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May 2009 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • 'Astonishing new figures just released by Bowker in the States show that US book production declined by 3% in 2008 but print on demand publishing almost doubled. '  News Review looks at print on the latest figures from the States.
  • 'Authors who have struggled to find an agent may not feel sympathetic to their plight, but this is the reason why it is so hard for unpublished writers to persuade an agent to take them on - the agents have to be convinced not only that the writers are producing good work but also that they can sell that work in an increasingly tough market.'  News Review looks at changes in the agency world.
  • 'The announcement of the new UK Poet Laureate, combined with a series of BBC programmes on poets, has brought poetry into the headlines in the UK in the last couple of weeks.' But what is the state of poetry and how is it being affected by the recession? News Review takes a look.
  • 'The surprise announcement of a new novel from Dan Brown to be published in the autumn has emphasised yet again the importance of big bestsellers to the book world.' News Review looks at expectations for The Lost Symbol and Audrey Niffenhegger's Her Fearful Symmetry.
  • '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.

Comment

  • 'Writers like Jeanette Winterson have resisted the lesbian label, but it's never felt like a problem to me.  I'm very lucky. I have a lesbian audience but a mainstream one as well... Sarah Waters, author of The Little Stranger, in the Sunday Times.
  • ‘The enemy of most authors is not that they are not making money, it’s that they are not being read. Eighty or 90% of authors don’t make a living from it, so why do they write? For other reasons that don’t pay the mortgage: attention, reputation and expression. For them, free is great because it minimizes the barriers to entry.' Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail in the Bookseller
  • 'Commercial fiction will be interesting. I have a feeling there's changes in taste afoot: a move back to more 'big', 'airport' novels; historical moving into different eras; a real reduction in 'chic'.' Trevor Dolby of Random House UKPenguin Random House have more than 50 creative and autonomous imprints, publishing the very best books for all audiences, covering fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children’s books, autobiographies and much more. Click for Random House UK Publishers References listing on books in the recession.
  • 'Above all else, we object to the assumption that it's 'easy' to write commercial fiction - that 'chick-lit' (an umbrella term I've always loathed...if anyone called me a chick I'd belt them...) is but a dumbed-down genre that 'anyone' can turn their hand to. It’s great commercial fiction, it’s perennially popular and there should be quality controls!!!' Freya North in a Bookseller blog

    Writers' Quote

    ‘I see the role of the writer as creating a room with big windows and leaving the reader to imagine. It’s a meeting on the page.’
    Kevin Crossley-Holland

    Our article on the Poetry Archive.

    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.

    Magazine - Children

    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.

    Tips for Writers Our new series for writers:

    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

    Kate Mosse's advice to unpublished writers

    'There’s only one difference between published and unpublished writers and it is this – the first group see their work in print on the shelves of Waterstone’s or Tesco or online at Amazon; the second group are yet to have physical evidence of the hours, weeks, years spent fashioning words into their patterns. You are already a writer.' From the Foreword to the Writers and Artists' Yearbook 2009.

    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

    Writing Crime Fiction

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.