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15 May 2017 - What's new

15 May 2017
  • 'If you're ever lucky enough to score an early success as a writer, as happened to me with The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, for the rest of your life there's a before-the-fall and an after-the-fall. You look back at the books you wrote before the searchlight picked you out and they read like the books of your innocence; and the books after it, in your low moments, like the strivings of a man on trial. ‘Trying too hard' the critics cry...' John le Carre, author of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, in an excerpt from his new memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel, in the Guardian provides this week's Comment.
  • 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' 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!'
  • Backlist titles, because they are always available, offer opportunities to benefit from new publicity. The effect of changing exchange rates on publishing is shown by price increases at Wordsworth Editions. Backlist titles kept in print or available for print on demand are always in stock, meaning that all titles are effectively in play now, as Mike Shatzkin has just pointed out. News Review
  • Our links: you've heard it before: write what you know. I wonder what you think of that, because, frankly, I don't think much, "Write What You Know" is Not Good Writing Advice | Literary Hub; over the years, I've written/co-authored and/or ghosted 16 books, all published in the traditional way-with a signed contract from a well-known publishing house and an advance, Self Publishing: It Takes An Army | ASJA Confidential; so, what if your editor has played a major part in fashioning your book? The delicate author-editor relationship as seen in The Insect Dialogues, reviewed; and by the end, I was so exhausted I might as well have read the damn thing. But I think I got away with it, James Bond, Lord of the Rings, Narnia - the books we most pretend to have read | Books | The Guardian.
  • 'You are a first-time author without an agent and you receive a contract to publish your book - just how do you evaluate it? Is it fair or biased against the author by prevailing industry standards? Is your publisher looking out for your interests as well as his own - or wording the clauses in a way only advantageous to the company?' Why your book contract needs vetting.
  • More links: this informative article shows the importance of rights income to publishers - and potentially to authors too, Rights Income For Uk Publishers In 2016; bestselling self-published authors attract producers because they have a proven track record if they stay on Amazon sales charts over time, 'Show me the money!': the self-published authors being snapped up by Hollywood | Books | The Guardian; writers love the idea of writing groups. Writing is, after all, a very lonely pursuit. You sit alone in a room wrestling your ideas onto the page, struggling to fend off the constant attacks of doubt, The 4 Hidden Dangers of Writing Groups | Jane Friedman.
  • '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: 'Try to find an agency which is ‘hungry' for new clients. To keep their workload under control, an established agent might take on something like four new authors a year (this figure came from two agents I spoke to recently), 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...'
  • From our Writers' Quotes: 'Writing for me is just like building a chair, making an artifact. The idea is that you build, create a story and cobble it together. If it stands up, that's good. If it stands up, it's comfortable, it's a good story, a good chair.' Scott Smith