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4 October 2021 - What's new

October 2021

20 September 2021 - What's new

September 2021

6 September 2021 - What's new

September 2021

23 August 2021 - What's new

August 2021

 

9 August 2021 - What's new

August 2021

26 July 2021 - What's new

July 2021
  • ‘The pandemic has been a period of caution, safe bets and, understandably due to the restrictions in distribution, a time of low experimentation. I hope this will change over the summer and through the personal connections that will infuse a new energy in the business... One thing the lockdown has proven without any doubt is that the relationship between agent and editor cannot be conducted via Zoom. We need to know what is going on in editorial commissioning rooms and understand the changing tastes of acquiring editors. Jonny Geller, CEO at Curtis BrownSee Curtis Brown listing UK, in the Bookseller.
  • Our 19 Factsheets from the legendary Michael Legat are full of tips for the new writer or anyone who is trying to get their book published. From Literary agents to Copyright, from Libel to Submissions, this series is full of essential background information. From Submissions: 'Few editors will give any reasons for rejecting your work. However, if in turning it down they pay you any compliments, you can take them at face value. Publishers don't encourage would-be writers unless they mean it. If your work is rejected six times or more, without any snippets of praise, you should look at it again, to see if you can discover what is wrong. It may be a long time since you last read it, and with fresh eyes you may see glaring faults.'
  • As well as our highly-regarded Copy editing service, which will help you prepare your manuscript for submission or self-publishing, we have Manuscript Polishing, which provides a higher-level polishing service, English Language Editing for those for whom English is not a native language, our latest new service Writer's edit, providing line-editing, and Proof-reading. Get the right level of editorial support for your needs. Our low-cost services represent exceptionally good value. Contact us to discuss what you want.
  • Links from writers: films are about 25,000 words, with TV shows half that. A novel is five times longer, Screenplays and novels: transferable skills?; unlike in the movies, Jack Ryan's not in a great position to fight back, Are Fictional Characters Protected Under Copyright Law? | Jane Friedman; Penguin Random House cancelled his book about the British army, The Changing of the Guard, and demanded back his advance, ‘A terrifying precedent': author describes struggle to publish British army history | Books | The Guardian.
  • Have you ever wondered why you don't win any of those competitions? What can you do to improve your chances? Our tipsheet on Entering Competitions.
  • More links on writers' affairs: literary adaptations to television have been on a steady climb, How TV Adaptations Are Changing Fiction - The Atlantic; I've been self-employed for decades. No one has paid for my health insurance, or into a pension fund, or given me sick days or workers' comp, in a million years. This is the way it is for writers, The Business Side of Being a Writer | by Susan Orlean | Jul, 2021 | Medium; is the idea of being a novelist just a ridiculous dream? The prize that opened prison doors.
  • Our 20 services for writers gives a simple list with links.
  • Links from the publishing world: a publicity chief's view of changes in the publishing world, Questions for: Alex Hippisley Cox; see how Amazon dominates book sales, Every Book Lover Should Fear This Graph | by Andy Hunter | Jul, 2021 | Medium; there's just something satisfying about turning the page and holding a physical book in one's hands, Survey: Most people prefer reading paper books over digital books on tablets, phones - Study Finds; and when we assume we as adults know what's best for teens, we make a bigger mistake, White Gatekeeping in YA Harms Teen Readers | Book Riot.
  • Working with an agent explains how to get the best out of the relationship with your agent: '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. You will be depending on the agent to process all your income from the books they sell, so you need to have a written record of your arrangement, preferably a contract...'
  • Get your manuscript typed up so that you can revise it, submit it or publish it. Do you need to get your material typed up, but can't face doing the job yourself? We can provide a clean typed version of your work at very competitive rates. Our service offers help for writers who have an old or handwritten manuscript, which needs re-typing before the writer can proceed with submission or publication. Typing manuscripts
  • 'The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof lie detector. This is the writer's radar and all great writers have had it.' Ernest Hemingway, currently the subject of a wonderful BBC series available on the IPlayer, in our Writers Quotes.

12 July 2021 - What's new

July 2021

28 June 2021 - What's new

June 2021

14 June 2021 - What's new

June 2021
  • 'Writing is rewriting. The first draft is the jabber you forced on that blind date. She was hoping for someone to ask her what she was feeling, but all you said was, and then I, and then I, and then I, and then . . . The first draft is meant to be discarded. The first draft is the beginning of the idea, the slender thread of a story. The second draft is little better, as is the third, and the fourth and fifth...' Walter Mosley, author of Devil in a Blue Dress, The Long Fall, Blood Grove and dozens of other books in LitHub.
  • 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, Dialogue, 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...'
  • Are you getting ready to publish your book - perhaps planning to self-publish? WritersServices offers a suite of nine services which help writers get their work into shape before they self-publish. Services for Self-publishers.
  • Links from writers: writing historical fiction is more than just creating a simulacrum of the past and letting your characters frolic around in it, Balancing historical fiction and historical fact; every fiction writer understands the need to include elements of rising tension in their stories, Don't Tease Your Reader. Get to the Tension and Keep It Rising | Jane Friedman; Creativity and change are key to any successful poetry publishing venture, 35 pioneering years at the Poetry Business; an author who became writer and executive producer, 'Shrill,' 'Summer I Turned Pretty' Adaptations Allow Authors Agency - Variety; and 'That's how we did it': writing about the special forces.
  • New on our Endorsements page: 'I cannot emphasise enough my gratitude to writerservices.com. I more or less expected that they would treat me and my texts professionally - after all, this is what the site offers. What I haven't expected was the extra mile they were prepared to go on my behalf, their beautiful attention to both the letter and the spirit of what I had to say. My manuscript has now found an agent - a happy development in which they have definitely played a role. All I can say is that if I ever produce anything else, I will definitely be their client again.' Sveta, Windsor, UK
  • Do you want some help with your writing but don't quite know what you want - or even if you need any help? Are you a bit puzzled by the various services on offer, and not sure what to go for? Choosing a service can help you work out which service is right for you.
  • Links from the publishing world: bestselling writers including Philip Pullman and Kate Mosse are warning of a "potentially devastating" change to the UK's copyright laws, Leading authors sound alarm over post-Brexit changes to copyright | Publishing | The Guardian; misleading or downright bad book blurbs, Book jacket descriptions for titles like Luster and The Silence are terrible; predictions from a top corporate publisher, HC's Murray Sees Higher Sales, More Consolidation Ahead; and an interesting article on Harry Potter, The boy who lived and lived and lived | The Bookseller.
  • If you need to get your material typed up, but can't face doing the job yourself, Typing manuscripts is a service for writers who have an old or handwritten manuscript or audio tapes, which need typing before they can proceed with reworking, submission or publication.
  • Don't know what they're talking about? Here's our Publishing glossary, featuring printing & publishing terms & abbreviations.
  • ‘All fiction is largely autobiographical and much autobiography is, of course, fiction.' P D James in our Writers' Quotes

31 May 2021 - What's new

May 2021

17 May 2021 - What's new

May 2021

3 May 2021 - What's new

May 2021

19 April 2021 - What's new

April 2021

5 April 2021 - What's new

April 2021

22 March 2021 - What's new

March 2021

8 March 2021 - What's new

March 2021

1 March 2021 - What's new

March 2021
  • 'Booksellers have had many years of making themselves resilient, having had to live through the advent and growth of Amazon - they are entrepreneurial and hard-working, resourceful and creative. Despite having spent years building up USPs which the pandemic stripped away (gathering, meeting, conversation, events, in-person meetings and social spaces) they have managed, by hard work, to keep themselves visible to their customers and to the wider media, public, government and trade audiences.' Meryl Halls, MD of the UK Booksellers Association, in Bookbrunch.
  • Health Hazards is our special series about the various health risks for writers, including the dreaded Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. If you know you're spending too much time at a keyboard, it's worth making sure you're being careful about how you're sitting, your eyes and your wrists. Although Coronavirus may be the main health risk you're focused on at the moment, these special writers' risks are worth thinking about.
  • You'll have to hurry, but the the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prizes 2021 are open till 7 March. They're open to writers of any nationality writing in English in two classes: Best Unpublished Novel, which offers an advance of £15,000 on a publishing deal with Bonnier - entry fee £49 - and £10,000 for Best Published Novel.
  • 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, which we think is the biggest and most comprehensive you can find on the internet.
  • Our links on writers and writing: it's a tough decision for a writer to make, one of the toughest: is now the moment to go for self-publishing? 11 Signs You're Ready to Self-Publish | Jane Friedman; a hugely admired author shares his thoughts, Jeff VanderMeer Talks Noir, Suspense, and His New Eco-Thriller With Meg Gardiner ‹ CrimeReads; nine books and three pseudonyms later, time for the lighthouse book, The sea in my bones; young authors may be self-censoring because they worry they will be "trolled" or "cancelled", Sir Kazuo Ishiguro warns of young authors self-censoring out of 'fear' - BBC News; and are you serious about putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and finally starting that novel idea you've had for years? 5 top tips for writing your novel - National Centre for Writing.
  • Writing Biography & Autobiography is a serialisation from our Archives of the book by Brian D Osborne published by A & C BlackClick for A & C Black Publishers Publishers References listing. In the first excerpt, Managing the matters of truth and objectivity, the author says: 'Just as you need to remember that letters, reports, census forms, legal documents and so forth were not created simply for our convenience, so you also need to remember that what is written in them may not be true...'
  • Links on diversity issues and publishing: does a black poet need a black translator? 'Shocked by the uproar': Amanda Gorman's white translator quits | Books | The Guardian; four years after the first report, Diversity in Romance Books Still Lags; the amazing move of a bestselling author with her full back catalogue to a publisher who has never handled fiction before, Fifty Shades author E.L. James to anchor new imprint | EW.com; and since the human appetite for celebrity self-­abasement and atonement, the raw materials of the well-turned tell-all, is unquenchable, Why the Political Memoir is 2021's Hottest Book Genre.
  • If you need to get your material typed up, but can't face doing the job yourself, Typing manuscripts is a service for writers who have an old or handwritten manuscript which needs typing before they can proceed with reworking, submission or publication.
  • 'I have discovered that I cannot burn a candle at one end and write a book with the other.' Katherine Mansfield in our Writers' Quotes.
  • For quotes fans we have superb collections in More Writers' Quotes and Even More Quotes.

22 February 2021 - What's new

February 2021

8 February 2021 - What's new

February 2021

1 February 2021 - What's new

February 2021

25 January 2021 - What's new

January 2021

18 January 2021 - What's new

January 2021

4 January 2021 - What's new

January 2021
  • ‘The thing I like about novels is that they are a more forgiving form. You can make missteps. It's harder to write a really good short story - I'm more aware of the flaws in my short stories. There's pleasure I get being able to spend that much time with people and ideas in novels, but if you write a short story, the magical period of an idea to the excitement of composition and the first draft is short, but deeply pleasurable in a way novels are not... Elizabeth McCracken, author of Bowlaway, Thunderstruck and four other books of novels, short stories and a memoir, in the Observer.
  • A Publisher's View is our four-part series from publisher Tom Chalmers on what publishers are looking for. What a publisher wants from submissions, Judging a book by its covering letter and synopsis, Making the submission and The changing face of publishing. 'While editors may well do some later tinkering, it shouldn't be sent in unless the writer feels it is a manuscript ready for publication, in terms of both grammar and content. Lines like ‘I know it needs some work', or ‘I think it's nearly there' show admirable humility but are an immediate put-off!...'
  • The 2021 International Book and Pamphlet Competition is open to poets internationally. The entry fee is £28, £25 to subscribers to The North. The prize is publication by Smith|Doorstop Books; a share of £2,000 cash; a launch reading; publication in the North magazine; book vouchers from Inpress Books. Closing 1 March. This is one of the few poetry prizes which has publication as its prize.
  • 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, which we think is the biggest and most comprehensive you can find on the internet.
  • Our links this week are a rather thin crop, as the book world lumbers its way back into action after the break: it's been a picture of gloom and doom for most business sectors in 2020, but it's good to know that 2020 has been surprisingly good for the publishing industry - Good e-Reader; the peril faced by the work of a writer dying young, George Orwell is out of copyright. What happens now? | George Orwell | The Guardian; George Saunders once said, ‘when you read a short story, you come out a little more aware and a little more in love with the world around you'...but what is the best way to get yourself going? Writing a short story - where do you start? - National Centre for Writing.
  • It may surprise you to know that the first of Julie Wheelwright's Top Ten Tips for Nonfiction Writers is: 'Story, story, story. Make sure that your story can sustain several chapters and tens of thousands of words. Keep asking yourself: Why would anyone want to read this story?'
  • A few more links: the generosity of a donor supporting poets and writers, B&N Founder Makes $250K Donation to Poets & Writers; pitching a manuscript isn't for cowards, the thin skinned, or those with no endurance. Believing your project is worthy, truly believing in it, is required, as is the patience of a saint, How I Landed a Book Deal Via Twitter - Unintentionally | Jane Friedman; and a renowned children's author points to the difference between 'selecting' and 'censoring'? Michael Morpurgo denies 'censoring' Merchant of Venice in children's book | Michael Morpurgo | The Guardian.
  • WritersServices editor Kay GaleWritersServices editor who has worked for many years as a freelance editor for number of publishers. on The Slush pile: 'When I started working in publishing over thirty years ago it was part of my job to check through the pile of unsolicited manuscripts that arrived on a daily basis, and like every other enthusiastic young editorial assistant, I dreamed of finding the next bestseller in the ‘slush pile'. I was soon disillusioned..'
  • 'Professional copy editing does make sense, either if you are trying to give your work its best chance when submitting it or, even more crucially, if you are planning to self-publish. But how are you supposed to tell who will do a good job, when the editorial services on the web all sound pretty much the same and it's tempting to go for the cheapest?' Getting your manuscript copy edited
  • 'People have many cruel expectations from writers. People expect novelists to live on a hill with three kids and a spouse, people expect children's story writers to never have sex, and people expect all great poets to be dead. And these are all very difficult expectations to fulfill, I think.' C. JoyBell C. in our Writers' Quotes

28 December 2020 - What's new

December 2020

14 December 2020 - What's new

December 2020

7 December 2020 - What's new

December 2020

30 November 2020 - What's new

November 2020

23 November 2020 - What's new

November 2020
  • ‘Growing up as the boy I was and now the man that I am in New York, they feel like two very different people. And so, though this is on-the-back-of-a-cornflakes-box psychology, it was a good way for me to make sense of the whole of me and to sort of stitch myself together. I love the boy I was. It wasn't always easy but I wanted to conjure that world. Fiction allows you take control of a situation that you might not have control over in real life. On the west coast of Scotland, we are never allowed to think of ourselves as exceptional - never exceptionally great or exceptionally hard done to. And a memoir is thinking there's an exception there that is worth sharing... Douglas Stuart, author of debut novel Shuggie Bain, which has just won the 2020 Booker Prize, in the Guardian.
  • From our 7-part series An Editor's Advice, on writing genre novels: 'How do you become a successful genre writer? You do it by getting to know your chosen genre intimately. You do it by writing, of course, but you also do it by reading a lot of genre novels. And I do mean "a lot". You read a lot of genre novels in order to get the overall ‘feel' of things. You read modern genre to understand what's currently ‘hot' so you can play with the ideas and extend them, rather than simply regurgitating the same old ideas. You read the back catalogue to understand what the current writers read before they got started. You can look for ideas, yes, but you've still got to do something new with them. You see, like all literature, genre has history...'
  • 'Professional copy editing does make sense, either if you are trying to give your work its best chance when submitting it or, even more crucially, if you are planning to self-publish. But how are you supposed to tell who will do a good job, when the editorial services on the web all sound pretty much the same and it's tempting to go for the cheapest?' Getting your manuscript copy edited
  • Our links about writers: a very popular winner with a history of being turned down by publishers, Douglas Stuart's Booker win heralds arrival of a fully formed voice | Booker prize | The Guardian; editor Peter Blackstock was behind last year's winner too, Talking to the Editor Behind Back-to-Back Booker Prizes | Literary Hub; the second oldest profession, The Evolution of Espionage Fiction | CrimeReads; metafiction, sex, feminism, death, and the end of the world in her latest poetic masterpiece, Welcoming Disillusionment: PW Talks with Margaret Atwood; and already it's on track to become the bestselling presidential memoir of all time, How Barack Obama's Book Sales Stack Up Against Other Big Memoirs.
  • How to market your writing services online is a useful article from 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 about selling yourself as a writer. 'Recently someone commented to me that I seem to be doing a pretty good job of promoting my writing services on the internet. I was touched by the observation - we writers get so many rejections that a little praise is especially gratifying. And I began to wonder - what does it take to market yourself successfully as a jobbing writer today?...'
  • Get some professional help. If you're self-publishing, you need good quality copy for the cover. Our Blurb-writing service can provide a professionally written piece of cover copy. Submitting to agents but finding it difficult to write your own synopsis? Commission a Synopsis which will present your manuscript in the best possible light for submission.
  • More links on what's going on in publishing: Penguin Random House purchasing Simon & Schuster is not the gravest danger to the publishing business, The Penguin Random House-Simon & Schuster Merger's About Amazon - The Atlantic; avoiding  'traditional writer' think, Business Musings: Trainwreck November Edition - Kristine Kathryn Rusch; do we need new marketing strategies after Covid? How Do We Market Books Now? So how is printing being affected? As book publishing shrinks during the pandemic, how are India's printing presses coping? And a very sad story for poets, poetry readers and poetry, Poets House Suspends Operations Amid Pandemic; Employees Cry Foul.
  • If you are submitting your work to an agent or directly to a publishing house, check through our guidelines to give it its best chance. Making submissions.
  • 'Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head. Shakespeare has perhaps 20 players. I have 10 or so, and that's a lot. As you get older, you become more skillful at casting them.' Gore Vidal in our Writers' Quotes.
  • If Quotes are you bag, we have substantial collections in More Writers' Quotes and Even More Quotes.

 

16 November 2020 - What's new

November 2020
  • 'Why does the writer write? The writer writes to serve - hopelessly he writes in the hope that he might serve - not himself and not others, but that great cold elemental grace which knows us. A writer I very much admire is Don DeLillo. At an awards ceremony for him at the Folger Library several years ago, I said that he was like a great shark moving hidden in our midst, beneath the din and wreck of the moment, at apocalyptic ease in the very elements of our psyche and times that are most troublesome to us, that we most fear...' Joy Williams, author of The Visiting Privilege, The Quick and the Dead, Ill Nature, State of Grace and The Changeling.
  • For anyone thinking about or embarked on self-publishing, our ten-part WritersServices Self-Publishing Guide by 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 is an essential starting-point, taking you through the process step-by-step. 'Today's indie author can feel confident that they are in good company - indeed, many traditionally published authors are leaving their publishers and going indie by choice. Tired of creative compromises, covers they can't stand, zero promotion and tiny royalty percentages, they are joining the ranks of self-publishing authors and reaping the benefits. If you have a book you are passionate about, if your main objective is to get your work in front of readers and make it professional and accessible, and if you're tired of doing the ‘rounds' of agents and publishers and facing soul-destroying rejection, there is an answer. Self publish...' Articles include What is Self-publishing and Choose Your Self-publishing Route.
  • As well as our highly-regarded Copy editing service, which will help you prepare your manuscript for submission or self-publishing, we have Manuscript Polishing, which provides a higher-level polishing service, English Language Editing for those for whom English is not a native language, our latest new service Writer's edit, providing line-editing, and Proof-reading. Get the right level of editorial support for your needs. Our low-cost services represent exceptionally good value. Contact us to discuss what you want.
  • Links from the publishing world: millions of Chinese understand perfectly why e-commerce giant Alibaba adopted this as a marketing slogan for its hugely successful Singles' Day, The past is prologue; tomorrow is online; you'll know who's won the Booker by the time you read this, but Africa basks in Booker boost for female writers - BBC News; more impending consolidation amongst the big battalions of the publishing world, 'NYT' Says HC, PRH Top Contenders to Buy S&S; and nearly one milion children's books in print, Self-Published Author Moves Brand into Consumer Products.
  • An endorsement from Anthony Fitzgerald for our English Language Editing Service: 'The result? A book that reads like it's written by a native speaker for only 13% of the price a complete translation would have costed. Thank you, writersservices.'
  • Links from writers and about writing: Nigerian-American author's Half of a Yellow Sun has been voted the best of the Women's Prize's 25 years of winners, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Is Women's Prize 'Winner of Winners'; SF anthology stalled since 1974, Harlan Ellison's The Last Dangerous Visions may finally be published, after five-decade wait | Books | The Guardian; he was just 16 in 1968, it was a moment of change and social revolution, Novelist William Boyd Looks Back to the Past; and author of the cult classic novel, in which a bored psychiatrist  lets "the dice decide" his options, The Dice Man author George Cockcroft (aka Luke Rhinehart) dies aged 87 | Books | The Guardian.
  • If you are submitting your work to an agent or directly to a publishing house, check through our guidelines to give it its best chance. Making Submissions.
  • Links of general interest: if you'd like to improve your writing setup, this useful guide may help, 11 Actually Useful Digital Tips for Writers - National Centre for Writing; 'some days we think of poetry as a dead antelope', a serious look at poetry and prizes, On Poets and Prizes / Juliana Spahr and Stephanie Young - ASAP/J; 35% of the world read more due to COVID-19, but go online to look at this properly, Infographic: World Reading Habits in 2020 | The Digital Reader.
  • Working with an agent explains how to get the best out of the relationship with your agent: '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. You will be depending on the agent to process all your income from the books they sell, so you need to have a written record of your arrangement, preferably a contract...'
  • 'Meeting writers is always so disappointing. I got over wanting to meet live writers quite a long time ago. There is this terrific book that has changed your life, and then you meet the author, and he has shifty eyes and funny shoes and he won't talk about anything except the injustice of the United States income tax structure toward people with fluctuating income, or how to breed Black Angus cows, or something.' Ursula K Le Guin in our Writers' Quotes.

9 November 2020 - What's new

November 2020

26 October 2020 - What's new

October 2020

19 October 2020 - What's new

October 2020

12 October 2020 - What's new

October 2020

28 September 2020 - What's new

September 2020

21 September 2020 - What's new

September 2020

14 September 2020 - What's new

September 2020

7 September 2020 - What's new

September 2020
  • ‘The majority of my books are set in north London, and it began to seem like an omission or a lie that when I open my door I'm in a multiracial neighbourhood, yet I haven't written about that. Should my books stay white for the rest of my life? I don't think so. That's all I can say, I wanted the book to represent my city... You write yourself out the further you go. The women thing started like that. I came to believe that women had more problems than white men, and white men's problems are mostly internal. That's certainly the case with High Fidelity and About a Boy. I tried to do the best I could with them, but there is something inert about that... Nick Hornby, author of 21 books, including 7 novels, amongst them Just Like You, published next week, About a Boy, Fever Pitch and High Fidelity, in the Sunday Times' Culture.
  • For anyone thinking about or embarked on self-publishing, our ten-part WritersServices Self-Publishing Guide by 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 is an essential starting-point, taking you through the process step-by-step. 'Self-publishing has changed so much over the past few years it's hard to believe it was once looked down upon by the publishing industry as the last resort of the vain and desperate. At the time of writing many self-publishing authors are identifying with the term ‘indie author', which acknowledges that to professionally publish today, you don't actually have to do everything yourself!' Articles include Formatting your book for Kindle and Marketing and Promotion for Indie Authors: Online.
  • If on the other hand you're planning to submit to agents, you'll want to get your submission package into good shape before getting started, to give your book its best chance.
  • Seven writing competitions are still open, though some are closing soon.
  • This week's links are a varied bunch: there is no risk greater for a writer than emotional risk - which is why writing one's memoir is ultimately the riskiest of all, The Risky Writing Life; a comprehensive process in which, according to the definitive book on the subject, a trained checker works through your book? Why Nonfiction Book Fact Checking Should Be an Industry Standard; the big beasts of the ,publishing world are circling, eying up their prey, Bertelsmann, HarperCollins Show Interest in S&S; the acclaimed crime writer acknowledging that the fact that some people are perceived to have value attached to them and others aren't is really important, Denise Mina: 'I couldn't read until I was about nine' | Books | The Guardian; and 'An unhappy childhood is a writer's gold mine, Writing a path to redemption.
  • Our article on How to get your book translated into English (without it costing the earth) asks writers with a manuscript which needs translating or has been written in English by a non-native speaker: 'if your English is good enough, what about translating your book yourself, or writing in English, and then getting your translation polished and copy edited by a professional editor who is a native English speaker?' This could be a cost-effective way of reaching the international English-speaking market.
  • English Language Editing is our polishing service for writers who have translated their work into English or written it in English when it is not their native language. If you need to make sure it's good enough to publish, or send to a publisher, this service is for you. Acknowledging the growth of world English, English Language Editing is designed for the many non-native English speakers throughout the world who want to publish their work in English.
  • More links: here's a breakthrough first novel, a high-school thriller which tackles institutionalised racism, Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé: the 21-year-old British student with a million-dollar book deal; this year, my detective Vera Stanhope turns 21, Stories have always been healing, so I'm funding bibliotherapists | Ann Cleeves | Books | The Guardian; 'a novel tells you far more about a writer than an essay, a poem, or even an autobiography', Martin Amis Gets Matter of Fact; and children's authors who also work in the children's publishing world, Children's Writers Who Wear Multiple Hats.
  • Are you having difficulty producing a really good blurb to self-publish your book? Or do you need a synopsis to submit it to publishers? Our services can help.
  • From our Writers' Quotes: 'Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else.' Gloria Steinem

 

24 August 2020 - What's new

August 2020

17 August 2020 - What's new

August 2020

‘I'm always interested in trying to use whodunit and murder mystery forms to do something a bit more profound than, after 400 pages, saying the butler did it, thank you, goodbye. Effectively, I didn't just want to write ordinary detective stories... They are the only form of literature that deals in absolute truths. When you read a whodunit, the joy of it is that you know that at the last chapter every ‘i' will be dotted, every ‘t' will be crossed, everything will be solved...' Anthony Horowitz, author of 73 books, including the Alex Rider series, the just-published Moonflower Murders, Magpie Murders and 14 TV series, in the Sunday Times Culture. Our Comment.

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, Dialogue, 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...'

Mslexia Fiction & Memoir Competition 2020 is open to women writers only from across the world with unpublished manuscripts (self-published work allowed) in four categories: Flash Fiction, Short Story, Children's & YA Novel and Memoir & Life Writing, with various entry fees and prizes. Closing 21 September.

Do you want some help with your writing but don't quite know what you want - or even if you need any help? Are you a bit puzzled by the various services on offer, and not sure what to go for? Choosing a service can help you work out which service is right for you. Or email us to ask about your requirements.

Our links: how readers are most engaged Maybe We Read Crime Fiction Because Deep Down, We All Know We're Complicit in Crime | CrimeReads; writers who find themselves mired in procrastination would do well to take a page from Marcel Proust's most famous book, Surprising secrets of writers' first book drafts - BBC Culture; an amalgamation of swashbuckling detective, political activist, and Catholic theologian, The Evolution of Dave Robicheaux and the Incredible Career of James Lee Burke | CrimeReads; from a writer, poet and editor from London, Will Harris on the Idea of Poetry as Interconnectedness | Literary Hub; and at least ten times a day I ask myself, "What the f*ck is wrong with people?" Why Writing About Psychopaths Keeps Me Sane | CrimeReads.

If you are trying to get your work into shape for publication, or for self-publishing, there's plenty of advice on the WritersServices website which may help. Advice for writers

More links: if Amazon's power is left unchecked, competition within publishing could diminish even more, Publishing Leaders Issuing Warning over Amazon's Market Power; it's now roughly halfway through a series of virtual meetings with publishers, Black Writers' Guild reports progress as publishers start to confront diversity deficit | The Bookseller; a sad side-effect of the success of charity bookshops, The demise of the second-hand bookshop | Alexander Larman | The Critic Magazine; until quite recently, I hadn't finished a book since the end of January, Get Happier by Rereading Your Favorite Books From Childhood.

Have you been working on your book over the holidays? Are you now ready to submit to publishers or to self-publish? We offer the widest range of editorial services on the web, tailored to writers' requirements and carried out by our professional editors, Our Services for writers.

Our final set of links are all about the Women's Prize for Fiction Reclaim Her Name programme and show just how a well-intentioned initiative can go wrong: ‘George Eliot' joins 24 female authors making debuts under their real names | Books | The Guardian; next, apologies, 'Sloppy': Baileys under fire over Reclaim Her Name books for Women's prize | Books | The Guardian; and then a more serious challenge to the whole idea of this list, The #ReclaimHerName initiative ignores the authorial choices of the writers it represents. | Literary Hub.

From our Writers' Quotes: 'Make no mistake, those who write long books have nothing to say. Of course those who write short books have even less to say.'

If quotes are your thing we have a  very large collection in our Archive, More Writers' Quotes and Even More Quotes.

10 August 2020 - What's new

August 2020

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August 2020

 

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July 2020

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June 2020
  • 'Like any social media platform, the more you use Twitter the more you will get out of it. So keeping your account as active as possible - i.e. tweeting as often as possible - is perhaps the most valuable tip of all. But that raises a common anti-Twitter excuse: "Oh, I wouldn't know what to talk about... To pro-Twitters like me, this is perhaps the most frustrating excuse of all, especially when it comes from otherwise idea-rich writers and authors! Paul Jones, author of The British Isles: A Trivia Gazetteer, Haggard Hawks & Paltry Poltroons and its sequel, Jedburgh Justice & Kentish Fire. Why and How Writers Should Embrace Twitter
  • An Editor's Advice is our seven-part series on how to become a better writer. On Genre writing: 'I've been reading science fiction, fantasy and crime novels since I was a teenager, and I can spot when a writer doesn't fully understand the mechanics of their chosen genre. It may not matter to a casual reader but it really matters to the fans, and if they don't like what they find, they'll be telling their friends why the novel is rubbish. So, what do you do about it? How do you become a successful genre writer?
  • Have you managed to find a publisher for your work and are now enjoying the thrill of knowing that your book will soon be published? If you're wondering what happens next or just dreaming of being in that situation, Preparing for Publication gives an outline of what's involved.
  • Our links: leading crime writers reveal how they came up with their most famous creations, Me and my detective by Lee Child, Attica Locke, Sara Paretsky, Jo Nesbø and more | Books | The Guardian; how writers can cope with the considerable change there's been over the last few months, Writing, Pitching & Promoting in the Age of the Coronavirus | Jane Friedman; unwanted, disrespected, or simply shut out, Romance Writers of America had a history of racism. It led to its own implosion. - Vox; and looking at Orwell's life, What's really Orwellian about our global Black Lives Matter moment.
  • Copy editing services - 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 and our skilled professional editors have been working on writers' manuscripts for 19 years. We have recently introduced free samples and free assessments on most of these services, please see the individual service page.
  • More links: 'I kept being told my books were about identity, then I'd read books by white poets, and think, how are these not about identity?' Poetic justice: black lives and the power of poetry | Books | The Guardian; a rather dry article documenting a depressing reality, Author Income in the Coronavirus Crisis: European Writers' Council Report; "We need to see agents, publishers, writers, sales and marketing people of colour..." The industry is ‘hostile environment on multiple levels', says Singh | The Bookseller.
  • Writing for Children: Rule Number One - Read More than You Write."If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that." says Stephen King. Novels show writers what can be done and how. They can be everything from a rip-roaring read to a work of art, and they present the finished article, the puzzle of writing solved and celebrated as a successful story. These can be fiendishly hard to analyse though in terms of your own writing.
  • Are you struggling to get someone to look at your poetry? Our Poetry Critique service for up to 150 lines of poetry can help. Our Poetry Collection Editing, unique to WritersServices, edits your collection to prepare it for submission or self-publishing. Both can provide the professional editorial input you may feel you need.
  • Julian Barnes in our Writers' Quotes: 'Books say: she did this because life says: she did this. Books are where things are explained to you; life is where things aren't. I'm not surprised some people prefer books. Books make sense of life. The only problem is that the lives they make sense of are other people's lives, never your own.'

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May 2020
  • 'The rules for writing under lockdown are no different to other ties. It won't happen unless you make it happen. It's incremental and frustrating, and your chances of being paid for it are tiny, but it's a fascinating process, with all the glamour and excitement of an affair but with less chance of divorce. Once you discover the joys of it, and the pains, it will bring you the deepest pleasure. Good luck...' Writing under Lockdown from Louise Doughty, author of nine novels including Platform Seven, Apple Tree Yard and Black Water, and the how-to-write guide A Novel in a Year, in the Sunday Times Magazine.
  • From our 19-part Inside Publishing series - on Copyright: 'Many writers worry about losing their copyright. Before sending out your manuscript it is always advisable to put a copyright line consisting of the copyright sign ©, the year and your name on the title page...' On The Writer/Publisher Financial Relationship: 'There's no escaping the fact that publishers and authors are essentially in an adversarial position. Even in the very best and most supportive publisher/writer relationships there is the tension caused by the fact that authors would like to earn as much as possible from their writing and publishers to pay as little as they can get away with...'
  • You'll have to be very quick to enter The Bridport Prize 2020, which closes on 31 May. There are four parts to this Prize, as follows: Poetry, Short Story and Flash Fiction are open to unpublished work from any writer writing in English over 16. The Novel Award is restricted to UK writers. The entry fees are £10 per poem, £12 per story, £9 for flash fiction and £20 per novel. Poetry and Short Story 1st Prize £5,000, 2nd Prize £1,000, 3rd Prize £500. Flash Fiction 1st Prize £1,000, 2nd Prize £500 and 3rd Prize £250. Novel Award 1st Prize £1500, 2nd Prize £750 and 3 awards of £150. Go for it!
  • Other competitions which are still open.
  • We have a new endorsement from Daniela Stanciulescu in Paris, on her English Language Editing for writers who are not native English speakers: ‘WritersServices editors are not just excellent professionals, they are persons of letters involved in helping the writers who are trying to enter in the world of British books... I am impressed. I am grateful. I'm delighted. Thank you so much.'
  • Our links: the impact on publishing and authors, How Book Publishers Decided To Move Publication Dates During The COVID-19 Pandemic; hundreds of YA book releases and publicity plans have been altered by the Covid-19 pandemic, YA Authors Move Online; this will be a very different Frankfurt. The plan is to run the event not only on the fair's grounds but also decentralized at locations in the city, and as a virtual event, Frankfurt Book Fair 2020 to go ahead | The Bookseller; a lively conversation with Judy Blume, Curtis Sittenfeld Rewrites Hillary Clinton's Life Without Bill; and "like watching an IMAX movie from the front row," NPD's Kristen McLean on US Book Sales During the Pandemic.
  • Rotten Rejections provides a note of the things publishers wish they'd never said: on 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.'
  • More links: the Pandemic will hit many industries hard, there is a particularly deep fear for those in the relatively privileged cultural industries, Radical Publishing in a Pandemic; making sure your readers are on the edge of their seats, Five tips for keeping your readers gripped - National Centre for Writing; in 1909, long before the invention of the World Wide Web or the prospect of a world where we must live socially distant from each other, he arguably predicted both, How E.M. Forster's Only Foray Into Sci-Fi Predicted Social Distancing | Literary Hub; and what a truly amazing row, Romance Writers of America aims for happy end to racism row with new prize | Books | The Guardian.
  • Our 20 Services for writers - just a list of what we offer at WritersServices.
  • From our Writers' Quotes 'Sometimes the ideas just come to me. Other times I have to sweat and almost bleed to make ideas come. It's a mysterious process, but I hope I never find out exactly how it works. I like a mystery, as you may have noticed.' J K Rowling.

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May 2020