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6 February 2017 - What's new

6 February 2017
  • ‘Wonderfully, out of that private box of miracles that is a writer's life, I just wrote that sentence [that now opens the book]: "The method of laying out a corpse in Missouri sure took the proverbial cake." The whole damn book was just lying in behind that sentence.' There followed ‘four or five joyous months where, for once in a decade, you are going down to your work room like a 22-year-old instead of a 61-year-old, and being very surprised...' Our Comment is from Sebastian Barry, author of Days without End, which recently won the Costa Award and which paints a fascinating picture of a slice of American history.
  • Short Fiction Competition 2017 is our Writing Opportunity. Open to all published and unpublished authors over 16, entry fee £7, closing date 31 March and First Prize £500 + publication, Second Prize £100 + publication, Third Prize place on their masterclass.
  • 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. 'Self-publishing has changed so much over the past few years it's hard to believe it was once looked down upon by the publishing industry as the last resort of the vain and desperate. At the time of writing many self-publishing authors are identifying with the term ‘indie author', which acknowledges that to professionally publish today, you don't actually have to do everything yourself!'
  • It's been a lively week on the children's publishing and reading front, with an attack on the "joyless education" which is putting children off reading, an intervention from the Children's Laureate demonstrating that drawing and illustrating help children's literacy and authors complaining about celebrity signings for children's books. The week's News Review, is Should celebrities be signed up for children's books?
  • '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: many years as a crime reporter in the UK's historic port city of Hull have provided him with darkly tinted lenses with which to peer through as a crime novelist, David Mark on the Clarity of Good vs. Evil in Crime Fiction | Literary Hub; five critical reasons for spending some of your invaluable "off-writing" time reading advice about the craft and process of writing Why You Should Read About Writing | BookBaby Blog; this dwarfs any other sector for the online retailer, pulling in $861m compared to the $255m Amazon makes in North American sales and the $541m it loses internationally, Amazon Web Services: the secret to the online retailer's future success | Technology | The Guardian; and at twenty-seven  she'd written  three drafts in six months, followed by nearly a decade trying to get it published, here's a really tough writer, Eimear McBride Is Not Afraid of Cruelty.
  • How to put 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...'
  • More links: whatever I'd accomplished in my 20-year career and over five books, the reviewer seemed to imply, I was still apparently a writer of "chick lit," What Was Chick Lit? A Brief History From the Inside | Literary Hub; successful self-published authors are tapping into larger markets, Book Distribution For Self-Published Authors Beyond Amazon & Kindle | BookBaby Blog; for her, reading, writing, and thinking are more than just sources of pleasure. A child of postwar austerity, she embraced literature and history as ways out, A.S. Byatt: I Have Not Yet Written Enough | Literary Hub.
  • Ever wanted to understand what's involved in indexing? The Ins & Outs of Indexing by Joanne Phillips shows how you could produce an index for your non-fiction book yourself or what you might gain by having a professional tackle the job.
  • 'Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.' Neil Gaiman in our Writers' Quotes.