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What's New in 2020

2020

 

29 June 2020 - What's new

June 2020
  • 'Like any social media platform, the more you use Twitter the more you will get out of it. So keeping your account as active as possible - i.e. tweeting as often as possible - is perhaps the most valuable tip of all. But that raises a common anti-Twitter excuse: "Oh, I wouldn't know what to talk about... To pro-Twitters like me, this is perhaps the most frustrating excuse of all, especially when it comes from otherwise idea-rich writers and authors! Paul Jones, author of The British Isles: A Trivia Gazetteer, Haggard Hawks & Paltry Poltroons and its sequel, Jedburgh Justice & Kentish Fire. Why and How Writers Should Embrace Twitter
  • An Editor's Advice is our seven-part series on how to become a better writer. On Genre writing: 'I've been reading science fiction, fantasy and crime novels since I was a teenager, and I can spot when a writer doesn't fully understand the mechanics of their chosen genre. It may not matter to a casual reader but it really matters to the fans, and if they don't like what they find, they'll be telling their friends why the novel is rubbish. So, what do you do about it? How do you become a successful genre writer?
  • 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 or just dreaming of being in that situation, Preparing for Publication gives an outline of what's involved.
  • Our links: leading crime writers reveal how they came up with their most famous creations, Me and my detective by Lee Child, Attica Locke, Sara Paretsky, Jo Nesbø and more | Books | The Guardian; how writers can cope with the considerable change there's been over the last few months, Writing, Pitching & Promoting in the Age of the Coronavirus | Jane Friedman; unwanted, disrespected, or simply shut out, Romance Writers of America had a history of racism. It led to its own implosion. - Vox; and looking at Orwell's life, What's really Orwellian about our global Black Lives Matter moment.
  • Copy editing services - WritersServices can provide a range of services working on your manuscript, to help you get it ready for submission or self-publishing. We are UK-based and our skilled professional editors have been working on writers' manuscripts for 19 years. We have recently introduced free samples and free assessments on most of these services, please see the individual service page.
  • More links: 'I kept being told my books were about identity, then I'd read books by white poets, and think, how are these not about identity?' Poetic justice: black lives and the power of poetry | Books | The Guardian; a rather dry article documenting a depressing reality, Author Income in the Coronavirus Crisis: European Writers' Council Report; "We need to see agents, publishers, writers, sales and marketing people of colour..." The industry is ‘hostile environment on multiple levels', says Singh | The Bookseller.
  • Writing for Children: Rule Number One - Read More than You Write."If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that." says Stephen King. Novels show writers what can be done and how. They can be everything from a rip-roaring read to a work of art, and they present the finished article, the puzzle of writing solved and celebrated as a successful story. These can be fiendishly hard to analyse though in terms of your own writing.
  • Are you struggling to get someone to look at your poetry? Our Poetry Critique service for up to 150 lines of poetry can help. Our Poetry Collection Editing, unique to WritersServices, edits your collection to prepare it for submission or self-publishing. Both can provide the professional editorial input you may feel you need.
  • Julian Barnes in our Writers' Quotes: 'Books say: she did this because life says: she did this. Books are where things are explained to you; life is where things aren't. I'm not surprised some people prefer books. Books make sense of life. The only problem is that the lives they make sense of are other people's lives, never your own.'

22 June 2020 - What's new

June 2020

15 June 2020 - What's new

June 2020

8 June 2020 - What's new

June 2020

1 June 2020 - What's new

June 2020

25 May 2020 - What's new

May 2020
  • 'The rules for writing under lockdown are no different to other ties. It won't happen unless you make it happen. It's incremental and frustrating, and your chances of being paid for it are tiny, but it's a fascinating process, with all the glamour and excitement of an affair but with less chance of divorce. Once you discover the joys of it, and the pains, it will bring you the deepest pleasure. Good luck...' Writing under Lockdown from Louise Doughty, author of nine novels including Platform Seven, Apple Tree Yard and Black Water, and the how-to-write guide A Novel in a Year, in the Sunday Times Magazine.
  • 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...'
  • You'll have to be very quick to enter The Bridport Prize 2020, which closes on 31 May. There are four parts to this Prize, as follows: Poetry, Short Story and Flash Fiction are open to unpublished work from any writer writing in English over 16. The Novel Award is restricted to UK writers. The entry fees are £10 per poem, £12 per story, £9 for flash fiction and £20 per novel. Poetry and Short Story 1st Prize £5,000, 2nd Prize £1,000, 3rd Prize £500. Flash Fiction 1st Prize £1,000, 2nd Prize £500 and 3rd Prize £250. Novel Award 1st Prize £1500, 2nd Prize £750 and 3 awards of £150. Go for it!
  • Other competitions which are still open.
  • We have a new endorsement from Daniela Stanciulescu in Paris, on her English Language Editing for writers who are not native English speakers: ‘WritersServices editors are not just excellent professionals, they are persons of letters involved in helping the writers who are trying to enter in the world of British books... I am impressed. I am grateful. I'm delighted. Thank you so much.'
  • Our links: the impact on publishing and authors, How Book Publishers Decided To Move Publication Dates During The COVID-19 Pandemic; hundreds of YA book releases and publicity plans have been altered by the Covid-19 pandemic, YA Authors Move Online; this will be a very different Frankfurt. The plan is to run the event not only on the fair's grounds but also decentralized at locations in the city, and as a virtual event, Frankfurt Book Fair 2020 to go ahead | The Bookseller; a lively conversation with Judy Blume, Curtis Sittenfeld Rewrites Hillary Clinton's Life Without Bill; and "like watching an IMAX movie from the front row," NPD's Kristen McLean on US Book Sales During the Pandemic.
  • Rotten Rejections provides a note of the things publishers wish they'd never said: on Animal Farm by George Orwell ‘It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA' and Carrie by Stephen King 'We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.'
  • More links: the Pandemic will hit many industries hard, there is a particularly deep fear for those in the relatively privileged cultural industries, Radical Publishing in a Pandemic; making sure your readers are on the edge of their seats, Five tips for keeping your readers gripped - National Centre for Writing; in 1909, long before the invention of the World Wide Web or the prospect of a world where we must live socially distant from each other, he arguably predicted both, How E.M. Forster's Only Foray Into Sci-Fi Predicted Social Distancing | Literary Hub; and what a truly amazing row, Romance Writers of America aims for happy end to racism row with new prize | Books | The Guardian.
  • Our 20 Services for writers - just a list of what we offer at WritersServices.
  • From our Writers' Quotes 'Sometimes the ideas just come to me. Other times I have to sweat and almost bleed to make ideas come. It's a mysterious process, but I hope I never find out exactly how it works. I like a mystery, as you may have noticed.' J K Rowling.

18 May 2020 - What's new

May 2020

11 May 2020 - What's new

May 2020

4 May 2020 - What's new

May 2020
  • ‘I think this period, if it's doing nothing else, is probably making reading a more central part of people's lives than before. Reading is always, in one sense, a form of escape. It's escaping into a life which is not the life that you're actually having to live. That's why we do it.' Penelope Lively, author of Booker Prize-winning Moon Tiger, Family Album and more than 38 other books for adults and children in the Observer. Escaping the Lockdown.
  • An Editor's advice on planning, part of our 7-part series, 'Some people like to know exactly what they're doing before they start writing. They make very elaborate diagrams of the plot, note what each character is doing and when - this is particularly useful if you're writing a story which depends very heavily on a complex series of events coming together at just the right moment. Some writers focus on building detailed descriptions of their characters, so they know how they will react in any given situation, and then put them into the action. Once they've made a plan, they stick to it, but they then make a note of the ideas they have as they work, and then go back later and see if they can be incorporated into the story. If not, they might be worth using elsewhere...'
  • The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award 2020 is open to all. The entry fee for Poetry entries is £12, with £18 for Short Fiction entries, but hurry because there's an offer if you enter by 10 May. £1,000 is awarded to both the Poetry and Short Fiction winners, plus publication the Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology, which is awarded to 60 writers shortlisted by the judging panel. Closing 31 August.
  • If you've come to the site looking for 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.
  • Our links: A Portable Paradise, which has already won the T S Eliot prize, moves from the Grenfell Tower fire to the Windrush generation and the legacy of slavery, Roger Robinson's poems of Trinidad and London win Ondaatje prize | Books | The Guardian; ever since early March independent booksellers have been tweaking their business models in an attempt to remain solvent, Virtual Author Events Are the Next Big Thing; a significant proportion of the UK and Ireland's smallest independent presses say their businesses are at risk as a result of the Coronavirus lockdown, Small presses fear being 'wiped out' by autumn | The Bookseller; if you're in any way a member of the independent publishing community, welcome, What Can Independent Presses Do to Survive These Uncertain Times? and another really thorough article, How to Write a Novel Synopsis | Jane Friedman.
  • If, in spite of Jane Friedman's help, you find it difficult to write your own synopsis for submission to agents and publishers, our Synopsis-writing service can help. If you're preparing to self-publish and having difficulty with your blurb, our Blurb-writing service from a professional copy-writer will make your book stand out.
  • More links: 'I miss writing stories in which a life lived online does not figure, On the Relief of Ignoring the Internet in Fiction | Literary Hub; on publishing when bookshops are closed, being an ‘exercise nut' and the dangers posed to writers by mob rule, Lionel Shriver: 'Some people think I'm evil incarnate' | Books | The Guardian; the Queens of Crime who dominated the Golden Age of British detective writing, Christie & Sayers & Allingham & Tey | CrimeReads; and, from a fan of the great poet who left it too late, Dear Eavan Boland, I Wanted to Send You a Letter | Literary Hub.
  • How to get your book translated into English (without it costing the earth) - for non-native English speakers wanting to reach the international English language market. If your English is good enough, what about writing your book in English or translating it into English yourself, and then getting your translation polished and copy edited by a professional editor who is a native English speaker? The result should be a publishable manuscript at a relatively low cost, ready for you to publish or submit to publishers.
  • From our Writers' Quotes, Stephen King on audiobooks: ‘I listen to my own books. The reason why is because you can hear everything you did right and everything you did wrong. This is the most honourable form of storytelling there is.'

27 April 2020 - What's new

April 2020

20 April 2020 - What's new

April 2020

13 April 2020 - What's new

April 2020

6 April 2020 - What's new

April 2020

30 March 2020 - What's new

March 2020

9 March 2020 - What's new

March 2020

2 March 2020 - What's new

March 2020

24 February 2020 - What's new

February 2020

17 February 2020 - What's new

February 2020
  • Modern children have ‘a yearning for a world without screens. Yes it's rough and Torak and Renn go through some difficult times, but it's this amazing world where there's no climate change, lots of animals, no pollution. It doesn't matter what you look like. What matters is you don't make any noise when you're hunting... Michelle Paver, author of Wolf Brother, Dark Matter and Spirit Walker, talking about her new book Viper's Daughter, published next month, in the Bookseller. Our Comment.
  • Advice for Writers is a really useful page which takes you into our archive and helps you explore our more than 7,000 pages of information for writers.
  • If you have written a poem you think would appeal to 7-11-year olds, then why not enter the The Caterpillar Poetry Prize 2020? It is open to all poets across the world over the age of 16. Entry fee €14 per poem and the prize is €1,000. Closing date 31 March and the Prize will be judged by Roger McGough.
  • '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. But how are you supposed to tell who will do a good job, when the editorial services on the web all sound pretty much the same and it's tempting to go for the cheapest?' Getting your manuscript copy edited
  • Our links:"What did you find to be the biggest difference between writing crime and writing fantasy?" Worldbuilding: Crime and Fantasy Books Have More in Common Than You Might Think | CrimeReads; not for everyone perhaps, but 'I use a systematic and business-like approach to help take the sting out of rejections and keep me focused on moving forward with querying', Here's a System and Template for Tracking Your Submissions; 'You ask yourself if you are a writer if there is no novel to prove that you are what you say you are,' Brandon Taylor, Reluctant Novelist | Literary Hub; erased from my zine's page, Did Amazon Throttle My Sales After I Criticized Them in the New York Times? | Literary Hub; and Fanny Blake reports on the crucial contribution of the Quick Reads programme to improving adult literacy, Making a difference - quickly.
  • Working with an agent: 'Don't ever take on an agent you don't like or don't trust, however desperate you may feel. You have to be able to work with them in what should be an extremely important relationship for you as a writer. You must also feel confident that they are competent, enthusiastic about your work and can be trusted, both in terms of the advice they offer and in relation to handling your money...
  • 'We have a new page which gives an editor's take on using pdfs, So what's wrong with PDFs? 'If you need your file to be edited, PDF is not the ideal format; in fact, it is practically the worst format you can choose. Why? Precisely because PDFs are designed not to be tampered with or changed. When you stop to think about it, editing is no more or less than a process of changing - and correcting - your file...'
  • More links: political books are selling like Donald Trump merchandise at Mar-a-Lago, dominating nonfiction bestseller lists for the past few years, John Bolton's $2 million book deal about the Trump administration isn't brave - Vox; finally moving into the limelight, Asian American Writers Are Finally Breaking Out on Their Own Terms; cover presentations designed by Amazon Publishing did by far the best job of luring in prospective buyers, Judging a Book by Its Title; and it's pretty clear what's unfair. Not paying on time. Breaking the terms of an agreement between publishers, booksellers, authors, agents. But fairness is more difficult to pin down, Opinion: Richard Charkin on Fairness in Book Publishing.
  • Our 20 Services for writers - just a list of what we offer at WritersServices.
  • From Tom Clancy in our Writers' Quotes: 'The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.'

10 February 2020 - What's new

February 2020

27 January 2020 - What's new

January 2020

20 January 2020 - What's new

January 2020
  • ‘The biggest kick is reading something new and exciting and then getting other people to share your enthusiasm... Beyond all the cant and hypocrisy in publishing, that's what it's all about... I have always found comfort in the confines of a book or a manuscript, Reading is how I spend most of my time and is still the most joyful aspect of my day. I want to be remembered not as an editor or publisher, but as a reader...' Sonny Mehta, Publisher of Knopf, who died recently. 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 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize 2020 represents a brilliant opportunity for writers. It's open to writers of any nationality writing in English and the entry fee is £20 but there are two prizes with £15,000 for the winner of each prize, plus a publishing deal with Bonnier for Best Unpublished Manuscript. Closing 2 March.
  • Our copy editing services for writers. WritersServices can provide a range of services working on your manuscript, to help you get it ready for submission or self-publishing. We are UK-based and our skilled professional editors have been working on writers' manuscripts for 17 years. We have just introduced free samples and free assessments on most of these services, please see the individual service page.
  • WritersServices editor Kay GaleWritersServices editor who has worked for many years as a freelance editor for number of publishers. 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: now the giant retailer is breaking into publishing with bestselling authors, Can Amazon Finally Crack the Bestseller Code? | The New Republic; from the doyenne of a particular type of black women's lit, Terry McMillan, Thwarter of Book Biz Gatekeepers, Has a New Novel; should the subject matter, & their titles, be treated with a little more thought & consideration? Can a work of fiction about the Holocaust be inaccurate? Romance narratives served as a kind of template for my own early love-affairs, Thrillers Pick Up Where Romance Leaves Off | CrimeReads; and 32 years of writing V.C. Andrews, How to Be a Ghostwriter.
  • How to get your book translated into English (without it costing the earth) asks writers who are not native English speakers with a manuscript which needs polishing or translating: "if your English is good enough, what about translating your book yourself or writing in English, and then getting your work polished and copy edited by a professional editor who is a native English speaker?" This could be a cost-effective way of reaching the international English-speaking market.
  • More links: the dominance of women in the book trade is most apparent in fiction... It wasn't always thus - obviously, In Publishing, Women Routinely Make Blockbusters - The Atlantic; a new spate of science-fiction and fantasy novels are quietly and gracefully opting instead to imagine worlds where homophobia does not exist, 'Why would I close the door to a queer person?' LGBTQ fantasy comes of age | Books | The Guardian; in more than 40 years as a journalist, I've interviewed some terrifying people, The True Crime Story That Changed My Life | CrimeReads.
  • 'Sometimes the ideas just come to me. Other times I have to sweat and almost bleed to make ideas come. It's a mysterious process, but I hope I never find out exactly how it works. I like a mystery, as you may have noticed.' J K Rowling in our Writers' Quotes.
  • If quotes are your thing we have a large collection in our Archive, More Writers' Quotes and Even More Quotes.

13 January 2020 - What's new

January 2020

6 January 2020 - What's new

January 2020