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March 2006 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • ‘The heart says Olympia, the head says ExCel.’ The Bookseller.  News Review looks at book fairs in general and the debate surrounding the new Docklands venue for the London Book Fair.
  • 'Many writers may not realise how very profoundly print on demand technology is changing the publishing world... As it gets harder to find a publisher, more and more authors are deciding to try publishing their own work. News Review looks at POD and self-publishing.
  • News Review reports on a discussion of 21st century issues at the London Book Fair: 'The book chains are caught in a pincer movement, with Amazon at one end of the spectrum, offering range, and catering for heavy book-buyers who know what they want. The supermarkets are grabbing market share at the other end.'
  • Copyright infringement or 'drawing on history? News Review has another look at the case involving  Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, now before the High Court.


  • 'Books have to be a product infused with permanency. We've got to get back to the experiential side, where it's not the throwaway supermarket item you don't really care about but something you have a deep connection to.'  Rick Vanzura of Borders in Publishing News
  • 'Read, read, read.  Then find a story that moves you and write it from the heart, for yourself - not for some imaginary reader.  Never think there is a formula - there isn't.  Nicholas Evans, bestselling author of The Horse Whisperer and The Divide, in Writers' Forum
  • 'Central buying sends out several messages, some of them may even be unintentional.  Here's a selection: One: this is what you are going to sell whether you like it or not. Two: we don't trust you in your shop to know what you should be selling.  Three: we know your local market better than you do...'  Willie Anderson of the bookseller John Smith, reprinted in Publishing News.

Writers' Quote

  • 'I am taxed with being a plagiarist, when I am least conscious of being one; but I am not very scrupulous, I own, when I have a good idea, how I came into possession of it.'
    Lord Byron

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.

Writing Handbooks

Inspired Creative Writing serial

The 2nd excerpt from Alexander Gordon Smith's stimulating Inspired Creative Writing from the brisk and entertaining 52 Brilliant Ideas series is on getting started: Taking the plunge -where does inspiration come from? 

'But suddenly your mind is devoid of inspiration and you begin to panic. What on earth are you going to write about? While there is more to being a writer than just a good idea, without an inspirational seed for your novel, screenplay or poem you are like a knight in armour with no monster to slay and no sweetheart to rescue.'

Check out our special WritersServices offer on the book!

Masterclasses at the London Book Fair

Masterclasses at the London Book Fair: Writing for children

Excellent advice from Philip Ardagh, Meg Rosoff, Siobhan Dowd and Geraldine McAughrean, who said: ‘Don’t write about what you know about, write about what you don’t know about, taking children to a place they’ve never been to before’.

Masterclasses at the London Book Fair: Fiction

Advice for writers from Sara Paretsky, Margaret Atwood (‘My feeling is, do whatever you like, then worry afterwards about what you’re going to do with it.’) and Joanna Trollope (‘I do set myself so many words a week… a few thousand…')

Masterclasses at the London Book Fair: Screenwriting

Our first report from the London Book Fair looks at writing for TV and the big screen.  Share  insights from Deborah Moggach, Tim Firth, Amy Johnson and Christopher Hampton if you're tackling this challenging genre.

Magazine - Colourful gumballs

Free Verse

Why have so few new Black and Asian poets been published in the UK in the past 10 years and why is poetry publishing so far behind the amazingly diverse world of fiction? A new report investigates.

What poets can do to develop their writing

Helpful advice for all poets from the Free Verse report.

American copy editing

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.

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.

Bob's Journal goes into its 5th volume

Bob on 'picking and mixing our own programmes off the internet' his writer's block and ghostwriting: 

'What is it about writing that makes celebrities such liars? Probably because no one wants to admit they can’t do it. Everyone can write. How difficult can it be to knock off a book?'

This week

Your submission package

Our new page shows you how to put your package together and what you should send.  Essential reading to make sure you give your work its best chance.

You might also like to consider using our Submission Critique service.

Your comments from our survey on self-publishing

Some fascinating quotes expressing both your hostility to self-publishing and your enthusiasm for it.

Our new survey

Looks at your book-buying habits

The winner of the 2005 Diagram Prize

Check out the winner and the other completely barmy shortlisted titles to see the craziest  titles of the year, from the Bookseller.

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 the great Daphne du Maurier, recommended reading lists for children from Andrew Motion, Philip Pullman and J K Rowling, and A Night at The Majestic

'Can you imagine what it would have been like to be at a dinner party attended by Joyce, Proust, Diaghilev, Stravinsky and Picasso?'

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

WritersServices Self-publishing

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.