Skip to Content

What's New in 2014

2014

22 December 2014 - What's new

December 2014
  • 'It's been a pretty good year for publishers. Bertelsmann revenues were the highest for seven years, although admittedly its profits were down and the acquisition of Penguin is part of the mix. But children's and YA publishing is the driver of growth. American figures show that this year will be the best-ever for kids' books, with publishers paying more and more attention to this market. In the US ebook sales of children's books have boomed by an extraordinary 52.7%...' News Review
  • Our article on Working with an agent gives a useful introduction to what you get out of it and how to handle it.
  • 'I've always been interested in those painful moments between people which can't be fully articulated, and even if they were fully articulated might become even more unbearable. There's no way out. Nor do I think in situations like that there's that horrible American word 'closure'. Because for all the sexual liberation, the great social changes through the 60s and 70s, one meets loads of people who seem to have been married for ever...' Ian McEwan, talking about The Children Act in the Sunday Times magazine, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Are you a fan of quotes? Our pages on More Writers' quotes and Even More Quotes take you back through our wonderful selection.
  • Our links of the week: a thoughtful view, Amazon Not as Unstoppable as It Might Appear - NYTimes.com; a positive approach to the possibilities of libraries, which are essential throughout the world, Flexible and digitised, our libraries have a bright future - Telegraph; an update from the Children's Book Summit in New York, Forget Your Preconceptions About Teenagers and Reading; and a useful corrective view on the importance of websites, Why Book Marketing (Still) Starts and Ends with the Website | Digital Book World.
  • 'That's the essential goal of the writer: you slice out a piece of yourself and slap it down on the desk in front of you. You try to put it on paper, try to describe it in a way that the reader can see and feel and touch. You paste all your nerve endings into it and then give it out to strangers who don't know you or understand you.' Stephen Leigh in our Writers' Quotes.
  • Season's greetings!

15 December 2014 - What's new

December 2014
  • There's been quite a lot of talk about ghostwriting this last week. It's been sparked off by the revelation that Zoella Sugg, Britain's biggest female vlogger, had a ghostwriter working on her first novel, Girl Online. What adds urgency and focus to this story is that Zoella's book shot to prominence, selling 78,109 copies in the first week, and thus outselling the first week record of any other author, including bestselling writers such as Dan Brown, J K Rowling and others. Penguin knew they were on to a sure thing when they signed up Zoella's book. She currently has 1.9m Facebook fans, 2.55 Twitter followers, and no less than 3.49m Instagram disciples for her blog, which is devoured by teenage girls. News Review
  • In our archive we have a series of six articles on writing in different categories, including SF and Fantasy, Crime, Romance, for Children, Historical fiction, Memoir and Non-fiction, providing some background on how to approach different genres.
  • ‘I didn't follow the sf rules and conventions unless I felt like it; essentially I went on writing what I wanted to write, and they could call it what they liked. To publish genre fiction of course branded me as a sub-literary writer in the eyes of the literary establishment, critics, award-givers, etc., but the great potentialities of the field itself, the open-mindedness of its editors and critics, the intelligence of its readers, compensated for that. Genre fiction was looked at as a ghetto, but I wonder now if realist fiction, sealing itself off in the glum suburbs of a dysfunctional society, denying the uses of imagination, was the ghetto...' Ursula Le Guin, author of The Left Hand of Darkness and Lavinia in Salon, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Our 19 editorial services will help you get your book published or prepare it for publication. Which service? provides a guide to the individual services, which range from reports to copy editing, submission critiques to blurb and synopsis writing.
  • Our links this week: Are Wattpad already too far ahead? Amazon goes head to head with Wattpad in battle for fanfic writers | Books | The Guardian; a useful article for indie authors, Should You Hire a Professional Book Publicist? - Publishing Perspectives; a cheering report from bricks and mortar bookselling, James Daunt: the man who saved Waterstones - ES Magazine - Life & Style - London Evening Standard; and, tying in with our News Review story, How Much Can You Fake in Publishing?
  • 'I like to live in a nice house. I like to play to a big audience. A lot of people enjoy the stories. I don't think that's anything to get all pumped up about, and I don't think it's anything to get depressed about.' James Patterson in our Writers' Quotes.

8 December 2014 - What's new

December 2014
  • 'Two extremely different but very successful novels have launched new book-writing careers. On the more traditional side there is Milena Busquets' This Too Shall Pass, a thinly-fictionalised second novel about her relationship with her mother, the publisher Esther Busquets, who developed the Catalan family publishing house, Lumen, into a successful business with an international reputation for literary publishing, and died in 2012. Milena's book is now sold in 26 countries and will be publishing in the UK and the US next spring...' News Review
  • This week's Writing Opportunity is the Skylark Literary Magical Competition for new, unagented and unpublished fiction authors who are writing for middle-grade (aged 8-12) readers. It's closing on 24 December.
  • Our Children's Editorial Services offer a Reader's and Editor's Report and Copy editing, all from expert children's editors.
  • Thinking of becoming an indie author and publishing your own book? 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' fantastically useful WritersServices Self-publishing Guide consists of ten articles which guide you through self-publishing from the writer's point of view, with many useful tips and a lot of good up-to-the-minute advice.
  • 'I grew up in London for the first 10 years, then my parents divorced, which was agonising. But it was while I was at boarding-school that I made the connection between putting my mind into some imaginative world and finding solace for homesickness and sadness. If I did that, I felt better. It would be like crying. I discovered this miraculous thing that has held true all my life, which is that writing can take me out of myself to such an extent that it's a great palliative for bad times. Rose Tremain, author of Restoration and The American Lover, in the Sunday Times magazine, quoted in our Comment  column.
  • The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, the subject of our last Success Story, has been chosen by British chain Waterstones as its Book of the Year. See our other Success Stories, which over the years have included newcomers like Evie Wyld and big sellers such as Darren Shan.
  • Links of the week: a riveting and rather scary interview, which makes essential reading, Andrew Keen's dark web | The Bookseller; a major breakthrough for scientists, academisc and students, Nature.com research papers made freely shareable | The Bookseller; are publishers only buying bestsellers? Are book publishers blockbustering themselves into oblivion? - The Globe and Mail; a new appraoch of writers helping each other, Mentoring helps close publishing 'chasm' | The Bookseller; does it make sense to combine bookshops and libraries, Deborah Emin's Theory: Integrating Libraries and Bookstores; and that annual jolly, the Bad Sex in Fiction Award.
  • 'Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.' Leonard Cohen in our Writers' Quotes.

1 December 2014 - What's new

December 2014
  • ‘Twenty years as a teacher, ten years in educational research and five years of directing an educational charity, and in all that time, I hadn't published any fiction or poetry at all. I'd always had a feeling that if life ever did allow me a clear run at creative writing, I might just be able to do something with it. But by 2004, with the charity going nowhere fast, I decided to make my own opportunities rather than wait for them to come to me...' Bruce Harris's Writing Short Fiction: A Personal Journey is about how he worked his way towards setting up the fantastic new website Writing Short Fiction.
  • 'I hope I never condescend to the audience. I think you should write as if people who are smarter than you are will read it, because they are out there... I don't know where these great governing clichés (about writing) come from - that you have to follow a convention, or that the first sentence has to hook the reader in. That's just poison. So much of the time I spend teaching, I actually spend unteaching. I think my childhood made me very aware of language. I was interested in writing before I really had any conception that there were professional writers. I just did it for the pleasure of it...' Marilynne Robinson, author of Housekeeping and Lila, in the Sunday Telegraph's Stella, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Suzy Jenvey, vastly experienced children's editorial director and now agent, has written a special series for WritersServices, the four-part The Essential Guide to Writing for Children. The first article looks at the all-important question of age groups and what you should be aware of in writing for each one. The second part is - Before You Write: What is My Story Going to be? The third part deals with Starting to Write and the fourth part is about Submitting Your Work to Agents and Editors.
  • 'It is sad to read about the death at 94 of the highly-respected and much- loved P D James. Most people know her as an author and her body of work has given vast enjoyment to a great many people. At the age of 93, she said she wanted to write just one more crime novel. She will be remembered by many as a friend and I am one of those who had the privilege of knowing her from when I was her paperback editor many years ago...' News Review
  • P D James memorably said: 'What the detective story is about is not murder but the restoration of order.'
  • Links of the week: expert agents from the Committee of the Authors Agents Association give their views, BookBrunch - The advocacy of a good agent; authors offer book trade a helping hand, Authors Sign Up to Raise Barnes & Noble's Black Friday Sales - NYTimes.com; a thought-provoking article on copyright, Why Copyright Needs to Be Defended - Publishing Perspectives; AAA's new guidelines 'promote good practice' for self-publishing | The Bookseller; and Kobo Sees Opportunities for Self-publishing in Europe - Publishing Perspectives.
  • ‘Tell the readers a story! Because without a story, you are merely using words to prove you can string them together in logical sentences.' Anne McCaffrey in our Writers' Quotes.

 

24 November 2014 - What's new

November 2014
  • A new article in the Talking to publishers series covers How-to books for experienced writers - by experienced writers: 'In reality, no writer can exist for ever in a comfort cocoon of familiar marketplaces since editors are constantly changing, publishers frequently alter their focus, and all too often published authors find themselves redundant. That's why it's necessary for relatively new or middle list authors to be constantly re-inventing themselves to stay ahead of these market changes...'
  • To find out what editors are looking for, have a look at the Talking to publishers series, with contributions from the editors of lists which deal with books for writers, children's books, Young Adult, a paranormal list and Christian AlternativeAn Imprint Of John Hunt Publishing. A space at the edge where the light shines through..
  • 'Two interesting pieces of news from the last week show that publishing - of both the traditional and the new variety - is stronger than you might think. In China the second Shanghai International Children's Book Fair has attracted 250 exhibitors from 25 countries, with 6,000 Chinese and international business visitors and 20,000 Chinese consumers expected to attend This new Fair offers a real challenge to the international children's rights fair in Bologna...' News Review
  • From our Archive: 'Indeed, what is a ‘book life'? Author Jeff VanderMeer sees the ‘book' as any creative project requiring text, be it a traditional print book, an e-book or a podcast. The aim is to do things that support that book life in a positive way rather than undermining it. And the point of Booklife is to provide a strategic and tactical guide to being a writer in contemporary times. It is not a how-to guide to creating a blog or website, nor is it an instructional manual about writing. Instead, Booklife is a more subtle examination of the business of being a writer, intended to help the reader to create a modus operandi that works for them' Our reviewer looks at Jeff VanderMeer's Booklife.
  • ‘Beginners' failures are often the result of trying to work with strong feelings and ideas without having found the images to embody them, or without even knowing how to find the words and string them together. Ignorance of English vocabulary and grammar is a considerable liability to a writer of English. The best cure for it is, I believe, reading. Ursula K Le Guin , author of the classic The Left Hand of Darkness and Dancing at the Edge of the World on Brain Picking, quoted in our Comment column.
  • To find a mass of useful material on the site, try this page - Advice for Writers.
  • This week's links: a summary from authors' rights campaigner Hugh Howey, Amazon and Hachette Come to Terms | Hugh Howey; the views of a bestselling author, Dan Brown on the Writing Life as a Global Megaseller - Publishing Perspectives; views from the future front, Curiouser and curiouser: What we discovered at FutureBook 2014 | The Bookseller; a new perspective on SF, Virtual Sci-Fi Book Festival Makes Backlist Sexy Again - Publishing Perspectives; and, for light relief, Shortlist Announced for 2014 Bad Sex in Fiction Award.
  • 'The trouble with science fiction is that you can write about everything: time, space, all the future, all the past, all of the universe, any kind of creature imaginable. That's too big. It provides no focus for the artist. An artist needs, in order to function, some narrowing of focus. Read more.' Philip Klass in our Writers' Quotes.

 

17 November 2014 - What's new

November 2014

10 November 2014 - What's new

November 2014
  • Latest figures from the States suggest that readers are not parting with their print books, in spite of the growth in ebook sales, which have reached $8.5 billion in value worldwide. In the US the figures show that 23% of all male adult readers and 33% of females ones read ebooks. But global print still stands at $53.9 billion so there's a lot of catching up for ebooks to do to overtake, let alone wipe out, print books. News Review on why American readers are loyal to print.
  • ‘My audience is someone similar to who I was when I got started with serious reading: a young person - I was 19 - who can simply read... My students at Columbia I teach to read. If you can be a good reader and can think that reading and literature are great pursuits, you can perhaps teach yourself to write. This week's Comment is from Richard Ford, author of Let Me Be Frank With You in the Observer.
  • Talking to publishers is our nine-part series of interviews and artilces from the editors of various publishing lists lists, showing you exactly what they're looking for. The nine cover historical books, young adult, self-help and several more.
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is the ITV This Morning Novel Writing Competition, run with Curtis BrownSee Curtis Brown listing and with representation by them offered. It's open only to UK residents though and you'll need to move fast as it closes on 14 November.
  • Top Ten Tips for Non-fiction writers is a useful checklist from a creative wriitng teacher.
  • This week's links: 23 authors from the Andrew Lownie Agency write about their own work habits, What Are Your Writing Habits? - Publishing Perspectives; a longer view on Amazon, Seattle News and Events | The Perks, Pitfalls, and Paradoxes of Amazon Publishing; the publishing industry is only now feeling the force of technological change, The ebook industry needs to make reading more social; the changing market in English-language publishing, Hot Button Issues for English-Language Publishers in 2014 - Publishing Perspectives; and a useful look at children's international rights, Expanding the Foreign Rights Market for Children's Books.
  • And from the cynical but accurate P D James in our Writers Quotes: 'Publishers don't nurse you,; they buy and sell you.'

 

3 November 2014 - What's new

November 2014
  • There are no less than two Writing Opportunities this week, together with a News Review looking at prizes and competitions and five links to the top stories of the week.
  • 'The growth of literary prizes of one kind and another seems unending, although it's a pity from the point of view of unpublished writers that so many of them are restricted to books which have come from traditional publishers. WritersServices doesn't usually feature these, on the basis that they already get plenty of publicity and it is usually publishers rather than writers who have to do the submission...' News Review on Prizes, prizes and competitions.
  • Pressing deadlines mean that we have two Wriitng Opportunities this week. The first is the 2014 National Novel Writing Month, which has already started as the month is November. You'll need to get your skates on for this one if you're to complete a 50,000 word novel is just one month!
  • The second Writing Opportunity is the ITV This Morning Novel Writing Competition, which is open to unrepresented and unpublished authors living in the UK. The first prize will be representation for the winning novel from a Curtis BrownSee Curtis Brown listing agent and a free place on one of Curtis Brown Creative's six-month novel-writing courses.
  • Writing biography and autobiography is a three-part excerpt from the book by Brian D Osborne which provides a starting-point for memoir.
  • ‘That thing of treating the writer like a famous boxer or a rock star has harmed writers, because one of the ingredients most essential for writing is that you have to be solitary. You can't be gregarious. You can't do both. The brain won't take it. That is why poor Mrs Woolf went off her rocker. Too many people, too much outside life...' Edna O'Brien, author of The Country Girls and Country Girl (an autobiography) in the Independent on Sunday, quoted in our Comment column.
  • If you want to browse across the WritersServices site, Advice for writers helps you find what you're looking for.
  • Our links this week: in a characteristically outspoken interview, the US super-agent known as the Jackal gives his take on Amazon and the publishing world, Andrew Wylie talks about the state of the publishing industry - Quill and Quire; a blogger who takes an individual view asks if publishers do have a use, Dr. Syntax: Do Publishers Deserve to Exist? an authoritative article on the important subject of copyright, BookBrunch - Speak up for copyright; where is fan fiction going now, From ‘Fifty Shades' to ‘After': why publishers want fan fiction to go mainstream - The Washington Post; and , in an article on YouTube opportunities written for publishers but useful to writers, Your Tube | The Bookseller.
  • Finding it difficult to write your own synopsis for your submission or your blurb for your self-published book? Our Synopsis-writing and Blurb-writing services can help.
  • ‘Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons.' Robertson Davies in our Writers' Quotes.
  • The October Magazine is ready!

27 October 2014 - What's new

October 2014
  • 'Some encouraging publishing-related figures have emerged this week. The number of books published worldwide in 2013 was an astounding 28 million, raising the question of whether there are enough readers - and buyers - for them all. In the US there were 390,000 ISBNs for self-published books and 300,000 for trade (general) books...' This week's News Review.
  • From our Archive, 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...'
  • 'I've a pretty good idea of what the story is and where it's going. The trouble is that, though you've laboured to create these characters and thought of plausible things for them to do, they take on lives of their own. I've often thought that writing fiction was like industrial management. Sometimes I've felt like putting thumbscrews on my employees to prevent them messing up on my plans...' Michael Frayn, author of Noises Off and Matchbox Theatre, in The Times, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Our Health Hazards series looks at all the particular dangers faced by writers, from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome to Looking after your eyes and advises on how to position your desk and chair. This really is essential reading for anyone who spends a lot of time at the computer.
  • This week's links: a thoughtful and encouraging piece from Michael Bhaskar, BookBrunch - Content is still king, and technology has not dethroned it; the view from Australia, BBC News - Man Booker win a boon for Australia literature; how far and how fast is self-publishing going to go? How Soon Will the Majority of Books Be Self-Published? - Publishing Perspectives; so which side do you support in the Amazon/Hachette dispute, Vox on Amazon: Way off-base, not entirely wrong - Salon.com; and criticism for Amazon from prominent New York Times writer, Influential Krugman says Amazon 'hurts America' | The Bookseller.
  • 'One of my many theories about short stories is that their titles and first lines ought to be memorable, because if not memorable they will not be remembered, and if not remembered the stories will not be reprinted (because no one can find them).' Damon Knight in our Writers' Quotes.

19 October 2014 - What's new

October 2014
  • This week News Review looks at how ebook buyers are increasing their reading because they're cheaper, an open submission from Little Brown UK's Blackfriars list and a Success Story from Jessie Burton.
  • 'Jessie Burton's road to success is interesting because it's only just happened, following the publication of her first novel The Miniaturist in July. Having spent four years writing the book she was quite overwhelmed by its reception, the competition to represent her and then the eleven-publisher auction at the 2013 London Book Fair. Previously an actor (which must come close to writing in terms of the difficulty of achieving success in your work), Burton supported herself through that four years mostly through temping in the City...' Jessie Burton's Success story
  • Our Comment comes from the same source: ‘I am wary of that romanticised idea of writing a novel, you just have to pick up a pencil or a pen and open your laptop and it is far more boring. It's not glamorous. I learnt that I can write anywhere. You do need time and space but you don't need a cottage in Wales, I'd say...' Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist.
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is Little Brown Book Group's Blackfriars open submission for one week in early December. Get yourself geared up to go for this by having a look at their submission guidelines now.
  • Are you interested in Getting Your Manuscript Copy Edited? As well as this article we have one from our 19-part Inside Publishing series about Copy editing and proof-reading and we offer a Copy editing service, as well as a Proof-reading service ando our special Manuscript Polishing service, which involves more intensive work, 'polishing' and improving the text, and correcting the English if you are writing in English as a second language.
  • 'A new Mintel survey this week shows that ebook fans are increasing their reading because ebooks are cheaper. These UK figures show that 26% of consumers who have bought an e-book in the last year are reading more than they used to because e-books cost less than paperbacks, a figure that rises to 38% of 16 to 24-year-olds...' News Review
  • We have 24 pages offering hundreds of recommended links to sites, including Interesting Literature, which we've just added, Poetry Sites, Writers Online Services and Writers' Organisations. Share with us any new links you'd recommend.
  • Our links this week:an old subject but an important one at this time of declining advances, Are Publisher Advances Truly Critical? - The Digital Reader; thoughtful comments from Richard Flanagan, Man Booker winner echoes fears over inclusion of US writers | Books | The Guardian; an overview of publishing, Editorial from Frankfurt: Why We Can't Afford to Stand Still - Publishing Perspectives; and a practical and detailed article on How to Get Traffic to Your Author Website: 30+ Tips for Discouraged Writers | Your Writer Platform.
  • 'Writers may be disreputable, incorrigible, early to decay or late to bloom, but they dare to go it alone.' John Updike in our Writers' Quotes.
  • If it's more quotes you are looking for, we've been collecting them for years and have hundreds in Even More Quotes.

13 October 2014 - What's new

October 2014
  • This week's update is pretty much focused on 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., with the Man Booker Prize also finding its place and The Brunel University African Poetry Prize 2015 is our Writing Opportunity.
  • 'Frankfurt was much more ‘business as usual' than anyone might have predicted. With just a few less visitors than last year, the mood was pretty upbeat, with a lot of solid rights business being done. Apart from the very real ongoing anxiety about the Amazon/Hachette dispute - no big publisher feels safe from the feeling that they might, and probably will be, next, - there's the progress of the digital revolution and, surprisingly, publishers seem to have taken things very much in their stride...' News Review
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is the The Brunel University African Poetry Prize 2015, open to poets who were born in Africa, or who are nationals of an African country, or whose parents are African. The winner gets £3,000 and it closes on 30 November.
  • Our list of other opportunities which have not yet closed.
  • Our tips on Entering competitions are well worth a look if this is something you want to do.
  • Our Comment this week is from David Nicholls, author of One Day and Us: 'I think the worst thing you can do when you start to write is think: "Will this make sense in Brazil?" I actively tried not to write in a way that felt unnatural or to twist things, cut out cultural references, alter the sense of humour, or have any of those cliched notions about what might appeal to a French audience or a Spanish audience. I am aware of the expectations of people in Sweden and Brazil and the US, but it's crazy to let them interfere...'
  • Just announced, the winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize, Richard Flanagan's The Narrow Road to the Deep North, which was based on his father's experiences in WW2. There's a great piece from the shortlisted authors in the Guardian, talking about why they wrote their books, Man Booker prize: the six shortlisted authors reveal the story behind the book | Books | The Guardian.
  • If you've picked up on the furore surrounding the film of Gone Girl - or even already seen it - you might be interested in our Success story on the author Gillian Flynn.
  • Other links this week include: publishers' real anxiety about Amazon Kindle's newly-launched subscription service, Publishers consult lawyers over Kindle Unlimited | The Bookseller; and two 'editorials' from Publishing Perspectives at the Frankfurt Book Fair, When Publishing Begins to Look Like a Bad Relationship | Publishing Perspectives and Editorial from Frankfurt: Collaborate! Innovate! Evolve! Create! | Publishing Perspectives.
  • 'Use your imagination. Trust me, your lives are not interesting. Don't write them down.' W B Kinsella in our Writers' Quotes.

 

6 October 2014 - What's new

October 2014
  • This week we're focused on 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. and IPR LIcense, as well as taking a look at Proof-reading and Preparing for publication, whether you're a self-publisher or have found a publisher.
  • We're just coming up to the Frankfurt Book Fair, which starts on Wednesday. and publishers from all over the world are about to converge on Frankfurt for the annual jamboree. It is remarkable how well this big fair has retained its international dominance in the face of digitisation and instant communication... Even in an age of books fairs, this is the one that everyone in the publishing world wants to go to and it is extremely international, although on the days when it is open to them the German halls house a buzzing national fair, attended by large numbers of the public in this bookish country. News Review
  • And this is a good time to mention IPR License, the rights organisation, who have just announced a partnership with Publishers WeeklyInternational news website of book publishing and bookselling including business news, reviews, bestseller lists, commentaries http://www.publishersweekly.com/ to provide a Global Rights Report twice a month to an audience of 90,000 subscribers. Coverage includes rights deals, country focuses, interviews with agents, detailed book fair reports and newly inked deals, trends, rights news and advancements. It's probably pretty much for publishers but the two articles CEO Tom Chalmers has written for us show how important rights are to authors. They are: Self-publishing: the rights way and How to get your book in the hands of an international audience.
  • In case you're wondering what Subsidiary rights actually are, here's the answer.
  • Proof-reading is the last stage before getting your book printed. If you have a publisher, it's something they will do, but if you're self-publishing you should allow for this last stage after getting your manuscript copy edited to make sure its's ready to go. What's the difference?
  • What's involved in Preparing for publication if you do have a publisher? Or do you need our Services for self-publishers?
  • ‘Young writers, if they're meant to be writers, they will write. There's nothing that can stop them. It may kill them. They may not be able to stand the terrible indignities, humiliations, privations, shocks that attend the life of an American writer...' Tennessee Williams in Writers at Work quoted in our Comment column.
  • Our links this week: what do big name literary writers think about the Amazon dispute, Literary Lions Unite in Protest Over Amazon's E-Book Tactics - NYTimes.com; a rather unkind but useful checklist of The 29 Errors a Publisher Can Make...And Counting | Publishing Perspectives;  views from London, UK Publishing Crowd Gathers in London to Discuss Self-Publishing | Publishing Perspectives; and is this the future? Crowdfunding Authors' Books Could Save Publishing.
  • Our September Magazine is ready!
  • 'It's none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.' Ernest Hemingway in our Writers' Quotes.

29 September 2014 - What's new

September 2014
  • This week we take a look at some encouraging signs in the book world, including an improvement in print sales, and feature 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.
  • The book trade internationally does seem to have turned the corner after a difficult few years when a major format change at the same time as a deep global recession turned everything upside down... Bookshops are working out new ways of surviving, with a focus on events, local authors, school supply and so on. No doubt the fallout will continue but in the UK and US there are definite signs of more bookshops surviving and is the online competitors to Amazon who are having a hard time. Our News Review this week covers the good news that print book sales have recovered a bit, while children's leads the way.
  • We've added the prize-winning Guardian children's books site to our recommended links to children's sites, but would welcome other suggestions for this section or any of the 23 other listings, which include Writers Online Services.
  • This week's Writing Opportunity is the 2014 National Poetry Competition 2014, which closes on 31 October. With a first prize of £5,000 and an entry fee of £6, it is open to all poets from around the world.
  • 'Publishing is the process of getting an author's thoughts and ideas to the mind of a reader. Book publishing was carried out in the traditional manner for so long that everyone began to believe that publishers, agents, publicists and bookshops were essential to the process. The multiplicity of options brought about by the digital age remind us that there are only two constants in the process: the author and the reader...' Nicola Solomon, CEO of the UK Society of Authors in the Bookseller in this week's Comment.
  • Do you have an old typescript or even hand-written manuscript which you can't work on? Or even audio recordings which need typing up? Our manuscript typing service can do the job for you cheaply and efficiently.
  • This week's links to topical stories: Futurebook's digital Survey, Measure for measure: the Digital Census since 2009 | FutureBook; should  Agent Hunter have the right to demand that literary agents should be transparent, Row over literary agents' 'transparency' | The Bookseller; the prize-winning site about children's books, Guardian children's books site scoops World Young Reader prize | Books | theguardian.com; should famous authors be allowed to write stories about famous dead people, Mantel defends Thatcher story | The Bookseller; and a surprising preference for print amongst young people, Nearly three quarters of young people prefer print | The Bookseller.
  • 'Writing is a question of finding a certain rhythm. I compare it to the rhythms of jazz. Much of the time life is a sort of rhythmic progression of three characters. If one tells oneself that life is like that, one feels it less arbitrary.' Francoise Sagan in our Writers' Quotes.

15 September 2014 - What's new

September 2014

8 September 2014 - What's new

September 2014
  • 'John Lewis of the Bookseller has argued strongly that the paperback edition is still a major factor in book sales and what's more that its position doesn't seem to be changing in the face of ebook sales nearly as much as had originally been assumed, now that things are settling down. What's surprising about this is that the paperback edition is coming out 6-12 months after the hardback and ebook are available. Even more important in terms of sales, you would expect the ebook to completely cannibalise the paperback sales as it's invariably not only available sooner but also considerably cheaper...' News Review on why paperbacks still have legs.
  • Ever wanted to understand what's involved in indexing? The Ins & Outs of Indexing by 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 show how you could do it yourself or what you might gain by having a professional tackle the job.
  • ‘I write by hand, then type it up. When I've finished a scene, I'll read it and, if it needs editing, I write all over it, then retype it. I fax the copy to a typist, who puts it on a disc, and she faxes it back, then I edit it again. When I start a new novel I already have the story in my head, including the ending, so I begin by doing an outline and then write it consecutively - page one is always page one...' Barbara Taylor Bradford, author of A Woman of Substance and Cavendon Hall, in The Times, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Michael Legat's Factsheets are short introductions for writers from the former publisher, novelist and author of 12 books on writing. These specially commissioned information-packed lists from our Archives  cover the essentials for writers. From Research to Revision, Plagiarism to Copyright, Legat always has something pithy but on the nail to contribute.
  • Publishing Perspectives are offering a Frankfurt Preview which provides an intriguing look into what goes on at the Fair.
  • Our links this week: the Bookseller's trenchant article on paperbacks, Pulp fiction | FutureBook; Margaret Atwood's new work will remain unseen for a century | Books | theguardian.com; why would you think publishers fact-check? Book Publishing, Not Fact-Checking - The Atlantic; a really useful guide, 5 Steps to Increasing Your Book's Marketability with Research | Publishing Perspectives; and, about a well-deservedly popular author, Kate Mosse: my skill is storytelling, not literary fiction | Books | The Observer.
  • 'Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer.' Barbara Kingsolver in our Writers' Quotes.

 

1 September 2014 - What's new

September 2014
  • This week we have another article on the key subject - for all authors - of international rights, News Review on a plunge in print on demand titles in the US, Anthony Horowitz's comments on writing and some tough subjects in our links, such as whether ebooks are destroying bookselling culture.
  • The second article from the MD of IPR, How to get your book in the hands of an international audience, expands on his theme of authors and rights and shows how the international book rights business works: ' It's clear that experience and market knowledge, as well as good contacts, are key elements in the placement of titles and getting deals done. Our licensing manager Caroline Sloan was recruited from Penguin Random House and has a number of years' experience working in foreign rights so she has a wealth of knowledge across a number of territories but that doesn't mean she knows every single intricacy or quirk attached to every single marketplace. But throughout her career what she has done is to make sure that she engages with people on the ground who do. These people are called sub-agents and literary scouts...'
  • This week's Comment is from children's writer Anthony Horowitz: ‘A writer is over when they think they're perfect. Sometimes you just have to rewrite a book: the new Sherlock Holmes novel wasn't working, so 42,000 words in I'm back to the beginning... All writing comes from tension. If you have a nervous energy, a sort of discontentment and unanswered questions, you want to rub and scratch and examine yourself. I tend to get stressed about everything - that is how I am. But if it all comes out on the page, well, at least it's got a home.'
  • Our useful series of articles from and interviews with publishers, Talking to Publishers, gves a direct insight into the approaches of nine different editors and what they're looking for for their lists.
  • Our literary agents' listings offer information on agents in the UK, the US, international and children's agents. Browse through them or use the search to find what you you're looking for.
  • 'Recent figures from Bowker in the US show a startling plunge in the number of titles printed print-on-demand by 46% year-on-year. Even more surprising perhaps is that this decline is not part of the major shift from print titles to ebooks, as the overall print figures declined by only 1.6%. This figure reverses the sector's growth from 2011 to 2012 and shows that the number of print books being produced is remarkably stable. So much for the theory that print books would disappear and be replaced entirely by ebooks as the digital revolution proceeded...' This week's News Review is on Print on demand plunges and the Frankfurt Book Fair sets up self-publishing programme.
  • Our links this week address some tough questions: Are eBooks Destroying Bookselling Culture?; Malorie Blackman faces racist abuse after call to diversify children's books | Books | The Guardian; Ian Grant's authoritative take on the Amazon situation, BookBrunch - Authors demand Amazon's patronage; and, something slightly different, VIDEO: How Fiction Can Change Reality | Electric Literature.
  • From our Writers' Quotes we have Neil Gaiman: 'Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.'

25 August 2014 - What's new

August 2014
  • This week: why your book contract needs vetting, News Review on open submissions, writing opportunity The Big Idea and the link to an article on whether TV writers as such exist any more.
  • 'It looks as if open submissions are here to stay. Publishers, having for many years tried to stem the tide of unsolicited submissions, are now openly soliciting them within a time-limited and often genre- specific framework. Some publishers have always worked this way. Harlequin Mills and Boon has been an example, encouraging unsolicited manuscripts in specific sub-genres of romance and going to some pains to encourage authors to send in what they were looking for to add to each of their lists. But most publishers have made it clear that they will not accept unsolicited submissions...' Our News Review this week is entitled Open submissions give writers a chance
  • If you're a UK resident of 13 or over, you've got until 2nd September to enter this week's Writing Opportunity, The Big Idea, for a chance to win £1,000 plus the opportunity to see your idea come to life, with one overall winner offered the prize of a publishing contract and the promise of their idea being nurtured, developed and written by a well-known author.
  • 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.
  • For an overview of our nineteen services, which range from Editor's Report to Copy editing, from Submission Critique to Blurb-writing, try Which service?
  • In response to one commentator, Melanie A, who said the "publishing business is corrupt, sick and almost dead", Child stated: "When you say the publishing business is corrupt, sick, and almost dead, you're completely wrong. Yes, it's cautious and careful, as a result of the recession you mention, and the changing entertainment environment you note, and contracts are certainly stricter, but it's vibrant, optimistic, profitable, energetic, full of very smart people, most of them young, most of them women, and I find it a very pleasant place to work (but then, I came from television.) Lee Child, author of 19 Jack Reacher novels, including Personal, after appearing on UK's Newsnight TV programme, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Our Tips for writers series is a succinct but useful 8-part series which starts with Improve your writing and ends with Submission to agents and publishers.
  • Our links this week: no-one really writes for TV any more, Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society - A TV writer? What's that?; the real lowdown on book tours, Dumps and Death Threats, Hecklers and Vindication: True Tales from Today's DIY Book Tour - The Daily Beast; crowd-funding arrives in the book world, Publishers Turn to the Crowd to Find the Next Best Seller - NYTimes.com; how to use publishing's secret weapon, What is Your Book Community? | Publishing Perspectives; and what price film adaptations of novels, The Hunger Games vs. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo | Publishing Perspectives.
  • 'Confronted by an absolutely infuriating review it is sometimes helpful for the victim to do a little personal research on the critic. Is there any truth to the rumor that he had no formal education beyond the age of eleven? In any event, is he able to construct a simple English sentence? Do his participles dangle? When moved to lyricism does he write "I had a fun time"? Jean Kerr in our Writers' Quotes.

18 August 2014 - What's new

August 2014

11 August 2014 - What's new

August 2014
  • Now it's open warfare, as described in our News Review, and in our Comment column, Sara Paretsky says 'My greatest feat is that stories will stop coming to me.'Our links include a knowledgeable article on historical fiction and an interview with an agent.
  • The Amazon/Hachette dispute has now caused a large group of authors to band together to protest about how Amazon's actions are affecting their sales. Authors Unlimited printed a letter in Sunday's New York Times. They have accused Amazon of boycotting their books by refusing to accept pre-orders, not discounting their books, slowing the delivery of their books (in some cases to several weeks) and suggesting on some Hachette authors' pages that they might prefer to buy something else. Authors United v Readers United (aka Amazon) is the title of this week's News Review.
  • ‘Crime fiction is the natural medium for writing about social justice. I used to write books about an environmental concern or a healthcare concern, but I was beginning to be tiresome, so now I tend to make those issues part of the backdrop to a crime story instead...' Sara Paretsky, author of 16 novels including Critical Mass, in the Independent on Sunday, quoted in our Comment column.
  • What a publisher wants - The view from a publisher's desk No 1 - the first in a series of four articles by Tom Chalmers, MD of Legend Press, giving a publisher's view of the submission process and what a publisher is looking for. Also available: Judging a book by its covering letter and synopsis, The writer's X-Factor and The changing face of publishing.
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is the HarperCollins Killer Reads open submission. HC is launching a new digital-first crime and thriller list, which will begin publication with the best finds from an open submission held this summer. Killer Reads will invite unagented submissions from 29th August to 14th September, in all crime genres from police procedurals to high-concept thrillers
  • Our listing of Writing Opportunities on the site will give you a view according to what is still open and a list according to when it was added to the site.
  • Do you want to get a professional editor's opinion on your manuscript? Our reports range from the Editor's Report to the more detailed Editor's Report Plus or the shorter Reader's Report, with a range of special editorial support on children's writing from our children's editors.
  • Our links this week: Authors United ramps up Amazon campaign | The Bookseller; Setting Expectations Before You Publish Your Book | Publishing Perspectives; Historical fiction can speak very clearly to the present and the past | Books | theguardian.com; and Literary Agent Q&A: Taryn Fagerness | Publishing Perspectives.
  • The July Magazine is ready, giving you an overview of the last month.
  • 'The literary world is made up of little confederacies, each looking upon its own members as the lights of the universe; and considering all others as mere transient meteors, doomed to soon fall and be forgotten, while its own luminaries are to shine steadily into immortality.' Washington Irving in our Writers' Quotes.

 

 

 

4 August 2014 - What's new

August 2014
  • Our Success Story this week is that of Tina Seskis: an irresistible subject for a Success Story because she lives just up the road from WritersServices in north London and the reasons for her success as a writer are like a textbook illustration of how to do it. After university, she went on to work in marketing and advertising for more than 20 years and it was this experience which stood her in good stead when she found herself with a book to market. This was a book which she'd had the idea for whilst on holiday in Venice. Here's its brilliant starting-point: "It's funny how easy it is, when it really comes down to it, to get up from your life and begin a new one. All you need is enough money to start you off, and a resolve to not think about the people you're leaving behind..."
  • Is this 'the end of the publishing business as we know it'? This week's News Review: 'Amazon's launch of a subscription model for ebooks with its Kindle Unlimited has caused dismay amongst both publishers and agents. There has been a debate about whether this would be a sub-licence or a sale, with some agents insisting that it is a sub-licence and Amazon arguing that it is a sale. Authors will get a tiny amount of royalty...'
  • This week's Writing Opportunity is the 2014 Manchester Fiction Prize for a story of up to 2,500 words in length, open to all and closing on 29 August.
  • ‘Last month, if you will excuse the self-advertisement, I published a novella as an Amazon Kindle single. A mere £1.49 to download, but already a site called general-ebooks.com is offering the thing free. Call me a spoilsport, but this ripped-off author would prefer the authorities to send a policeman with a search warrant...' D J Taylor, columnist and author of The Windsor Faction and 10 other novels, and biographies of Thackerary and Orwell, in the Independent on Sunday, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Are you interested in Getting Your Manuscript Copy Edited? As well as this article we have one from Inside Publishing about Copy editing and proof-reading and we offer a Copy editing service, as well as Proof-reading and Manuscript Polishing, which involves more intensive work, 'polishing' and improving the text, and correcting the English if you are writing in English as a second language.
  • Our links this week start with a cynical but very relevant question: Can So Many Authors Be Earning Big Money? - Dana Beth Weinberg; Mashable on the latest from Amazon, How Amazon Brought Publishing to Its Knees - and Why Authors Might Be Next; this one might be useful if you're planning to publicise your own book, 6 Questions to Ask Before Publicizing Your Book | Publishing Perspectives; and A Short History of Self-Help, The World's Bestselling Genre | Publishing Perspectives.
  • Our series of six articles on writing in different categories covers a wide range of genre writing - Crime, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Romance, Non-fiction, Historical fiction and Memoir and Autobiography. So we it's likely that we have the genre you are interested in covered.
  • 'And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.' Sylvia Plath in our Writers' Quotes.

28 July 2014 - What's new

July 2014
  • Our latest new article is The Business of Writing for Self-publishing Authors and we also have a focus on poetry this week in our News Review and links, as well as the Hot Key Books Young Writers Prize 2014, a superb opportunity for 18-25 writers from all over the world to  have a chance at a big prize and publication by one of the UK's newest children's publishers.
  • 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, author of our WritersServices Self-publishng Guide and of The Business of Writing, has now turned her attention to self-publishers with The Business of Writing for Self-publishing Authors. 'Self-publishing authors - also known as ‘indie' authors or author-publishers - have had a steep learning curve these past few years. Getting to grips with the various sales channels available to them, producing top quality ebooks and paperbacks, and finding a place in mainstream outlets have left many writers struggling to keep up with the paperwork. What follows is brief guide to the essentials your self-publishing business needs - because it is a business, even if you only publish one book!'
  • As two of this week's links demonstrate, poetry is contradictory in its audience and reach. A huge audience is interested in poetry - more than one million people read poems at poets.org each year. But on the other hand poetry book sales, in the US as elsewhere, are meagre for all but the very best-known poets. How is it that an artform which seems central to literature, offering distilled language and meaning in a succinct form, can be so easily ignored by many in the mainstream? In theory this should be poetry's moment, for the short form is perfect for the Internet. News Review
  • Have you ever wondered whether there's any point in entering competitions? Someone must be winning, but why is it somehow never you? It might be worth reviewing how you approach competitions, to see if you can achieve a better result. Entering competitions.
  • 'I'm amazingly fortunate to have a chance to write a second book that people will be interested in reading because they liked the first. It would be awfully pessimistic if an author with enthusiastic potential readers sat around in anguish...The book has your chromosomes all the way through it, you feel squeamish about someone critiquing your inner life...' Tom Rachman, author of The Imperfectionists and The Rise and Fall of Great Powers, in the Evening Standard, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Are you a young writer aged 18-25 writing YA? There's a brilliant opportunity this week in the Hot Key Young Writers Prize, where the prize is £10,000 and a publishing contract with Hot Key. Closing on 16 August, so you need to get moving.
  • We have two llinks this week which cast a clear light on poetry, Poetry Matters | Academy of American Poets and a wide-ranging look at poetry in America, The Millions : Americans Love Poetry, But Not Poetry Books. Then there's the latest on the Man Booker longlist, Man Booker 2014: more global, less diverse | Books | The Guardian; Self-publishing surging to 31% of ebook market, claims report | Books | theguardian.com; and a new second-hand books initiative which will pay royalties to authors, Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society Do the right thing Bookbarn International.
  • Our Glossary of Acronyms is a good way of finding your way through these confusing initials.
  • 'To be a writer is to sit down at one's desk in the chill portion of every day, and to write; not waiting for the little jet of the blue flame of genius to start from the breastbone - just plain going at it, in pain and delight. To be a writer is to throw away a great deal, not to be satisfied, to type again, and then again, and once more, and over and over.' John Hersey in our Writers' Quotes.

21 July 2014 - What's new

July 2014
  • Freya North on writer's block, Nicola Solomon berates publishers, 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 on the business of writing, Best European Fiction 2016 and some great links, such as Does crime writing have a misogynistic heart? are all in this week's What's New.
  • In an extraordinary change of approach, Nicola Solomon, the Secretary of the UK Society of Authors, has attacked publishers, saying that ‘Traditional publishing is 'no longer fair or sustainable'. ‘Authors need fair remuneration if they are to keep writing and producing quality work. Publisher profits are holding up and, broadly, so are total book sales if you include ebooks but authors are receiving less per book and less overall due mainly to the fact that they are only paid a small percentage of publishers' net receipts on ebooks and because large advances have gone except for a handful of celebrity authors.' News Review
  • 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...' Joanne Phillips has updated her extremely useful article. Next week we'll feature her new article, The Business of Writing for Self-publishers.
  • Our Picture libraries page has a useful list of places to go if you need to source images for your book.
  • ‘It was terrifying. I thought: "That's it, I only have 12 books in me." I was so sufficiently ill with it that I had to go to a doctor. For six months I couldn't write and I didn't tell anyone. It wasn't that I didn't know what to write, it was that I couldn't get the damn thing out. In the end, I literally pulled myself down to the library, sat there and dragged it out word after word. I didn't plan it, I started on chapter one and just saw where it went...' Freya North, author of 13 novels, most recently The Way Back Home, in the Bookseller on the dreaded writer's block, quoted in our Comment column.
  • This week's Writing Opportunity is the Dalkey Archive's Best European Fiction 2016, a chance for translators to get their work in this prestigious anthology.  It's closing on 15 August.
  • Our links this week offer a chance to read the full press story on Nicola Solomon's comments on publishers, Traditional publishing is 'no longer fair or sustainable', says Society of Authors | Books | theguardian.com; Crime fiction might be dominated by violence against women - but there's more to it than titillation in Does crime writing have a misogynistic heart? - Telegraph; what does it mean to cry over a book, Crying While Reading Through the Centuries : The New Yorker; a 6,000 word story on Twitter, David Mitchell tells Twitter story | The Bookseller; are publishers guilty of bad conduct too ? The Publishers Are as Bad as Amazon | Thomas Hauser; and a new prize opens up African writing to a wider readership, Okwiri Oduor Wins 15th Caine Prize for African Writing | Publishing Perspectives.
  • "If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that." - Stephen King. Author opinion falls into two camps on this one, with some writers maintaining that reading fiction while writing is a very bad thing... Many other authors, however, believe the opposite to be true, that reading and being well-read is essential to good writing, and it is this argument that I am exploring here. Writing for Children: Rule Number One - Read More than You Write.
  • 'No poet, no artist of any art has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists.' T S Eliot in our Writers' Quotes.

14 July 2014 - What's new

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

30 June 2014 - What's new

June 2014
  • The fourth and final part of Suzy Jenvey's The Essential Guide to Writing for Children is about Submitting Your Work to Agents and Editors: ' In my 26 years in publishing, I have read thousands of manuscript submissions. The way they were presented varied enormously. My main tip is to let your writing do the talking; the editor or agent is ONLY interested in how good your writing is, and unusual presentation ideas aren't going to make an unoriginal idea original, or a weak writer strong. The previous articles dealt with Which age group should I write for?, Before You Write: What is My Story Going to be? and Starting to Write.
  •  'This week's Bookseller reports that E L James made £33m before tax in the year to the end of September 2013, more than three times her pre-tax earnings from the year before. This astonishing amount of money shows how very much an internationalyl bestselling author can make, especially when it's actually a trilogy. Fifty Shades Ltd said it ‘had a very successful year, during which it secured royalty agreements with numerous international publishing houses and licensing agreements with other organisations'. This week's News Review is on Bestsellers.
  • 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 is the author of the ten-part WritersServices Guide to Self-pubishing and other articles on the site and she's just pubished her sixth novel  Cupid's Way, a romantic comedy about Evie's attempts to help save her grandparents' home from destruction for redevelopment. You can check it out on her website.
  • Do you want a professional assessment of your work? As well as specialist Children's reports, we also offer three grades of report, the substantial Editor's Report, the briefer Reader's Report and the most detailed of the three, the Editor's Report Plus.
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is the 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 Women's Memoir Competition 2014. Women from any country who have not published a memoir, but may have published something else, are eligible. Entry fee £25 and the Prize is £5,000.Closing on 22 September.
  • 'I'm amazingly fortunate to have a chance to write a second book that people will be interested in reading because they liked the first. It would be awfully pessimistic if an author with enthusiastic potential readers sat around in anguish... The book has your chromosomes all the way through it, you feel squeamish about someone critiquing your inner life...' Tom Rachman, author of The Imperfectionists and The Rise and Fall of Great Powers, in the Evening Standard, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Our links this week: are we at the beginnings of a backlash against big tech? Philip Jones asks some fundamental questions - They might be giants | FutureBook; Literary agent Juliet Mushenson How To Become A Literary Agent | Marie Claire; what is the Poetry Book SocietySpecialist book club founded by T S Eliot in 1953, which aims to offer the best new poetry published in the UK and Ireland. Members buy at 25% discount. The PBS has a handsome new website at  www.poetrybooks.co.uk - BookBrunch - Putting poets first.
  • Preparing for Publication - Have you managed to find a publisher for your work and are now enjoying the thrill of knowing that your book will soon be published? If you're wondering what happens next, here is an outline of the processes involved.
  • 'Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger.' Franklin Jones in our Writers' Quotes.

22 June 2014 - What's new

June 2014

16 June 2014 - What's new

June 2014
  • This week we have some entertaining additions to Rotten Rejections, a look at the opening of a big new bookshop on London's famous Charing Cross Road, an interesting Comment from Khaled Hosseini and the Foyle Young Poets, plus a good range of links to stories of the week.
  • The opening of the wonderful new Foyles bookshop in Charing Cross Road in London has shown a tremendous act of faith in bricks and mortar bookselling. The iconic bookstore has been suffering badly due to a drop in footfall relating to the building of Crossrail, a major new east-west underground line cutting through the heart of London's West End. It will though also benefit markedly when the line opens in 2018. It's hard to take the long view, but Foyle's is in a good position to do so. This bookstore has endured in private ownership for 111 years but the move to two doors away, whilst tremendously encouraging, is also very risky at a time when the book trade is in a state of upheaval and bookshops seem under particular threat from Amazon and the supermarkets...' News Review
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is The Foyle Young Poets Award 2014, the biggest international competition for young poets aged eleven to seventeen. It closes on 31 July and entries in English are accepted from anywhere in the world, so make sure that all young poets of your acquaintance get the chance to enter.
  • We've just added some new gems to Rotten Rejections, our page of awful rejections suffered by writers and administered mostly by publishers.
  • ‘After publication, nothing much happened for over a year. I didn't have much hope. Then I began to notice people reading it - even on aeroplanes when I was travelling. It was everywhere, it was surreal. I was proud of it yet it was so dark and its central character so spineless and set in a country people in the US knew little about... I didn't think this was what bestsellers were about...' Khaled Hosseini, author of And the Mountains Echoed and The Kite Runner, in the Observer, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Our links this week, HarperCollins SF and fanstasy imprint increases its publishing of new authors in ebook after a successful open submission, Harper Voyager Expands Digital-First Publishing; a look at two important and contrasting book markets, Global Book Market Snapshots: France and Germany | Publishing Perspectives; contrasting critical views, Why Are Literary Critics Dismayed by Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch and Its Success? | Vanity Fair; more on the market for translations, Yawn No More: Americans and the Market for Foreign Fiction | Publishing Perspectives; and a clarification of the economics of ebook publishing, Dr. Syntax: Why Are Publishers Telling Us E-Books Are So Profitable? Another Book-Business Fallacy.
  • First excerpt - How to Open Doors and Get Noticed the First Time Around - The ABC Checklist for New Writers is a six part series of extracts from this useful book by Lorraine Mace and Maureen Vincent-Northam, from our Archive.
  • 'I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged...I had poems which were re-written so many times I suspect it was just a way of avoiding sending them out.' Erica Jong in our Writers' Quotes.

 

9 June 2014 - What's new

June 2014
  • First we take a look at the extraordinary Eimear McBride - and a very encouraging story for writers. Then there's The Moth International Story Competition 2014 and a Comment from Matt Carr, a children's author who turned reluctantly to self-publishing. We've got several links of the week, still on the Amazon/Hachette story but with new angles, and Poetry International on poetry in translation.
  • Eimear McBride's A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing is having an extraordinary impact. Now that it's won the new Bailey Women's Prize (successor to last year's Women's Fiction Prize and the Orange Prize), there seems to be no stopping the author... But it took her nine years to find a publisher and then it was a tiny start-up, Galley Beggar Press, which quickly set up the book as a co-publication on the paperback and ebook rights with Faber, once it was shortlisted for the Folio Prize. News Review
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is The Moth International Short Story Prize 2014, closing on 30 June and open to all.
  • Are you interested in Getting Your Manuscript Copy Edited? As well as this article we have one from Inside Publishing about Copy editing and proof-reading and we offer a Copy editing service, as well as Proof-reading and Manuscript Polishing, which involves more intensive work, 'polishing' and improving the text, and correcting the English if you are writing in English as a second language.
  • 'I never thought I'd self-publish a book, because for me it has all the hallmarks of delusional desperation. But after my children's book, The Tale of Russell the Sacred Crow, was rejected a few times for one reason or another, I had some commission from my printer and I thought I might as well have a go. Nowadays you really don't need to self-publish a novel or biography, you can just whack it up on the internet for the whole world to see, but a children's picture book is different.' Matt Carr writing about his his self-publishing experience in the Bookseller, quoted in our Comment column.
  • On getting published: The long and winding road - Colin MurrayColin MurrayColin joined Penguin Books after university. He has over the years worked for a number of the major publishing houses in senior editorial positions. His particular interests, apart from sailing, are science fiction, fantasy, crime and thrillers., WritersServices freelance editor, reflects on the tortuous path to publication of his first novel: 'Of course I should have known better. I'm a grown man who has spent a large part of his adult life in publishing watching the excitement and enthusiasm bleed from the young and talented as disappointments and rejections follow hard upon each other. I have even added to those rejections and disappointments, and watched the bright-eyed and smiling become morose and world weary...'
  • Our links this week mostly seem to centre on the ongoing Amazon/Hachette battle and the ramifications for publishers and authors: on the important enemies Amazon has made of some major authors, Amazon's New, Powerful Enemies; the contrary view The war on Amazon is Big Publishing's 1% moment. What about other writers? | Barry Eisler | Commentisfree | The Guardian; and the effect this book world fight is having on authors Authors Getting Screwed by Amazon-Hachette Showdown | Digital Book World. For lighter relief there's a humourous article on the new Penguin Random House logo, complete with a poem, PRH's New Identity: Goodbye to Some Famous Bricks and Mortar | Publishing Perspectives and a short piece from Poetry International, just starting now in Rotterdam, giving links to other material on their site, Poetry in translation - Poetry International.
  • Poet Michael Symmons Roberts in our Writers' Quotes: 'Any good writer is a good reader first. There's no substitute for being steeped in the great work of the past, and reading the work of your contemporaries. It's an obvious piece of advice, but no less true for that.'

 

2 June 2014 - What's new

June 2014

 

26 May 2014 - What's new

May 2014

 

19 May 2014 - What's new

May 2014
  • This week we're delighted to publish the last article in 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' WritersServices Publishing Guide, we look at creative writing courses on both sides of the Atlantic and our Writing Opportunity is the very first MMU Novella Award 2014.
  • Joanne Phillips completes her ten-part WritersServices Self-publishing Guide: 'Self-publishing has changed so much over the past few years it's hard to believe it was once looked down upon by the publishing industry as the last resort of the vain and desperate. At the time of writing (July 2013) many self-publishing authors are identifying with the term ‘indie author', which acknowledges that to professionally publish today, you don't actually have to do everything yourself!...' The tenth article deals with Marketing and Promotion for Indie Authors: Offline.
  • ‘Television is a fine medium and I love cinema more than most. I listen to music all the time and have been known to glance at the web too, but for me nothing quite compares to that moment when you read some marks on the page and think "yes, I know exactly what you mean". David Nicholls talks about the experience of reading a wonderful book in our Comment column.
  • From our Archive: excerpts from Inspired Creative Writing by Alexander Gordon Smith from the brisk and entertaining 52 Brilliant Ideas series. The first of six excerpts is on Limbering Up: 'Looking down at that blank page can send tsunami-sized shivers down your spine, but don't give in to the temptation to run for cover screaming, victory is just a scribble away.'
  • Creative writing courses continue to proliferate on both sides of the Atlantic .Many writers believe that enrolling on a course, particularly a university one, will make all the difference to their writing careers. In the UK the rapid growth in courses has been described by the Bookseller as ‘a viral contagion'. Writers have rushed to sign up to the new university courses for writers, with growth from 64 writing programmes in 2003 and 504 degree programmes offered by Higher Education institutions a decade later. This week's News Review asks the question Creative writing courses - a good investment for writers?
  • Our Publishing Glossary is very useful if you come across a printing or publishing term you don't understand.
  • This week's links: a really fundamental question - Are Literary Agents Really Worth Their Commission? | Digital Book World; an interesting spat between Will Self in the Guardian, The novel is dead (this time it's for real) | Books | The Guardian and David L Ulin in the Los Angeles Times, Notes on the (non-)death of the book - Los Angeles Times; Reasons to Be Optimistic During the Disruption of Publishing; and Mills & Boon announces 'totally new' digital storytelling format | Books | theguardian.com.
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is the inaugural MMU Novella Award 2014, an unusual one as novellas are not often eleigible for prizes, and closes on 24 May, so you need to get your skates on to enter.
  • ‘If people cannot write well, they cannot think well, and if they cannot think well, others will do their thinking for them.' George Orwell in our Writers' Quotes.

12 May 2014 - What's new

May 2014
  • This week we continue our look at book formats with the hardback, an extraordinary survivor; offer some wide-ranging links to articles on the web, including two on translation, one of them about poetry, and much looking into crystal balls on the future of writing and publishing; and our Writing Opportunity is an unusual open submission month.
  • Hardbacks, rather than ebooks, are the wild cards of the publishing industry. Who would have thought that they would survive and prosper in the age of the ebook? Wouldn't you assume that hardbacks would simply fade away once they were so radically undercut on price by ebooks, never mind paperbacks? News Review this week: Hardbacks - still a success story
  • We've got an interesting kind of Writing Opportunity this week, Penguin Random House UKPenguin Random House have more than 50 creative and autonomous imprints, publishing the very best books for all audiences, covering fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children’s books, autobiographies and much more. Click for Random House UK Publishers References listing's literary imprint Jonathan Cape is having an open submission month  in June, a real chance for aspiring literary novelists to get their foot in the door.
  • Getting your manuscript copy edited is a useful page about why you need to do this. Our copy editing service uses professional editors to make sure you get a good result. Check out this page for other Editorial Services for Self-publishers.
  • ‘I think as you get older you realise you will die with projects unfinished. I have long been conscious about the fact that when you have the idea for a story that does not mean you are ready to write it. I wanted to write the Thomas Cromwell books right at the beginning of my career as a writer. He was not ready to come out into the light and I wasn't ready for him. Hilary Mantel, two-time Booker Prize winner and author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies in the Observer, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Our links this week: the curious question about why publishers were not alert to self-publishing, Why Major Publishers Missed the Boat on Self-Publishing; a thoughtful piece on how publishers find translators, How Can Publishers and Translators Meet More Efficiently? | Publishing Perspectives; a useful overview of publishing, Publishing's messy re-mix | FutureBook; the challenge of digital, Bridging the Gap: Why Publishing's Future is at Risk | Publishing Perspectives; more on translation, Is Poetry More Difficult to Translate Than Prose? | Publishing Perspectives; and Charlie Redmayne, CEO of HarperCollins UK on how publishing companies can do better, BookBrunch - Bigger, better, faster.
  • Do you need to write for the web, perhaps for your own website or material to promote your book? Our page on Writing for the web provides a basic outline on how to go about it.
  • 'To write fiction, one needs a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.' Aldous Huxley in our Writers Quotes.

5 May 2014 - What's new

May 2014
  • 'Writing a great book is only part of the picture. Getting it uploaded to Amazon with a great cover, and perhaps printed via POD, isn't the whole picture either. However great your book, however beautiful or useful your product, no one will be able to buy it if they don't know it's there...' In article no 9 of WritersServices Self-publishing Guide, 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 looks at Marketing and Promotion for Indie Authors: Online.
  • 'When I first came into publishing, paperbacks seemed the coming thing. Surely it was only a question of time before the power of consumers drove paperbacks to centre stage and ousted those expensive hardbacks? In book auctions most of the money came from the paperback publisher, so it seemed logical to expect that shortly paperbacks would win the day and books would be published straight into paperback.'  This week's News Review looks at where paperbacks stand in the era of ebooks.
  • Our Talking to publishers series offers nine articles or interviews with editors of different genres and tyes of publishing list.
  • ‘Writing can be taught. The desire and will to do it cannot. Living the life of a writer means you're either starving in a garret or you're living a very leisured life. My lifestyle isn't middle class; it's upper class. I don't mean that in a smug way. I don't have the burden pf getting up and going to work...' Irvine Welsh, author of The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins, in The Times, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is the Bridport Prize, actually three prizes, for a poem a short story and a flash fiction, with generous first prizes of £5,000 for two of them.. It closes on 31 May and is open to all writers of 16 and over across the world. They've also just announced a first novel prize.
  • The first link this week asks the interesting question: Is It O.K. to Mine Real Relationships for Literary Material? - NYTimes.com.  Then we have More work, no pay: Why I detest "Literary Citizenship" - Salon.com; Guerrilla marketing for books | Business; How Retailers, Publishers And Indies Can Fix The E-Book Industry; and BookBrunch - The market for ebooks in the UK and US.
  • Have you got a contract with a publisher but no agent?  Use our expert Contract vetting service to check out that your contract is OK.
  • 'A "bestseller" is a celebrity among books. It is a book known primarily (sometimes exclusively) for its well-knowness.' Daniel Boorstin in our Writers' Quotes.

28 April 2014 - What's new

April 2014
  • This week we're pleased to add the second part of The Essential Guide to Writing for Children 2 - Before You Write: What is My Story Going to be? Suzy Jenvey starts with: 'However short your potential story is, you will still need to start with a clear idea of who it is aimed at, and how the characters and story will develop. Here are some basic rules that you should follow in the planning stage...' and ends with 'Don't be tempted to ‘ambulance-chase' - i.e. to write a story similar to something that has just been hugely successful. Publishers are looking for genuine originals.'
  • 'The UK's first ever Young Adult Literature Convention will take place at the London Film and comic Con 2014 from 12 to 13 July. This gives authors who are writing for a YA audience the chance to meet other authors, to take part in a host of author events with publisher stands promoting new and upcoming titles. The UK children's Laureate, Malorie Blackman, has put her weight behind the convention and will act as curator and director but the truth is that it's quite late in the day for YA books to start enjoying this amount of attention. News Review
  • We've added Sheenagh Pugh's writing blog to our Writers' Blogs but would really like to have some suggestions of other writers' blogs we could add to this section. In the meatime there's a wealth of links in 24 separate lists linking us to hundreds of recommended sites. Please email us with any suggestions.
  • How far apart are crime writing and poetry? 'I have been interested in both equally all my life. All through childhood I wrote verses and mysteries. There is, for me, one connection: Structure. My poetry is metrical, rhyming. My crime novels are highly structured. I never start out with a dead body. I start out with an impossible scenario. Opening questions should be mysterious, weird, intriguing and contain the seeds of the solution. The structure has to be meticulous - I'm a structure freak...' Sophie Hannah, author of nine novels, including The Telling Error and five poetry collections, in the Observer, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Our WritersServices Glossary gives an A-Z search which will list all mentions of a topic or reference on the site and provides an easy way of exploring the archive.
  • Our links of the week: from Sam Edenborough a thoughtful piece about the changing role of the agent - BookBrunch - Authors, agents and self-publishing; science fiction love it or hate it (most of us) The Underrated, Universal Appeal of Science Fiction - Chris Beckett - The Atlantic; the latest on amazon's finances BBC News - Amazon revenue up but offset by increasing expenses; a very personal view of YA Lamp Lighters and Seed Sowers: Tomorrow's YA | Publishing Perspectives and the latest strange story from fan fiction Vampire Writer L.J. Smith Bites Back - WSJ.com.
  • Do you have a problem with writing your own synopsis for your submission package? Our Synopsis-writing service can help. Or, perhaps if you're self-publishing, you need help with writing your blurb?
  • 'Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for love, and then for a few close friends, and then for money.''Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for love, and then for a few close friends, and then for money.' Molière in our Writers' Quotes.

 

21 April 2014 - What's new

April 2014
  • 'New research carried out by DJS Research Ltd on behalf of the book charity Booktrust has found a divide in the UK between readers and non-readers, linked to wellbeing and deprivation. A significant number of adults have negative attitudes to reading - despite the fact that people who regularly pick up a book are, on average, more satisfied with life and are more likely to think that what they do in life is worthwhile.' This week's News Review looks at trends affecting readers.
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week needs swift action, it's closing on 30 April. The Bristol Short Story Prize is open to all published and unpublished writers, UK and non-UK based, over 16 years of age, with an entry fee of £8 per short story. 1st Prize is £1,000 plus £150 Waterstone's gift card + 19 other prizes.
  • 'The world of spying is my genre. My struggle is to demystify, to de-romanticise the spook world, but at the same time harness it as a good story. As someone once said, the definition of genius - not that I'm a genius - is to have two conflicting opinions about any one subject and that's what I do all the time. Some call it ambiguity. I call it lack of resolution...' Our Comment this week is from John le Carré, author of A Delicate Truth and nineteen other novels, in the Sunday Telegraph's Seven.
  • Our Health Hazards series looks at all the particular dangers faced by writers, from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome to Looking after your eyes and advises on how to position your desk and chair.
  • This week's links: Innovation is in the blood | FutureBook; Why Do Celebrities Think They Can Write Children's Books? | Publishing Perspectives; more on reading in Reading Agency survey finds 63% of men rarely read | The Bookseller; the latest thoughts on self-publishing from Hugh Howey London Book Fair 2014: Howey Champions DIY Publishing; and Is There a Formula for an International Bestseller? | Publishing Perspectives.
  • Our My Say column offers you a chance to put your own point of view: Jae Watson on the magic formula which enables writers to 'cross that fine, elusive line dividing unpublished and published writers'  and Natasha Mostert, 'There are few things as satisfying as typing THE END to a manuscript' are just two from our archives.  Send us your own contributions to this column.
  • And finally, from Dr Samuel Johnson in our Writers' Quotes: 'It is advantageous to an author that his book should be attacked as well as praised. Fame is a shuttlecock. If it be struck at one end of the room, it will soon fall to the ground. To keep it up, it must be struck at both ends.'

14 April 2014 - What's new

April 2014
  • Many of you are interested in children's writing and we're thrilled to launch a new series by Suzy Jenvey, vastly experienced children's editorial director and now agent, called The Essential Guide to Writing for Children. The first article looks at the all-important question of age groups and what you should be aware of in writing for each one: 'Children's publishers divide their editorial departments according to age group. The editors and designers in each division are expert at the language, content, word length and style for their particular age group. As a children's writer, you have to aim for a specific age group, and show through your writing that you understand the requirements...'
  • 'Last week was dominated by the London Book Fair and it's good to be able to report a very buzzy fair, with confidence returning and a mass of business being done. LBF is a rights fair and has increasingly come to be the major book fair of the spring, balancing 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. in the autumn. The American BookExpo is much larger but is essentially focused on the huge US domestic market. London is easy to get to for publishers from many European countries but also increasingly a magnet for publishers from much further afield, such as Japan, China, Brazil and (this year's LBF Focus) Korea...' This week's News Review looks at LBF.
  • This week's Writing Opportunity is The Guardian Legend Self-Published Book of the Month, open to all self-publishers but you'll have to move fast as this month's Competition closes on 18 April.
  • We have list of Writing Opportunities, which can be viewed in closing date order from this page.
  • This week's Comment on writing poetry comes from Simon Armitage, whose latest books are The Death of King Arthur and Black Roses, in The Times: 'I don't dedicate my day to poetry like you would do with a job. You can't get yourself a office and sit there from 9 to 5 writing poems - it just doesn't work. With prose I can knock it out, but it's an effort to write poems because they're so intense. You need a lot of energy and stamina and patience to just sit there and fall under a poem's spell. I'm not casual with my poetry, though. When I'm engaged and writing poems I'm completely disciplined and deadly serious. I really mean it...'
  • Our links of the week: firstly an amazing translation publisher, Archipelago Books: 10 Years, 100 Titles, 26 Languages | Publishing Perspectives; more talk about the future of literary agents, Paper Lantern Lit and the Rise of the Hybrid Agent; a thoughtful piece from the London Book Fair, LBF's Digital Minds: The Golden Age or End of the Book? | Publishing Perspectives; and, from the Bookseller's Futurebook, always an interesting and often provocative blog, The end of the beginning | FutureBook.
  • Writing Non-fiction? Have a look at our Top Ten Tips for Nonfiction Writers, written by Julie Wheelwright, programme director, MA Creative Writing Nonfiction, City University, London.
  • Are you thinking of submitting your book to an agent?  Try our Finding an Agent page or your Submission package. Our Submission critique service may also help.
  • 'It is a delicious thing to write, to be no longer yourself but to move in an entire universe of your own creating. Today, for instance, as man and woman, both lover and mistress, I rode in a forest on autumn afternoon under the yellow leaves, and I was also the horses, the leaves, the wind, the words my people uttered, even the red sun that made them almost close their love-drowned eyes...' Gustave Flaubert in our Writers' Quotes.

7 April 2014 - What's new

April 2014
  • 'Following on from a buoyant Bologna Book Fair, recent figures show that children's books are doing well on both sides of the Atlantic. Now that the UK and US economies are both coming out of recession, this is probably no longer because parents are prioritising books for their children. Perhaps it might be because they have seen the advantage that having their own books at home gives children. There is a high demand for middle grade fiction and in YA the trend is towards great realism. It's become apparent how much YA sales are boosted by adult purchase for their own reading...' News Review
  • This week's Writing Opportunity is the 12 Winchester Writers' Festival competitions, closing on 16 May. Entry fee £7 for each and attending the Festival is not necessary.
  • 'I do not wish to write prose that draws attention to itself, rather than the world it describes. I write quickly partly because of my own boredom threshold. The experience of being absorbed in a book is one of the best experiences you can have. There is a way of engaging with a larger readership. It is troubling that what we regard as important books are basically taking no part in the cultural conversation in this country.' Nick Hornby, author of A Long Way Down and About a Boy in The Times, quoted in or Comment column.
  • We have a series of six articles on writing in different categories, including SF and Fantasy, Crime, Romance and Non-fiction, to provide some background on how to approach different genres.
  • Our Success Story this week is Jax Miller, whose first thriller has just been sold around the world in a two-book deal.  Her agent, Simon Trewin, said: ‘My Kindle almost caught fire with the speed I was clicking onto the next page.' Other Writers Success Stories featured on the site.
  • Our links this week include an account of the Bologna Book Fair - BookBrunch - A writer at the 2014 Bologna Book Fair; a radical look at ebooks, 'The ebook revolution hasn't even begun' - Telegraph; and How Self-Publishing Led Amazon to German Ebook Dominance | Publishing Perspectives. An especially intriguing article from agent Andrew Lownie describes how this very impressive agency goes about its business BookBrunch - How the Andrew Lownie agency places its authors.
  • 'To be a writer is to sit down at one's desk in the chill portion of every day, and to write; not waiting for the little jet of the blue flame of genius to start from the breastbone - just plain going at it, in pain and delight. To be a writer is to throw away a great deal, not to be satisfied, to type again, and then again, and once more, and over and over...' John Hersey in our Writers' Quotes.

31 March 2014 - What's new

March 2014
  • A recent Bookseller interview with Tom Weldon, now CEO of Penguin Random House UKPenguin Random House have more than 50 creative and autonomous imprints, publishing the very best books for all audiences, covering fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children’s books, autobiographies and much more. Click for Random House UK Publishers References listing, suggested that the big publishers have accommodated ebooks and are actually doing quite well. He was positive about maintaining the different imprints, which must be good news for writers: ‘We need to protect and nurture the diverse centres of publishing excellence. We want them to get on and do their own thing...' News Review
  • This year's Diagram Prize winner is announced!
  • From our Archive there's the serialisation of How Not to Write a Novel: Confessions of a Midlist Author by David Armstrong: 'Every week, agents and publishers receive hundreds of manuscripts from would-be authors. Of these, fewer than 1% will make it into print. David Armstrong was one of these, his first crime novel, Night's Black Agents, was plucked from the slush pile at a major publisher and published to acclaim. So far, so good. But what rapidly became clear to Armstrong was that being a published novelist is not always as glamorous as it seems from the outside...'
  • This week's links: a report from the Twitter Fiction Festival BookBrunch - Behind the hashtag - genuine creativity and innovation; an article on those key opening lines of a novel How technology distractions are making novels' first lines even more important - Telegraph; from the New York Times, a look at how poorly children from diverse backgrounds are served in books The Apartheid of Children's Literature - NYTimes.com; the Amazon debate rumbles on Why Book Publishers Need to Think Like Amazon | Publishing Perspectives; and a positive report on Quick Reads Tech gives strugglers the confidence to read more | Books | The Observer.
  • A Printer's View 1 is the first in a series of occasional articles looking at self-publishing from the printing perspective. In Self-publishing? How do you prepare your files for print? Andy EdmonsonManaging Director, Purely Digital, a quality digital printing service based in Derby; over 20 years' experience in printing industry; written for various publications including Print Week and popular blog Just Creative, Managing Director at Purely Digital, looks at this central question. 'You've considered the arguments for and against self-publishing and decided that it's the best option for you. Great; you've got over one of the many difficult hurdles of getting your book out to the world, the next step is to transform the files on your computer into a physical printed book.
  • 'Dickens is the best example of someone who, I think, did what I do, or what I try to do, which is to take a difficult or contentious moral or social issue and get people to think about it through fiction. You see highbrow reviews of highbrow books that no one has ever heard of. You see what awards are given at the National Book Awards. But I really wonder 500 years from now, or even 100 years from now, what's going to stick around? Is it going to be those books, or is it going to be, as we've seen in the past, what was read widely...' Jodie Piccoult, author of The Storyteller, in The Times., quoted in our Comment column.
  • 'Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.' Leonard Cohen in our Writers' Quotes.

17 March 2014 - What's new

March 2014
  • Maria Maloney is the publisher of Lodestone, a new imprint which offers a broad spectrum of subjects in YA/NA literature: 'Compelling reading, the Teen/Young/New Adult reader is sure to find something edgy, enticing and innovative. From dystopian societies, through a whole range of fantasy, horror, science fiction and paranormal fiction, all the way to the other end of the sphere, historical drama, steam-punk adventure, and everything in between (including crime, coming of age and contemporary romance)...' Talking to Publishers 9, the latest in the series.
  • Our Manuscript Polishing service provides a polishing service for the writer who is not a native speaker and anyone who wants additional help to prepare their work for publication. Does your manuscript need improving to get it into shape for submission or self-publishing? Or are you just concerned that your English may not be quite up to producing a publishable manuscript without some assistance from an editor? This service, one step up from Copy editing, might be what you're looking for.
  • Three new recently-launched websites show how publishers are trying to get to grips with readers and book-buyers directly. Off the Shelf, which has been set up by the American publisher Simon & Schuster, is intended to revive and publicise backlist books by offering daily reviews, which can be received as an email, of books which are at least a year old. The reviews will be written by S & S staffers and will show the passion they feel for the books they are writing about. What's more, the site will be publisher-agnostic, so it's more about spreading the good news about favourite books than about selling their own titles. News Review - Publishers launch groundbreaking new websites.
  • Our Publishing Glossary is a really helpful way of finding your way about the business.
  • ‘The fantasy arrived when I was 13. I was in Reykjavik for a summer and it never got dark. There was a whole library of English books and I was a great reader. I suddenly had access to books that were too hard for me before. Lots of Dickens. Jane Eyre. Wuthering Heights. Jane Austen. I couldn't stop. I read the abridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo. I read some of Mark Twain. While reading David Copperfield in the middle of the night...' Siri Hustvedt, author of The Blazing World, in The Times, quoted in our Comment column, 'When did you know you were a writer?'
  • This week's links: the counterblast to Hugh Howey in Hugh Howey Gives Toxic Advice for Self-Publishers and Paperback Pioneers, a nostalgic trip into the past when the paperback was king from Futurebook.
  • If you've got past the need for Finding an Agent, you might be interested in Working with an Agent. Or there's always our agency listings to help with your research.
  • 'A great poet, a really great poet, is the most unpoetical of all creatures. But inferior poets are absolutely fascinating.' Oscar Wilde in our Writers' Quotes.

10 March 2014 - What's new

March 2014
  • Do creative writing courses work? 'Following on from Hanif Kureishi's attack on creative writing courses this week, this old chestnut of a question has turned up again. Kureishi has dismissed creative writing courses as "a waste of time" and said he would never have gone on one himself, despite the fact that he currently teaches a writing course at Kingston University.' News Review investigates.
  • In Joanne PHillips' fantastically useful WritersServices Guide to Self-publishing we're now up to  the eighth article, which deals with EbooksDigital bookstore selling wide range of ebooks in 50 categories from Hildegard of Bingen to How to Write a Dirty Story and showing how the range of ebooks available is growing. http://www.ebooks.com/: Pricing Strategies for Indie Authors: 'Never has price been a more essential factor in the success or popularity of a particular title. With prices for ebooks ranging from completely free to upwards of £6/$10, ebook pricing is a minefield for the indie author...'
  • ‘My initial career conformed to my original notion of authorship. You wrote a book, you struggled to get it published, if you were lucky you found a kindly editor who paid you a bit of money, and later perhaps you'd be paid for another book. And so on. In the meantime you did other things like secretary work or journalism to make a bit more. But then, between 2007 and 2010, everything changed.,. Being a writer stopped being the way it had been for ages - the way I expected it to be - and became something different...'Joanna Kavenna interviewed by Robert McCrum in the Observer for his article From bestseller to bust: is this the end of an author's life? | Books | The Observer 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 on The Slush-pile: 'When I started working in publishing over thirty years ago it was part of my job to check through the pile of unsolicited manuscripts that arrived on a daily basis, and like every other enthusiastic young editorial assistant, I dreamed of finding the next bestseller in the ‘slush pile'. I was soon disillusioned..' 
  • Our links this week: Danuta Kean on why writers should be paid Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society The Price Ain't Right, the director of World Book Day on the brilliant Quick Reads BookBrunch - World Book Day: Helping non-readers to climb their first mountain, Anna Metcalfe's calm and self-effacing article on prizes and Creative Writting BookBrunch - Longlists, shortlists and lists of other kinds and, a much angrier article, Kureishi slams creative writing courses | The Bookseller.
  • Our Tips series is an 8-part series which starts with Improve your writing and ends with Submission to agents and publishers.
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is the The CWA Margery Allingham Short Story Competition for Unpublished Stories 2014. You'll need to move fast to get your story into this competition, as it closes on 16 March.
  • Garth Gunston, the author of Getting my novel published has further intriguing news - his book has been set up for crowd-funding to raise the money for a film.
  • 'To be a writer is to sit down at one's desk in the chill portion of every day, and to write; not waiting for the little jet of the blue flame of genius to start from the breastbone - just plain going at it, in pain and delight. To be a writer is to throw away a great deal, not to be satisfied, to type again, and then again, and once more, and over and over....' John Hersey in our Writers' Quotes.

3 March 2014 - What's new

March 2014

24 February 2014 - What's new

February 2014
  • In the seventh part of the WritersServices Self-publishing Guide 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 deals with Print on Demand for Indies: 'Print On Demand - or POD - is exactly that: a service whereby your book is printed only when it has been ordered, either by a bookshop or an online retailer. POD is an alternative to offset printing, where it is usually only economical to print large quantities of books. If a publisher, or author, is certain they can sell thousands of copies in a short space of time, a book will be printed in bulk and shipped out to distributors ready to be sold in bookshops or via online stores. But if there is not this immediate demand - as is often the case with self-published titles - POD is used instead...'
  • There's been a wide-ranging debate this week sparked off by Hugh Howey's report on authors' earnings from ebooks, including an article by Mark Coker in Publishers WeeklyInternational news website of book publishing and bookselling including business news, reviews, bestseller lists, commentaries http://www.publishersweekly.com/ Hugh Howey and the Indie Author Revolt. Can Hugh Howey lead an indie author revolt? Based on Amazon's hourly ebook bestseller lists, Howey has made some large claims about the shift to self-publishing and the end of big publishers' control of the publishing model. But Howey's argument is based on the figures Amazon releases and these are essentially a marketing tool, controlled by the site and intended to sell as may ebooks as possible and to further Amazon's aims of increasing the share of Kindle Direct Publishing and Amazon's own publishing lists...' News Review
  • 'Fiction springs irresponsible and unfettered from every soil. A novel is an entertainment, worked over, calculated, staged, shaped. Yet its genesis is always in the writer's real pleasures, enthusiasms, griefs and confusions. Writing one is quite unlike journalism. In earlier novels the rags of my real preoccupations kept surfacing unexpectedly, interwoven into brand new garments. Threads come in from all directions: the sea, the spiritual poverty of modern education, variety artistes, idealistic organic farmers, the modern military, unrequited love, Venice, Transsexualism, late Shakespeare. So it was probably inevitable that the most intense and disastrous experience of all would provoke a fictional mother and a fictional grief: both real and unreal...' Our Comment this week is from Libby Purves, author of Shadow Child and Acting Up, in The Times.
  • Our links this week are firstly the two Hugh Howey articles mentioned in News Review - The 7k Report - Author Earnings and Hugh Howey and the Indie Author Revolt - Self-publishing: is it killing the mainstream? | Books | theguardian.com, more on self-publishign from Anne Charnock, BookBrunch - A calculated risk led to success for A Calculated Life, another author setting up her own rights-seller Lynda La Plante forms own rights company | The Bookseller, Cornerstone buys four from self-published Tracy Bloom | The Bookseller and an interesting perspective from Futurebook, The fall of the house of books | FutureBook.
  • Ten Top Tips for Nonfiction writers from Julie Wainwright is a helpful checklist.
  • 'Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents and everyone is writing a book.' Cicero, circa 43 BC, in our Writers' Quotes.

 

17 February 2014 - What's new

February 2014
  • Getting my novel published by Garth Garston: 'I had done all the textbook advice actions - buying and studying The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook, writing a submission cover letter and synopsis plus my first three chapters, and getting my manuscript seriously proof-read. I had had my first rejection after a friend had recommended my first novel to top UK literary agency Curtis BrownSee Curtis Brown listing...'
  • 'The shortlist for the first Folio Prize has caused quite a stir, highlighting various changes in the ecology of prizes. It set out to be different from the Man Booker and more literary, and seems to have achieved its intention. In doing this it has provided a challenge to the cosy hegemony of the Booker, no doubt influencing Booker's decision to make its own eligibility guidelines the same - novels written in English published in the UK but by authors from all over the world, including the US. Many would feel that this is a change too slow in the coming - and that in this time of increasing globalisation it's no good to have a continuing approach which only admits British and Commonwealth writers. News Review
  • Do you want to self-publish your work? WritersServices offers a suite of services which help writers get their work into shape before they self-publish. New to the site, our page of Services for Self-publishers.
  • A new entry to our endorsement page: ‘The site covers EVERYTHING a new writer, established writer, or a wannabe writer could possibly want or need to know.' Hester Mundis, author many books, including My Chimp Friday, Heart Songs For Animal Lovers and The Vitamin Bible.
  • 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. Our page on Getting your manuscript copy edited may help.
  • Top Ten Tips for non-fiction writers is a helpful checklist for writers, compiled by a Creative Wriitng tutor.
  • Our links of the week: the rather astonishing Publishers Want to Bring Binge Consumption to Books - The Wire, the latest view of the giant online retailer - Amazon: Game Changer or Whipping Boy?, a challenging view of the children's book world - the Muchamore criticises 'negative' children's sector | The Bookseller and interesting research into audiobooks. Your Brain On Audio Books: Distracted, Forgetful, And Bored | Co.Design | business + design.
  • For the Scots among us, or those with Scottish connections, this week's Wriitng Opportunity is the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award 2014, closing on 3 March and worth £20,000.
  • 'An artist's sensitivity to criticism is, at least in part, an effort to keep unimpaired the zest, or confidence, or arrogance, which he needs to make creation possible; or an instinct to climb through his problems in his own way as he should, and must.' Christopher Fry in our Writers' Quotes.

10 February 2014 - What's new

February 2014

4 February 2014 - What's new

February 2014
  • WritersServices Guide to Self-publishing 5 is about EbooksDigital bookstore selling wide range of ebooks in 50 categories from Hildegard of Bingen to How to Write a Dirty Story and showing how the range of ebooks available is growing. http://www.ebooks.com/: Distributing to Other Eretailers. 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: 'Now we've explored how to format your book for Kindle and upload to the Amazon KDP platform, it's time to look at the virtual shelves of other eretailers. There are two options here: upload to each eretailer direct, or use a distributor like Smashwords to do it for you. Why Sell Across Other Platforms? Amazon is not the only fruit! Although the Kindle ereader and Kindle apps do seem to be taking the lion's share of the market, many readers are using the Nook or Kobo devices instead, or are reading on their iPads and iPhones via the iBooks app on the Apple store. If you make your book available to Kindle users only, you are missing out on a section of the market...' The series to date.
  • News Review asks: Are brands in decline? 'As recent figures have shown, this last year has shown the lowest sales for brand name authors for five years. It's easy to assume from this figure that it's all over for the big brands, in print at least, but the truth is that they have shown their durability over many years. Brands do come and go and no-one stays at the top forever. New authors come to the forefront and, although the older brands may not be so visible, they do still provide the mainstay of many publishers' lists. Every time a brand-name author has a new book, their whole backlist - backlist which may consist of a great many titles - gets a boost...'
  • Our listing of 2014 International Book Fairs is invaluable if you're planning a visit to one near you.
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is the 2014 Cardiff International Poetry Competition, which offers one of the largest monetary prizes for a poetry competition of its kind. First prize is £5,000, there's an entry fee of £15 and it closes on 14 March.
  • 'This is certainly not the writer's life I anticipated when I opened that first acceptance latter, when I first met someone who'd read me. This isn't what I aimed for when I sneaked out short stories between working in all kinds of centres and hospitals and facilities. The workshops taught me that you move beyond your fears, find the words to name yourself, make demands, celebrate joys, protest pains, then you can start to move your world. I grew up as a writer seeing that language is a monumental force, that it constantly works upon us, for good and ill, that it can redefine us, rehearse the changes we want, establish our humanity...' A L Kennedy, author of What Becomes? in The Times, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Links of the week: after a surprise First Novel win, Costa Book Prize 2013: Why Nathan Filer deserves his win - Telegraph, in Bread and Roses | Hugh Howey stands up for writers, the social networks tell it like it is in Quill & Quire » Twitter trend declares 2014 the year of reading women and where are we all going? Issues on the Ether: Profit-Sharing Authors | Publishing Perspectives.
  • Writing Biography & Autobriography is a serialisation from our Archives of the book by Brian D Osborne published by A & C BlackClick for A & C Black Publishers Publishers References listing. In the first excerpt, Managing the matters of truth and objectivity, the author says: 'Just as you need to remember that letters, reports, census forms, legal documents and so forth were not created simply for our convenience, so you also need to remember that what is written in them may not be true...'
  • 'There is an element of autobiography in all fiction in that pain or distress, or pleasure, is based on the author's own. But in my case that is as far as it goes. My fiction may, now and again, illuminate aspects of the human condition, but I do not consciously set out to do so, I am a storyteller.' William Trevor in our Writers' Quotes.

3 February 2014 - What's new

February 2014
  • WritersServices Guide to Self-publishing 5 is about EbooksDigital bookstore selling wide range of ebooks in 50 categories from Hildegard of Bingen to How to Write a Dirty Story and showing how the range of ebooks available is growing. http://www.ebooks.com/: Distributing to Other Eretailers. 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: 'Now we've explored how to format your book for Kindle and upload to the Amazon KDP platform, it's time to look at the virtual shelves of other eretailers. There are two options here: upload to each eretailer direct, or use a distributor like Smashwords to do it for you. Why Sell Across Other Platforms? Amazon is not the only fruit! Although the Kindle ereader and Kindle apps do seem to be taking the lion's share of the market, many readers are using the Nook or Kobo devices instead, or are reading on their iPads and iPhones via the iBooks app on the Apple store. If you make your book available to Kindle users only, you are missing out on a section of the market...' The series to date.
  • News Review asks: Are brands in decline? 'As recent figures have shown, this last year has shown the lowest sales for brand name authors for five years. It's easy to assume from this figure that it's all over for the big brands, in print at least, but the truth is that they have shown their durability over many years. Brands do come and go and no-one stays at the top forever. New authors come to the forefront and, although the older brands may not be so visible, they do still provide the mainstay of many publishers' lists. Every time a brand-name author has a new book, their whole backlist - backlist which may consist of a great many titles - gets a boost...'
  • Our listing of 2014 International Book Fairs is invaluable if you're planning a visit to one near you.
  • Our Writing Opportunity this week is the 2014 Cardiff International Poetry Competition, which offers one of the largest monetary prizes for a poetry competition of its kind. First prize is £5,000, there's an entry fee of £15 and it closes on 14 March.
  • 'This is certainly not the writer's life I anticipated when I opened that first acceptance latter, when I first met someone who'd read me. This isn't what I aimed for when I sneaked out short stories between working in all kinds of centres and hospitals and facilities. The workshops taught me that you move beyond your fears, find the words to name yourself, make demands, celebrate joys, protest pains, then you can start to move your world. I grew up as a writer seeing that language is a monumental force, that it constantly works upon us, for good and ill, that it can redefine us, rehearse the changes we want, establish our humanity...' A L Kennedy, author of What Becomes? in The Times, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Links of the week: after a surprise First Novel win, Costa Book Prize 2013: Why Nathan Filer deserves his win - Telegraph, in Bread and Roses | Hugh Howey stands up for writers, the social networks tell it like it is in Quill & Quire » Twitter trend declares 2014 the year of reading women and where are we all going? Issues on the Ether: Profit-Sharing Authors | Publishing Perspectives.
  • Writing Biography & Autobiography is a serialisation from our Archives of the book by Brian D Osborne published by A & C BlackClick for A & C Black Publishers Publishers References listing. In the first excerpt, Managing the matters of truth and objectivity, the author says: 'Just as you need to remember that letters, reports, census forms, legal documents and so forth were not created simply for our convenience, so you also need to remember that what is written in them may not be true...'
  • 'There is an element of autobiography in all fiction in that pain or distress, or pleasure, is based on the author's own. But in my case that is as far as it goes. My fiction may, now and again, illuminate aspects of the human condition, but I do not consciously set out to do so, I am a storyteller.' William Trevor in our Writers' Quotes.

27 January 2014 - What's new

January 2014

20 January 2014 - What's new

January 2014

'As well as being the season for book industry leaders to forecast what kind of year they think we're going to have, it's also been a time when editors are looking into crystal balls. They're not coming up with many answers and most trends seem to be a continuation of what's already happening...' News Review on So what do editors want?

WritersServices Self-publishing Guide 5 looks at Cover Design Know-how: Tips from a top designer on how to make your indie cover look professional and stand out from the crowd. 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  asked designer Chris Howard for the lowdown on cover know-how, startiing with 'What makes the perfect book cover?' and going on to 'What mistakes do self-publishing authors make when designing their own covers?'

Joanne Phillips has also 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...'

This week's links to topical stories: BookBrunch - Why I self-published my business book, Erotic Romance Book Sales Still Sizzle | Publishing Perspectives, The loss leader | FutureBook, which gives a historical perspective on what's happening in the book world now, BookBrunch - Creative Writing courses - about more than simply publication and Men Don't Read Fiction? BULL! - Writing on the Ether | Porter Anderson.

‘All writers have to be readers first. When I was eight I got encephalitis and was seriously ill; I spent a year-and-a-half in bed recuperating. I ended up reading what was on my bookshelf from one end to the other, and when I finished, I went back and read them all again: I must have read the Pippi Longstocking books, The Secret Garden and the Moomin books more than 30 times.' Maggie O'Farrell, author of Instructions for a Heatwave in the Independent on Sunday, in our Comment column.

Thi week's Writing Opportunity is the 2014 Cinnamon Poetry Pamphlet Prizes, which are open to all poets, published and beginners, with 4 prizes of £150 each, and are just one of the enhanced prizes offered by this publisher for writing of all kinds.

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 First and Last Pages,  Literary Agents or Shall I be Famous? Shall I be Rich?, and much more, this is the place to look.

'A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone's knowledge of himself and the world around him.' Dylan Thomas in our Writers' Quotes.

13 January 2014 - What's new

January 2014
  • News Review looks at whether authors prefer traditional publishing to self-publishing. Dana Beth Weinberg has written about the recently-released figures showing that most American authors prefer traditional publishing to self-publishing: ‘ The recent Digital Book World and Writer's Digest Author Survey showed that among the authors surveyed who had completed manuscripts, surprisingly few expressed a preference to indie publish their latest ones.
  • Talking to Publishers 7 is an interview with Barbara Ford-Hammond, publisher of 6th BooksAn Imprint Of John Hunt Publishing. Investigations, explanations and deliberations on the paranormal, supernatural, explainable or unexplainable. Titles cover everything included within parapsychology: how to, lifestyles, alternative medicine, beliefs, myths and theories. The 6th reader is an intelligent seeker of information and challenge. The 6th author delivers exactly that., which focuses on Paranormal and Parapsychology. 'I am pleased to receive all books that fit the imprint but any that teach something new or in different ways are always pleasing. The whole paranormal and parapsychological genre is so fascinating that I am a bit nervous saying one thing... but there is a lot of interest in anything to do with ‘the afterlife'...'
  • Sinead Morrissey wins the T S Eliot Prize The Poetry Book SocietySpecialist book club founded by T S Eliot in 1953, which aims to offer the best new poetry published in the UK and Ireland. Members buy at 25% discount. The PBS has a handsome new website at  www.poetrybooks.co.uk, which awards the T S Eliot Prize for Poetry, announced the winner on 13 January at an elegant award ceremony in the Courtyard of the Wallace Collection in London.
  • 'I think that a crime novel - like any story - succeeds or fails on the basis of character. Creating and sustaining a main character with whom the reader makes empathetic connection is the biggest ball you must juggle when you are writing one of these things. It is also the most difficult task, Your protagonist is the driver of your car. The reader has got to want to get in the car with him and trust him, but still not know where the car is going to go.' Michael Connelly, author of The Gods of Guilt and many other thrillers, quoted in our Comment column.
  • Our links this week include one more set of predictions for the New Year, 2014 Book Publishing Industry Predictions -- Increased Competition Between Traditional Publishers and Indie Authors | Mark Coker, the article which links to this week's News Review, 2014 Author Survey: Indie Authors and Others Prefer Traditional Publishing...Slightly | Digital Book World, Nicholas Clee, Co-Editor of Bookbrunch writing in the New Statesman on the good things about Amazon, Nathan Filer and The Shock of the Fall: Real work is grist to a good novelist's mill - Telegraph, on why writers should keep working in the workplace and - hard to believe this - Scientists find secret to writing a best-selling novel - Telegraph.
  • Our fictionalised stories show how our services have helped writers give you some idea of what they can do. Scriptwriting assessment 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...' Other writers' stories.
  • Innovative and successful UK children's publisher Chicken House has announced Open Coop, an open submission day on 25 January for authors with a completed novel for 8-12 year-olds. You'll need to hurry to take advantage of this week's Writing Opportunity.
  • 'Writers aren't like plumbers. If you're a plumber, you fix one person's boiler in the morning, then you go and fix another in the afternoon. I didn't want to write a book unless I had something new to say - and it was good to live a little in between.' Lucy Hughes-Hallett, who has just won the Costa Biography Award, in the Guardian, quoted inour Writers' Quotes.

6 January 2014 - What's new

January 2014