Skip to Content

June 2007 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • News Review investigates the row over publishers’ attempts to rewrite author contracts to allow for changes in technology which make it possible to keep books perpetually ‘in print’.

  • News Review on the news that the campaigning Michael Rosen has been appointed UK Children's Laureate, and will make children's poetry and picture books the focus of his Laureateship.

  • I’ve been offered a deal for £50,000.'  ‘New author scoops big publishing deal’ is always a cheering story about the launch of a first-time writer’s career... News Review follows Marie Phillips' progress.

  • Following on from last week's look at the audiobook market, News Review investigates how downloads will lead the audio revolution.

  • News Review looks at whether audiobooks are in decline, or staging a comeback and becoming sexy at last.


  • 'There are whole new generations of writers waiting to come to the fore via the internet rather than via the traditional route of agents and publishers...' Richard Bawden of  KPMG in Publishing News

  • 'I never asked myself whether a 500-page novel about a Greek family told by a hermaphrodite would be the kind of thing people would read.' Jeffrey Eugenides, author of Middlesex, which has just been chosen by the Oprah Book Club.

  • 'Publishing one's first novel at 58 is both wonderful and terrifying...'  Her advice to literary late-starters: ' Keep going, keep going.  It's not too late.' Marina Lewycka, author ofTwo Caravans, in the Sunday Times.

  • 'I never liked that tradition of post-feminist writing which is all celebrating periods and pregnancy. I'm much more interested in the real nuts and bolts of how women experience their bodies.' Sarah Waters in the Independent on Sunday

  • 'Biographies have become the standard-bearers of Western culture, the lives by which we measure our lives.' Ben Macintrye in The Times

  • 'The idea that those of us who blog about books and reading might somehow be degrading literary taste is a patronising and ridiculous one…' Susan Hill in her blog

Writers' Quote

  • 'Almost anyone can be an author; the business is to collect money from and fame from this state of being.'
    A A Milne

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 fourth article Maureen deals with planning, using the example of three different kinds of walkers to illustrate different approaches:

'The point is that in some respects it doesn’t actually matter when you do the planning; the important thing to remember is that you’ll have to do it at some stage in the process of writing a novel, and to find the point in the process that works best for you.'

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

Setting as character

Timothy Hallinan, author of A Nail through the Heart on understanding the importance of the setting in a novel:

'Whatever your setting may be, I'd hope you'll work to make it active rather than passive... It will play a role in the story. It will affect your characters. In some ways it will reflect them.'

My Say

Our latest contribution is from Eliza Graham on how she finally got her novel, Playing with the Moon, published as part of the Macmillan New Writing programme

Booktrust and Writers

This is the first in an occasional series about organisations of interest to writers. The first article is by Chris Meade, the Director of the British book promotion charity Booktrust, whose work provides a model for new initiatives to promote books all over the world.

Magazine - Doors 

Preparing for submission

It is important to think hard about whether your manuscript is ready for submission before you start submitting your work to agents and publishers. Here are some tips on how to go about it.

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.

WritersServices powers ahead

WritersServices goes from strength to strength.  Every week over 60,000 visitors come to the site, with over 3 million in 2006 and 4 million expected this year. And there's a big new launch to come...

Bob's Journal goes into its 7th volume

Bob on suing if you get a bad reviews (but how do you judge what is good?) and Salman Rushdie's knighthood:

'Indeed, perhaps this could become a new, more reliable source of income for authors whose popularity is on the wane: find a bad review and sue... (and) has anyone – pro or con – actually read The Satanic Verses?'

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.'

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, editor of Writers Forum magazine, in his last column for the magazine, on sports books, Richard Hammond, winner of the Royal Society of LiteratureThis British site may seem rather formal (stated aim ‘to sustain and encourage all that is perceived as best whether traditional or experimental in English letters, and to strive for a Catholic appreciation of literature’), but has a lively series of lectures and discussions involving distinguished authors. Also administers literary prizes.'s Prize, and film options:

'When film deals are announced they create a great deal of excitement but it should be remembered that Paramount option around 100 scripts each year and make ten pictures.'

Check out The Best of Writers' Forum for a collection of useful articles.  

Our Editorial Services for writers

Check out the 16 different editorial services we offer.