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April 2009 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • So how on earth have we reached this extraordinary situation where authors may find their books have been digitised without their knowledge or consent, just because copies of them are in US libraries?  Just how has Google managed to gain the initiative and what should authors do? The first thing is that if you want to opt out, you must do so by 5th May. News Review reports.
  • News Review looks at persuading the 20 million non-readers in the UK and the one in 4 Americans who didn't read a single book last year to pick up a book.
  • This year's Books and Consumers study shows a worrying downward trend in value sales in the UK over 5 years, whilst at the same time pointing up an increasing dependence on heavy buyers. Internet and supermarket sales of books are up, chain sales down. News Review reports.
  • News Review looks at how the Focus list in the UK is making big-name authors available to the visually impaired. New technology has made it much easier to produce large print books and self-publishers can also bring out large print editions of their books.
  • 'Although there were fears that the Bologna Children’s Book Fair was going to be less busy this year as a result of the recession, the most important annual rights fair for children’s publishers seems to have been business as usual.'  News Review on Bologna and children's books.
  • News Review looks at libraries and how cuts in funding and book budgets are balanced by successful promotions. We argue that we should support them because libraries are a prerequisite of a civilised society.

Comment

  • 'The idea of what constitutes literary value has changed or become less consensual.  It’s harder to establish what is good and what is not, and that is one of the things that forms the canon.  Barnes, Amis, McEwan were the last people through the door, and then the door closed, and then the building fell down.’ Giles Foden in the Bookseller.
  • ‘All writers, unless they’re very fortunate, know how difficult it is to get noticed, to become ‘discovered’. I became an ‘overnight success’ (I clapped when I read the review that said it) after almost twenty years... David Almond on SWBWI site.
  • 'I've nothing against popular culture, but the idea that there is something divisive about bringing to people the greatest language ever written is utterly wrong.' Josephine Hart, author of the Words that Burn book and CD.
  • 'There is some hesitancy with publishers fully embracing e-books.  We have a 'book love', the printed book is a gorgeous object.  We need to communicate that love with e-books, and there is something shiny and new and mobile about them.' Stephen Page, CEO and Publisher of Faber, in the Bookseller.

Writers' Quote

'Writing a novel is not merely going on a shopping expedition across the border to an unreal land: it is hours and years spent in the factories, the streets, the cathedrals of the imagination.'
Janet Frame

Latest changes in the book trade

Bookselling

Chris HolifieldManaging director of WritersServices; spent working life in publishing,employed by everything from global corporations to start-ups; track record includes: editorial director of Sphere Books, publishing director of The Bodley Head, publishing director for start-up of upmarket book club, The Softback Preview, editorial director of Britain’s biggest book club group, BCA, and, most recently, deputy MD and publisher of Cassell & Co. She is also currently the Director of the Poetry Book Society; During all of this time aware of problems faced by writers, as publishing changed from idiosyncratic cottage industry, 'occupation for gentlemen', into corporate business of today. Writers encountered increasing difficulty in getting books edited or published. Authors create the books which are the raw material for the whole business. She believes it is time to bring them back to centre stage. gives an update on recent changes in the bookselling world, including the effects of recession and an even greater focus on bestsellers.

London Book Fair Masterclass 2009

Here's our report from the 2009 Masterclass at the London Book Fair, where a packed audience listened intently to a varied group of speakers in a session chaired by journalist Danuta Kean. Bill Swainson, senior editor at Bloomsbury and  Simon Trewin, co-head of the book department at new agency United AgentsClick for United Agents Agents References listing, were joined by authors Kate Mosse, Lola Joye and Gareth Sibson.

Writing for Children 1

Writing for Children 2

ince many writers who come to the site are interested in writing for the booming children's market, we are delighted, by kind permission of the publisher, to be featuring two extracts from Linda Strachan's Writing for Children:

'One of the most exciting things about writing for children is the sheer diversity. You have different ages to choose from; you can write picture books, easy readers, short books for more confident readers, or novels – each quite different in length and often in content.'

Poetry: Notes from a passionate poet

Benjamin Zephaniah describes his fascinating route to being published in an excerpt from the Writers and Artists’ Yearbook 2009.

Magazine - Trees artwork

The Slush-pile

WritersServices editor Kay GaleWritersServices editor who has worked for many years as a freelance editor for number of publishers. She is also a practising homeopath and her website is www.twickenhamhomeopathy.co.uk has many years of experience dealing with the slush-pile.  Here are her tips on how to get your submission through it.

Tips for Writers 8

The eighth and final set of our new pages of tips for writers deals with the all-important subject of submissions to publishers and agents.

Improving your writing

Learning on the job

New technology and the Internet

Self-publishing - is it for you?

Promoting your writing (and yourself)

Other kinds of writing

Keep up to date

Submission to publishers and agents

Keyboard skills

Think how much learning to touch-type would speed up your typing and help you avoid errors!  Our new list of free and very cheap software makes it easy to access what's available online.

International Book Fairs 2009

Our annual updated listing of the world's book fairs is now available on the site.

Choosing a Service

Are you having difficulty deciding which service might be right for you? This useful new article by Chris Holifield offers advice on what to go for, depending on what stage you are at with your writing.

New Categories series

Writing Romance

This is the third article in a new series by Chris HolifieldManaging director of WritersServices; spent working life in publishing,employed by everything from global corporations to start-ups; track record includes: editorial director of Sphere Books, publishing director of The Bodley Head, publishing director for start-up of upmarket book club, The Softback Preview, editorial director of Britain’s biggest book club group, BCA, and, most recently, deputy MD and publisher of Cassell & Co. She is also currently the Director of the Poetry Book Society; During all of this time aware of problems faced by writers, as publishing changed from idiosyncratic cottage industry, 'occupation for gentlemen', into corporate business of today. Writers encountered increasing difficulty in getting books edited or published. Authors create the books which are the raw material for the whole business. She believes it is time to bring them back to centre stage. which will cover the major writing genres. It looks at romance, which is dominated in the UK and the US by Mills and Boon Harlequin, which brings out 120 books a month.  Study their guidelines before you get started or at least before you submit to them.

Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy looks at Science Fiction and Fantasy and suggests how you should get started, what special considerations you should bear in mind and what the market's like.

Writing Crime Fiction looks at the international market for crime novels and shows what is working for this readership and how you can give your own crime fiction its best chance of getting published.

Success stories: Seamus Heaney and Eric Carle

Seamus Heaney won the ninth David Cohen Prize for Literature this week, while Eric Carle celebrated the 40th anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. 

Winner of the 2008 Diagram Prize for the Oddest Title of the Year

Here's the winner and shortlist for the 2008 Diagram Prize.  It's been another strong year. So, was it  Baboon Metaphysics, Strip and Knit with Style or The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-miligram Containers of Fromage Frais?

Agents' Listings

The agents' listings from the 2009 Writers' and Artists' Yearbook can be searched:

UK agents

US agents

Agents from the rest of the world

Children's specialist agents

Our Editorial Services for writers

Check out the 17 different editorial services we offer, from Reports to Copy editing, Typing to Rewriting.

WritersPrintShop

If you're thinking about self-publishing, this is the place to find out what's involved. If you're ready to go ahead, our high quality service is second to none and there's an economy version for those who want to tackle some of the work themselves. You can estimate the cost for yourself.

We Watch the web for writers

Our huge section on technology and the web, and how writers can make use of them, takes you from beginner-level articles to advanced technology.

Help for Writers

Check out this page to find links to the huge number of useful articles on this site, including Finding an Agent and Making Submissions.