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4 January 2021 - What's new

4 January 2021
  • ‘The thing I like about novels is that they are a more forgiving form. You can make missteps. It's harder to write a really good short story - I'm more aware of the flaws in my short stories. There's pleasure I get being able to spend that much time with people and ideas in novels, but if you write a short story, the magical period of an idea to the excitement of composition and the first draft is short, but deeply pleasurable in a way novels are not... Elizabeth McCracken, author of Bowlaway, Thunderstruck and four other books of novels, short stories and a memoir, in the Observer.
  • A Publisher's View is our four-part series from publisher Tom Chalmers on what publishers are looking for. What a publisher wants from submissions, Judging a book by its covering letter and synopsis, Making the submission and The changing face of publishing. 'While editors may well do some later tinkering, it shouldn't be sent in unless the writer feels it is a manuscript ready for publication, in terms of both grammar and content. Lines like ‘I know it needs some work', or ‘I think it's nearly there' show admirable humility but are an immediate put-off!...'
  • The 2021 International Book and Pamphlet Competition is open to poets internationally. The entry fee is £28, £25 to subscribers to The North. The prize is publication by Smith|Doorstop Books; a share of £2,000 cash; a launch reading; publication in the North magazine; book vouchers from Inpress Books. Closing 1 March. This is one of the few poetry prizes which has publication as its prize.
  • 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 and most comprehensive you can find on the internet.
  • Our links this week are a rather thin crop, as the book world lumbers its way back into action after the break: it's been a picture of gloom and doom for most business sectors in 2020, but it's good to know that 2020 has been surprisingly good for the publishing industry - Good e-Reader; the peril faced by the work of a writer dying young, George Orwell is out of copyright. What happens now? | George Orwell | The Guardian; George Saunders once said, ‘when you read a short story, you come out a little more aware and a little more in love with the world around you'...but what is the best way to get yourself going? Writing a short story - where do you start? - National Centre for Writing.
  • It may surprise you to know that the first of Julie Wheelwright's Top Ten Tips for Nonfiction Writers is: 'Story, story, story. Make sure that your story can sustain several chapters and tens of thousands of words. Keep asking yourself: Why would anyone want to read this story?'
  • A few more links: the generosity of a donor supporting poets and writers, B&N Founder Makes $250K Donation to Poets & Writers; pitching a manuscript isn't for cowards, the thin skinned, or those with no endurance. Believing your project is worthy, truly believing in it, is required, as is the patience of a saint, How I Landed a Book Deal Via Twitter - Unintentionally | Jane Friedman; and a renowned children's author points to the difference between 'selecting' and 'censoring'? Michael Morpurgo denies 'censoring' Merchant of Venice in children's book | Michael Morpurgo | The Guardian.
  • 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..'
  • '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
  • 'People have many cruel expectations from writers. People expect novelists to live on a hill with three kids and a spouse, people expect children's story writers to never have sex, and people expect all great poets to be dead. And these are all very difficult expectations to fulfill, I think.' C. JoyBell C. in our Writers' Quotes