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18 January 2016 - What's new

18 January 2016
  • 'It's a slightly demanding read, but Mike Shatzkin's latest post on The Shatzkin Files is essential reading if you want to understand the contemporary bookselling scene and how it is increasingly controlled and shaped by the huge conglomerates which dominate the web...' This week's News Review.
  • 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: '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...'
  • ‘From our positions as individual creators, whether of fiction or non-fiction, we authors see a landscape occupied by several large interests, some of them gathering profits in the billions, some of them displaying a questionable attitude to paying tax, some of them colonising the internet with projects whose reach is limitless and whose attitude to creators' rights is roughly that of the steamroller to the ant...' Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials and many other children's books and President of the UK Society of authors, in the Bookseller provides this week's Comment - 'The steamroller to the ant'.
  • Why your book contract needs vetting - '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? Would you, for example, know which rights to grant - for how long and on what terms...' Our contracts expert on why contract vetting is essential if you don't have an agent.
  • Our links this week: arguing that writers could soon be "an endangered species" if publishers fail to deliver on fairer terms, Philip Pullman condemns publishers who 'steamroller' authors | The Bookseller; a curious story, one that raises interesting questions about who "owns" ideas and who - if anyone - copied whom, Ladybird Book Parody Sparks a Trend in UK Publishing; and an interesting Huffington Post story about how writers benefit from being involved in screen-writing, From the Box Office to the Books: How Movies Create Better Writers | Mycah Hazel.
  • More links: book publishing has always adapted to an environment shaped by larger forces. That hasn't changed, Book publishing lives in an environment shaped by larger forces and always has - The Shatzkin Files The Shatzkin Files; from a magazine to a poetry press, how one venture battled the odds facing poetry publishers, uHlanga: On the Birth of a South African Poetry Press - Publishing Perspectives; American popular history is a "male preserve", according to new research from the US online journal Slate, with three-quarters of works published last year written by men - and history experts believe the playing field is just as "heavily gendered" in the UK, Popular history writing remains a male preserve, publishing study finds | Books | The Guardian.
  • The web as a research tool is a useful page showing you what a great research tool the web is for writers.
  • ‘In a writer there must always be two people - the writer and the critic.' Leo Tolstoy, in our Writers' Quotes.