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16 December 2019 - What's new

16 December 2019
  • ‘There were a couple of years where, if I could have finished the book, I could have stayed ahead of the show for another couple of years, and the stress was enormous. I don't think it was very good for me, because the very thing that should have speeded me up actually slowed me down. Every day I sat down to write and even if I had a good day - and a good day for me is three or four pages - I'd feel terrible because I'd be thinking: "My God, I have to finish the book. I've only written four pages when I should have written 40."...' George R R Martin, whose epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire has been made into the hugely successful tv series, Game of Thrones, and which still has two more volumes to come, in the Observer. Our Comment.
  • Our Services for Writers - just a list of 20 services to help you get your work ready for publication.
  • The Spread the Word Life Writing Prize 2020 is open to writers who have yet to publish a full-length work or to have a literary agent, living in the UK and aged 18 or over. There's no entry fee. The winner gets £1,500, an Arvon course, a writing mentor and two years' membership of the Royal Society of LiteratureThis British site may seem rather formal (stated aim ‘to sustain and encourage all that is perceived as best whether traditional or experimental in English letters, and to strive for a Catholic appreciation of literature’), but has a lively series of lectures and discussions involving distinguished authors. Also administers literary prizes., and the Prize closes on 3 February.
  • Other active competitions and prizes.
  • We have a new endorsement for WritersServices: 'The outcome of my experience with Writerservices has far exceeded my expectation and I was amazed by their professionalism, hard work, knowledge and keenness to edit my manuscript of the novel, Uncle Thesiger's Mashhuf, in every detail, thereby ensuring it will appeal to English readers. Their services are very helpful to all writers', Ammar Al Thuwaini, an Iraqi novelist and translator.
  • Our links: she felt it was not for people like her, Who Has the Right to Be a Writer? | Literary Hub; you know them as bodice rippers. But during the last 10 or so years, that perception has started to shift, Romance Is a Billion-Dollar Literary Industry. So Why Is It Still So Overlooked? | Glamour; my editor slashed through my sentences, slathering them with ink, making me read my version first, then his, and tell him why his was better! The Wonderful Thing About Line Edits | Jane Friedman; former winner Jane Davis on what success in our awards for self-publishing meant to her, The Selfies - what it means to win and a writer with an ability to create believably strange natural worlds from a place of granular fascination, Visiting Jeff VanderMeer's Weird, Wondrous Worlds | Literary Hub.
  • '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: how to gain access to the gatekeepers - that is, get your idea in front of book editors, What to Say (and Not to Say) in Query Letters to Book Editors - The Chronicle of Higher Education; the knock-on effect of going bust (but this story has a happy ending for some) Book People collapse plunges small publisher Galley Beggar into crisis | Books | The Guardian; the epic role of one translator, How Chinese Sci-Fi Conquered America - The New York Times; and the controversies surrounding literary prizes, A year of literary prizes and surprises in 2019.
  • Have you ever wondered why you don't win any of those competitions? What can you do to improve your chances? Our tipsheet on Entering Competitions.
  • 'You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.' Annie Proulx in our Writers' Quotes.