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What's New in 2018

January 2018

22 January 2018 - What's new

January 2018
  • 'If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads...' Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles and Something Wicked This Way Comes gives us this week's Comment.
  • An Editor's Advice is a series of seven articles by one of our editors on really useful subjects for writers such as Manuscript presentation, Dialogue, Doing further drafts and Planning: 'The idea of planning doesn't fit well with the idea of the writer as inspired genius, frantically scribbling away. However, I am willing to bet that, no matter what they would have you think, most successful writers plan as much as they write. They just don't tell you about it. The biggest objection that most inexperienced writers raise when someone broaches the delicate matter of planning is that it will get in the way of their inventive powers. A plan will be like a straitjacket. They'll be stuck with this plan and if they come up with a good idea along the way, they will not be able to use it. They are genuinely horrified at the thought...'
  • The Big Idea Competition 2018 is open to UK residents age 13 and over with no entry fee. It's unusual in that it's for an idea rather than a piece of writing. The winner gets £1,000 plus the promise that their idea will become a complete story written by a successful children's author, 5 Runners-up get £1,000.
  • Are you getting ready to publish your book - perhaps planning to self-publish? WritersServices offers a suite of nine services which help writers get their work into shape before they self-publish. Services for Self-publishers.
  • Our links: a touching piece on the great writer who has just died - for the past 57 years, one of the most original imaginations ever to grace American letters has lived in a hundred-year-old house built from a kit from Sears, My Last Conversation with Ursula K. Le Guin; some of the most memorable quotes from the writer herself, A life in quotes: Ursula K Le Guin and Jane Friedman's take on the value of free content, Indie Authors and the Value of Free Content.
  • The Web as a Research tool - there are some sensational research resources for writers on the web. The search engines and other directories have made these accessible.
  • More links: giving a fresh meaning to the notion of a poetry slam, the august poetry journal PN Review has published a stinging critique, Poetry world split over polemic attacking 'amateur' work by 'young female poets'; looking at the question of how to make a living as a writer, What Are You Even For? and what's happening to a new generation of literary women writers? Women write literary fiction's big hitters. So where are their prizes?
  • Authors often find it difficult to write their own synopsis for submission to publishers, which is where our Synopsis-writing service can help. If you're preparing to self-publish and having difficulty with your blurb, our Blurb-writing service is what you need.
  • An empassioned William Faulkner in our Writers' Quotes: 'Read, read, read. Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window.'

15 January 2018 - What's new

January 2018
  • A story in the Bookseller, unfortunately behind the paywall, has provided encouragement for short story writers this week. Short story collections have sold 692,087 units or £5.88m in value in the UK during 2017. This is up 32% by volume and 45% by value over 2016. News Review
  • 'T. S. Eliot said to me "There's only one way a poet can develop his actual writing - apart from self-criticism & continual practice. And that is by reading other poetry aloud - and it doesn't matter whether he understands it or not (i.e. even if it is in another language.) What matters, above all, is educating the ear."...' Ted Hughes, giving advice to his 18 year-old daughter Frieda on becoming a poet, provides our Comment.
  • From our 19-part Inside Publishing series: on Copyright 'Many writers worry about losing their copyright. Before sending out your manuscript it is always advisable to put a copyright line consisting of the copyright sign ©, the year and your name on the title page...'
  • On The Writer/Publisher Financial Relationship: 'There's no escaping the fact that publishers and authors are essentially in an adversarial position. Even in the very best and most supportive publisher/writer relationships there is the tension caused by the fact that authors would like to earn as much as possible from their writing and publishers to pay as little as they can get away with...'
  • The White Review Short Story Prize 2018 closes on 1 March. It's open to writers resident in Britain and Ireland who have yet to secure a publishing deal, with an entry fee of £15 but some low income exclusions. The prize is £2,500.
  • 'Hardly any authors can copy edit their own writing. It is notoriously difficult to spot the errors in your own work. So professional copy editing does make sense, either if you are trying to give your work its best chance when submitting it or, even more crucially, if you are planning to self-publish...' Getting your manuscript copy edited
  • Our links: can novels do interiority and the drama of the mind infinitely better than TV and film do? The Novelist's Complicity; Sue Grafton made her wishes clear: Her best-selling mystery series would die when she did, These authors risk the wrath of readers to keep book franchises alive; a poet who is the first literate person in his family, hailed as ‘the definitive arrival of a significant voice', TS Eliot prize goes to Ocean Vuong's 'compellingly assured' debut collection.
  • Writing Biography & Autobiography is a serialisation from our archive 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...'
  • More links: a Curtis BrownSee Curtis Brown listing literary super-agent on the biggest threat to books today, Jonny Geller: the future of books; was this copyright infrigement? WikiLeaks shared the full ‘Fire and Fury' book online. Here's why that may be a problem; and time spent on marketing means less time for writing, Ten Tips for Autopilot E-book Marketing.
  • From the inimitable Kenneth Tynan:'A critic is a man who knows the way but can't drive the car.' In our Writers' Quotes.

8 January 2018 - What's new

January 2018
  • 'I do put in complicated ideas because I think children are highly intelligent. Thinking outside the box is natural to them. The heroes of my books are always the creative, inventive thinkers.' She wants her books ‘to feel like sweets not brussel sprouts. Not something that you ought to be doing but something you want to be doing.' Cressida Cowell, author of the How to Train Your Dragon series and The Wizards of Once in the Bookseller, on writing for children.
  • For anyone thinking about or embarked on self-publishing, our ten-part WritersServices Self-Publishing Guide 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 is an essential starting-point, taking you through the process step-by-step. 'In this series of articles we'll be looking in more detail at the various self-publishing routes currently available to new indie authors. When you first start out on your indie journey, the array of options can be overwhelming. I know that when I began researching my options in early 2012 I was stunned by two apparently contradictory facts: there is so much information out there it's almost impossible to sift through it all, but at the same time a lot of the information is vague and generalised, and it can be hard to find real facts and figures - like expected sales figures and actual costs...'
  • 'We don't often cover a specific event, but if you like poetry and are in reach of London this weekend, don't miss a wonderful evening of poetry. Get your tickets for the fabulous T S Eliot Prize Shortlist Readings, to be hosted by Ian McMillan, with all ten shortlisted poets expected to read...' News Review
  • Putting together Your submission package - 'given the difficulty of getting agents and publishers to take on your work, it's really important to make sure that you present it in the best possible way. Less is more, so don't send a full manuscript, as it's very unlikely to be read. Far better to tempt them with a submission package that will leave them wanting to see the rest of the manuscript'.
  • Our links: what the heck is going to happen next? 2018 Book Publishing Predictions - Are Indie Authors Losing their Independence? A collection of musings, tips and essays from some of our favourite authors about the business of writing, Buy a cat, stay up late, don't drink: top 10 writers' tips on writing; and the publishing industry hasn't produced a must-read adult book in several years, but that drought came to an end in the first week of January, 'Fire and Fury': Anatomy of a Bombshell.
  • If you're thinking about getting a report on your manuscript, how do you work out which one would suit you best? Which Report? includes our new top-of-the range service, the Editor's Report Plus, introduced by popular demand to provide even more detail. This very substantial report takes the form of a chapter-by-chapter breakdown and many writers have found this detail helps them to get their book right. Through our specialist children's editors we can offer reports on children's books.
  • More links: I'd rather describe my darkest, dirtiest sexual fantasies than tell you how much I've earned writing novels. But this essay is about my corporate career, which means it's mostly about money; to tell it right I have to come clean, If It Wasn't For My Corporate Office Job, I Couldn't Be a Novelist; "we've decided that the world has moved on from blogs-so this is the last post here." The Rise and Fall of the Blog; and, does it really make sense? - Paying to Play: On Submission Fees in Poetry Publishing.
  • 'The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.' Ursula K. Le Guin in our Writers' Quotes.

1 January 2018 - What's new

January 2018
  • 'A published writer has people pay to read the manifestations of her imagination, soul, and heart. For me, that remains extraordinary. It will always be the dream transaction for me, but it is also the most exposing, the rawest, unavoidable, supremely important fact in my life that I have battled desperately to understand and get a handle on these past three years...' Jessie Burton, author of bestselling The Miniaturist (just very successfully made into an excellent BBC One two-parter) and The Muse. Our Comment.
  • The Interpreter's House Poetry Competition 2018 closes on 31 January. It's open to all poets over 18 with an entry fee of £4 for one poem, £10 for three poems. The First Prize is £500, the Second Prize £150 and the Third Prize £100.
  • From our 19-part Inside Publishing series, Subsidiary Rights: 'My first job in publishing was in a subsidiary rights department. I'm ashamed to admit that I accepted the job without having much idea what subsidiary rights were. Many writers may feel just as vague about this part of publishing, so here's a quick breakdown...' and Vanity Publishing: 'It is natural for writers to be eager to get published but it pays to be wary of the vanity publishers who will take your money and give you very little in return...' Vanity publishing is quite distinct from Self-publishing, you need to be aware of the differences.
  • The question of funding for literary fiction has been in the news recently and has attracted a range of different views, ranging from the feeling that literary publishers need this subsidy to be able to carry on, to Tim Lott's feeling that literary writers have lost the plot (literally). News Review looks at whether literary novelists deserve public funding.
  • As well as our highly-regarded Copy editing service, which will help you prepare your manuscript for submission or self-publishing, we have Manuscript Polishing, which provides a higher-level polishing service, Writer's edit, a new line-editing service, and Translation editing for writers who are not native English speakers. We also provide  a Proof-reading service. Our UK-based Editing services for writers have a solid professional reputation and we often have authors coming back to us for further assistance, see our Endorsements.
  • Our links: if you're a writer, here's an idea: resolve to get rejected. 100 times this year, if you're lucky, The Most-Rejected Books of All Time; a job which requires monumental effort and a certain degree of skill to research, write, and publish a 35,000-word manuscript on a different historical subject every month, Writing History; a self-publisher looking back on her various successes and failures, and trying to draw up a plan to help her books gain more readers in 2018, 10 indie publishing predictions for 2018; and a fan's affectionate appraisal of the much-loved crime writer who died this week, Sue Grafton Was a Master at Subverting the Detective Novel.
  • Which service should I choose to help me get my work into good shape for submission or self-publishing? This is the question our page Which service? answers and it then goes on to give a quick rundown on our 20 editorial services for writers, which we think is the biggest you can find on the internet.
  • More links: nowadays, the ebook has a reputation for technological conservatism - so it is easy to forget that there was significant anticipation for the Kindle's arrival ten years ago, Is the e-book a dead format? The next generation of British authors could struggle to land a book deal, according to the publisher who launched Harry Potter writer JK Rowling's career, Brexit will usher in a dark chapter for new British authors, warns publisher; John Ashbery's death in September gave my world a lurch, as the 90-year-old eminent American experimentalist was my favorite living poet, Why Rupi Kaur and Her Peers Are the Most Popular Poets in the World; and they should write better books, Tim Lott says - and asks Why should we subsidise writers who have lost the plot?
  • Stephen King in our Writers' Quotes: 'Making people believe the unbelievable is no trick; it's work. ... Belief and reader absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything.'