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What's New in 2018

September 2018

24 September 2018 - What's new

September 2018
  • 'I don't have writer's block, really. I do have times when I can't get the lead and that is the only part of the story that I have serious trouble with. I don't write a word of the article until I have the lead. It just sets the whole tone - the whole point of view. I know exactly where I am going as soon as I have the lead. That can take me three or four days and sometimes a week...' Nora Ephron, journalist, film director and author of screenplays such as When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, writing about writer's block. 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 August Magazine is out now and is linked to some great articles: Ray Bradbury's greatest writing advice, Six Great Blogs for Indie Authors, Everyone Needs an Editor and How to Blog a Book of Poetry.
  • From our Endorsements page: 'As a total neophyte as a writer, I have been doing a huge amount of research suddenly as to what services are available to writers, on both sides of the Atlantic, and am amazed that you are able to have someone read a whole book and give a serious critique for just 180 pounds. I think that is incredible value for money, compared to other similar services that appear to be available out there. I hope to be back to you again for more assistance, once I've cleaned up my work! Martin Humphries, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
  • Our links: for all authors, a really useful article about the value of offering free content, Indie Authors and the Value of Free Content 2; with total sales doubling to $2.5 billion over the past five years, Audiobooks are booming, but how long will that last? facts/lines of poems/details of plot smear in my head but there's a simple solution How Do I Become One of Those Writers Who Remember Everything? Anna Todd's book has been read more than 1.5 billion times on Wattpad, and it's no surprise that $400M Fiction Giant Wattpad Wants To Be Your Literary Agent.
  • Last year we launched the Writer's edit, a top-level new service for writers who want line-editing as well as copy editing. Does your manuscript need high-level input from an editor to help you get it into the best possible shape for submission or self-publishing? This may be the service for you, offering the kind of editing which publishers' senior editors used to do in-house on their authors' manuscripts and which is now hard to find. Our other copy editing services.
  • If you are submitting your work to an agent or directly to a publishing house, check through the our guidelines to give it its best chance. Making submissions.
  • More links: 'writing a crime novel is close to the middle of human experiences ranked by difficulty', Sara Gran: My Best Friends Are Books | CrimeReads; "We now have more international exhibitors than we do German-language exhibitors - it's like 65% to 35%."Coming up next week, Frankfurt Book Fair 2018 Preview; a heartfelt cry from a literary editor, Why yet more books about Nazis and the future make my heart sink | Sam Leith | Opinion | The Guardian; and the number of adults in the US reading novels and short stories has hit a new low, with the decline of almost 8% in the last five years, NEA Study Finds Small Dip in Adult Reading.
  • Do you want to get your script accepted and produced for the stage or screen? This is one of the most competitive areas to get into, with very few open doors. The glamour and potential financial rewards are contrasted with the reality of rejection, or no response at all, which is what is actually experienced by many aspiring scriptwriters. Get your TV script, screenplay or play professionally assessed. Our Scriptwriting assessment service.
  • 'Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.' Jane Yolen in our Writers' Quotes.

17 September 2018 - What's new

September 2018
  • ‘The mature, serious novel is the best art form for explaining our complicated lives. It gets all the little shades of meaning and the nuance of the human condition. D H Lawrence called the novel the ‘bright book of life', and it's the art form that has evolved to explain this bizarre adventure we are all on...' William Boyd, author of 15 novels, including Love is Blind, A Good Man in Africa, An Ice Cream War and Any Human Heart, in the Sunday Times magazine. Our Comment.
  • Closing on 22 October, the Troubadour International Poetry Prize 2018 is open to all with an entry fee of £6 for the first poem and £4 for further poems. First prize £2,000, Second prize £1,000 and Third prize a week-long creative-writing course at the Arvon centre of your choice. The Prize is judged by Jo Shapcott and Daljit Nagra.
  • Other live Writing Opportunities.
  • Our 6-part Editor's Advice series from one of our editors deals with subjects such as further drafts :'I have just finished writing a report on a novel. I've pinpointed various areas of weakness and made various suggestions that the writer may or may not wish to follow. But the nub of the report is a recommendation that the writer produce a further draft of the novel rather than trying to submit it to a publisher now. I wonder sometimes how writers feel when they get my reports and see that recommendation. It must be very disheartening, when you've spent eighteen months sweating buckets over 150,000 words of fiction to have a report coming winging back, effectively saying "do it again"...'
  • Our links: The Children Act novelist and screenwriter reflects on what he's learned about endings and studio execs' suggestions: "They were all formed out of a pattern, as if they'd all taken Screenwriting 101 years ago." Ian McEwan on Adapting His Novels and Script Notes That Drive Him "Mad" | Hollywood Reporter; one of the best ways to connect with readers, build a large, engaged audience - and promote your books, 8 things to include in your author social media strategy | The Bookseller; what the young Kazakhstani scientist Alexandra Elbakyan has done to the multibillion-dollar industry that traps knowledge behind paywalls, Scientific publishing is a rip-off. We fund the research - it should be free | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian; and a real dilemma for author Marko Kozkas, French bookshops revolt after prize selects novel self-published on Amazon | Books | The Guardian.
  • '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
  • Here's a detailed article on how to prepare 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...'
  • More links: hordes of books have had their titles changed in America, A book by any other name: why does the US change so many titles? | Books | The Guardian; knowing which type of printing service to use depends on authors' publishing needs - and before any decision is made, it's important to have a clear understanding of the two types of printing, Offset Printing Versus Print-on-Demand; from agent Tessa David - Every agent is different, and every agency has slightly different guidelines, but here are a few tips I would suggest bearing in mind when submitting, Top Tips on How to Write a Successful Submission - Young Writer of the Year Award; and, five years later, how does this huge trade publishing consolidation look for authors? Penguin Random House Is Building the Perfect Publishing House | The New Republic.
  • How can you give yourself your best chance when entering competitions? Here's a set of tips to make sure you make the most of the opportunities.
  • Finally, some tough words from the novelist Zadie Smith in our Writers' Quotes: 'Don't romanticise your ‘vocation.' You can either write good sentences or you can't. There is no ‘writer's lifestyle.' All that matters is what you leave on the page.'

10 September 2018 - What's new

September 2018
  • ‘Given that some very big and powerful companies dominate the UK books business, it is logical for other businesses to join together to shore up their profitability and influence in the market. I hope that these two well-loved booksellers find renewed strength and creative energy together... As an agent, my concern in a books industry dominated by big companies is that - as well as needing a healthy and profitable bookselling and publishing business - we also need to ensure that authors' economic needs are met. Authors can't club together into bigger more powerful entities to protect their profitability in the way other parts of the business are...' Lizzy Kremer of David Higham AssociatesAgents for the negotiation of all rights in fiction, general non-fiction, children's fiction and picture books, plays, film and TV scripts (home 15%, USA/translation 20%, scripts 10%). Represented in all foreign markets. Preliminary letter and return postage. All adult submissions should be typed with double line spacing on one side only of A4 paper and pages should be numbered. Be sure to include a covering letter; a full plot synopsis of the proposed book; the first two or three chapters of the book; a CV and a stamped addressed envelope. Founded 1935, currently president of the Association of Authors Agents, commenting on the Waterstones acquisition of long-established bookseller Foyles in the Bookseller. Our Comment.
  • The LoveReading Very Short Story Award 2019 is for unpublished stories by writers from all over the world and there's no entry fee. The winning story will be read by a professional actor on The LoveReading Podcast, and published on the LoveReading website. Closing 31 October.
  • Literary magazines with one week's response time is Sandeep Kumar Mishra's useful list, which we added to the site. They range from literary fiction to non-fiction and include science fiction and fantasy, popular non-fiction, politics, flash fiction, reviews, humour, social issues, the economy, lifestyle, horror, artwork and much more. If you've ever despaired at how long magazine submissions can take, or wanted to extend your range, this is the list you need.
  • Get some professional help. If you're self-publishing, you need good quality copy for the cover. Our Blurb-writing service can provide a professionally written piece of cover copy. Submitting to agents but finding it difficult to write your own synopsis? Commission a synopsis which will present your manuscript in the best possible light for submission.
  • Just launched, the July Magazine, which provided links to some interesting articles - How to Self-Publish a Poetry Book - 10 Steps, Films based on books take 44% more at the box office, The Changing Face of Romance Novels and Do Great Writers Really steal? On Plagiarism and Publishing.
  • How to market your writing services online is a useful article from 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 about selling yourself as a writer. 'Recently someone commented to me that I seem to be doing a pretty good job of promoting my writing services on the internet. I was touched by the observation - we writers get so many rejections that a little praise is especially gratifying. And I began to wonder - what does it take to market yourself successfully as a jobbing writer today?...'
  • Our links: there's nothing like writing and publishing a book to bring out the dormant diva who lives inside every aspiring author, Reframing Publishing Success; an author's view of the sale of Foyles, Waterstones buying Foyles isn't a bad thing - at least it's not Sports Direct | James Smythe | Books | The Guardian; a contrary view, Waterstone's Buying Foyles Is All About Bricks & | Iain Dale; and John Boyne gave voice to The Boy in the Striped Pajamas in a breathless two and a half days, but in the real world, How Long Should It Take to Write a Book? | Jane Friedman.
  • 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.
  • More links: this week, the site published the anthology Worlds Seen in Passing - 10 Years of Tor.com Short Fiction, which celebrates the best of the site's fiction in the decade that it's been in operation, How Tor.com went from website to publisher of sci-fi's most innovative stories - The Verge; these days I feel that finding time to write is more like purse-snatching than any other activity, Writing Advice From Lydia Millet; veteran children's publisher looks back at his career, Call the Midwife: Fickling reveals advice that has shaped his four-decade career | The Bookseller; and two great champions of reading for pleasure return to remind us of its importance - and that libraries create literate citizens, Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell on why we need libraries - an essay in pictures | Books | The Guardian.
  • An unusually long quote from Tom Wolfe in our Writers' Quotes: 'I think I am starving for publication: I love to get published; it maddens me not to get published. I feel at times like getting every publisher in the world by the scruff of the neck, forcing his jaws open, and cramming the Mss down his throat - 'God-damn you, here it is - I will and must be published... You know what it means - you're a writer and you understand it. It's not just 'the satisfaction of being published.' Great God! It's the satisfaction of getting it out, or having that, so far as you're concerned, gone through with it! That good or ill, for better or for worse, it's over, done with, finished, out of your life forever and that, come what may, you can at least, as far as this thing is concerned, get the merciful damned easement of oblivion and forgetfulness.'

3 September 2018 - What's new

September 2018
  • 'Writing today is a funny business. You do wonder how long we're going to have books. I still tell young people with the imagination to go for it. Just be sure that if it doesn't work out, you have something else you can try...' Barbara Taylor Bradford, author of A Woman of Substance, Secrets of Cavendon and 33 other titles, in the Observer magazine. Our Comment
  • The Moth Poetry Prize 2018 for a single poem is open to all poets over 16 with an entry fee of £12 per poem. The First Prize is €10,000 and there are three runner-up prizes of €1,000. Closing 31 December.
  • The Inside Publishing series consists of 19 articles giving you an insider's view of publishing. The English Language Publishing World looks at the traditional way in which the international English-language publishing has been split between UK and US publishers. Why does the world get divided up into publishing territories? How has this come about? How does it affect authors? Then there's  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...'
  • If you're aiming at traditional publishing, Finding an agent and Working with an agent are two practical checklists to help set up and maintain this vital relationship. 'Try to find an agency which is ‘hungry' for new clients. To keep their workload under control, an established independent agent might take on something like four new authors a year, but only to replace four departing clients. This may seem obvious, but whether or not an agent is actively looking to build their list of clients is probably the single most important factor affecting how closely they are looking at unsolicited submissions...'
  • Our links: contrary to what you might think, adult non-fiction revenues are soaring above fiction revenues and have been widening the gap for the past five years, Traditional Publishers Are Selling Way More Non-Fiction Than Fiction; how you can give your book another chance, 6 Reasons to Relaunch Your Book | Jane Friedman; these titles can give you the equipment, the insights, and the courage you need to make your book the best it can be, Three Books on Writing Well for Indie Authors; and it's part of the stunning boom in audiobooks, Audible UK revenue soars 45% | The Bookseller.
  • Have you translated your work into English? Or have you written it in English but it is not your native language? Now you need to make sure it's good enough to publish, or send to a publisher. If you need help to get your work into perfect condition, our Translation editing service is for you. We have just introduced a free assessment and a free sample of your editing as a standard part of our service.
  • More links: in a wish to have someone else take their place, or supply their words, plagiarists generally steal something better than they might write themselves, Getting Inside the Mind of a Plagiarist | Literary Hub; things are looking good in the Chinese market, Publishers praise 'successful' BIBF | The Bookseller; and, illuminating the changing role of agents,  an interview from the past with a veteran literary agent who has just died, Michael Sissons: Agent of change | The Bookseller.
  • 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, the biggest range you can find on the internet.
  • 'Long books, when read, are usually overpraised, because the reader wishes to convince others and himself that he has not wasted his time.' E M Forster in Aspects of the Novel features in our Writers' Quotes.