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What's New in 2020

November 2020

30 November 2020 - What's new

November 2020

23 November 2020 - What's new

November 2020
  • ‘Growing up as the boy I was and now the man that I am in New York, they feel like two very different people. And so, though this is on-the-back-of-a-cornflakes-box psychology, it was a good way for me to make sense of the whole of me and to sort of stitch myself together. I love the boy I was. It wasn't always easy but I wanted to conjure that world. Fiction allows you take control of a situation that you might not have control over in real life. On the west coast of Scotland, we are never allowed to think of ourselves as exceptional - never exceptionally great or exceptionally hard done to. And a memoir is thinking there's an exception there that is worth sharing... Douglas Stuart, author of debut novel Shuggie Bain, which has just won the 2020 Booker Prize, in the Guardian.
  • From our 7-part series An Editor's Advice, on writing genre novels: 'How do you become a successful genre writer? You do it by getting to know your chosen genre intimately. You do it by writing, of course, but you also do it by reading a lot of genre novels. And I do mean "a lot". You read a lot of genre novels in order to get the overall ‘feel' of things. You read modern genre to understand what's currently ‘hot' so you can play with the ideas and extend them, rather than simply regurgitating the same old ideas. You read the back catalogue to understand what the current writers read before they got started. You can look for ideas, yes, but you've still got to do something new with them. You see, like all literature, genre has history...'
  • '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 about writers: a very popular winner with a history of being turned down by publishers, Douglas Stuart's Booker win heralds arrival of a fully formed voice | Booker prize | The Guardian; editor Peter Blackstock was behind last year's winner too, Talking to the Editor Behind Back-to-Back Booker Prizes | Literary Hub; the second oldest profession, The Evolution of Espionage Fiction | CrimeReads; metafiction, sex, feminism, death, and the end of the world in her latest poetic masterpiece, Welcoming Disillusionment: PW Talks with Margaret Atwood; and already it's on track to become the bestselling presidential memoir of all time, How Barack Obama's Book Sales Stack Up Against Other Big Memoirs.
  • 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 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?...'
  • 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.
  • More links on what's going on in publishing: Penguin Random House purchasing Simon & Schuster is not the gravest danger to the publishing business, The Penguin Random House-Simon & Schuster Merger's About Amazon - The Atlantic; avoiding  'traditional writer' think, Business Musings: Trainwreck November Edition - Kristine Kathryn Rusch; do we need new marketing strategies after Covid? How Do We Market Books Now? So how is printing being affected? As book publishing shrinks during the pandemic, how are India's printing presses coping? And a very sad story for poets, poetry readers and poetry, Poets House Suspends Operations Amid Pandemic; Employees Cry Foul.
  • If you are submitting your work to an agent or directly to a publishing house, check through our guidelines to give it its best chance. Making submissions.
  • 'Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head. Shakespeare has perhaps 20 players. I have 10 or so, and that's a lot. As you get older, you become more skillful at casting them.' Gore Vidal in our Writers' Quotes.
  • If Quotes are you bag, we have substantial collections in More Writers' Quotes and Even More Quotes.


16 November 2020 - What's new

November 2020
  • 'Why does the writer write? The writer writes to serve - hopelessly he writes in the hope that he might serve - not himself and not others, but that great cold elemental grace which knows us. A writer I very much admire is Don DeLillo. At an awards ceremony for him at the Folger Library several years ago, I said that he was like a great shark moving hidden in our midst, beneath the din and wreck of the moment, at apocalyptic ease in the very elements of our psyche and times that are most troublesome to us, that we most fear...' Joy Williams, author of The Visiting Privilege, The Quick and the Dead, Ill Nature, State of Grace and The Changeling.
  • 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. 'Today's indie author can feel confident that they are in good company - indeed, many traditionally published authors are leaving their publishers and going indie by choice. Tired of creative compromises, covers they can't stand, zero promotion and tiny royalty percentages, they are joining the ranks of self-publishing authors and reaping the benefits. If you have a book you are passionate about, if your main objective is to get your work in front of readers and make it professional and accessible, and if you're tired of doing the ‘rounds' of agents and publishers and facing soul-destroying rejection, there is an answer. Self publish...' Articles include What is Self-publishing and Choose Your Self-publishing Route.
  • 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, English Language Editing for those for whom English is not a native language, our latest new service Writer's edit, providing line-editing, and Proof-reading. Get the right level of editorial support for your needs. Our low-cost services represent exceptionally good value. Contact us to discuss what you want.
  • Links from the publishing world: millions of Chinese understand perfectly why e-commerce giant Alibaba adopted this as a marketing slogan for its hugely successful Singles' Day, The past is prologue; tomorrow is online; you'll know who's won the Booker by the time you read this, but Africa basks in Booker boost for female writers - BBC News; more impending consolidation amongst the big battalions of the publishing world, 'NYT' Says HC, PRH Top Contenders to Buy S&S; and nearly one milion children's books in print, Self-Published Author Moves Brand into Consumer Products.
  • An endorsement from Anthony Fitzgerald for our English Language Editing Service: 'The result? A book that reads like it's written by a native speaker for only 13% of the price a complete translation would have costed. Thank you, writersservices.'
  • Links from writers and about writing: Nigerian-American author's Half of a Yellow Sun has been voted the best of the Women's Prize's 25 years of winners, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Is Women's Prize 'Winner of Winners'; SF anthology stalled since 1974, Harlan Ellison's The Last Dangerous Visions may finally be published, after five-decade wait | Books | The Guardian; he was just 16 in 1968, it was a moment of change and social revolution, Novelist William Boyd Looks Back to the Past; and author of the cult classic novel, in which a bored psychiatrist  lets "the dice decide" his options, The Dice Man author George Cockcroft (aka Luke Rhinehart) dies aged 87 | Books | The Guardian.
  • If you are submitting your work to an agent or directly to a publishing house, check through our guidelines to give it its best chance. Making Submissions.
  • Links of general interest: if you'd like to improve your writing setup, this useful guide may help, 11 Actually Useful Digital Tips for Writers - National Centre for Writing; 'some days we think of poetry as a dead antelope', a serious look at poetry and prizes, On Poets and Prizes / Juliana Spahr and Stephanie Young - ASAP/J; 35% of the world read more due to COVID-19, but go online to look at this properly, Infographic: World Reading Habits in 2020 | The Digital Reader.
  • Working with an agent explains how to get the best out of the relationship with your agent: 'It can be hard work finding an agent to represent you. Make sure though that, when you set up the relationship, you do so in a professional manner Don't let your eagerness to find representation mean that things are left vague. You will be depending on the agent to process all your income from the books they sell, so you need to have a written record of your arrangement, preferably a contract...'
  • 'Meeting writers is always so disappointing. I got over wanting to meet live writers quite a long time ago. There is this terrific book that has changed your life, and then you meet the author, and he has shifty eyes and funny shoes and he won't talk about anything except the injustice of the United States income tax structure toward people with fluctuating income, or how to breed Black Angus cows, or something.' Ursula K Le Guin in our Writers' Quotes.

9 November 2020 - What's new

November 2020