our Writers' Quotes.