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14 July 2014 - What's new

14 July 2014
  • 'Wonderbook by Jeff VanderMeer, with art by Jeremy Zerfoss (and many others), is unlike any other writing instruction manual I have ever seen. Heavily illustrated with fantastical paintings and specially commissioned illustrations, it is, in VanderMeer's own words, ‘a kind of cabinet of curiosities that stimulates your imagination'. It reflects VanderMeer's own belief that ‘an organic approach to writing should be coupled with a systematic practice and testing to improve your fiction'. It is also, quite simply, a very beautiful object, gorgeous to look at, its contents by turns playful and inspirational.' Maureen Kincaid SpellerMaureen Kincaid Speller a reviewer, writer, editor and former librarian, is our book reviewer and also works for WritersServices as a freelance editor. reviews Jeff VanderMeer's new book.
  • In 2013 11.5% of professional authors, defined as those who dedicate the majority of their time to writing, earned their income solely from writing. This is down from 40% in 2005, when a typical writer's income was £12,330 ($21,090). Worse still, the typical income of all writers now is just £4,000 ($6,841), a paltry amount and well below the minimum wage. A `new study just published by ALCS (the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society) has shown that the typical income of a UK writer is just £11,000 ($18,815) a year. The figures show a sharp decline in the number of full-time writers. Writers struggle to make a living is this week's  News Review story.
  • Are you a poet? We have two services which might be of interest to you - Poetry Critique Service for up to 150 lines of poetry and Poetry Collection Editing, which is for anyone who wants to get a collection into shape for self-publishing or submission to publishers.
  • Eimear McBride, winner of the 2014 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, in our Comment column: ‘I think they (the judges) were excited by the language and by the emotional impact of the story. They must have been looking for something different because certainly the book isn't written in a conventional way... Being a writer who was not published for nearly ten years isn't a great path. It's very hard to spend most of your adult life feeling like a failure...'
  • This week's links: Mark McCrum on why as a pubished author he decided to self-publish, BookBrunch - Going it alone; how the format affects how you read, What Does Your Brain Like Better: Paper or Ebooks? | Publishing Perspectives; black literary writers with African roots seem to be doing better than African-American writers, Are African Writers Trumping African-American Authors? | Publishing Perspectives; agent John Saddler asks if we should care about the demise of publishers BookBrunch - Is Amazon destroying publishing - and if so, does it matter? and crime writer Val McDermid on how things have changed for authors, McDermid: 'could not build writing career today' | The Bookseller.
  • Our agent listings cover the UK, US and International, and there's a separate listing for Children's Agents.
  • 'Poetry should be great and unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one's soul, and does not startle it or amaze it with itself, but with its subject.' John Keats in our Writers' Quotes