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January 2006 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • News Review reports on UK authors, agents and publishers working together on digitisation.  ‘We’re going to have to change our perceptions of time and timeliness if we are to succeed in helping our authors reach out to readers electronically as well as in print – and the authors will need to work with us to achieve this.’ Richard Charkin.
  • News Review has taken the unusual step of reporting on the same story two weeks running because it appears that the general conclusion we reached last week was wrong, but concludes by asking: 'What price truth over celebrity?'
  • 'The astonishing story of James Frey seems like a fable for our times... "it's hard to know which is worse: a writer who acts as though there is no distinction between a novel and a memoir, or a publisher who does not care"' News Review looks at objective truth versus ‘emotional truth’.
  • 'The trial of the distinguished Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk has raised fundamental issues relating to writers’ freedom of speech in a frightening instance of nationalism run riot and embodied in law.' News Review investigates
  • News Review looks at 2005 and the prospects for 2006: 'in the UK this will by then (2020) give us more authors than nurses, soldiers and miners combined. For writers the future really is going to look very different from the past.'


  • ‘It's been a hard slog... You can have a bestseller after a year or 50 years - but by then it's too late.' Pete Ayrton of Serpent's Tail on setting up a small publishing house, in the Bookseller
  • ‘I think book retailing passed a tipping point this Christmas, from ‘competitive’ to ‘ludicrous’ pricing. That tipping point was when bestsellers were sold at less than half price. Nigel Jones of Ottakar’s in Publishing News
  • 'This private secret space, this hidden empire that opens out between the book and yourself, is precious.' Philip Pullman on children and reading
  • 'Stories go back as far as humankind, for the good reason that the world is incomprehensible without them.  By establishing relationships between things, a story permits meaning and memory.' Simon Caulkin, writing in the Observer

Writers' Quote

  • 'If a publisher declines your manuscript, remember it is merely the decision of one fallible human being, and try another.'
    Sir Stanley Unwin  

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

Novel Writing by Evan Marshall

Offering advice which is useful to any writer, the sixth excerpt from this title from the A & C BlackClick for A & C Black Publishers Publishers References listing Writing Handbooks series deals with finding the time to write and managing the creative flow:

'Make a promise to yourself that, whenever possible, you’ll take advantage of the pieces of writing time you’ve carved out for yourself throughout the day.'

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.'

Readability scores

Writers and literature workers' websites

There are a number of excellent publicly funded organisations in the UK which have helpful websites which can be useful for writers.  Their usefulness may extend way beyond the UK writers and literature promoters and professional they are intended for.

Mountain reflection

American copy editing

Divided by a common language - American copy editing versus English. 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. 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 EastEnders, e-books and writing whilst drunk:

'Despite having been crossed off the list over six months ago, still am asked what’s going to happen to Sharon and Phil...They don’t want to hear that the exciting world on which they eavesdrop every other day is actually a fiction invented by people like me.'

This week

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 FoundationThe celebrated Arvon creative writing courses cover four and a half days and range from Novel Writing to Starting to Write. Some grants are available. ( The LBF is much earlier this year, so the Masterclasses are on Saturday 4th March at ExCel, the Fair’s new venue in Docklands.

Writers' ForumBritish writers' magazine which is highly recommended for all writers. It features wide range of news and articles which help writers to improve their work and get published: Column

John Jenkins gives his view of this year's Booker winner, a plea for readable books and less literary snobbishness:

'If you had won the Booker prize and your name had been plucked from relative obscurity to national prominence what is the last thing you would do? Answer: change it...'

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

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Rave review of WritersServices

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