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February 2006 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • 'Thursday 2 March is the ninth annual World Book Day...  the headlines are going to be grabbed by the wonderful Quick Reads programme, which is a well co-ordinated campaign to get more people reading.' News Review looks at this ground-breaking campaign.
  • 'Does the recently-announced Sony Reader finally herald the breakthrough on the e-book technology front many have been anticipating?' News Review asks whether publishers are ready to meet the challenge.
  • In a lightning swoop which was kept remarkably secret from all but a handful of people, the French publishing giant Hachette Livre has now acquired Time-Warner Publishing, with implications for its companies in the UK, US and Australia. News Review looks at the latest news
  • 'Across the English-speaking world, the fate of bookselling chains is inextricably bound up with that of authors, although the Internet is now offering a real alternative in terms of reaching the market.' News Review looks at the latest news in the Wottakar's battle.


  • ‘I write biographies because I am fascinated by people – by their infinite resourcefulness, by their mystery and power, by the strange patterns their lives make – and because they give me better plots than any novel I could invent.'      Hilary Spurling, winner of the Whitbread Prize for Matisse the Master, quoted in Writers’ Forum
  • If you write something that you know well, from the heart and your soul, it will live, somehow. It may not live in your lifetime, but it will survive.'    Mel Brooks
  • 'When I came into publishing in the 1980s, it was a world in which publishers pushed books through the marketplace; it is now a world in which retailers pull books through. '  Derek Johns, outgoing President of the Association of Authors' Agents, in a speech reprinted in Publishing News
  • ‘You have to be able to edit your own work. Write every day even if it’s rubbish, because it’s always better to have something to work on than to have nothing.  Sara Waters, whose new book The Night Watch is just out, in Writers’ Forum

Writers' Quote

  • 'Even if my marriage is falling apart and my children are unhappy, there is still a part of me that says, 'God, this is fascinating!'
    Jane Smiley 

Our Editorial Services for writers

Check out the 15 different editorial services we offer, from Reports to Copy editing, Typing to Contract vetting. Our latest new service is Coaching.

Writing Handbooks

Inspired Creative Writing serial

Over the next few months we'll be offering excerpts from the stimulating Inspired Creative Writing by Alexander Gordon Smith from the brisk and entertaining 52 Brilliant Ideas series. This month, the Introduction and Limbering Up:

'This isn't a rulebook.  It's a collection of the hints, exercises and priceless nuggets of information I've picked up over the years as a writer, editor and publisher...  I hope that the ideas in this book will give you a good understanding of the process of writing, but more than that I hope it inspires you, gives you that burning, insatiable passion to write.  If it doesn't, I haven't done the craft justice.'

Review of Whitesmoke software

'So, if you are looking for a tool to improve your productivity writing business emails and short letters, Whitesmoke has a great deal to offer.'

Magazine - Drop of water

London Book Fair Masterclasses

Led by top authors, the London Book Fair/Daily Mail Masterclasses are running again this year in conjunction with The Arvon Foundation. The LBF is much earlier this year, so the Masterclasses are on Saturday 4th March at ExCel, the Fair’s new venue in Docklands.

American copy editing

Divided by a common language - American copy editing versus English. Chris Holifield looks at the needs of American and British writers, and also considers what kind of copy editing you might want if you are writing in English but it is not your native language.

International Book Fairs

We have revised our list  for 2006.  Check it out to see if there's one you can get to, as it's a good time to see the publishing world in action.

Copy editing and proof-reading

'Perhaps, as an author, you feel you do not understand what copy editing is, or why you should need it.' The 16th article in the Inside Publishing series looks at copy editing and proof-reading and when writers need them.

Bob's Journal goes into its 5th volume

Bob on writing groups, golden ages and men-only book groups:

'Over past week have discovered something about myself: find it almost impossible to write if I know I’m not going to be paid for it...  In a month or so shall have been writing this diary for five years. Unfortunately have also been writing my TV thriller for nearly two.'

This week

The shortlist for the 2005 Diagram Prize

Check out the completely barmy best entries for the craziest book titles of the year, from the Bookseller.

Our last survey results

We investigated your attitudes to self-publishing, with fascinating results

Our new survey

Looks at your book-buying habits

Review of Writing fantasy and science fiction

Our reviewer said: 'an excellent guide for anyone interested in writing and publishing science fiction and fantasy. Lisa Tuttle knows the genres and the industry incredibly well and draws on her own wealth of experience to provide exactly the right kind of information and advice for the budding writer.'

Writers' Forum Column

John Jenkins on why Agatha Christie grips her readers, Maya Angelou's wonderful autobiography and the judging of literary prizes:

'Unless judges get out of this rarefied loop and reflect well-written books which entertain or inform the reading public all awards will become, in the words of a famous Australian award winning writer, now based in the States, "nothing more than a crap shoot."'

The Editor's View, written by the Editor of Writers' Forum magazine.

Rave review of WritersServices

Philippa Johnston, Director of, chose WritersServices as her top website.