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August 2007 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • After last week’s look at brand name authors whose books are written by others, this week News Review investigates those who continue their writing careers from beyond the grave.
  • '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 announced recently that their newly-acquired mega-selling author James Patterson will nearly double his annual output to eight books a year.'  So how does he do it? News Review investigates.
  • The battle of the classics has commenced! News Review looks at two big classic series relaunches and new 'compact' versions for the time-strapped reader.
  • News Review looks at the sale of successful independent publisher Piatkus and what it means for the corporate battle for market share.
  • 'The Harry Potter saga shows that the book world has changed for good, and not in ways that make sense in relation to the simple equation of writer, book and reader.' News Review is still ruminating on the biggest one-day sale of any book in history


  • 'With success I think a lot of it is luck.  I've met a lot of depressed, frustrated authors who are still lugging their manuscripts around publishing houses.' Joanne Harris in 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:

  • '...we can enjoy a thousand passionately consumed book cults - unpredictable, unbankable, artist-led and the worst nightmare of the risk-phobic, sequel-crazy, celebrity-obsessed multinationals that dominate world publishing.' Celia Brayfield in The Times

  • 'Today the danger for writers who continue to aspire to "good" in the old sense is that they won't get published at all, or it will be with miserable print runs.' Fay Weldon in The Times.

  • 'I can't imagine setting a novel in a place I've never visited.  I need smells, textures, the colour of the light.  When I wrote a novel set in Antarctica, for example, I went down and lived on a research station for six weeks.' Rosie Thomas in Writers' Forum

  • 'We must marshal knowledge from the relevant disciplines — design, the arts, cognitive science, engineering — in order to build tools and interfaces that will help us make sense of the huge masses of information that have been dumped upon us with the advent of computer networks.' Ben Vershbow in

Writers' Quote

  • 'Outside of a dog, a man's best friend is a book. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.'
    Groucho Marx

Our Editorial Services for writers

Check out the 16 different editorial services we offer, from Reports to Copy editing, Typing to Rewriting.

An Editor's Advice

This new series is based on the advice Maureen Kincaid SpellerMaureen Kincaid Speller a reviewer, writer, editor and former librarian, is our book reviewer and also works for WritersServices as a freelance editor., a long-serving WritersServices freelance editor, has given writers over the years.  It deals with the most common problems she has encountered in the fiction manuscripts which cross her desk.

In the sixth article Maureen deals with autobiography and travel writing.

'Generally, I enjoy my work, but reading autobiographies and travel stories for assessment is the hardest thing I ever do. Why? Because I feel I’m not so much passing judgement on a piece of writing as on a person’s life and experiences.'

An Editor's Advice 1: Dialogue An Editor's Advice 2: why you need to do further drafts An Editor's Advice 3: genre writing

An Editor's Advice 4 on planning; and 5:points of view.

Getting your poetry published

Are you keen to get your poetry published but don't know where to start?   Our new article helps you to look at the best approach to help you make your way into print.

Magazine - Girl underwater

Is there a book in you?

Our latest new review is for Alison Baverstock's book, which asks a fundamental question for every writer:

'Being realistic about the resources you will need... are what this immensely useful book is all about. It should be required reading for all writers who aren’t sure about their commitment to the craft.'

Creative Commons

Inside Publishing looks at 'a clever and innovative way of licensing material which both makes it widely available and also protects and controls the licence given.'

See also Making submissions for how to approach publishers and agents.

Bob's Journal goes into its 7th volume

Bob on being nearly flooded but catching the attention of foreign media, the mysterious world of call centres and the argument in US books groups about whether listening to a novel is the same as reading it:

'The ‘hardcore’ book clubbers accuse the listeners of ‘cheating’. Listeners tend to laugh it off, but confess to feeling ‘guilty’.

This week

The long and winding road

WritersServices' freelance editor Colin MurrayColin MurrayColin joined Penguin Books after university. He has over the years worked for a number of the major publishing houses in senior editorial positions. His particular interests, apart from sailing, are science fiction, fantasy, crime and thrillers. on his own tortuous path to publication:

'My agent did arrange a meeting with an editor from the publishing house who told me that my book was one of the most accomplished first novels he’d ever come across...

No matter how jaded and cynical one pretends to be, there is nothing like holding a copy of your first book.'

Help for Writers

Check out this page to find links to the huge number of useful articles on this site.

Which service?

Do you think you need some help with getting your manuscript into good shape for submission, but don't know which service to go for? Our new page helps you work out what's best for you.