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What's New

10 June 2019 - What's new

June 2019
  • ‘First the length. In an age of ever-shortening attention spans, you have to have a pretty powerful message to keep anyone's interest for much over 75,000 words (about 300 pages). In fact, if you can't present your proposition in 300 pages, then you may have a problem with excessive verbiage you should deal with...' David Craig, management consultant and author of The Great Charity Scandal and Don't Buy It! in an article on the Andrew Lownie Agency website. This week's Comment is on Writing your first non-fiction book.
  • If you are not a native English speaker but you want to publish your book in English to make it available to the international market, what do you do? If your English is good enough, what about writing it in English or translating your book into English yourself, and then getting your translation polished and copy edited by a professional editor who is a native English speaker? The result should be a publishable manuscript at a relatively low cost, provided by our English Language Editing Service. How to get your book translated into English (without it costing the earth).
  • 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.'
  • Closing on 31 August, The Kindle Storyteller Award 2019 is open to writers of 18 or over publishing in English in any genre, who publish their work through Kindle Direct Publishing between 1st May and 31 August 2019. There's no entry fee and the Grand Prize is £20,000 cash, a publishing agreement with Amazon Publishing and an Amazon launch.
  • Other competitions and prizes
  • Our links: although there have been reports of a competing bid for Barnes & Noble from Readerlink, these seem to have come to nothing, Daunt Relishes Challenge of Leading B&N; for many years regarded as a low-appeal format, audiobooks continue to boom, Fifth of book buyers consume audiobooks, PA survey reveals | The Bookseller; and - it sounds healthy - every day more than 1.8 million books are sold in the US and another half a million books are sold in the UK, BBC - Future - Does reading fiction make us better people?
  • Are you struggling to get someone to look at your poetry? Our Poetry Critique service for 150 lines of poetry can help. Our Poetry Collection Editing service, unique to WritersServices, edits your collection to prepare it for submission or self-publishing. Both can provide the professional editorial input you need.
  • More links: Guardian research shows that the top 100 illustrated children's books last year showed growing marginalisation of female and minority ethnic characters, 'Highly concerning': picture books bias worsens as female characters stay silent | Books | The Guardian; "There's no replacement for beginning to build a relationship in person; once you make that connection, your later follow-ups, via email or social media, are much more likely to be successful." Smart Indie Authors Connect at Writers' Conferences; and a digital launch from the International Publishers Association‘s (IPA) "Africa Rising" seminar in Nairobi, Nigerian Entrepreneurs Chidi and Chika Nwaogu: Publiseer.
  • Do you want some help with your writing but don't know quite what you want? 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.
  • Stephen King in our Writers' Quotes: 'If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.'

3 June 2019 - What's new

June 2019

13 May 2019 - What's new

May 2019

6 May 2019 - What's new

May 2019
  • ‘Why would anybody be intimidated by mere words? I mean, neither I nor any other atheist that I know ever threatens violence. We never threaten to fly planes into skyscrapers. We never threaten suicide bombs. We are very gentle people... It's just an opinion.' Richard Dawkins, ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and author of The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, The Enemies of Reason, River out of Eden, The God Delusion and 9 other books. Our Comment.
  • 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 you may find useful. Advice for Writers gives a rundown of what's on the site.
  • The Curtis Brown First Novel Prize is open to unpublished writers of 18 or over, writing a novel in English and resident in the UK or Ireland. There's no entry fee. First Prize is representation by Curtis Brown plus a prize of £3,000, and there are five generous runners-up prizes. It's closing on 1 August.
  • Other live competitions and prizes.
  • If you are looking for copy editing online, it can be difficult to ensure that you are getting a professional copy editor who will do a good job on your manuscript. Let WritersServices help you. Hardly any authors can copy edit their own writing and it is in any case notoriously difficult to spot the errors in your own work. So 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. Getting your manuscript copy edited.
  • Our links: new figures show that many authors are being subsidised by their partners or a second job in order to stay afloat, Writing at risk of becoming an 'elitist' profession, report warns | Books | The Guardian; a desperate industry increasingly addicted to quick takes for fast profit, Book Publishers Have a Trump Problem | The New Republic; "I realized if I did not trust myself enough to write it, it would never be written." From Trauma to Triumph: An Indie Success Story; and - more on memoir - The New Toolkit For Opening Up Your Memoir Writing | Literary Hub.
  • 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.
  • More links: Do disturbing novels reflect an extreme reality or are they just titillation? Would American Psycho be published today? How shocking books have changed with their readers | Books | The Guardian; the author hasn't made a single mention of HBO's Game of Thrones on his Twitter or blog since the April 14 premiere of the show's final season, George R.R. Martin can still fix this shit | The Outline; this year, the Mellon Foundation provided $2.2 million in funding for poets, Funding the Poets: PW Talks with Elizabeth Alexander; a new publisher planning to put a robust rights strategy at the heart of its business model by seeking - and exploiting - world English language rights, Interview: Amanda Ridout on Her Boldwood Books' Rights Strategy.
  • A new page which gives an editor's take on using pdfs, So what's wrong with PDFs? 'If you need your file to be edited, PDF is not the ideal format; in fact, it is practically the worst format you can choose. Why? Precisely because PDFs are designed not to be tampered with or changed. When you stop to think about it, editing is no more or less than a process of changing - and correcting - your file...'
  • 'Actually, writers have no business writing about their own works. They either wax conceited, saying things like: 'My brilliance is possibly most apparent in my dazzling short story, "The Cookiepants Hypotenuse."' Or else they get unbearably cutesy: 'My cat Ootsywootums has given me all my best ideas, hasn't oo, squeezums?"' A less serious note from Connie Willis in our Writers' Quotes.

29 April 2019 - What's new

April 2019
  • ‘I knew it had to be a long book. That was partly because I guess I was thinking that the one thing that the novel as an art form has over other art forms is time. I think I got this from those 19th century books I read when I was younger. One of the great pleasures I used to get was sort of living in a novel for ages. And I suspect that with a first novel you are unconscious of your influences, so what I grew up reading is still kind of in me... Isabella Hammad, whose highly-praised nearly 600 page first novel The Parisian was published in April. Our Comment.
  • Closing on 15 June, the Sunday Times/University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award is open to a published or self-published work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by a British or Irish author aged 18-35 years. The Prize is £5,000 with three awards of £500 for runners-up.
  • If you have ever wondered why you don't win any of those competitions, our check-list gives you tips on Entering Competitions.
  • Bob's Journal is a long-running column from writer Bob Ritchie described by fellow EastEnders script-writer Pippa McCarthy: 'Just discovered your web page... I've just spent the last hour crying with laughter with periodic yelps of 'been there!'... I'm going to make my entire family read your diary. Then perhaps they will understand own bizarre behaviour every time I start a script... Anyway, will shut up now but just wanted to say you have cheered me up no end. It's brilliant.'
  • The Children's Poetry Summit has just launched a weekly blog about children's poetry, starting with an encouraging overview from Michael Rosen, https://childrenspoetrysummit.com/
  • Our links: one of the biggest names in American trade fiction is suing the Brazilian writer Cristiane Serruya for what Roberts alleges is "multi-plagiarism", US Authors Guild Praises Nora Roberts' Legal Action on Digital Plagiarism; where there are books, there are errors, How to Publish a Perfect Book; part of the perennial fascination of the publishing business, for any book lover, is the ringside seat it provides of the creative process, Lunch with Mr Eliot and Kazuo Ishiguro with a guitar: untold tales from a lost literary Britain | Books | The Guardian; and once again, the Edgar Awards are upon us - that august night of crime and mystery when honors are bestowed, traditions celebrated, and champions of the genre feted, The State of the Mystery: Part 1 of a Roundtable Discussion | CrimeReads.
  • 'It's a common enough fantasy for writers: maybe now I can leave that dreary job and devote myself wholeheartedly to writing... But how practical is it? Is it something you can realistically aspire to, or just a distant fantasy? What are your chances of making your dream come true? Don't give up the day job.
  • More links: I'm glad I didn't let this question stop me from writing my first novel, Should Writers Write What They Don't Know? literature is "morphing into a giant quilting exercise", Creative writing graduates will 'never make a living as novelists', says Self | The Bookseller; What is it about the Tudors that attracts us so? Pomp, Excess, and Murder with The Tudor Dynasty | CrimeReads; and for many authors, live readings and events are the best part about writing books, The Indie Authors Guide to Organizing Author Events.
  • Are you writing for children? Our Children's Editorial Services can help you get your work ready for publication or self-publishing. Have you found it difficult to get expert editorial input on your work ? Do you want to know if it has real commercial potential? Or are you planning to self-publish? Three reports and copy editing are available from our highly-skilled children's editors, including essential advice on age groups and vocabulary.
  • 'Looking back I imagine I was always writing. Twaddle it was too. But better far write twaddle or anything, anything, than nothing at all.' Katherine Mansfield in our Writers' Quotes.

22 April 2019 - What's new

April 2019
  • ‘Ten or 15 years ago, (literary estates) were dead. There were a few classic books that will always be with us, and the rest was dust. Then e-books provided the mechanism of making old things timeless - there was no such thing as backlist or frontlist any more. We, like a lot of people, worked hard and scrambled to make these books available again...' Bill Hamilton, MD of the A M Heath Literary Agency, which celebrates its centenary this year, in the Bookseller. Our Comment.
  • Do you want to self-publish your work? WritersServices offers a suite of services which help writers get their work into shape before they self-publish, which includes Copy editing, Blurb-writing, Poetry Collection Editing, Typing manuscripts. Our Services for Self-publishers are just a few of the 20 services on offer.
  • It's closing on 1 May but there's still time to enter the Poetry London Clore Prize 2019. It's open to all poets for unpublished poems in English with an entry fee of £7 or £3 for subscribers. 1st prize £5,000, 2nd prize £2,000, 3rd prize £1,000. Four commendations get £500 plus publication in the magazine.
  • Other competitions and prizes which are still open.
  • 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." - Stephen King. 'Author opinion falls into two camps on this one, with some writers maintaining that reading fiction while writing is a very bad thing. To this I might say that if you have been working for years as a published author, and you have that degree of sophistication, dexterity and confidence, then maybe sometimes yes. But for the majority of us who are not at that level...' Sarah Taylor-Fergusson in Rule Number One on Writing for Children.
  • Our links: being an author is hard. There's no way around it, Beat the Author Blues: How to Manage Writer's Doubt - Written Word Media; an absorbing account of a writer's career, Amy Tan Reflects on 30 Years Since The Joy Luck Club | Literary Hub; almost anyone who has spent time in the query trenches knows how challenging it is to capture the attention of a literary agent, Beyond Good Writing: Two Literary Agents Discuss What Matters Most | Jane Friedman; and we've all been there. We send a piece of ourselves out into the world and then wait to see what happens, Is Anybody Out There? One Writer on the Purgatory of Submission - The Millions.
  • The Web as a Research tool - there are some sensational research resources for writers on the web. The search engines and other directories have made these accessible. But it helps to understand a little about how they work.
  • More links: a useful page for traditionally published and self-publishers alike, Author Photo Basics; and a generous gift to fund poets, Inaugural Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowships Announced.
  • 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.
  • 'Just set one day's work in front of the last day's work. That's the way it comes out. And that's the only way it does.' John Steinbeck in our Writers' Quotes.

15 April 2019 - What's new

April 2019
  • ‘I'm a great believer in turning up still. No forgiving yourself because you are tired. I try to get there before 10, not too early. On those magical writing days you forget you exist and you surface an hour later and you have 400 words you were not expecting to write. But turning up is certainly the first condition...' Ian McEwan, author of Machines Like Me, The Children Act, Atonement, Amsterdam, Enduring Love, The Child in Time and many other celebrated novels in the Guardian. Our Comment.
  • From our Endorsements page: ‘Absolutely first class job! Very professional. Thank you very much indeed. Wish I'd found you before, it would certainly have saved me a lot of unnecessary headaches. I'll now bin the rest of the editors I've so far dealt with, and hope to keep contact with you.' Steven Kocsis.
  • A new page which gives an editor's take on using pdfs, So what's wrong with PDFs? 'If you need your file to be edited, PDF is not the ideal format; in fact, it is practically the worst format you can choose. Why? Precisely because PDFs are designed not to be tampered with or changed. When you stop to think about it, editing is no more or less than a process of changing - and correcting - your file...'
  • My Say gives writers a chance to air their views about writing and the writer's life. So we have Natasha Mostert on typing 'The End', Mary Garden on writers' block, Timothy Hallinan on The Writing Session and Dominae Primus on WritersServices. Other contributions to the series.
  • Do you have something to say? Contributions should ideally be 200 to 400 words in length and of general interest. Please email them to us.
  • Our links: "There's just no other substitute for the amount of work and creativity that goes into a book," said Matt Thunell, v-p of original series at Netflix, The Netflix Literary Connection; why the genre retains its outsider status; 'It drives writers mad': why are authors still sniffy about sci-fi? | Books | The Guardian; does the hunger for new authors mean some publishers were no longer spending enough time building enduring relationships with their existing list? Authors told to write under pseudonyms to fuel debut obsession, claims Harris | The Bookseller; and fans of the show and novels are still wondering when George R.R. Martin will finally release the series' sixth book, Game of Thrones Books: Why Winds of Winter Isn't Coming Soon | Fortune.
  • Our new page Copy editing services covers our six services working on writers' manuscripts, a range which includes our top of the range Writer's Edit and English Language Editing. We have just introduced free samples and free short written assessments on most of these services, which are provided by our skilled professional editors. We are transparent about our rates and our high quality copy editing services are also very good value.
  • More links: from a writer with 'a very structured and disciplined writing routine', Cecelia Ahern on How She Writes a Novel a Year | Literary Hub; the traditional advice for aspiring novelists is to write about what you know, but what about Writing about what you don't know; I read somewhere that you need to write a million words before you know what you're doing, Five Writing Tips from Tana French; and helping you to choose who to go with, DIY: How to Self-Publish an E-book.
  • Here's a detailed article on how to prepare 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...'
  • 'It's a feeling of happiness that knocks me clean out of adjectives. I think sometimes that the best reason for writing novels is to experience those four and a half hours after you write the final word.' Zadie Smith in our Writers' Quotes.

8 April 2019 - What's new

April 2019
  • 'Whatever happened to me in my life, happened to me as a writer of plays. I'd fall in love, or fall in lust. And at the height of my passion, I would think, 'So this is how it feels,' and I would tie it up in pretty words. I watched my life as if it were happening to someone else...' Neil Gaiman, author of Adventures in the Screen Trade, American Gods, Neverwhere, The Sandman: Book of Dreams and 41 other books. Our Comment.
  • We've just relaunched our English Language Editing service, formerly Translation editing. This is a polishing service for writers writing in English who are not native English speakers. If you've written your work in English but it is not your native language, or you've translated your work into English, you might need to make sure it's good enough to publish, or send to a publisher. Our service will make sure the English is perfect.
  • How to get your book translated into English (without it costing the earth). 'If your English is good enough, what about writing it in English or translating your book into English yourself, and then getting your translation polished and copy edited by a professional editor who is a native English speaker? The result should be a publishable manuscript at a relatively low cost, ready for you to publish or submit to publishers. This genuinely opens up a whole range of possibilities to authors who want to get their book out in English but can't afford the considerable cost of employing a translator.
  • The fiction part of The Booklife Prize 2019 is open to authors from all over the world with unpublished or self-published novels in 5 categories. Entry fee $99. The Grand Prize is $5,000 and 5 category finalists will win a social media marketing package from BookBaby worth $1,000. All submissons get a free critique.
  • 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?...'
  • Our links: finishing a book is a monumental accomplishment, and for some authors, deciding to self-publish is not simple, Self-Publish Like a Pro: Setting Goals for Your Book and Career; "Online piracy of books, music, and other expressions of the human spirit needs to be properly understood: it's an offence against moral justice," Philip Pullman leads call for UK government action on ebook piracy | Books | The Guardian; all the good advice in the world doesn't matter if the writer isn't ready, and I wish someone would have said to me, "It's okay you're not ready now. You'll get there in your own time." When You're Just Not Ready for Rejection | Jane Friedman; and the Atlantic assured us that "far from ‘going extinct,' as it was once predicted, poems are viral, vital-and invincible," What Happens When Verse Goes Viral?
  • Authors often find it difficult to write their own synopsis for submission to publishers, which is where our Synopsis-writing service can help. If you're preparing to self-publish and having difficulty with your blurb, our Blurb-writing service from a professional copy-writer will make your book stand out.
  • More links: the subtext of the event was clear: it was not just a celebration of romance novels, but a celebration of diversity, Fifty shades of white: the long fight against racism in romance novels | Books | The Guardian; how to tackle poor literacy, Reaching one community at a time; the nature of legally binding agreements is the same, 3 Types of Contracts Every Writer Should Understand | Jane Friedman; and bringing authors to a worldwide audience, Publishers Form Partnership to Promote African Children's Book Authors.
  • From our Writers' Quotes 'I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly.' from Edgar Rice Burroughs.

1 April 2019 - What's new

April 2019
  • New on the site and written exclusively for WritersServices - Trident Media Group Literary Agent Mark Gottlieb explains how literary agencies work. It's no surprise that they do a lot more than you think and that they bring a lot of expertise in a range of different areas to bear on behalf of their authors. How Literary Agents Work.
  • 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...'
  • 'It may be exaggerating to say that all completely successful short stories, especially fantastic stories, are products of neurosis, nightmares or hallucination neutralized through objectification and translated to a medium outside the neurotic terrain...' Our Comment is from Julio Cortázar, Argentinian author of Hopscotch, A Manual for Manuel and 4 other novels, as well as 11 short story collections.
  • 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 you may find useful. Advice for Writers provides a summary.
  • Writers' stories - they're just a bit of fun, but in a rare moment of inspiration we wrote some fictionalised stories of how the services could turn out to give you a better idea of how they might work for you. Joe's fantasy novel benefited from some professional editing, when he signed up for an Editor's Report Plus. Tony needed Copy editing to get his manuscript into shape for publication or self-publishing.
  • Our links: Nora Roberts is one of the world's most popular authors. She's written more than 200 novels, tackled topics from romance to murder and sold more than 500m books around the world. And now she's really, really angry, Plagiarism, ‘book-stuffing', clickfarms ... the rotten side of self-publishing | Books | The Guardian; I think we all can agree that mysteries are hard to write, Soap Operas Taught Me How To Write Crime Fiction | CrimeReads; sharing this publicly, even as the author of a book about our emotional relationship with money, was initially petrifying, I was paid £12,500 to write my book. Here's why I'm revealing that | Alex Holder | Books | The Guardian; and (a slightly dull piece but with some useful figures and an upbeat message), A Profitable Year for Trade Publishers.
  • 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, Translation editing for those for whom English is not a native language, our new 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.
  • More links: with our offices in the city, we couldn't resist this affectionate piece, 5 Reasons a Writer Should Move to London | Literary Hub; when the claim is that 55% of YA is bought by adults, Do Teens Get Pushed Out of YA Books When It's Called A Genre? For a children's favourite, the 25th book, 25 years, 100th story, Francesca Simon on 25 years of Horrid Henry | The Bookseller; and eight years as a corporate lawyer and then True Romance: An Indie Success Story.
  • Why has your manuscript been rejected? It is demoralising to get your manuscript rejected by publishers or agents. To put it into perspective, you may find it helpful to go through some of the reasons why this happens and to see what we suggest you can do about it. Avoid rejection.
  • 'You don't start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it's good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That's why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.' Octavia E Butler in our Writers' Quotes.

25 March 2019 - What's new

March 2019
  • 'I've been sitting at a desk writing history books for something over ten years. It's been engrossing, demanding and occasionally exhausting. This is a good moment to take stock. What does it add up to? Four books in various languages (the last still in proof), thousands of pages of handwritten notes. Despite the impressive number of different language versions it's been a modest living, not a handsome one - I'm still waiting for the film rights...' Roger Crowley, author of Constantinople: The Last Great Siege, Empires of the Sea and three other books on Andrew Lownie's site. Our Comment.
  • The Inside Publishing series consists of 19 articles giving you an insider's view of publishing. The English Language Publishing World looks at the traditional way in which the international English-language publishing has been split between UK and US publishers. Why does the world get divided up into publishing territories? How has this come about? How does it affect authors? Then there's 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...'
  • Poets are naturally keen to see their work in print but it's actually quite hard to get a first collection taken on by a publisher and self-publishing may make a lot of sense. Getting your poetry published.
  • Our links: 'novel-writing is a choice - you can always stop, always keep going. You are free to do whatever you want', Writing Advice From Jane Smiley; the mere thought is at once repulsive and terrifying: books as commodities. After all, a book is the original divine creation of its author, right? How to Fight the Commoditization of Books; moving from a social-media hashtag to courtrooms and classrooms around the world, The literary world of Me Too; and Y.A.'s callout-and-cancel culture, In Y.A., Where Is the Line Between Criticism and Cancel Culture? | The New Yorker.
  • Literary magazines with one week's response time is Sandeep Kumar Mishra's useful list, which we added to the site. They range from literary fiction to non-fiction and include science fiction and fantasy, popular non-fiction, politics, flash fiction, reviews, humour, social issues, the economy, lifestyle, horror, artwork and much more. If you've ever despaired at how long magazine submissions can take, or wanted to extend your range, this is the list you need.
  • Do you want some help with your writing but don't quite know what you want? Are you a bit puzzled by the various services on offer, and not sure what to go for? This article will show you how to work out which is the right editorial service for you. Choosing a service. Alternatively, email us and we'll do our best to help.
  • More links: hiring independent publicists to supplement publishers' publicity campaigns, What to Expect from Independent Publicists; from the celebrated children's author, who is translated into 28 languages and counting, Katherine Rundell | 'I will be writing children's books until I am old' | The Bookseller; "As authors, we recognise the vital role booksellers play in our literary culture and industry." Waterstones says it can't pay living wage, as 1,300 authors support staff appeal | Books | The Guardian; and, with Bologna coming up fast, the crossover from adult readers to children's books, Not Your Kid's Picture Book Anymore | ShelfTalker.
  • From our Endorsements page: 'Today I only want to say, "thank you". DM has done a truly great job. I have worked with her suggestions which have brought clarity and depth to my subject. Her work on my punctuation is brilliant. As I read through the manuscript now, it is like gliding on silk.' Helena Dodds.
  • 'Anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time. You have to write up, not down.' E B White in our Writer' Quotes.

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.

25 February 2019 - What's new

February 2019

11 February 2019 - What's new

February 2019
  • ‘I never planned to be a writer. It is a very odd way to make a living. Just telling lies... I do have a visceral sense of breaking through the shell of something when I walk into my study in the morning. Now I just go and do it. Sometimes it doesn't go well, but most often, I'll look up and it's time for lunch and I don't know what happened...' Anne Tyler, author of 22 novels, including Clock Dance, The Accidental Tourist, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant and Back When We Were Grownups in The Times. Our Comment.
  • From our 19-part Inside Publishing series, Subsidiary Rights: 'My first job in publishing was in a subsidiary rights department. I'm ashamed to admit that I accepted the job without having much idea what subsidiary rights were. Many writers may feel just as vague about this part of publishing, so here's a quick breakdown...' and Vanity Publishing: 'It is natural for writers to be eager to get published but it pays to be wary of the vanity publishers who will take your money and give you very little in return...' Vanity publishing is quite distinct from Self-publishing, you need to be aware of the differences.
  • The Moth Short Story Prize 2019 is open to any writer over 16 from anywhere in the world. The entry fee is €15 per story and the 1st prize is €3,000, 2nd prize a week-long writing retreat at Circle of Misse in France plus €250 travel stipend and 3rd prize €1,000. There's plenty of time as it's not closing till 30 June.
  • 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.
  • Our links: it should come as no surprise that the long literary con of Dan Mallory began with a fake memoir. Fabricating pain for profit is, after all, a time-honored publishing tradition, All the sad young literary fakes | The Outline; before indie authors can market their book to foreign publishers or to agents and producers working in film, TV, and theater, they need know their rights, The Indie Author's Guide to Rights; line editors are not readers in the public sense; they are private practitioners, whose profession operates on a sense of both trust and authority, Is Line Editing a Lost Art? | Literary Hub; and from one of the the English language's finest crime writers-and finest writers, Christobel Kent on Murder, Morality, and Survival | CrimeReads.
  • Finding an agent, our tips for this key search: 'There are two types of agency: purely literary and multi-media agents. Look carefully at the entries and consider whether you would prefer to be represented by a big professional agency with all-singing, all-dancing film and TV departments to back up the book agents, or whether you would be better served by a small independent agency...'
  • More links: "It's always important to me, when I'm writing a book, that these characters have a pre-novel life," Marlon James Spins a Tale of Tales; the practice, known as Controlled Digital Lending (CDL), has come under fire from authors' groups in several countries including the US, SoA open letter demanding Internet Archive stops 'unlawful' lending gets 750 signatures | The Bookseller; the New York Times reviewer wrote: "Rosamunde Pilcher, where have you been all my life?" The Shell Seekers sat in the bestseller list for 49 weeks in hardback and was translated into more than 40 languages, selling around 10m copies, Rosamunde Pilcher obituary | Books | The Guardian; and "I found some of the scenes so unpalatable that I had to keep putting it down, Why are so many women writing about rough sex? | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett | Opinion | The Guardian.
  • Our new page Copy editing services covers our six services working on writers' manuscripts, a range which includes our top of the range Writer's Edit and Translation editing. We have just introduced free samples and free short written assessments on most of these services, which are provided by our skilled professional editors. We are transparent about our rates and our high quality copy editing services are also very good value.
  • 'Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.' Anne Lamott in our Writers' Quotes.

4 February 2019 - What's new

February 2019
  • 'I've wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember, and along with that came a very clear vision of where I'd write. Though I read many books in which people wrote in secret, magical places - nooks in elderly oak trees, in wardrobes, while stowed away at sea - my own vision was rather more grand. As a child, I would write in exercise books, at the kitchen table, and sometimes I'd dream of being a proper writer, and how, when I was, I would write where a proper writer would. I would write in a big house, set high over parkland (I was reading a lot of Jane Austen), and would pick out my words on a kick-ass, hefty typewriter (they hadn't invented computers yet, of course) which would sit in the centre of an enormous mahogany desk...' Lynne Barrrett-Lee, author of 8 novels, including Julia Gets a Life and Barefoot in the Dark. Our Comment.
  • Tips for writers is our 8-part crash course for writers who are starting out, taking you from Promoting Your Writing (and Yourself), from Self-publishing: is it for you? to Keep up to date and Submission to publishers and agents. 'Your research into publishers and agencies should encompass what they say about submissions. Even if you think it makes no sense for them to bar you in this way, there's no point in sending your manuscript to a publisher which does not read its slush-pile or an agent who specifies that no unsolicited material should be submitted...'
  • Calling young poets! Our latest Writing Opportunity is The Christopher Tower Poetry Competition 2019, which is open to 16-19 year-olds resident in the UK. There's no entry fee and the prize is a very attractive £5,000. Closing on 1 March.
  • Several other competitions are still open.
  • 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 is the biggest you can find on the internet.
  • Our links: this may be the question you really want answered, How Long Should You Keep Trying to Get Published? | Jane Friedman; the extraordinary story of a prize-winning writer who couldn't attend his award ceremony, Behrouz Boochani: detained asylum seeker wins Australia's richest literary prize | World news | The Guardian; and the latest trends in book covers, Dazzling, Blocky Book Covers Designed for Amazon, Instagram.
  • A recent Endorsement of our services: 'I've used two services with this company: The Editor's Plus Report and the Writer's Edit. I am completely satisfied with the service I received and said service has led to the completion and publication of my first novel: Lightforce. I would recommend any of these services to any aspiring author.' Jason Handleman, author of Lightforce.
  • More links: this author is confident that, as long as authors put out the best versions of the best books they can write, readers will come, The Fans Are Out There; the amazing story of a successful editor who became an even more successful author and has now been exposed as a fraud, What Will Happen to Dan Mallory? and a famous writer with a very unusual point of view, Someday, Joyce Carol Oates Will Curl Up with a Cat and Read Finnegans Wake | Literary Hub.
  • WritersServices editor Kay GaleWritersServices editor who has worked for many years as a freelance editor for number of publishers. She is also a practising homeopath and her website is www.twickenhamhomeopathy.co.uk 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..'
  • From our Writers Quotes 'If you wish to be a writer, write.' from Epictetus.

28 January 2019 - What's new

January 2019
  • ‘I go through a very intense process when I'm writing a book, so the idea of repeating that for a film seems exhausting. You want to have a point where you are really done with something, you know? Much better to let other people do it and then occasionally you show up and eat their food on set or come to their gala premieres and, you know, excitedly meet everyone. For me, that's a good role...' Meg Wolitzer, author of The Wife, The Uncoupling and The Female Persuasion, in the Observer. Our Comment.
  • 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. 'In this series of articles we'll be looking in more detail at the various self-publishing routes currently available to new indie authors. When you first start out on your indie journey, the array of options can be overwhelming...'
  • From the same author, The Business of Writing for Self-publishing authors offers terrific advice for all writers: 'Self-publishing authors - also known as ‘indie' authors or author-publishers - have had a steep learning curve these past few years. Getting to grips with the various sales channels available to them, producing top quality ebooks and paperbacks, and finding a place in mainstream outlets have left many writers struggling to keep up with the paperwork. What follows is a brief guide to the essentials your self-publishing business needs - because it is a business, even if you only publish one book!'
  • Our links: The Authors' Guild have labelled it 'a crisis of epic proportions', Breaking Down Financial Woes for Writers; The Man Group have pulled out of sponsoring the world-famous £50,000 prize, might this mean a rule change? No more Americans? What a new sponsor could mean for the Man Booker prize | Books | The Guardian; the multiple award-winning author who burst on the scene three decades ago, when his genre-defying Sandman took the comic-book world by storm, Neil Gaiman on His New Storytelling MasterClass, Good Omens, and the Upside of Twitter | Vanity Fair; and the Toronto-based online reading and writing community which says it has received 565 million story uploads since its launch, Wattpad Launches Publishing Division.
  • 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.
  • More links: UK Children's Laureate Lauren Child thinks children's book publishing still gets a bad deal, 'We need to talk about children's books in a grown-up way' | London Evening Standard (mind the intrusive video ad); many poets still need part time jobs to fund their passion, but The rock stars of poetry explain why the art is in demand - BBC News; he might be the most successful author you might not have heard of, Adam Croft: Meet the independent author who at one point was outselling JK Rowling | Books | Entertainment | Express.co.uk; and crowdfunding can be a fun and creative way to raise money to support a new book, DIY: Crowdfunding 101.
  • Are you ready to self-publish your poetry? Have you concluded that, given the scarcity of publishers taking on new work, it's too difficult to find a poetry publisher who will take on your collection? You can get your poetry collection edited for self-publishing or submission to publishers using our unique Poetry Collection Editing Service.
  • 'I believe that reading and writing are the most nourishing forms of meditation anyone has so far found. By reading the writings of the most interesting minds in history, we meditate with our own minds and theirs as well. This to me is a miracle.' Kurt Vonnegut in our Writers' Quotes.

21 January 2019 - What's new

January 2019

14 January 2019 - What's new

January 2019

31 December 2018 - What's new

December 2018

17 December 2018 - What's new

December 2018
  • 'I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they're going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there's going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up...' George R R Martin, author of a vast number of novels, short stories, scripts and screenplays, including most famously Game of Thrones. Our Comment.
  • From our Endorsements page: 'I've used two services with this company: The Editor's Plus Report and the Writer's Edit. I am completely satisfied with the service I received and said service has led to the completion and publication of my first novel: Lightforce. I would recommend any of these services to any aspiring author.' Jason Handleman, author of Lightforce (Everything Changes Book 1).
  • It's not often we hear about a completely new prize, but this one, from the Leeds University Poetry Centre, has just been launched. The prestigious Brotherton Poetry Prize is open to anyone in the world over the age of 18 who hasn't yet published a full collection of poems. The entry fee is £10 and the First Prize is £1,000, with 4 runners-up getting £200. Closing 4 March.
  • The Inside Publishing series consists of 19 articles giving you an insider's view of publishing. The English Language Publishing World looks at the traditional way in which international English-language publishing has been split between UK and US publishers. Why does the world get divided up into publishing territories? How has this come about? How does it affect authors? Then there's 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...'
  • Our links: there are moments when being a lover of literary minimalism can feel like being part of a secret society, Why Doesn't America Love the Novella? - Electric Literature; like most authors who don't sell a million books a year, I have a day job, Is Taking a Writing Sabbatical Worth the Time Away? How do you deal with a big disappointment? What Authors Should Do When Their Publisher Closes; and how do you distinguish between an agent who is unfit for the job - and an agent who is fit for the job but a mismatch for a particular client, and vice versa, Switching Literary Agents;  Two Agents Offer Advice | Jane Friedman.
  • 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.
  • More links: the passage of time is relentless, but It's Never Too Late to Start (or Finally Finish) Your Novel | Literary Hub; children's book sales account for 25% of the market, which is why Authors protest as children's books account for 7% of Christmas newspaper coverage | The Bookseller; the latest in the saga of agent Selwa Anthony, Literary agent ordered to pay $500,000 to Australian author Kate Morton after lawsuit loss | Books | The Guardian; if a book is good, if it's artful, entertaining, and informative, should it matter who the author is? Literary Hoaxes and the Ethics of Authorship | The New Yorker.
  • Do you want some help with your writing but don't quite know what you want? Are you a bit puzzled by the various services on offer, and not sure what to go for? This article will show you how to work out which is the right editorial service for you. Choosing a service. Alternatively, email us and we'll do our best to help.
  • From our Writers' Quotes: 'No one says a novel has to be one thing. It can be anything it wants to be, a vaudeville show, the six o'clock news, the mumblings of wild men saddled by demons.' Ishmael Reed

10 December 2018 - What's new

December 2018

26 November 2018 - What's new

November 2018

19 November 2018 - What's new

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.

29 October 2018 - What's new

October 2018
  • ‘I couldn't believe they'd built something that had come out of my brain on that scale. It was really mid-blowing - and humbling. I thought, there are hundreds of people who've done this from me just writing something in my bedroom...' From helping out on Netflix's The Crown, Mika Watkins has more recently been overseeing Origin, her own blockbuster YouTube series with a multimillion budget, launching on 14 November. Our Comment is from the Observer.
  • Our new page Copy editing services covers our six services working on writers' manuscripts, a range which includes our top of the range Writer's Edit and Translation editing. We have just introduced free samples and free short written assessments on most of these services, which are provided by our skilled professional editors. We are transparent about our rates and our high quality copy editing services are also very good value.
  • If You're a YA writer, you've got until 30 November to enter the Urban YA competition. It's open to any writer living in the UK, agented or without an agent, for a first YA novel. No entry fee. The prizes are £1,000 and possible publication by Everything with Words.
  • 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. 'Indie authors access the same professional services as traditional publishing houses. They employ freelance editors, proofreaders and cover designers. They have their work professionally formatted for ebooks and typeset for print. They may use service providers to manage some or all of the publishing tasks, or they may go it alone...' Articles include Choose Your Self-publishing Route and Marketing and Promotion for Indie Authors: Online.
  • This week's links: sales of US adult fiction fell 16% between 2013 and 2017, What's the Matter with Fiction Sales? In an unusual move, the groundbreaking comics author has bequeathed his fantasy universe to a new generation of writers, Bigger dreams: how Neil Gaiman's Sandman universe is expanding | Books | The Guardian; "Writing was always my way to make sense of the world." From Self-Published to Mainstream: An Indie Success Story; and if you've got a great book idea, or maybe a completed manuscript, and are ready to get someone to represent it, DIY: How to Pitch an Agent.
  • Over the years there's been an explosion in sales and confidence affecting children's books. With our specialist children's services we can help you get your children's or YA book ready for publication or self-publishing. Do you want to know if it has real commercial potential? Or are you planning to self-publish? Get some expert editorial input on your work. Children's editorial services.
  • More links: from the self-publishing guru, a roundup to help however you're planning to publish your book, Marketing Advice Roundup: Best of the Last Year | Jane Friedman; from a veteran publisher, how is it that publishers rarely go broke? Richard Charkin: How Do We Measure Commercial Success in Books? Tim Gutteridge, a British translator based in Spain, has suggested that criticising a translation for plain errors is hardly a crime - language competence lies at the core of translation, does it not? Why Translation Deserves Scrutiny | by Tim Parks | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books; for conoisseurs of the truly odd, the shortlist for the 40th Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book Title of the Year, The Diagram Prize 2018 shortlist revealed | The Bookseller.
  • From a really dedicated writer: 'I never want to see anyone, and I never want to go anywhere or do anything. I just want to write.' P G Wodehouse in our Writers' Quotes.
  • If quotes are your thing we have a large collection in our Archive, More Writers' Quotes and Even More Quotes.

22 October 2018 - What's new

October 2018
  • ‘Whenever I talk to kids about writing and tell them it's the rewriting I enjoy most, they groan. I guess if you're in school, rewriting means copying your papers over. But to me, rewriting is the most exciting part of the process. When I'm rewriting, I feel most creative. I've got all the pieces to the puzzle and now I get to put them together. I go through four or five drafts of each book...' Judy Blume, author of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, Wifey, Forever and 29 other books. Our Comment.
  • Are you thinking of submitting your book to an agent? Try our Finding an Agent page or Your Submission package. Our Submission critique service may also help, as it's essential to get your package into the best possible shape before you start submitting.
  • My Say gives writers a chance to air their views about writing and the writer's life. So we have Lynda Finn about the isolation of New Zealand writers and their problems with getting published, British author Eliza Graham, author of Playing with the Moon, on her route to publication and Zoe Jenny, who is Swiss, on writing in English and why it was liberating. Send us your contributions, ideally 200 to 400 words in length and of general interest. Please email them to us.
  • Our links: the enterprise of writing a book has to feel like walking into a cathedral, Writing Tips from Barbara Kingsolver; Indie publishing has gone through the roof, but what does this mean for you? Indie Author Beware; before becoming a writer in my 70s, I had several overlapping careers, now it's non-fiction writer, Writing books - my third career; and a Booker winner which was not expected to be a good seller, but now the total number of copies of Milkman in print is 180,000! Booker winner Milkman defies 'challenging' reputation to become bestseller | Books | The Guardian.
  • 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.
  • Advice for Writers is a really useful page which takes you into our archive and helps you explore our 6,500 pages of information for writers.
  • More links: sobering reading but an essential update, Brexit - what might change, what won't? The social media network's easy-to-use and relatively inexpensive advertising platform can be a useful resource for self-published authors, DIY: Twitter Ads for Indie Authors; offering the village of Mphako a collection of brand new, carefully selected books for the library, including many children's books, Bringing books where there were none; and reading great fiction is the first and most important thing I tell my students about writing, 5 Story Collections That Will Make You a Better Writer, Picked by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah.
  • 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.
  • 'One of my standard - and fairly true - responses to the question as to how story ideas come to me is that story ideas only come to me for short stories. With longer fiction, it is a character (or characters) coming to visit, and I am then obliged to collaborate with him/her/it/them in creating the story.' Roger Zelazny in our Writers' Quotes.

15 October 2018 - What's new

October 2018
  • 'So, true story... I was asked once during a Q&A session whether I would use a ghostwriter to write my own memoir. Ha ha ha, everyone in the room laughed. Funny question. ‘But really... would you?' my questioner insisted. I thought for a moment and then came up with a surprising answer: ‘Yes!' And the reason is that if I wanted to make it a damn good read, I would need another person's perspective on my life story...' Kay Weitz, ghostwriter of 10 published memoirs with an 11th due out in 2018. Our Comment
  • From our Archive, Writing for Children: Rule Number One - Read More than You Write by Sarah Taylor-Fergusson: 'Author opinion falls into two camps on this one, with some writers maintaining that reading fiction while writing is a very bad thing. To this I might say that if you have been working for years as a published author, and you have that degree of sophistication, dexterity and confidence, then maybe sometimes yes. But for the majority of us who are not at that level...'
  • You've only got 10 days to enter the UK Poetry Society's highly prestigious National Poetry Competition! It's open to any poet from across the world aged 17 or over at the time of entering and entry fees are £7 for your first poem, and £4 per poem thereafter. Members of The Poetry SocietyLively and well-presented UK site supporting poetry with 4,000 members internationally and some thoughtful content. www.poetrysociety.org.uk can enter a second poem for free. The First Prize is £5,000 with 9 other cash prizes.
  • Other live Writing Opportunities.
  • 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, Translation editing for those for whom English is not their native language and our new Writer's edit, providing line-editing. Get the right level of editorial support for your needs at a sensible price. Contact us to discuss what you want and take advantage of our free samples - and written assessments on most of these services.
  • Our links: a report back from this year's Book Fair, Frankfurter Buchmesse 2018 Records a Mild Increase in Attendance; a page of links to articles about the Frankfurt Book FairWorld's largest trade fair for books; held annually mid-October at Frankfurt Trade Fair, Germany; First three days exclusively for trade visitors; general public can attend last two. in Publishers WeeklyInternational news website of book publishing and bookselling including business news, reviews, bestseller lists, commentaries http://www.publishersweekly.com/, International Publishing, Book Fairs and Trade Shows, Translation, Foreign Rights, International Bestsellers; some fascinating insights into writers' approaches to their writing, How I write: Man Booker shortlist authors reveal their inspirations | Books | The Guardian; and when you're marketing what feels like your 100th thriller - as an author or for a publishing house - you might feel like you've run out of things to say, How to Write Better Marketing Copy.
  • Are you struggling to get someone to look at your poetry? Our Poetry Critique service for 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 need.
  • More links: a publisher asks: is it fair to blame editors for their authors' big, baggy novels? Booker judges shouldn't blame editors for overlong novels | Books | The Guardian; a link to the video of the author's wonderful acceptance speech for the Penn Pinter Prize, which looks at the question: 'Are you an African writer?', and is entitled 'Shut up and write', Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - PEN Pinter Prize 2018 - YouTube; and, if an indie author wants to best market herself, she's going to need to crack on and start with an author website, DIY: Building an Author Website.
  • 'The most damning revelation you can make about yourself is that you do not know what is interesting and what is not.' Kurt Vonnegut in our Writers' Quotes.

8 October 2018 - What's new

October 2018

1 October 2018 - What's new

October 2018
  • ‘One of the great joys of being an editor is sharing your enthusiasm with colleagues and seeing others really get behind a project, so I suppose that's a strength - feeling that I'm able to gather a team around a book so that it might be published in the best possible way. Editors are readers first and foremost, and when I love a book my first instinct is always to approach its acquisition and publication with that readerly passion. But of course that's not always enough. I've had to really reign that in sometimes and remind myself to always consider the market...' Sophie Jonathan, Pan MacmillanOne of largest fiction and non-fiction book publishers in UK; includes imprints of Pan, Picador and Macmillan Children’s Books/Picador senior commissioning editor, interviewed by Porter Anderson in Publishing Perspectives. Our Comment.
  • Here's an unusual writing competition, the Futurebook Story Competition, which is open to international writers of 18 or over. There's no entry fee but you need to be able to create a fresh and exciting vision of the future of the book. Prizes are: reading your story at the Futurebook conference, publication on the Pigeonhole app and a full set of novels from this year's Arthur C. Clarke shortlist. Closing 30 October.
  • Other live Opportunities.
  • Do you want some help with your writing but don't quite know what you want? Are you a bit puzzled by the various services on offer, and not sure what to go for? This article will show you how to work out which is the right editorial service for you. Choosing a service. Alternatively, email us and we'll do our best to help.
  • Our links: however long it takes you to get the initial version down, there is always more work to be done, Reasons to Rewrite | Samantha Tonge; Orwell advised cutting as many words as possible, Woolf found energy in verbs, and Baldwin aimed for ‘a sentence as clean as a bone', How to write the perfect sentence | Books | The Guardian; unusual author marketing, but did it work? Pre-Publication Marketing: A Van Tour to Bookstores | Jane Friedman; and are bookstores engaging with their communities by stocking self-published titles by local writers? The Indie Author - Indie Bookseller Relationship Warms Up.
  • Bob's Journal is a long-running column from writer Bob Ritchie described by fellow EastEnders script-writer Pippa McCarthy: 'Just discovered your web page... I've just spent the last hour crying with laughter with periodic yelps of 'been there!'... I'm going to make my entire family read your diary. Then perhaps they will understand own bizarre behaviour every time I start a script... Anyway, will shut up now but just wanted to say you have cheered me up no end. It's brilliant.'
  • The Web as a Research tool - there are some sensational research resources for writers on the web. The search engines and other directories have made these accessible. But it helps to understand a little about how they work.
  • More links: we missed this earlier in the year, but it's good to know that short story anthologies are enjoying a boom in sales, rising by almost 50% in value, to reach their highest level in seven years, Sales of short story collections surge | The Bookseller; staring at the black computer screen, blinking occasionally-staring and blinking, staring and blinking, until the cursor starts to blink back and you have to go to bed for a while, Is It Real? 25 Famous Writers on Writer's Block | Literary Hub; fantastic new study about how children connect with poetry, Poetry 'more popular with children on free school meals', finds NLT | The Bookseller; and with nearly 2 million followers across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, this poet/novelist has sold over a million copies of her books, A Modern Poet: PW Talks with Lang Leav.
  • Do you need advice on how to deal with your publishing contract? Writers who are not represented by an agent may feel that they need professional advice on their publisher's contracts, which many authors find mystifying. Our Contract vetting service will give you an authoritative overview of your contract from a publishing contracts expert
  • 'It is my contention that a really great novel is made with a knife and not a pen. A novelist must have the intestinal fortitude to cut out even the most brilliant passage so long as it doesn't advance the story.' Frank Yerby in our Writers' Quotes.

24 September 2018 - What's new

September 2018
  • 'I don't have writer's block, really. I do have times when I can't get the lead and that is the only part of the story that I have serious trouble with. I don't write a word of the article until I have the lead. It just sets the whole tone - the whole point of view. I know exactly where I am going as soon as I have the lead. That can take me three or four days and sometimes a week...' Nora Ephron, journalist, film director and author of screenplays such as When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, writing about writer's block. Our Comment.
  • 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...'
  • The August Magazine is out now and is linked to some great articles: Ray Bradbury's greatest writing advice, Six Great Blogs for Indie Authors, Everyone Needs an Editor and How to Blog a Book of Poetry.
  • From our Endorsements page: 'As a total neophyte as a writer, I have been doing a huge amount of research suddenly as to what services are available to writers, on both sides of the Atlantic, and am amazed that you are able to have someone read a whole book and give a serious critique for just 180 pounds. I think that is incredible value for money, compared to other similar services that appear to be available out there. I hope to be back to you again for more assistance, once I've cleaned up my work! Martin Humphries, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
  • Our links: for all authors, a really useful article about the value of offering free content, Indie Authors and the Value of Free Content 2; with total sales doubling to $2.5 billion over the past five years, Audiobooks are booming, but how long will that last? facts/lines of poems/details of plot smear in my head but there's a simple solution How Do I Become One of Those Writers Who Remember Everything? Anna Todd's book has been read more than 1.5 billion times on Wattpad, and it's no surprise that $400M Fiction Giant Wattpad Wants To Be Your Literary Agent.
  • 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. Our other copy editing services.
  • If you are submitting your work to an agent or directly to a publishing house, check through the our guidelines to give it its best chance. Making submissions.
  • More links: 'writing a crime novel is close to the middle of human experiences ranked by difficulty', Sara Gran: My Best Friends Are Books | CrimeReads; "We now have more international exhibitors than we do German-language exhibitors - it's like 65% to 35%."Coming up next week, Frankfurt Book Fair 2018 Preview; a heartfelt cry from a literary editor, Why yet more books about Nazis and the future make my heart sink | Sam Leith | Opinion | The Guardian; and the number of adults in the US reading novels and short stories has hit a new low, with the decline of almost 8% in the last five years, NEA Study Finds Small Dip in Adult Reading.
  • Do you want to get your script accepted and produced for the stage or screen? This is one of the most competitive areas to get into, with very few open doors. The glamour and potential financial rewards are contrasted with the reality of rejection, or no response at all, which is what is actually experienced by many aspiring scriptwriters. Get your TV script, screenplay or play professionally assessed. Our Scriptwriting assessment service.
  • 'Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.' Jane Yolen in our Writers' Quotes.

17 September 2018 - What's new

September 2018
  • ‘The mature, serious novel is the best art form for explaining our complicated lives. It gets all the little shades of meaning and the nuance of the human condition. D H Lawrence called the novel the ‘bright book of life', and it's the art form that has evolved to explain this bizarre adventure we are all on...' William Boyd, author of 15 novels, including Love is Blind, A Good Man in Africa, An Ice Cream War and Any Human Heart, in the Sunday Times magazine. Our Comment.
  • Closing on 22 October, the Troubadour International Poetry Prize 2018 is open to all with an entry fee of £6 for the first poem and £4 for further poems. First prize £2,000, Second prize £1,000 and Third prize a week-long creative-writing course at the Arvon centre of your choice. The Prize is judged by Jo Shapcott and Daljit Nagra.
  • Other live Writing Opportunities.
  • 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"...'
  • Our links: The Children Act novelist and screenwriter reflects on what he's learned about endings and studio execs' suggestions: "They were all formed out of a pattern, as if they'd all taken Screenwriting 101 years ago." Ian McEwan on Adapting His Novels and Script Notes That Drive Him "Mad" | Hollywood Reporter; one of the best ways to connect with readers, build a large, engaged audience - and promote your books, 8 things to include in your author social media strategy | The Bookseller; what the young Kazakhstani scientist Alexandra Elbakyan has done to the multibillion-dollar industry that traps knowledge behind paywalls, Scientific publishing is a rip-off. We fund the research - it should be free | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian; and a real dilemma for author Marko Kozkas, French bookshops revolt after prize selects novel self-published on Amazon | Books | The Guardian.
  • 'Hardly any authors can copy edit their own writing. It is notoriously difficult to spot the errors in your own work. So 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...' Getting your manuscript copy edited
  • Here's a detailed article on how to prepare 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...'
  • More links: hordes of books have had their titles changed in America, A book by any other name: why does the US change so many titles? | Books | The Guardian; knowing which type of printing service to use depends on authors' publishing needs - and before any decision is made, it's important to have a clear understanding of the two types of printing, Offset Printing Versus Print-on-Demand; from agent Tessa David - Every agent is different, and every agency has slightly different guidelines, but here are a few tips I would suggest bearing in mind when submitting, Top Tips on How to Write a Successful Submission - Young Writer of the Year Award; and, five years later, how does this huge trade publishing consolidation look for authors? Penguin Random House Is Building the Perfect Publishing House | The New Republic.
  • How can you give yourself your best chance when entering competitions? Here's a set of tips to make sure you make the most of the opportunities.
  • Finally, some tough words from the novelist Zadie Smith in our Writers' Quotes: 'Don't romanticise your ‘vocation.' You can either write good sentences or you can't. There is no ‘writer's lifestyle.' All that matters is what you leave on the page.'

10 September 2018 - What's new

September 2018
  • ‘Given that some very big and powerful companies dominate the UK books business, it is logical for other businesses to join together to shore up their profitability and influence in the market. I hope that these two well-loved booksellers find renewed strength and creative energy together... As an agent, my concern in a books industry dominated by big companies is that - as well as needing a healthy and profitable bookselling and publishing business - we also need to ensure that authors' economic needs are met. Authors can't club together into bigger more powerful entities to protect their profitability in the way other parts of the business are...' Lizzy Kremer of David Higham AssociatesAgents for the negotiation of all rights in fiction, general non-fiction, children's fiction and picture books, plays, film and TV scripts (home 15%, USA/translation 20%, scripts 10%). Represented in all foreign markets. Preliminary letter and return postage. All adult submissions should be typed with double line spacing on one side only of A4 paper and pages should be numbered. Be sure to include a covering letter; a full plot synopsis of the proposed book; the first two or three chapters of the book; a CV and a stamped addressed envelope. Founded 1935, currently president of the Association of Authors Agents, commenting on the Waterstones acquisition of long-established bookseller Foyles in the Bookseller. Our Comment.
  • The LoveReading Very Short Story Award 2019 is for unpublished stories by writers from all over the world and there's no entry fee. The winning story will be read by a professional actor on The LoveReading Podcast, and published on the LoveReading website. Closing 31 October.
  • Literary magazines with one week's response time is Sandeep Kumar Mishra's useful list, which we added to the site. They range from literary fiction to non-fiction and include science fiction and fantasy, popular non-fiction, politics, flash fiction, reviews, humour, social issues, the economy, lifestyle, horror, artwork and much more. If you've ever despaired at how long magazine submissions can take, or wanted to extend your range, this is the list you need.
  • 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.
  • Just launched, the July Magazine, which provided links to some interesting articles - How to Self-Publish a Poetry Book - 10 Steps, Films based on books take 44% more at the box office, The Changing Face of Romance Novels and Do Great Writers Really steal? On Plagiarism and Publishing.
  • 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?...'
  • Our links: there's nothing like writing and publishing a book to bring out the dormant diva who lives inside every aspiring author, Reframing Publishing Success; an author's view of the sale of Foyles, Waterstones buying Foyles isn't a bad thing - at least it's not Sports Direct | James Smythe | Books | The Guardian; a contrary view, Waterstone's Buying Foyles Is All About Bricks & | Iain Dale; and John Boyne gave voice to The Boy in the Striped Pajamas in a breathless two and a half days, but in the real world, How Long Should It Take to Write a Book? | Jane Friedman.
  • 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.
  • More links: this week, the site published the anthology Worlds Seen in Passing - 10 Years of Tor.com Short Fiction, which celebrates the best of the site's fiction in the decade that it's been in operation, How Tor.com went from website to publisher of sci-fi's most innovative stories - The Verge; these days I feel that finding time to write is more like purse-snatching than any other activity, Writing Advice From Lydia Millet; veteran children's publisher looks back at his career, Call the Midwife: Fickling reveals advice that has shaped his four-decade career | The Bookseller; and two great champions of reading for pleasure return to remind us of its importance - and that libraries create literate citizens, Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell on why we need libraries - an essay in pictures | Books | The Guardian.
  • An unusually long quote from Tom Wolfe in our Writers' Quotes: 'I think I am starving for publication: I love to get published; it maddens me not to get published. I feel at times like getting every publisher in the world by the scruff of the neck, forcing his jaws open, and cramming the Mss down his throat - 'God-damn you, here it is - I will and must be published... You know what it means - you're a writer and you understand it. It's not just 'the satisfaction of being published.' Great God! It's the satisfaction of getting it out, or having that, so far as you're concerned, gone through with it! That good or ill, for better or for worse, it's over, done with, finished, out of your life forever and that, come what may, you can at least, as far as this thing is concerned, get the merciful damned easement of oblivion and forgetfulness.'

3 September 2018 - What's new

September 2018
  • 'Writing today is a funny business. You do wonder how long we're going to have books. I still tell young people with the imagination to go for it. Just be sure that if it doesn't work out, you have something else you can try...' Barbara Taylor Bradford, author of A Woman of Substance, Secrets of Cavendon and 33 other titles, in the Observer magazine. Our Comment
  • The Moth Poetry Prize 2018 for a single poem is open to all poets over 16 with an entry fee of £12 per poem. The First Prize is €10,000 and there are three runner-up prizes of €1,000. Closing 31 December.
  • The Inside Publishing series consists of 19 articles giving you an insider's view of publishing. The English Language Publishing World looks at the traditional way in which the international English-language publishing has been split between UK and US publishers. Why does the world get divided up into publishing territories? How has this come about? How does it affect authors? Then there's  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...'
  • If you're aiming at traditional publishing, Finding an agent and Working with an agent are two practical checklists to help set up and maintain this vital relationship. 'Try to find an agency which is ‘hungry' for new clients. To keep their workload under control, an established independent agent might take on something like four new authors a year, but only to replace four departing clients. This may seem obvious, but whether or not an agent is actively looking to build their list of clients is probably the single most important factor affecting how closely they are looking at unsolicited submissions...'
  • Our links: contrary to what you might think, adult non-fiction revenues are soaring above fiction revenues and have been widening the gap for the past five years, Traditional Publishers Are Selling Way More Non-Fiction Than Fiction; how you can give your book another chance, 6 Reasons to Relaunch Your Book | Jane Friedman; these titles can give you the equipment, the insights, and the courage you need to make your book the best it can be, Three Books on Writing Well for Indie Authors; and it's part of the stunning boom in audiobooks, Audible UK revenue soars 45% | The Bookseller.
  • Have you translated your work into English? Or have you written it in English but it is not your native language? Now you need to make sure it's good enough to publish, or send to a publisher. If you need help to get your work into perfect condition, our Translation editing service is for you. We have just introduced a free assessment and a free sample of your editing as a standard part of our service.
  • More links: in a wish to have someone else take their place, or supply their words, plagiarists generally steal something better than they might write themselves, Getting Inside the Mind of a Plagiarist | Literary Hub; things are looking good in the Chinese market, Publishers praise 'successful' BIBF | The Bookseller; and, illuminating the changing role of agents,  an interview from the past with a veteran literary agent who has just died, Michael Sissons: Agent of change | The Bookseller.
  • 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.
  • 'Long books, when read, are usually overpraised, because the reader wishes to convince others and himself that he has not wasted his time.' E M Forster in Aspects of the Novel features in our Writers' Quotes.

27 August 2018 - What's new

August 2018

20 August 2018 - What's new

August 2018
  • ‘This is the year in which I get to smile at all of those naysayers: every single mediocre, insecure wannabe who fixes their mouth to suggest that I do not belong on this stage, that people like me cannot possibly have earned such an honor, and that when they win it's meritocracy, but when we win it's identity politics...' N K Jemisin, in her acceptance speech after winning the Hugo Award for the third year in a row for The Stone Sky, the last in her Broken Earth fantasy trilogy. Our Comment
  • If you're looking for a report on your manuscript, how do you work out which one of our four would suit you best? Which Report? includes our new top-of-the range service, the Editor's Report Plus, introduced by popular demand to provide even more detail. This very substantial report takes the form of a chapter-by-chapter breakdown and many writers have found this detail helps them to get their book right. Through our specialist children's editors we can offer reports on children's books.
  • The Women's Poetry and Pamphlet Competitions 2018 are now run by MslexiaStylish and lively site for quarterly UK literary magazine read by 12,000 'committed' women writers. Good range of quality writing, information and advice with news, reviews, competitions and interviews, all presented in a friendly fashion. Praised by Helen Dunmore as 'astute, invigorating and above all an excellent read.' www.mslexia.co.uk and their new partner the Poetry Book SocietySpecialist book club founded by T S Eliot in 1953, which aims to offer the best new poetry published in the UK and Ireland. Members buy at 25% discount. The PBS has a handsome new website at  www.poetrybooks.co.uk. They're open to women of any nationality from any country, and welcome single poems in any style, of any length, on any subject for the Poetry Competition and short collections of 20-24 pages of 18-20 poems for the Pamphlet Competition. Entry fee: Poetry £10 Pamphlet £20. POETRY: First Prize £2000 plus publication in both Mslexia and the PBS Bulletin, Second Prize £400, Third Prize £200. PAMPHLET: Publication by Seren BooksClick for Seren Books Publishers References listing. Closing 13 September.
  • Poets are naturally keen to see their work in print but it's actually quite hard to get a first collection taken on by a publisher and self-publishing may make a lot of sense. Getting your poetry published.
  • A must-read for children's authors is Suzy Jenvey's special series for WritersServices, the four-part Essential Guide to Writing for Children. The first article looks at the all-important question of age groups and what you should be aware of in writing for each one. The second part is - Before You Write: What is My Story Going to be? The third part deals with Starting to Write and the fourth part is about Submitting Your Work to Agents and Editors. This series by a hugely experienced children's editorial director and agent helps you get started on your own story or develop what you're already working on.
  • News Review reports on China - for the first time, British publishers will form the biggest contingent at the upcoming Beijing International Book Fair. There will be 33 companies on the collective stand and 56 firms in all represented at the Fair, reports the Bookseller. Also the rather astounding news that a study commissioned by the UK Publishers Association got it wrong, total payments consumer authors received in 2016 were not £161m, but £350m.
  • Our links: in an open letter addressed to members of the Authors' Guild, a warning from the organization's vice president, Author Richard Russo Warns of Tech Giants' Move Into Content for Writers; a great book cover, a marketing plan, and a cool author website are all important, but if an author hasn't spent the time and money for a solid editing job, it's all just wasted effort, Everyone Needs an Editor; a new, dedicated children's publishing strand, to help cater to a "booming" market for kids' books in China, Beijing's inaugural kids' stream to address fast-growing sector | The Bookseller; and the type of book you're printing, your budget, your plans for online distribution, whether you want to distribute to brick-and-mortar bookstores, and the quality of the printers, are the things to take into account, argues this carefully researched article, What is the Best Service for Print on Demand Books? • The Reedsy Blog.
  • 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.
  • More links: how long-form immersive reading has become a tall order, New Report: American Teens Spend Less Time Reading; a lovely antidote to all the hand-wringing and hair-tearing and sit-at-the-typwriter-and-bleeding contemporary writers seem to do, Ray Bradbury's Greatest Writing Advice | Literary Hub; and a silly season story, or are cats always in season? From Chester Himes to Judy Blume, 10 Writers and Their Cats | Literary Hub.
  • 'I discovered that if I trusted my subconscious, or imagination, whatever you want to call it, and if I made the characters as real and honest as I could, then no matter how complex the pattern being woven, my subconscious would find ways to tie it together - often doing things far more complicated and sophisticated than I could with brute conscious effort.' Fantasy author Tad Williamson in our Writers' Quotes.

13 August 2018 - What's new

August 2018

6 August 2018 - What's new

August 2018

30 July 2018 - What's new

July 2018

16 July 2018 - What's new

July 2018
  • ‘You must dedicate yourself to keeping a journal. When I look into my own journals, what fascinates me most about what was going on in my life 30 years ago are the things that we would consider the most mundane. What was I reading, who was I talking to, what were the main subjects of conversation...' Ian McEwan, author of 22 books including The Child in Time, Amsterdam and Atonement in an interview in Signature provides this week's Comment.
  • The Gingko Prize for Ecopoetry closes on 15 August and is open to all with an entry fee. The first prize is £5,000, second prize £2,000 and third prize £1,000.
  • From our 19-part Inside Publishing series, Subsidiary Rights: 'My first job in publishing was in a subsidiary rights department. I'm ashamed to admit that I accepted the job without having much idea what subsidiary rights were. Many writers may feel just as vague about this part of publishing, so here's a quick breakdown...' and Vanity Publishing: 'It is natural for writers to be eager to get published but it pays to be wary of the vanity publishers who will take your money and give you very little in return...' Vanity publishing is quite distinct from Self-publishing, you need to be aware of the differences.
  • If 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.
  • Our links: an extraordinary increase in sales by 5% to £5.7bn, driven by a growth in export sales which now account for 60% of the total, British publishing breaks revenue records but textbook sales are hit | The Bookseller; but what about the authors, Book sales boom but authors report shrinking incomes | Books | The Guardian; disturbing new figures show that 80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year, Reading books is on the decline; how to attract lots of visitors, gain tons of subscribers and even make some money on your services and products, How to Create Your Best Blogging Year - How to Blog a Book; and stories that tackle with elegant simplicity such complexities as uncertainty, loneliness, loss, and the cycle of life, E.B. White on How to Write for Children and the Writer's Responsibility to All Readers - Brain Pickings.
  • 'Hardly any authors can copy edit their own writing. It is notoriously difficult to spot the errors in your own work. So 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...' Getting your manuscript copy edited
  • More links: how self-publishing poets controlled the look and feel of their books and were able to get their book into the hands of their followers faster than with traditional publishing, How to Self-Publish a Poetry Book - 10 Steps | Blurb Blog; twenty-eight million American adults read poetry this year, How young writers are leading a poetry comeback | PBS NewsHour; and how giant, corporate publishers with racketeering business practices and profit margins that exceed Apple's treat life-saving research, Academic publishing is broken. Here's how to redesign it.
  • 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' The Business of Writing for Self-publishing authors offers terrific advice for all writers: 'Self-publishing authors - also known as ‘indie' authors or author-publishers - have had a steep learning curve these past few years. Getting to grips with the various sales channels available to them, producing top quality ebooks and paperbacks, and finding a place in mainstream outlets have left many writers struggling to keep up with the paperwork. What follows is a brief guide to the essentials your self-publishing business needs - because it is a business, even if you only publish one book!'
  • From our Writers' Quotes: 'An essential element for good writing is a good ear: One must listen to the sound of one's own prose.' Barbara Tuchman

9 July 2018 - What's new

July 2018
  • ‘A bestseller might be read by hundreds of thousands of people, but Apple Tree Yard on TV reached 8 million people per episode - one of the few occasions when an author can become part of the national conversation. But writing a good book on its own is not enough - it needs to be a lucky book. Apple Tree Yard was a lucky book, lucky on several levels. Lucky in being published by Faber & Faber, who did the most amazing job even before the glamour of TV. Then it was lucky again as the rights were optioned by Kudos TV and lucky a third time when they sold the adaptation in a brilliant version by Amanda Coe to BBC1...' Louise Doughty, author of Apple Tree Yard, Black Water and six other novels provides our Comment in a speech at the UK Publishers Association Summer Reception in the Terrace Pavilion in the House of Commons, London.
  • Teenage poets have two more weeks to enter the world's best poetry competition for young people, the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2018, which is open to all 13-17 year-olds worldwide. There's no entry fee and the top 15 winners win mentoring and a life-changing residential writing course. This fabulous competition for young poets closes on 31 July.
  • 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.
  • The March Magazine links you to some interesting online articles: 8 Writing Tips from Jeff Vandermeer; When do you need an agent? A novelist reveals all; Complete Fiction: Why 'the short Story renaissance is a myth' and Will Self: 'The novel is absolutely doomed'and many past News Reviews and Comments.
  • 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: an authoritative and thorough look at the subject, Author Income Surveys Are Misleading and Flawed-And Focus on the Wrong Message for Writers | Jane Friedman; it's gratifying to see that books work best for the movies, Films based on books take 44% more at the box office | The Bookseller; from the bestselling author of Gone Girl, Sharp Objects writer Gillian Flynn on why she wants to show recognisable women - BBC News; and a whole article on Vonnegut's 'transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing', On Semicolons and the Rules of Writing - The Millions.
  • 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...'
  • More links: a useful but rather dull article on the latest trends in US publishing, Print Unit Sales Rose 2% in First Half of 2018; from an author with many difficulties whose novel has gone into four printings, The Changing Face of Romance Novels - The New York Times; Have you ever considered changing genre? I hadn't before last year when the decision was taken out of my hands, Changing Genres | Samantha Tonge; and how Rebel Girls became the most funded original book in the history of crowd-funding, Why is publishing suddenly obsessed with "rebel" women?
  • Are you writing for children? Our Children's Editorial Services can help you get your work ready for publication or self-publishing. Have you found it difficult to get expert editorial input on your work ? Do you want to know if it has real commercial potential? Or are you planning to self-publish? Three reports and copy editing are available from our highly-skilled children's editors, including essential advice on age groups and vocabulary.
  • 'Talented writing makes things happen in the reader's mind - vividly, forcefully - that good writing, which stops with clarity and logic, doesn't.' Samuel Delany in our Writers' Quotes.

2 July 2018 - What's new

July 2018
  • ‘Revision is absolutely necessary. If something is easily too good to alter, thank the gods, but don't expect it to happen again. Expect, rather, that you will need to improve upon the given, to continue the imperfect formation that your initial work has produced. Which is, after all, what making the poem is all about - to take the passion and, without cooling it, to put it into a form...' Mary Oliver, from Rules for the Dance: A Handbook for Writing and Reading Metrical Verse. This Pulitzer Prize-winning poet has also produced four books of poetry and Devotions, a definitive collection of her work. Our Comment.
  • The Winchester Poetry Prize 2018 is open to all poets worldwide aged 16 and over and entry fees are £5 for the first poem, £4 for subsequent poems. 1st Prize £1,000, 2nd Prize £500, 3rd Prize £250. Closing 31 July.
  • 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 February Magazine gives a round-up of News Reviews and Comments, as well as some useful links, including DIY: Essential Elements of an Author Website, A life in quotes: Ursula K Le Guin, Where are romance novels headed given the current state of women's issues? And there's Fifteen Poets on Revision.
  • 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.
  • Our links: an author and trade journalist's view of the row, Payments to authors: advances and discount clauses; The Society of AuthorsThe British authors’ organization, with a membership of over 7,000 writers. Membership is open to those who have had a book published, or who have an offer to publish (without subsidy by the author). Offers individual specialist advice and a range of publications to its members. Has also campaigned successfully on behalf of authors in general for improved terms and established a minimum terms agreement with many publishers. Recently campaigned to get the Public Lending Right fund increased from £5 million to £7 million for the year 2002/2003. Regularly uses input from members to produce comparative surveys of publishers’ royalty payment systems. http://www.societyofauthors.org/ has issued a sharply worded challenge to the UK's biggest publishers after the chief executive of the Publishers Association questioned new figures, Writers and publishers trade blows over plummeting author pay levels | Books | The Guardian; in the right hands, dialogue can move things along in a way that will leave you breathless,  Ask the Editor: Writing Dialogue; and perhaps the two most famous fantasy writers of the 20th century and an enthusiastic poet on Lord of the Rings, C. S. Lewis, W. H. Auden, & Edmund Wilson on The Lord of the Rings | Book Marks.
  • Our Services for Writers, just a list of the 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: how Melbourne author Christian White's life changed almost overnight, Australian author goes from editing porn to publishing sensation; OceanofPDF.com has a US domain name and offers users free PDF or Epub downloads of many bestselling authors' books, Authors' fury at website offering free book downloads | The Bookseller; the world's self-styled premier English-language literary prize assessed by Rober McCrum, The Man Booker at 50: flawed - but still the best way to judge our literature | Books | The Guardian; and winning the 2018 Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story "Fanta Blackcurrant", Kenyan writer Onjerika scoops £10,000 Caine Prize | The Bookseller.
  • Our Printing and Publishing Glossary is a useful reference to all those arcane publishing terms.
  • 'Inside every fat book is a thin book trying to get out' from Unknown comes from our Writers' Quotes.

25 June 2018 - What's new

June 2018

18 June 2018 - What's new

June 2018

11 June 2018 - What's new

June 2018

28 May 2018 - What's new

May 2018

21 May 2018 - What's new

May 2018
  • 'Amid the avalanche of titles published each year, promoting a book now seems to demand almost as much work as writing it... This may sound a bit spoilt, especially when I know how incredibly lucky I have been, but life is not simple when it comes to promoting foreign translations as well as the British and American editions. For a start you need to banish any hope of working on a future book for at least half a year to nine months. It may be good for your stash of air miles, but some seventeen overseas trips in a year does not help continuity of concentration.' Antony Beevor, author of just-published Arnhem - The Battle for the Bridges 1944, as well as Stalingrad, The Second World War and many other distinguished military histories in Bookbrunch. Our Comment.
  • Closing on 8 June, The Sunday Times/PFD Young Writer of the Year 2018 is open to writers of published fiction, non-fiction and poetry between the ages of 18 and 35 in the UK and Ireland, both published and self-published. There's no entry fee but a First Prize of £5,000 plus a 10 week residency and a year of mentoring, three runners-up get £500.
  • Three other attractive Writing Opportunities are still live.
  • The January Magazine has some useful links - Ten Tips for Autopilot E-book Marketing and Paying to Play: On Submission Fees in Poetry Publishing, as well as some intriguing ones - Sue Grafton Was a Master at Subverting the Detective Novel, My Last Conversation with Ursula K. Le Guin and If It Wasn't For My Corporate Office Job, I Couldn't Be a Novelist.
  • From our Endorsements page: 'Today I only want to say, "thank you". DM has done a truly great job. I have worked with her suggestions which have brought clarity and depth to my subject. Her work on my punctuation is brilliant. As I read through the manuscript now, it is like gliding on silk.' Helena Dodds
  • A must-read for children's authors is Suzy Jenvey's special series for WritersServices, the four-part Essential Guide to Writing for Children. The first article looks at the all-important question of age groups and what you should be aware of in writing for each one. The second part is - Before You Write: What is My Story Going to be? The third part deals with Starting to Write and the fourth part is about Submitting Your Work to Agents and Editors. This series by a hugely experienced children's editorial director and agent helps you get started on your own story or develop what you're already working on.
  • If you need some help with this, our Children's Editorial Services provide reports and copy editing from experienced children's editors.
  • Our links: recent weeks have seen a flurry of conversation about factchecking in the publishing industry, Fact or friction: the problem with factchecking in the book world | Books | The Guardian; a few tips about getting yourself an agent, Ask the Editor: Finding an Agent (or there's our page Finding an Agent with the same title); and Philip Roth, Towering Novelist Who Explored Lust, Jewish Life and America, Dies at 85 - The New York Times. We had hoped to have an interview with Elena Ferrante from the L A Times, but unfortunately the paper's website isn't currently able to deliver its pages in Europe - we'll keep looking for this.
  • 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.
  • More links: the e-book landscape is shifting and authors who stay current will find rich opportunities, What Every Indie Author Needs to Know About E-Books; Ebook sales are dying. EbooksDigital bookstore selling wide range of ebooks in 50 categories from Hildegard of Bingen to How to Write a Dirty Story and showing how the range of ebooks available is growing. http://www.ebooks.com/ are insanely popular. If the short definition of cognitive dissonance is holding two contradictory ideas to be true, ebooks are about as dissonant as digital content gets, Traditional publishers' ebook sales drop as indie authors and Amazon take off - GeekWire; what you learn from writing a book is how to write that book, Writing Advice from Ann Packer; Amazon has been fighting fake reviews since at least 2012. They have deleted scads of reviews, banned paid reviews, filed suit against several batches of fake review perpetrators, and even forbidden authors from having any type of relationship with reviewers, Authors Are Taking Friendly Fire in Amazon's War on Fake Reviews | The Digital Reader.
  • 'Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else.' Gloria Steinem in our Writers' Quotes.

14 May 2018 - What's new

May 2018

30 April 2018 - What's new

April 2018

23 April 2018 - What's new

April 2018
  • 'For a long time, probably since 1988 when The Silence of the Lambs was published, the crime market was dominated by books about serial killers. I like a good serial-killer thriller, but, probably happily, I do not have one in me. Then Gone Girl changed the game. Psychological suspense is what I had studied and what I thought I would be able to write...' Daniel Mallory, who, under the pseudonym A J Finn, published his much-heralded debut crime novel The Woman in the Window after a career in crime publishing. Our Comment was in the Observer Magazine.
  • An Editor's Advice is a series of seven articles by one of our editors on really useful subjects for writers such as Dialogue, Manuscript presentation and 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 Bridport Prize 2018 is open to writers of any nationality writing in English, 16 years old and over. You can submit unpublished Poetry and Short Stories with a First Prize of £5,000, and Flash Fiction and First Novel with a First Prize £1,000. There are various fees. Closing 31 May.
  • Are you struggling to get someone to look at your poetry? Our Poetry Critique service for 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 need.
  • Our links: I love publishing because it doesn't play to formulae, and something always happens that no-one could predict, Opinion - Publishing Monday, 23 April 2018; the number one question we were asked by investors was: How are you going to create great stories? Publishing startups have the tech - what they need is the stories | The Bookseller; five years ago, I decided that it was time to write my first book, What You Need to Know to Create a Best-selling Book; and What makes a writer? How do you become one? Let's silence the creative writing course snobs | Books | The Guardian.
  • 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 you can find on the internet.
  • More links: it often surprises people that after her success, she couldn't put her feet up and retire, Hanya Yanagihara: influential magazine editor by day, best-selling author by night | Books | The Guardian; in a groundbreaking study of more than two million books published in North America between 2002 and 2012, scholars found that books by women authors are priced 45% less than those of their male counterparts, Want to earn more as a book author? A male name will help; Amazon is huge - worth $740bn (£530bn) at Monday night's share price - but it moves fast and is a lethal predator, The age of Amazon: a closeup examination of Bezos's behemoth | Technology | The Guardian.
  • It's a common enough fantasy for writers: maybe now I can leave that dreary job and devote myself whole-heartedly to writing. But how practical is it? Is it something you can realistically aspire to, or just a distant fantasy? What are your chances of making your dream come true? Don't give up the day job.
  • 'Always stop while you are going good and don't worry about it until you start to write the next day. That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start.' Ernest Hemingway in our Writers' Quotes.

16 April 2018 - What's new

April 2018