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What's New in 2012

2012

31 December 2012 - What's new

December 2012

17 December 2012 - What's new

December 2012
  • 'The recent news of a £15m (over $24m) deal between Wilbur Smith and HarperCollins worldwide, a new publisher for the author, has caused some controversy this week. The deal is for six books but the Sunday Times claimed that Smith will not write them himself. The author, who turns 80 next month, will concentrate on plot lines and characterisation, whilst others do the writing...' News Review reports.
  • Our links of the week are: Publishers brace for authors to reclaim book rights in 2013 and Michael Morpurgo: What Michael Gove calls 'rigour' I call 'rigor mortis'.
  • 'The poem is a form of texting ... it's the original text. It's a perfecting of a feeling in language - it's a way of saying more with less, just as texting is. We've got to realise that the Facebook generation is the future - and, oddly enough, poetry is the perfect form for them. It's a kind of time capsule - it allows feelings and ideas to travel big distances in a very condensed form...' Carol Ann Duffy in an interview in the Guardian, quoted in our Comment column.
  • This week's Writing Opportunity is the Cardiff International Poetry Competition, with a closing date of 15 February, a first prize of £5,000 and an entry fee of £7.
  • The Authors Licensing and Copying Society (ALCS) paid out over £2m to British writers of articles in magazines, journals and newspapers last year. Make sure you receive your share of any income they've collected by checking the criteria and making your claims for any articles by 31 December 2012. ALCS collects money for the secondary use of articles published in magazines, journals and newspapers, and pays this money out to writers, on a claims basis, providing their articles meet certain criteria.
  • 'Most writers can write books faster than publishers can write checks.' Richard Curtis in our Writers' Quotes.

10 December 2012 - What's new

December 2012
  • 'The Bookseller's big Futurebook conference last week gave top publishers an opportunity to lay out their stalls in terms of the future. The keynote speaker was Charlie Redmayne, CEO of Pottermore. The most visible trend was that publishers are dedicating themselves to getting in direct touch with readers, largely through online means. It's difficult to over-emphasise what a big turnaround this change of attitude is.' News Review reports.
  • In Latest changes in the book trade 7 Chris HolifieldManaging director of WritersServices; spent working life in publishing,employed by everything from global corporations to start-ups; track record includes: editorial director of Sphere Books, publishing director of The Bodley Head, publishing director for start-up of upmarket book club, The Softback Preview, editorial director of Britain’s biggest book club group, BCA, and, most recently, deputy MD and publisher of Cassell & Co. She is also currently the Director of the Poetry Book Society; During all of this time aware of problems faced by writers, as publishing changed from idiosyncratic cottage industry, 'occupation for gentlemen', into corporate business of today. Writers encountered increasing difficulty in getting books edited or published. Authors create the books which are the raw material for the whole business. She believes it is time to bring them back to centre stage. looked at the subject of Creative Commons and how these special licenses might transform authors' capacity to license the use of their books for all sorts of purposes. The rest of the series covers Bookselling, Publishing, Print on Demand and the Long Tail, Self-publishing - career suicide or 'really great', Writers' Routes to their audiences and Copyright.
  • Our last Success Story featured Christopher Paolini. With the publication of Inheritance he brought to a triumphant conclusion his epic sequence. In the UK this book had a first week sale of 76,000 copies and the series as a whole has sold 1.2 million books to date in the UK. It had a first printing of 2.5 million in the US. Not only have the books been translated in 49 countries but total sales for the first three books in the series have been 25 million copies worldwide.
  • 'I don't think people always understand the scale of what we have done in the past 12 months. The level of work has been very intense. What we've done with Pottermore is harness a fanbase of millions of the biggest Harry Potter fans. In terms of producing value to all of the rights holders – be it J K Rowling, Bloomsbury, Scholastic, Warner Bros, or indeed our sponsor Sony – that's an immensely valuable thing, as any new books, content or products come out.' Charlie Redmayne, quoted in our Comment column.
  • If you want editorial input from our professional editors, have a look at our 18 Services, especially our Editor's Report, Submission Critique and Children's Services. Also available is Copy editing and Manuscript Polishing, for authors who are not native English speakers and Manuscript Typing.
  • 'There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates' loot on Treasure Island.' Walt Disney in our Writers' Quotes.

3 December 2012 - What's new

December 2012
  • 'Audiobooks have long been the Cinderellas of the publishing business, with many anticipated new dawns which have failed to produce much bigger sales...' News Review investigates the audiobook world.
  • Our new feature links to interesting blogs or articles posted online, which will help keep you up to date with what's going on in the book world. This week's been particularly interesting: How Mergermania Is Destroying Book Publishing, The Victims of the Penguin & Random House Merger: Literary Agents and We must protect and reinvent our local libraries.
  • Check out Advice for Writers for links to over 65 useful pages on the site. Try The Ins and Outs of Indexing, How to market your writing services online, Writing for the web, Top Ten Tips for nonfiction writers, Choosing a Service, Getting your manuscript copy edited and Getting your poetry published.
  • Philip Pullman's advice to writers: 'Read. But assuming they are already people who can't sit down at breakfast without reading the cereal packet, then I would say write the sort of things you like to read. Don't write what anybody else tells you is popular...' Quoted in our Comment column.
  • Do you enjoy reading what authors have had to say about the writing life? Our fantastic current series of Writers' Quotes is a feast of interesting and often amusing quotes.
  • For this week we have a gleeful Clive James poem, to be found in our Writers' Quotes:

    'The book of my enemy has been remaindered

    And I rejoice...

    What avail him now his awards and prizes,

    The praise expended upon his meticulous technique,

    His individual new voice?

26 November 2012 - What's new

November 2012
  • 'Recent figures from Bowker show self-publishing continuing its rapid growth in the US. The number of self-published books coming out has nearly tripled since 2006, with 235,625 new print and ebook titles published in 2011... ' News Review on the self-publishing boom in the US.
  • There's just time to enter our latest Writing Opportunity, the wide-ranging The New WriterThis well-regarded magazine comes out six times a year and publishes the best in fact, fiction and poetry, including top stories from the Fish Prize and Real Writers annual competitions. Runs annual Prose and Poetry prizes, including short stories, novellas and essays, material to be submitted by end November. The magazine is towards the more literary end of the spectrum, but offers more publishing opportunities and market information for subscribers than other UK-based creative writing magazines. http://www.thenewwriter.com prose, fiction and poetry prizes, which are closing on 30 November. They're open to everyone, with different entry fees for different categories, but hurry!
  • We've recently launched our new Poetry Critique service Set up in response to popular demand, our new service provides a line-by-line critique on up to 150 lines of poetry from our expert editor, plus advice on marketing your poems. If you've been writing poems, but have no idea if they're any good, or just want to make sure they're the best they can be, this service can help you.
  • Our topical article this week is The Copy"right" Principle - writing in ALCS News(Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society) writer and campaigner Katharine Quarmby explains why publishing her work under Creative Commons licences is against her principles.
  • 'A brand is a job in its own right. You feel like you can't leave it. I'm very fond ofCharlie and Lola but there was a time when I really just wanted it to end. You want to walk away because you want to get on with something else, but if you walk away you can't be sure how it might move without you... ' Lauren Child, author of the Charlie and Lola series, in the Sunday Telegraph, quoted in ourComment column.
  • Don't procrastinate! - 'Do you find it difficult to get started on your writing? Is it always easier to put off finishing that research/ starting that novel/embarking on the second draft? You are not alone, for many writers suffer from procrastination.' Chris HolifieldManaging director of WritersServices; spent working life in publishing,employed by everything from global corporations to start-ups; track record includes: editorial director of Sphere Books, publishing director of The Bodley Head, publishing director for start-up of upmarket book club, The Softback Preview, editorial director of Britain’s biggest book club group, BCA, and, most recently, deputy MD and publisher of Cassell & Co. She is also currently the Director of the Poetry Book Society; During all of this time aware of problems faced by writers, as publishing changed from idiosyncratic cottage industry, 'occupation for gentlemen', into corporate business of today. Writers encountered increasing difficulty in getting books edited or published. Authors create the books which are the raw material for the whole business. She believes it is time to bring them back to centre stage. looks at how to get yourself going.
  • 'In writing a series of stories about the same characters, plan the whole series in advance in some detail, to avoid contradictions and inconsistencies.' L Sprague de Camp in our Writers' Quotes.

19 November 2012 - What's new

November 2012
  • 'After twenty years of rejection, Hilary Boyd certainly didn't expect to achieve phenomenal success with Thursdays in the Park. A 62 year-old grandmother, she was very much more used to failure. 'Fiction was always my dream, but at 60 I had lost heart – despite being repeatedly told about Mary Wesley' (the splendid British author who published her first novel at 70 and went on to have a very successful career as a novelist)...' News Review on a heartening success story.
  • This has certainly been a week of soul-searching about the future of publishing. Our links to this week's top stories include Book publishing crisis: capitalism kills culture and How Dead Is the Book Business?
  • If you want editorial input from our professional editors, have a look at our 18 Services, especially our Editor's Report, Submission Critique and Children's Services. Also available is Copy editing and Manuscript Polishing, for authors who are not native English speakers and Manuscript Typing.
  • You've just got time to take advantage of this week's Writing Opportunity to enter a story on the theme of 'autumn' into the PrinterInks Short Story Competition, closing on 1 December. It's free to enter and the first prize is getting your story published in hardback!
  • 'All my books work in the same way in that they draw upon a whole lot of experience that I've already had. I'm not just talking about life experience but knowledge of Chartres... I will already know about what I'm writing about. I will do some research a) to remind myself; b) to make sure I haven't got it wrong; c) to bring it to life again...' Salley Vickers, author of The Cleaner of Chartres in the Bookseller, quoted in our Comment column.
  • For Creative writing tutors and their students there's a mass of useful information on the site, which we are very happy for you to print out, with due acknowledgement, please. You can find this in the listing under Advice for Writers, but we'd specially recommend our 7-part series Tips for Writers, Our Categories series, about Writing Crime, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Memoir and Autobiography and so on, our recently updated series Latest Changes in the Book Trade and our 19-part series Inside Publishing.
  • 'I never wanted to be a literary writer. I wanted to be an entertainer. All I wanted was to give what a lot of writers had given me: a good time on a bad day.' M C Beaton in our Writers' Quotes.

12 November 2012 - What's new

November 2012
  • 'Things are settling around the idea of Random House and Penguin merging, but there are plenty of dire predictions. Some think it will change the nature of publishing as we know it, others that it will lead to further consolidation. The combined group will have 25 to 30% of the global books business. This sounds a lot and already there is talk of whether the merger will be referred to the regulatory agencies in various countries...' News Review reports.
  • Links to this week's top stories this week we follow up on the Random House/Penguin story - Authors Guild asks for “close scrutiny” of Penguin Random House merger and Bertelsmann's pickup of Penguin shows the poor state of British publishing.
  • Our 23 lists of recommended links have been updated with many new links to sites of special interest to writers. these range from Writers Online Services to Picture libraries and Writers Magazines & Sites and many more.
  • 'Thematically this email is a microcosm of publishing now and tomorrow. Mega-mergers, new devices, Amazon growth (and losses) and established players seeking to re-adjust for the digital age through innovation and restructure. The Penguin Random House story suggests that the phoney war is now over, digital is here, it is driving our thoughts and strategies, and will come to dominate this content led business as it has other content sectors.' Philip Jones in the Bookseller's Futurebook, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Michael Legat's Factsheets are a series of specially commissioned information-packed Factsheets for WritersServices, which cover the essentials for writers from a former publisher, novelist and author of 12 books on writing. For a quick update on Write about What You Know, Literary Agents or Shall I be Famous? Shall I be Rich?, and much more, this is the place to look.
  • There's still just time to go for our Writing Opportunity this week, which is The Complete Works, a mentoring opportunity for advanced Black and Asian poets, before it closes on 22 November.
  • 'I think I can boast myself to be, with all possible vanity, the most unlearned and uninformed female who ever dared to be an authoress.' Jane Austen in our Writers' Quotes.

29 October 2012 - What's new

October 2012
  • Our new Poetry Critique service Set up in response to popular demand, our new service provides a line-by-line critique on up to 150 lines of poetry from our expert editor, plus advice on marketing your poems. If you've been writing poems, but have no idea if they're any good, or just want to make sure they're the best they can be, this service can help you.
  • 'There's no doubt about the top story this week. The news that Random House and Penguin are negotiating a merger came out of the blue. Both companies are large, with Random House currently the biggest UK publisher with 16.2% of book sales, and Penguin with 10.9%, giving them a combined 27.1%. In the US the merger would give the combined entity slightly less of the total at 25%...' News Review reports.
  • Getting your manuscript copy edited - if you are looking for copy editing online, it is difficult to ensure that you are getting a professional copy editor who will do a good job on your manuscript. WritersServices has now made its copy editing service unique, as it will offer as standard TWO versions of your script, one prepared using 'track changes' and one with all the changes accepted.
  • Links to this week's top stories Our new feature links to interesting blogs or articles posted online, which will help keep you up to date with what's going on in the book world: How to write a book in 30 days; Debating Ten Ways to Save the Book Publishing Industry and Atwood and Alderman collaborate on Zombie series for Wattpad.
  • 'These days, almost everybody I meet who's not already a writer wants to become one. Recent Society of Authors statistics show that only seven percent of all writers in this country make a reasonable living (which means that 93 percent do not, as compared with 85 per cent of actors who do not) and yet there's a general clamour to scramble into this strange and lonely arena... Rose Tremain in the Sunday Telegraph, quoted in our Comment column.
  • 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 has written a useful article on The Business of Writing: 'Writing is undoubtedly a creative art. Whether we are working on the next Booker Prize winner or ghostwriting blog posts, writers need to be original, imaginative and inspired. But writing is also a business, with invoices to raise, accounts to be submitted and records to be kept. Writers, like artists, can find themselves floundering when it comes to the 'business end' of the job. Read on for our easy-to-follow guide to the business of writing...'
  • The shortlist for the 2012 T S Eliot Prize has just been announced, with ten top poets on the list for the Prize, the winner of which will be announced in January.
  • 'The world is a peculiar place, but it has nothing on the world of books. This is largely a fantasy world in which the pecking order goes as follows: If you can't cope with life, write about it; if you can't write, publish; if you can't get a job in publishing, become a literary agent; if you are a failed literary agent - God help you!' Colin Haycraft, then publisher of Duckworth, in our Writers' Quotes.

22 October 2012 - What's new

October 2012
  • 'New imprints are being set up to publish genre fiction in ebook form. One of these is the new women's fiction imprint set up by Oliver Rhodes, late of Harlequin UK. Bookouture – perhaps not the most memorable name - is to focus on creating global author brands and building them up through clever digital marketing. Bookouture will accept agented and unagented submissions...' News Review shows how romance rides high in ebooks.
  • Links to this week's top stories - Our new feature links to interesting blogs or articles posted online, which will help keep you up to date with what's going on in the book world: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. 2012: Self-publishing cell-phones and start-ups and Ian McEwan is lucky to be allowed to publish novellas.
  • Does your manuscript need Copy editing? Do you know the difference between copy editing and proof-reading? Divided by a common language? - are you wondering about the difference between American and British copy editing? Our new page on Getting your manuscript copy edited provides a useful overview and clarifies a new feature of our service, which enables you to get two versions of your copy edited manuscript, one showing the editor's changes in 'track changes' and one with the changes accepted.
  • 'Spies allow a novelist to heighten what all novels do anyway, which is control the flow of information. They allow limitless possibilities of tangled plot; they carry with them a hint of danger, which I think we rather love, from the perspective of our rather safe lives. Historically, we are safer than we've ever been. It's my theory that the reason we're getting such amazing thrillers from the social democracies of Scandinavia is because they've got such low crime rates... Ian McEwan, whose latest novel is Sweet Tooth, in The Times, quoted in our Comment column.
  • 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 offers her tips on Getting through the Slush-pile, drawing on her own experience as an editorial assistant reading her way through it.
  • 'For me, poetry is the music of being human. And also a time machine by which we can travel to who we are and to who we will become.' Carol Ann Duffy in our Writers' Quotes.

15 October 2012 - What's new

October 2012
  • Driven to Distraction: Writers and Social Media - Jonathan Franzen famously wrote that, 'it's doubtful that anyone with an internet connection is writing good fiction', and many writers are open about blocking sites that harm their productivity. But with eight out of ten people in Britain now having access to the internet, and social media sites growing at an alarming rate, social media can be an effective and useful tool for writers to promote themselves. This article highlights ways in which writers can utilise the two main social media sites, and reach out to an ever growing creative online community without it getting in the way of the writing itself.'
  • 'Reports from 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. are quite mixed, although many concede that publishers are looking beyond the smokescreen of erotica to see other trends emerging. Iain Pears' new novel Arcadia will be published by Faber as an app six months before the print edition comes out...' News Review reports on the Frankfurt Book Fair.
  • The Oxford English Dictionary needs you! OED Appeals has launched major online initiative The Oxford English Dictionary has announced the launch of OED Appeals, a major online initiative set to involve the public in tracing the history of English words. Editors are soliciting help in unearthing new information about the history and usage of English, including the earliest examples of particular words.
  • 'Spies allow a novelist to heighten what all novels do anyway, which is control the flow of information. They allow limitless possibilities of tangled plot; they carry with them a hint of danger, which I think we rather love, from the perspective of our rather safe lives. Historically, we are safer than we've ever been. It's my theory that the reason we're getting such amazing thrillers from the social democracies of Scandinavia is because they've got such low crime rates... Ian McEwan, whose latest novel is Sweet Tooth, in The Times, quoted in our Comment column.
  • 'Books aren't written, they're rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it...' Michael Crichton in our Writers' Quotes.

8 October 2012 - What's new

October 2012
  • News Review reports on Frankfurt trends: 'A report on ebook statistics and trends to be launched at the Publishers Launch Conference which precedes 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. next week suggests that some of the wilder predictions about ebook adoption have been off the mark. US ebook growth has declined considerably from September 2011, when it had been doubling each year, and it is now expected to grow at the lower rate of about one-third in 2012...'
  • There's still time to sign up for our Writing Opportunity this week, the London Screenwriters' Festival, which runs from 26th to 28th October and includes many luminaries of the film world.
  • If you want editorial input from our professional editors, have a look at our 18 Services, especially our Editor's Report, Submission Critique and Children's Services. Also available is Copy editing and Manuscript Polishing, for authors who are not native English speakers and Manuscript Typing.
  • Our new feature links to interesting blogs or articles posted online, which will help keep you up to date with what's going on in the book world. This week: Richard Curtis asks 'Are Publishers Making a Killing on E-Books?'
  • 'I went to classes at the college one evening a week. For the rest of the week I did my homework. I wrote stories, plays, poems, and read voraciously. We emailed our homework to our tutors and classmates, who gave invaluable feedback. I became obsessed. My flat is falling to pieces, the windows filthy, my clothes shabby, my friends have forgotten who I am, and my relationship with my partner, the writer Andrew Lycett, has disintegrated to the occasional grunt. And there is nothing in our fridge...' Susan Greenhill, photographer extraordinaire and now writer and contributor to MIR9, in Bookbrunch, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Our reviewer, 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., said of the The Arvon Book of Life Writing by Sally Cline and Carole Angier: 'Many people want to write about someone's life, perhaps their own, and there are courses to suit every level of interest, from university masters degrees to local college qualifications' and concluded that it was: 'a brisk and helpful guide on how to set about writing a life story... It is a sensible account of life writing from experienced practitioners of what is both art and craft, and I recommend it!'
  • 'The existence of good bad literature - the fact that one can be amused or excited or even moved by a book that one's intellect simply refuses to take seriously - is a reminder that art is not the same thing as cerebration.' George Orwell in our Writers' Quotes.

1 October 2012 - What's new

October 2012
  • 'It almost seems as if the only thing which has happened this last week is that J K Rowling has published her first adult novel. There's been no escaping the coverage gleaned by the media from a generally unreachable author...' News Review on this week's big story.
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is the new Bodley Head and Financial Times essay prize, open to those aged 35 and under, with a prize of £1,000 and a closing date of 18 November.
  • Are you writing poetry but finding it difficult to get it published? Look at our page on Getting your poetry published.
  • 'I'm probably not a natural novelist, but I want to become one. I loved working on A Gate at the Stairs. I know it's not perfect, but that's what novels are allowed to be - imperfect. I know it speeds up at the end like a Toyota- it has a little floor-mat problem at the end...' Lorrie Moore, author of A Gate in the Stairs, in the Observer quoted in our Comment column.
  • Benjamin Zephaniah describes his route to getting published and his journey as a passionate poet.
  • Our topical sites this week are: Agent Hero; Book Publisher Goes To Court To Recoup Hefty Advances From Prominent Writers; and From Texas, Cyprus, Southampton and Manchester - would-be novelists make a bee-line for Curtis BrownSee Curtis Brown listing's Discovery Day.
  • 'A writer without interest or sympathy for the foibles of his fellow man is not conceivable as a writer.' Joseph Conrad in our Writers' Quotes.

24 September 2012 - What's new

September 2012

'Never will a writer be read more closely than by his or her translator. The best translators seem to have an extra ear, indeed, have to have an extra ear, for the literary dimensions and possibilities of their own language. Translation can draw the poet out of someone who may not have realised the poet in himself...' George Szirtes, author of The Burning of the Books and Other Poems in The Times, quoted in our Comment column.

Topical links - our new feature links to interesting blogs or articles posted online, which will help keep you up to date with what's going on in the book world. This week: Publishing's digital switchover; Knowledge and expertise in a hybrid world and Ebook Price War Obscures Larger Problem.

Does your manuscript need Copy editing? Do you know the difference between copy editing and proof-reading? Divided by a common language? - are you wondering about the difference between American and British copy editing? Our new page on Getting your manuscript copy edited provides a useful overview and clarifies a new feature of our service, which enables you to get two versions of your copy edited manuscript, one showing the editor's changes in 'track changes' and one with the changes accepted.

'There's little doubt that winning a literary prize can give a big boost to your career as a writer. Unfortunately though many of the prizes which attract the most attention and are most financially attractive to the winner are only open to writers who have been published by a publisher, ie not self-published. Usually the books have to be entered by the publisher, not the author...' News Review on prizes.

17 September 2012 - What's new

September 2012
  • 'The Booker shortlist is unusually interesting this year because of the presence of books by comparative newcomers, including two authors who have struggled to find a publisher at all and are now published by small presses...' News Review reports on this year's surprising shortlist.
  • This week's Writing Opportunity is The New Media Writing Prize 2012, a unique prize which can be awarded by partners Bournemouth University and if:book to Excellent storytelling (fiction or non-fiction), Creativity, work written specifically for delivery and reading/viewing via digital media. Closing 5 October.
  • 'What moves you is usually what is going to move a reader - a reader who is interested in your work of course. I'm not a market research king, what I have to do is look to myself and write something that moves me and that I believe in. Cecelia Ahern, author of PS I Love You and four other novels, in the Bookseller, quoted in our Comment column.
  • There are three extracts from the excellent Writing a Biography or Autobiography by Brian D Osborne in our Archive.
  • Links to this week's top stories Children 'too embarrassed' to pick up books, alarming study says, and (a follow-up to last week) Authors condemn fake internet reviews.
  • The Publisher's View is a four-part series by Tom Chalmers, MD of Legend press. The first article deals with What a publisher wants from submissions and what a writer can do about it. Then there's Judging a book by its cover and synopsis, The Writer's X Factor and The changing face of publishing.
  • 'The reason we read poetry is that it has the ability to penetrate both solar plexus and between the eyes, simultaneously, in a way that prose doesn't.' Owen Sheers in our Writers' Quotes.

10 September 2012 - What's new

September 2012
  • 'At the 2012 Edinburgh World Writers conference, the author China Mieville suggested that one way of safeguarding the future of writing might be a minimum wage for authors: "For the great majority of people who write, it would mean an improvement in their situation, an ability to write full-time. For a few it would mean an income cut, but you know what? It was a good run."'... News Review reports.
  • Blurb-writing Our new service is for anyone who is having difficulty producing their cover or jacket copy and may be especially helpful for self-publishers. Let our skilled editor/writers do the job for you, so that you end up with a professional blurb.
  • Links to this week's top stories Our new feature links to interesting blogs or articles posted online, which will help keep you up to date with what's going on in the book world: On Publishing Punditry and Trying to Hit a Moving Target; The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy; and UK's BookMachine: Meetups and Social Media Networking for Publishers.
  • 'I've never worked out what the actual rate of pay is for writing - I think it would be too depressing. It took me three and a half years to write the first book, which worked out at ten grand a year, which is not too bad. That was just the advance...' Evie Wyld, author of After the Fire, a Still Small Voice, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Writing for the web is a particular skill. Is it something you need to learn? Jakob Nielsen's study has been extracted from to give you the key points on how to go about this.
  • 'Put down everything that comes into your head and then you're a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff's worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.' Colette's advice in our Writers' Quotes.

27 August 2012 - What's new

August 2012
  • 'In an article in a recent Bookseller, Caroline Horn wrote cheeringly about the continued health of the children's books sector. At a time when publishing for adults is well down and there are many changes which make it difficult to see far ahead, the children's publishing sector remains robust...' News Review on children's publishing.
  • New words added to Oxford Dictionaries Online reflect changes in society - Oxford Dictionaries Online, Oxford University Press's free dictionary and language reference service, has just added its new quarterly words, which present a fascinating picture of our changing language.
  • Links to this week's top stories - Our new feature links to interesting blogs or articles posted online, which will help keep you up to date with what's going on in the book world. This week it's: “A Right Fit”: Navigating the World of Literary Agents and immersing yourself in the literary community and Victory for music and film industries as Google begins piracy crackdown.
  • Great summer reading - follow the triumphs and disasters of an unpublished writer's life in Bob G Ritchie's Journal of a Virtually Unpublished Writer.
  • 'Looking back on the past three years, you can see just how much has changed in publishing, and how much remains the same. Some of the topics that made headlines years ago - ebooks, ereaders, territoriality, rights - are still top of the agenda... Edward Nawotka, Editor-in-chief, Publishing Perspectives, in our Comment column.
  • 'A writer can have only one language, if language is going to mean anything to him.' Philip Larkin in our Writers' Quotes.

20 August 2012 - What's new

August 2012
  • 'The recent news that Amazon's Kindle sales of ebooks have surpassed sales of print books led many commentators to assume that ebook sales are now outstripping print book sales. But, even in the States, where the growth in ebook sales has been extraordinarily fast, print books still outsell ebooks to a large extent, in fact they currently only constitute about 25% of total sales...' News Review reports.
  • The National Association of Writers in Education offers two new articles in its Turning the Next Page resources for writers, both of them for poets, but it's worth also looking at the existing resources.
  • 'I was surprised at the success of Chocolat. I was told that sort of book wouldn't sell as it was too old-fashioned and stuck between literary and commercial fiction, but the public voted with their wallets. (It sold more than a million copies.) And just when I was getting used to it being a bestseller, I had to come to terms with the surreal progress of it becoming a movie...' Joanne Harris in the Independent on Sunday in our Comment column.
  • There's still time to enter the new MsLexia Children's Novel Competition, closing on 10 September.
  • An Editor's Advice is a useful series is based on the advice 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., a long-serving WritersServices freelance editor, has given writers over the years. The series covers Dialogue, doing further drafts, genre writing, planning, points of view, autobiography and travel and manuscript presentation.
  • 'Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don't see any.' Orson Scott Card in our Writers' Quotes.

13 August 2012 - What's new

August 2012
  • 'It's alarming to read in Publishers' Weekly that unit sales of print fiction backlist titles in the US fell 30% in the period ended 22 July compared to the same period last year, whilst non-fiction was 13% down. American publishers have suffered badly from the demise of Borders and this hasn't been offset by a switch to online backlist sales, as you might have expected...' News Review on the latest changes in the book trade.
  • Links to this week's top stories - Amazon sells more e-books than print titles in the UK; Self-Publishing: Vanity Publishing or Something Else?; The Bonfire of the Straw Men; Why social media isn't the magic bullet for self-epublished authors and Women On The Rise Among The World's Top-Earning Authors.
  • 'So what's it like being a writer today? At grass roots level I don't think it has changed at all from thousands of years ago. Good writers tell gripping stories; they always have done and always will do – it is the delivery method that has changed, but then it always has. Originally storytelling began as an oral tradition. Stories were eventually handwritten in order to preserve them.' Peter James in the Bookseller in our Comment column.
  • If you want editorial input from our professional editors, have a look at our 18 Services, especially our Editor's Report, Submission Critique and Children's Services. Also available is Copy editing and Manuscript Polishing, for authors who are not native English speakers and Manuscript Typing.
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is the Costa Short Story Award, closing on 7 September and open to all writers over 18 resident in the UK.
  • Our 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 has excelled herself in the latest summery entry in her Gourmet Single Traveller blog. Do you know how to dress a salad?
  • 'Fiction is not a dream. Nor is it guess work. It is imagining based on facts, and the facts must be accurate or the work of imagining will not stand up.' Margaret Culkin Banning in our Writers' Quotes.

6 August 2012 - What's new

August 2012
  • 'Maeve Binchy, who died this week at the age of 72, was one of those rare authors who is loved by everyone. Her warm, readable novels showed her great story-telling talent, but it was her wonderful personality which marked her out from many other successful authors...' News Review reports.
  • Links to this week's top stories - this week we have: The future of publishing is in the cupboard under the stairs and Why social media isn't the magic bullet for self-epublished authors.
  • Have a look at some very practical pages on the site on Making submissions and Finding an agent.
  • 'So what's it like being a writer today? At grass roots level I don't think it has changed at all from thousands of years ago. Good writers tell gripping stories; they always have done and always will do – it is the delivery method that has changed, but then it always has. Originally storytelling began as an oral tradition. Stories were eventually handwritten in order to preserve them...' Peter James in the Bookseller, quoted in our Comment column.
  • 'Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say and not giving a damn.' Gore Vidal, who died this week, in our Writers' Quotes

30 July 2012 - What's new

July 2012
  • 'The Little Brown UK paperback imprint Sphere has announced that it is setting up an online hub for crime, thriller and mystery e-books, commissioning new content as well as acquiring titles which have not previously been available in the UK, with the aim of becoming a "powerful marketing platform for digital-first titles".' News Review reports.
  • If you want editorial input from our professional editors, have a look at our Services, especially our Editor's Report, Submission Critique and Children's Services. Also available is Copy editing, Manuscript Typing and Indexing.
  • Our new feature providing links to interesting blogs or articles posted online, which will help keep you up to date with what's going on in the book world. This week: Bookseller groups disappointed by US Department of Justice settlement; The General Secretary of the Society of Authors in the UK on the threats to authors; and The Search is on for the Greatest American novelist.
  • Are you a poet who is trying to get your work published? Have a look at Getting your poetry published and there's also a review of Chris Hamilton-Emery of Salt Publshing's 101 Ways to Make Poems Sell, the best book on the subject.
  • 'If your main concern is looking over your shoulder for which writer might be a bigger hit than you, then you're not really concentrating on your core activity. It's not a race and it's not a contest. It's not the Olympics... Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies in The Times, quoted in our Comment column.
  • 'Poetry is the identity of all other knowledge, the blossom and fragrance of all human knowledge, human thoughts, human passions, emotions, language.' Samuel Taylor Coleridge in our Writers' Quotes.

23 July 2012 - What's new

July 2012
  • 'I like this age (68). Everything still works. I play squash twice a week. And I feel at peace with myself for the first time, in particular with my decision to be a writer. Writing never came naturally and I still have to force my hand to do it... Richard Ford in the Observer, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Our latest links to interesting blogs or articles posted online has produced the following: “Destroy Amazon!”: Rakuten Kobo and Kodansha's Tokyo Love-in and Penelope Trunk's How I got a big advance from a big publisher and self-published anyway.
  • 'The purchase of Author Solutions Inc by Pearson this week for $116m marks the first significant investment by an established publisher in a self-publishing service. Author Solutions was formed in 2007 from the merging of iUniverse, AuthorHouse and other related self-publishing services. Perhaps surprisingly in view of the booming self-publishing market, the company had been put up for sale earlier this year.' News Review on the latest acquisition news.
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is the National Poetry CompetitionAnnual poetry prize run by the UK-based Poetry Society established in 1978; accepts entries from all over the world; over 10,000 poems submitted each year, closing on 31 October, which attracts entries in English from all over the world.
  • Our checklist on Entering competitions helps you to review how you approach competitions and to make sure you give yourself the best possible chance of winning.
  • Our reviewer, 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., said of the The Arvon Book of Life Writing by Sally Cline and Carole Angier: 'Many people want to write about someone's life, perhaps their own, and there are courses to suit every level of interest, from university masters degrees to local college qualifications' and concluded that it was: 'a brisk and helpful guide on how to set about writing a life story... It is a sensible account of life writing from experienced practitioners of what is both art and craft, and I recommend it!'
  • 'The good ended happily, the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.' Oscar Wilde in our Writers' Quotes. Our enormous backlist of quotes contains a cornucopia of writers sayings.

16 July 2012 - What's new

July 2012
  • 'For the first time ever, the prestigious CILIP Carnegie and Greenaway medals were recently awarded to the same book, A Monster Calls. This book has had an extraordinary history which is capped by its double win. The author, Patrick Ness, had taken on the idea of the book from the very talented Siobhan Dowd, who died in 2008 from cancer after herself winning the Carnegie and writing a number of bestsellers...' News Review on children's publishing.
  • This week's Writing Opportunity is the Greenhouse Funny Prize for a funny children's project. You'll need to move fast because it closes on 30 July. It's open to unagented British and Irish writers.
  • Does your manuscript need Copy editing? Do you know the difference between copy editing and proof-reading? Divided by a common language? - are you wondering about the difference between American and British copy editing? Our new page on Getting your manuscript copy edited provides a useful overview and clarifies a new feature of our service, which enables you to get two versions of your copy edited manuscript, one showing the editor's changes in 'track changes' and one with the changes accepted.
  • Our new featured links are especially interesting this week: The Incredible Resilience of Books; Seth Godin's self-publishing experiment is over; Making E-books Is Harder Than It Looks; and $7,000 Fine for Sharing "WordPress For Dummies" on BitTorrent.
  • 'I don't like to talk about threats; I like to talk about opportunities, which is a big difference. I think everyone spending time talking about threats is wasting a lot of time and a lot of goodwill. The publishing industry is undergoing epochal changes because of the digital technology, but the digital technology is also affording the publishing world many opportunities that are unprecedented.' Alberto Vitale, former CEO of Random House Inc, in Publishing Perspectives, in our Comment column.
  • Our Health Hazards series is a unique 7-part series warning about the dangers to writers of Carpal Tunnel syndrome, eye problems and your working environment.
  • 'Why shouldn't truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has to make sense.' Mark Twain in our Writers' Quotes.

9 July 2012 - What's new

July 2012
  • 'New figures suggest that self-publishing output has played a significant part in the first growth in US title output in four years. Bowker figures project that print book output increased by 6% last year over the previous year, to an astonishing 328,259 titles, but if the self-publishing contribution is removed the market was flat...' News Review reports.
  • Links to this week's top stories Our new feature links to interesting blogs or articles posted online, which will help keep you up to date with what's going on in the book world: E-books are for porn but real books will survive, says award-winning author; 'Open access' move puts thousands of UK jobs at risk; Authors Guild Sees Return of Predatory Pricing if DoJ Deal Stands; and The Way Books Used to Be Sold by Tim Waterstone.
  • There's just time to enter the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, Britain's most prestigious prize for poets aged 11-17, closing on 31 July.

  • 'The writing itself has always felt like a bit of a compulsion. It's what I do, why I exist. My motivation in general is I can do this and I want to be able to take care of myself, my friends and family. That keeps me going - the idea that I can have career stability and I can look after people I care about… Amanda Hocking, bestselling self-published author of the Trylle Trilogy and the upcoming Watersong series, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Why do non-fiction books need an index? In The Ins and Outs of Indexing Joanne Phillips provides an answer, explains why it's a specialist job and why computers can't achieve the same result as a skilled indexer.
  • Success story - Darren Shan's first book, Ayuamarca, was published in 1999 by Orion and didn't have much impact. The sequel, Hell's Horizon, sold fewer copies than the first. But in January 2000, Shan released Cirque du Freak, the first book of The Saga of Darren Shan series in the UK and Ireland and this was the beginning of his tremendous success and as a YA (and, more recently, adult) horror writer.
  • 'The short story is as diverse and exciting a form as the novel, offering the condensed satisfaction of a good poem.' Sean O'Brien in our Writers' Quotes.

25 June 2012 - What's new

June 2012
  • 'The Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon seems unstoppable. The paperback and ebook editions have sold in excess of 2.75m copies, breaking all previous records, in the UK alone and the ebook is reckoned to have sold 4m copies worldwide. US sales are over 10m...' News Review reports.
  • This week's Writing Opportunity is a Mills and Boon and Harlequin competition for a romance, So You think you Can Write. Check it out now to make sure you have plenty of time to enter.
  • 'While no author's chosen subject matter should be dictated by a ruthless appraisal of what might sell books, it's always nice when a topic springs to mind that, on closer consideration, chimes with one's perception of the public mood. Payback Time focuses on a group of friends taking revenge on a bank they blame for their friend's suicide... Geraint Anderson, author of Payback Time in Bookbrunch, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Suzanne Joinson, who's just about to publish her first book, offers her tips to writers in advance of her session at the Writers and Artists How to Get Published conference.
  • Links of the week: Indies continue to decline on high street, Going to the Very Edge of the Known Writing Universe, Why the Waterstones/Amazon Deal is "Like Vichy France" and What Can Trade Publishers Learn from Fanfiction?
  • Rotten Rejections lists the famous writers who had their work rejected: The Diary of Anne Frank ('The girl doesn't, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the "curiosity" level.') and Lust for Life by Irving Stone (which was rejected 16 times, but found a publisher and went on to sell about 25 million copies) was pronounced: ' A long, dull novel about an artist.'
  • 'I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly.' Edgar Rice Burroughs in our Writers' Quotes.

18 June 2012 - What's new

June 2012
  • 'Last week's BookExpo AmericaBookExpo America, commonly referred to within the book publishing industry as BEA. The largest annual book trade fair in the United States in New York City seemed to show a resurgence amongst independent booksellers, until recently in steep decline. The American Booksellers Association reported that the number of member bookstores has increased from 1,512 to 1,567, and booksellers seem to have been voicing a new confidence about their role. Book buyer attendance was up 5% on last year.' News Review on news from the fair.
  • Links to this week's top stories, keeping you up to date with what's going on in the book world: Good Books Are Worth the Wait - Tim Schaffner in Publishing Perspectives asks why writers are in so much of a hurry and The Value of Self-Publishing is the "Blind Spot in the Market" - the Bowker figures show an astonishing 124,700 self-published titles in the total of 211,269  titles published in the US in 2011.
  • If you want editorial input from our professional editors, have a look at our Services, especially our Editor's Report, Submission Critique and Children's Services. Also available is Copy editing, Manuscript Typing and Indexing.
  • The Caine Prize for African Writing has come of age this year, with energetic chairing of the judges by Bernardine Evaristo and a further reaching-out to a wider African and international audience. This year the thirteenth 'African Booker' has produced an anthology, African Violet, which will be published in six African countries and consists of five shortlisted stories from the Caine Prize entries, and 10 short stories produced at the workshop held in South Africa in March 2012.
  • Our list of picture libraries is a good place to start if you're looking to source pictures for your book.
  • 'The Booker made me a lot of money. I didn't realise that all over the world, people will read a book just because it won the Booker prize. Not something I would do myself... But then one goes into some quite other, private region to produce a book. I think the Booker can drive people quite mad. That's why it's good to be detached from it...' Alan Hollinghurst, author of The Stranger's Child in the Guardian, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Why do non-fiction books need an index? In The Ins and Outs of Indexing 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 provides an answer, explains why it's a specialist job and why computers can't achieve the same result as a skilled indexer.
  • 'Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.' Rita Dove in our Writers' Quotes.

 

11 June 2012 - What's new

June 2012
  • Last week's Bookbrunch carried an interesting report on the recent Reader Organisation Conference. Jane Davis set up the first Get into Reading group in 2002, for young single mothers at a library in Birkenhead, Wirral, so creating a model that allows people of all reading abilities to come together to enjoy great literature, and to use that literature as a launch-pad for personal discussion...' News Review on a very worthwhile organisation.
  • Another very worthwhile thing is International Short Story Day, coming up fast on 20 June,  week on Wednesday.  Go to their website to find out how you can get involved.
  • Don't procrastinate! - 'Do you find it difficult to get started on your writing? Is it always easier to put off finishing that research/ starting that novel/embarking on the second draft? You are not alone, for many writers suffer from procrastination.' Chris HolifieldManaging director of WritersServices; spent working life in publishing,employed by everything from global corporations to start-ups; track record includes: editorial director of Sphere Books, publishing director of The Bodley Head, publishing director for start-up of upmarket book club, The Softback Preview, editorial director of Britain’s biggest book club group, BCA, and, most recently, deputy MD and publisher of Cassell & Co. She is also currently the Director of the Poetry Book Society; During all of this time aware of problems faced by writers, as publishing changed from idiosyncratic cottage industry, 'occupation for gentlemen', into corporate business of today. Writers encountered increasing difficulty in getting books edited or published. Authors create the books which are the raw material for the whole business. She believes it is time to bring them back to centre stage. looks at how to get yourself going.
  • 'After a few years of enjoying and thinking about electronic books, paper still has a very specific place in my world - in fact, it has regained some ground. The depthless grey of my Kindle screen and the gloss brightness of the iPad or iPhone are fine and good, but they are not the hearth-and-home experience... ' Nick Harkaway in the Bookseller, quoted in our Comment column.
  • 'So you want to write historical fiction? Your timing is good, because historical fiction is fashionable again after many years in the doldrums. In fact it's so popular that it has virtually reinvented itself as a category...' The last article in Chris Holifield's Categories series explores the market and approaches to Writing Historical Fiction.
  • Other articles in the series cover Writing Romance, Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy, Writing Crime Fiction and Writing Non-fiction.
  • 'What obsesses a writer starting out on a lifetime's work is the panic-stricken search for a voice of his own.' John Mortimer in our Writers' Quotes.

4 June 2012 - What's new

June 2012
  • 'It's been a big week for the Orange Prize for Fiction. First there was the announcement that Orange will no longer be sponsoring it after this year's Prize. This was certainly a big surprise, as it's generally been regarded as one of the most successful of all sponsorships and there had been no indication, in public at least, that anything had changed. It has been the longest-running arts sponsorship in the UK...' News Review on this week's big story.
  • This week's Writing Opportunity is the Manchester Poetry Prize, closing on 31 August, open internationally and with a First Prize of £10,000.
  • Our Inside Publishing  series provides a helpful introduction to publishing for authors. This extremely useful 19-part series has been revised to take account of changes in the publishing world.  Advances and royalties, The Relationship between agents and publishers, Subsidiary rights, The English-speaking publishing world, The Marketing department and The Financial relationship between writers and publishers can all be found on the site.
  • 'I worry so much about everything I write, I always think: "Is this the one that's a disaster?" Fortunately I've written enough, and didn't get successful with my first book so I've had experience with not selling very many copies.  I worry every single time, it's an awful experience, but hopefully it makes my writing better...' Patrick Ness, author of A Monster Calls and the Chaos Walking trilogy, in the Bookseller, quoted in our Comment column.
  • This week's Links to recent stories includes NY judge grants class status in Google book fight, James Daunt isn't a moron, Publishers should be proud of their legacy and UK Publisher's Association Accuses British Library Of 'Tawdry Theft' For Supporting More Reasonable Copyright .
  • 'The only obligation to which in advance we may hold a novel, without incurring the accusation of being arbitrary, is that it be interesting.' Henry James in our Writers' Quotes

28 May 2012 - What's new

May 2012
  • Our latest Success story  deals with Stephen Leather, who has had an interesting path to success. A thriller writer who has been writing for long enough to have produced 25 titles, he has diversified over his writing career, with three series characters and books in slightly different genres. But it is how he has used self-published ebooks to build his audience which is particularly interesting.
  • 'Shock horror announcement - That's not putting too strongly the chorus of disapproval which greeted the surprise announcement from James Daunt of Waterstones that he had agreed an alliance with Amazon which would see Waterstones selling Kindles in their shops and providing wi-fi acess so that customers can browse the shop's stock and then order ebooks on their Kindles.' News Review on the story of the week.
  • From our archive, five excerpts from Inspired Creative Writing by Alexander Gordon Smith from the brisk and entertaining 52 Brilliant Ideas series.
  • This week's links to topical stories: US agent Rosemary Stimola and the Changing World of Children's Books, Apple: U.S. e-book lawsuit 'fundamentally flawed' and Publishers Association Director Mollet attacks 'grotesque' tactics of copyright opponents.
  • 'The sprawling fan fiction groups of the internet cover everything from films to TV shows to pop stars, and the strongest tend to cluster around imaginative teenage fiction such as Harry Potter and the Twilight series. It's from these groups that Fifty Shades of Grey has emerged... James Bridle in the Observer in our Comment column.
  • Our fictionalised stories show how our eighteen services have helped writers give you some idea of what they can do. Screenplay assessment fictionalised story - 'Sarah had always been fascinated by the cinema. As a little girl going to see a film was her favourite treat and she was also interested in how movies got to be made. Her own favourites were the films with really good stories, like Titantic and Avatar, but she also liked the ones which were based on books, like Lord of the Rings and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo...'
  • 'There are three reasons for becoming a writer. The first is that you need the money; the second, that you have something to say that you think the world should know; and the third is that you can't think what to do with the long winter evenings.' Quentin Crisp in our Writers' Quotes.

21 May 2012 - What's new

May 2012
  • 'I wouldn't use the word "fun" to describe the process (of writing). It's like someone has said "OK, you have to scrub St Paul's Cathedral. Now here's your toothbrush." It looks overwhelming, but you think in terms of scrubbing one brick at a time. One chapter, one sentence, one word at a time, and eventually you'll get there.' George R R Martin in The Times in our Comment column.
  • Links to recent stories Our new feature links to interesting blogs or articles posted online, which will help keep you up to date with what's going on in the book world. This week: How a book is born, It doesn't matter what e-books cost to make and Serious Non-fiction in the Digital Age.
  • If you want editorial input from our professional editors, have a look at our 18 Services, especially our Editor's Report, Submission Critique and Children's Services. Also available is Copy editing, Manuscript Typing and what we call Manuscript Polishing - getting your manuscript ready for publication if you are not a native English speaker and need some help to get it right.
  • 'As if there wasn't enough change going on in the publishing world at the moment, the British government has decided to take a hand in academic publishing, having just concluded that a new model would work better. For years publishers have undertaken this kind of scholarly publishing which is financed by book and journal sales, yet now government minister David Willetts is suggesting that open access is the way forward.' News Review on academic publishing.
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is the H G Wells Short Story Competition, closing on 22 July and especially welcoming to younger writers.
  • Bob's Journal of a Virtually Unpublished Writer offers entertaining insights into the life of an aspiring writer. It's a WritersServices exclusive and you can go back to the start in 2001 and right through to its end in December 2007, when he reflected: 'Still haven't broken through my writer's block. No longer even sure I want to. Why write? What's writing for? Have absolutely no idea. How can one add anything worthwhile to the work of writers like Oscar Wilde? Yet the internet grows more vast by the minute with the words of the millions who are certain their opinions are worth airing.'
  • 'When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.' Ernest Hemingway in our fantastic Writers' Quotes.

 

14 May 2012 - What's new

May 2012
  • 'J K Rowling’s Pottermore site seems to have succeeded all expectations. The ebook store has sold £3m ($4.83) worth of Harry Potter ebooks in its first month. Sales appear to have been driven by pent-up demand and sales values are high because many fans are buying the complete ebook bundle, which is priced at £38.64 ($62.25)...' News Review reports.
  • Calling all travel writers! Our Writing Opportunity of the week is the Bradt/Independent on Sunday Travel Writing Competition, open to all British residents and closing on 15 June.
  • An Editor's Advice is a useful series is based on the advice 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., a long-serving WritersServices freelance editor, has given writers over the years. The series covers  Dialogue, doing further drafts, genre writingplanning, points of view, autobiography and travel and manuscript presentation.
  • ‘Although it may sound surprising, neither Amazon nor Apple are 2.0 oriented companies. And this is their weakest point. Both were born at the end of the analog era and although their corporate cultures may be highly innovative, their strategic focus is still very traditional. Both have created totally restricted ecosystems that only permit limited co-operation with other companies.' Javier Celaya in Publishing Perspectives, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Our Contract vetting service may be just what you need if you've got an agreement with a publisher but are now faced with dealing with the contract.  Our contracts expert can advise and help you make sure you get a good deal.
  • 'Authors with a mortgage never get writer's block.' Mavis Cheek in our Writers' Quotes.

7 May 2012 - What's new

May 2012
  • 'An article in a recent edition of the Bookseller focused on the London agency Conville and Walsh, a relative newcomer to the agency business but a successful one. How is the world of agenting being affected by the changes in the book world, and what impact does this have on writers? News Review reports on agenting in a changing world.
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is the new 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 Children's Novel Competition, open to children's novels in any genre by previously unpublished women novelists. First Prize £5,000 and an entry fee of £25.
  • 'I want to make sure that a reader could figure out every twist in the book from what went before. I try really hard to give those clues and suggestions double or triple meanings and steer (the reader) in a different direction. But the opportunity, if one chose to figure out what was going to happen, should be there...' Jeffrey Deaver, author of XO and 29 other thrillers, in the Bookseller, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Does your manuscript need  Copy editing?  Do you know the difference between copy editing and proof-reading? Divided by a common language? - are you wondering about the difference between American and British copy editing? Our new page on Getting your manuscript copy edited provides a useful overview and clarifies a new feature of our service, which enables you to get two versions of your copy edited manuscript, one showing the editor's changes in 'track changes' and one with the changes accepted.
  • Links to recent stories - Scale and synergy do not drive publishing, people do, Why Writers Need Publishers…Or Do They? and Why smart authors are cutting Amazon out.
  • 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 offers her tips on Getting through the Slush-pile, drawing on her own experience as an editorial assistant reading through it.
  • And the same Kay Gale now has her own blog about gourmet food, The Single Gourmet and Traveller, which is highly recommended for all foodies.
  • 'Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer.'  Ray Bradbury in our Writers' Quotes.

30 April 2012 - What's new

April 2012
  • 'Erotica, Romance, Crime and Fantasy bullish - So what do these four areas of genre publishing have in common? Well, they’re all in demand at the moment, in some cases after a period in the doldrums. How much is this down to ebooks? Well, hard to say, but with romance in particular this is certainly part of the equation.' News Review looks at genre publishing.
  • Links to recent stories Our new feature links to interesting blogs or articles posted online, which will help keep you up to date with what's going on in the book world: Larry Kirshbaum shares many more details on how Amazon Publishing will work, Lack Of Pulitzer Didn’t Hurt Book Sales and Publishers Beware, more creative destruction on the way.
  • If you want editorial input from our professional editors, have a look at our 18 Services, especially our Editor's Report,   Submission Critique and Children's Services.  Also available is Copy editing, Manuscript Typing and what we call Manuscript Polishing - getting your manuscript ready for publication if you are not a native English speaker and need some help to get it right.
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is the 18 competitions which are part of the Winchester Writers' Conference and which cover just about every type of writing.
  • ‘This has been a tumultuous year for the book business, a time of profound change in the way books are distributed and read. It is no exaggeration to say that the widespread acceptance of digital devices and a simultaneous contraction of shelf-space in stores qualify as a historic shift...' Peter Osnos, founder and editor at large of PublicAffairs Books in The Atlantic, quoted in our Comment column.
  • What does it take to market yourself successfully as a jobbing writer today?  Joanne Phillips provides the answer, which is that the internet is a fertile ground for writers. You just need to know how to make it work for you...
  • 'Beware of self-indulgence. The romance surrounding the writing profession carries several myths: that one must suffer in order to be creative; that one must be cantankerous and objectionable in order to be bright; that ego is paramount over skill; that one can rise to a level from which one can tell the reader to go to hell. These myths, if believed, can ruin you. If you believe you can make a living as a writer, you already have enough ego.' David Brin in our Writers' Quotes.

23 April 2012 - What's new

April 2012
  • 'In the halls of the London Book Fair, publishers and others continued to agonise about whether the e-book agency model can survive globally in the wake of the US Department of Justice lawsuit (see News Review last week) and there was also widespread frustration at the delay of the Nook device launching in the UK...' News Review reports from LBF.
  • Read Michael Legat’s 19  Factsheets on everything from plotting your novel to publishers’ contracts.
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is The Biographers' Club Tony Lothian Prize, which has a deadline of 1 August and is open to uncommissioned writers working on a biography.
  • ‘I don’t believe in writer’s block. Think about it—when you were blocked in college and had to write a paper, didn’t it always manage to fix itself the night before the paper was due? Writer’s block is having too much time on your hands. If you have a limited amount of time to write, you just sit down and do it... ' Jodi Piccoult, author of Lone Wolf, in our Comment column.
  • Publicising your book - gaining publicity is one of the biggest hurdles a new fiction or non-fiction writer faces. After all, without it, no-one will even know your book exists. In this article, media agent Alison Smith-Squire offers some top tips.
  • Links to recent stories - our new feature links to interesting blogs or articles posted online, which will help keep you up to date with what's going on in the book world: Love, Sex & Romance -In a move to build community and learn more about its customers, American publisher Sourcebooks is launching a romance e-book club. Trending: clash of the book titles- What's worse than seeing that someone else has come up with the same book title as yours? But there's no copyright in titles, as John Walsh points out.
  • 'Poetry is all that is worth remembering in life.' William Hazlitt in our Writers' Quotes.

16 April 2012 - What's new

April 2012
  • 'At the beginning of the week it looked like the London Book Fair would be the story of the week. But by mid-week a tsunami had swept through the book world and there was only one story dominating the headlines. In a move which may ultimately affect publishing across the world, the American Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit alleging that Apple and five publishers (Hachette, Macmillan, Penguin, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins) conspired to limit competition for the pricing of e-books when they moved to the agency model in early 2010 in a "collective effort to end retail price competition by coordinating their transition to an agency model across all retailers".  News Review reports on this astonishing week.
  • A Library in Your Living Room - Oxford University Press have just announced that public libraries in England, Wales and Scotland will be able to provide library users with access to a myriad of fantastic reference works and language collections. Anyone with membership to these libraries will be able to use their library card to get instant free access in the library or at home.
  • Is your progress as a writer stymied by the fact that you have old typewritten or even handwritten manuscripts that you can't face retyping onto a computer?  Our Typing service can help with this.
  • 'Before my first book, Cityboy, was published I had foolishly assumed that an author's job was to write books. What a naïve buffoon I was! Having had three books published, it is now clear that writing stuff is only half the battle… at best. Unless you are already an established author or have written something so outrageously fantastic that it makes Catch-22 look like insipid balderdash you need to get out there and promote the hell out of it. Geraint Anderson, author of just-published Just Business, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Our reviewer, 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., said of the The Arvon Book of Life Writing by Sally Cline and Carole Angier: 'Many people want to write about someone’s life, perhaps their own, and there are courses to suit every level of interest, from university masters degrees to local college qualifications'  and concluded that it was: 'a brisk and helpful guide on how to set about writing a life story... It is a sensible account of life writing from experienced practitioners of what is both art and craft, and I recommend it!'
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is The Global Short Story Competition, with a monthly prize leading up to an annual one, open to writers across the world and with an entry fee of £5.
  • 'I don't know much about creative writing programmes. But they're not telling the truth if they don't teach, one, that writing is hard work, and, two, that you have to give up a great deal of life, your personal life, to be a writer.' Doris Lessing in our  Writers' Quotes.

9 April 2012 - What's new

April 2012
  • 'The annual Books & Consumers research into the British book market was delivered to a highly interested audience last week. Rarely can there have been so much change in one year and the assembled bookseller and publishers were keen to hear what had actually been going on.' News Review joined the audience.
  • Update to our links Our 23 lists of recommended links have just been updated with many new links to sites of special interest to writers. these range from Writers' Online Services to Picture libraries and from Software for writers to Writers' Magazines & Sites. There's a new Writers' Blogs listing which needs populating, so please send your suggestions in.
  • 'Oddly enough, despite the explosion of new formats and new media, the fundamental things apply. Vanity Fair confirms that the grammar of writing and publishing is unchanged. Authors work alone in their private space. Eventually, their work is ready to be seen by readers...' Robert McCrum in the Observer, quoted in our Comment column.
  • If you want editorial input from our professional editors, have a look at our 18 Services, especially our Editor's ReportSubmission Critique and Children's Services.  Also available is Copy editing, Manuscript Typing and what we call Manuscript Polishing - getting your manuscript ready for publication if you are not a native English speaker and need some help to get it right.
  • Links to stories of the week Our new feature links to interesting blogs or articles posted online, which will help keep you up to date with what's going on in the book world. This week it's Discoverability and the New World of Book PR and Why The 'Missing 20th Century' Of Books Is Even Worse Than It Seems.
  • 'Put down everything that comes into your head and then you're a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff's worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.' Colette in our Writers' Quotes.

2 April 2012 - What's new

April 2012
  • 'The launch of the Harry Pottter books in ebook form last week was described by the Bookseller’s Philip Jones as ‘digital publishing's Beatles moment’. He said ‘These will be huge – they are a game changer because of the power of the Potter brand.’ (The Harry Potter series has sold 450m print copies worldwide to date.)' News Review reports.
  • Links to stories of the week Our new feature links to interesting blogs or articles posted online, which will help keep you up to date with what's going on in the book world: The lost history of Fifty Shades of Grey - Galleycat delves into the origins of E L James's bestselling book as Twilight fan fiction in a fascinating tracking of its origins. What's the greatest fear for publishers, Amazon or piracy? Mike Shatzkin on the wider implications of Pottermore's approach to selling the Harry Potter ebooks.
  • Finally we have the winner of this year's Diagram Prize.
  • 'I think there are probably some writers who are more cine-literate than in the past and there are many who write, thankfully, in a very un-cinematic way. What's also the case is that the market for books into films has increased and the awareness of the possibility of a book being turned into a film is much greater than it used to be. David Heyman, producer of the eight Harry Potter films, in the Bookseller, quoted in our Comment column.

  • In Latest changes in the book trade 7 Chris HolifieldManaging director of WritersServices; spent working life in publishing,employed by everything from global corporations to start-ups; track record includes: editorial director of Sphere Books, publishing director of The Bodley Head, publishing director for start-up of upmarket book club, The Softback Preview, editorial director of Britain’s biggest book club group, BCA, and, most recently, deputy MD and publisher of Cassell & Co. She is also currently the Director of the Poetry Book Society; During all of this time aware of problems faced by writers, as publishing changed from idiosyncratic cottage industry, 'occupation for gentlemen', into corporate business of today. Writers encountered increasing difficulty in getting books edited or published. Authors create the books which are the raw material for the whole business. She believes it is time to bring them back to centre stage. looked at the subject of Creative Commons and how these special licenses might transform authors' capacity to the license use of their books for all sorts of purposes. The rest of the series covers Bookselling, Publishing,  Print on Demand and the Long Tail, Self-publishing - career suicide or 'really great', Writers' Routes to their audiences and Copyright.

  • 'The only reason for being a professional writer is that you just can't help it.' Leo Rosten in our Writers' Quotes.

     

26 March 2012 - What's new

March 2012
  • 'I’m afraid we can’t escape Amazon in the news at the moment. In Publishing Perspectives Bryce Milligan, the publisher of small American indie Wings Press, asks whether Amazon’s philanthropic grants are not just helping along their company aim of overwhelming the competition. The independent Publishers Group of small publishers is currently engaged in a battle with the Internet giant. The options don’t look good – either trade with Amazon at a discount, which means the publisher will actually lose money, or don’t trade with them at all...' News Review reports.
  • Links to stories of the weekOur new feature links to interesting blogs or articles posted online, which will help keep you up to date with what's going on in the book world: The New Press - 20 years of publishing in the public interest and now they have a bestseller and Sourcebooks announces Agile model, which allows for the rapid and interactive development of work by its authors, where the content evolves through a partnership between the author and their community.
  • Real Time Web for Old Time Books: the Benefit of Social Media for Publishers and Authors - Fauzia Burke explores the online activities you can do in real time -- from status updates on Facebook, to microblogging on Twitter to uploading photos and videos on other social media sites. If you want to explore how social networking can help you market your book, her article provides a starting-point.
  • ‘One reason why first-time novelists are frequently turned down by agents and publishers is because they tend to regard freedom of expression as a permit to waffle on, page after page, about nothing in particular. Their manuscripts lack rigour and economy, and this reveals a common failing in the creative mind-set of beginners: too much allowance is made for the gratification of every expressive urge that springs to mind...' Roland Vernon, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is the Authors' Foundation awards from the Society of Authors, in nine categories, open to British writers who fulfil the criteria.
  • 'I've always believed in writing without a collaborator, because when two people are writing the same book, each believes he gets all the worries and only half the royalties.' Agatha Christie in our  Writers' Quotes.

19 March 2012 - What's new

March 2012
  • 'It’s a sign of the times that previously unknown British author E L James has topped the New York Times bestseller list with an erotic romance, Fifty Shades of Grey. The book was published in a print edition but the vast majority of sales were in ebook. Vintage US are releasing new ebook versions of the trilogy on Monday while their first print in paperback will be 750,000.' News Review has the story.
  • Does your manuscript need Copy editing?  Our new page on Getting your manuscript copy edited provides a useful overview and clarifies a new feature of our service, which enables you to get two versions of your copy edited manuscript, one showing the editor's changes in 'track changes' and one with the changes accepted. If you're not a native English speaker, you might be interested in our Manuscript Polishing service, which helps you make sure that your written English is correct.
  • This week's links to stories of the week include the Department of Justice’s confusing lawsuit against the five of the Big Six publishing companies and Apple Inc, a Huffington Post story from the UK about why libraries are worth saving and after analysing 5,750,000 books on Goodreads, Otis Chandler shares his insights on the evolving nature of book discovery.
  • 'The bit between the writer and reader is called publishing. We need to think of copyright in an imaginative way. Publishers are very creative about formats for books, through covers and marketing campaigns, but we are not that creative about the product. The creativity there seems to go on before we receive the product. We can think what we might make from the copyright and from the brilliance of working with an author.' Stephen Page, MD of Faber and FaberClick for Faber and Faber Publishers References listing, at the Bookseller's Futurebook conference, in our Comment column.
  • What does it take to market yourself successfully as a jobbing writer today? Joanne Phillips provides the answer, which is that the internet is a fertile ground for writers. You just need to know how to make it work for you...
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is the Wasafiri New Writing Prizeopen to anyone worldwide who has not published a complete book  for creative submissions in one of three categories: Poetry, Fiction or Life Writing.
  • 'All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon which one can neither resist nor understand.' George Orwell in our Writers' Quotes.

12 March 2012 - What's new

March 2012
  • 'With the world’s top children book fair, Bologna, starting on the 19th March, all eyes are on this lucrative and expanding area of the publishing market. This is partly because across the world parents have continued to invest in books for their children and in their children’s education at a time when general bookselling has been affected by recession. Children’s publishers are subject to less uncertainty than their adult counterparts and can continue to invest in the long term.' News Review reports.
  • The 2011 Diagram Prize - Now's your chance to catch up with this year's shortlist of six barmy titles, and to go to the Bookseller's site to cast your own vote. Ranging from Mr Andoh's Pennine Diary: Memoirs of a Japanese Chicken Sexer in 1935 Hebden Bridge to Estonian Sock Patterns All Around the World, this is a vintage year.
  • Our Inside Publishing series provides a helpful introduction to publishing for authors. This extremely useful 19-part series has been revised to take account of changes in the publishing world. Advances and royalties, The Relationship between agents and publishers, Subsidiary rights, The English-speaking publishing world, The Marketing department and The Financial relationship between writers and publishers can all be found on the site.
  • 'I can't do fantasy. When I read C S Lewis I just don't get it. I can walk into the cupboard but I can't walk out of it into the snow. I like historical facts, evidence, real stories. There are so many vampires now, there is a lot of dross as well as good stuff. But take J K Rowling or Philip Pullman, it is amazing what these people have done... Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse, in The Times, quoted in our Comment column.
  • British Library Web Archive - We feel very honoured that the British Library asked to archive www.writersservices.com in its web archive. It was initially archived on 15 October 2009 and has been updated at six-monthly intervals ever since.
  • ‘That’s the thing about a film script. It doesn’t matter how much of your heart and soul you put into it, it’s still an instruction manual, and if someone doesn’t make it, it doesn’t have a purpose.’ David Nicholls in our Writers' Quotes.

 

5 March 2012 - What's new

March 2012
  • 'This week’s there’s an interesting story from the US about writer Kate Alcott, whose first novel The Dressmaker has just sold 35,000 copies in hardback and been sold for translation in five countries...  But, as News Review explains, Kate Alcott was actually a pseudonym and her story shows why new authors may have an advantage over previously published ones.
  • Links to stories of the week - Our new feature links to interesting blogs or articles posted online, which will help keep you up to date with what's going on in the book world. This week, it's all about Amazon: How to counter Amazon: Create a one-World Book Alliance - A global answer to Amazon and Amazon, Innovation, and the Rewards of the Free Market from the US Authors' Guild.
  • Are you having a problem with Making Submissions? Here is our page on Your submission package and we can also help with our Submission Critique service. You could also think about having a report, our Editor's Report will help you with a professional editorial assessment of your work.
  • 'How could the author who had cut out ALL the middle-men with the invention of Pottermore, jump back onto the ship she appeared to have left aground? The answer is relatively simple, but one often neglected in a world of Kindle-mania. Rowling wants the new book to be a success: and success is not just measured in units sold...' Philip Jones, Futurebook, the Bookseller, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is the MsLexia Women's Short Story Competition, open to women all over the world and closing on 19 March.
  • Bob's Journal of a Virtually Unpublished Writer offers entertaining insights into the life of an aspiring writer. It's a WritersServices exclusive and you can go back to the start in 2001 and right through to its end in December 2007, when he reflected: 'Still haven’t broken through my writer’s block. No longer even sure I want to. Why write? What’s writing for? Have absolutely no idea. How can one add anything worthwhile to the work of writers like Oscar Wilde? Yet the internet grows more vast by the minute with the words of the millions who are certain their opinions are worth airing.'
  • 'Prose on certain occasions can bear a great deal of poetry; on the other hand, poetry sinks and swoons under a moderate weight of prose.' Walter Savage Landor in our Writers' Quotes.

 

27 February 2012

February 2012