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January 2008 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • 'Joan Brady, the distinguished author of Theory of War, which won the Whitbread Book of the Year in 1993, has made the astonishing claim that the fumes from a factory next door to her home made her writing more downmarket.'  News Review reports.
  • The latest figures show growth in indie booksellers and their sales.  The Independent Alliance has shown a way forward for smaller publishers.  News Review looks at the good news and how it affects writers.
  • 'The current controversy surrounding cuts in grants to regularly-funded organisations by Arts Council England has raised the interesting question of whether publishing should be publicly funded.' News Review investigates state funding for literature.
  • 'Christmas 2007 was not the disaster that had been feared in the book trade.' News Review looks at how books might fare in a recession.
  • News Review looks at the ongoing hunger for books and the success of Book Aid InternationalSupplies much-needed books to developing countries, raising funds from publishers and general public; 'Reverse Book Club' is masterly idea-for just £5 ($10) month you can provide 48 books to go to where they're most needed, BookCrossings and Bookmooch

    A new means of international book exchange facilitated by the web. Participants create an inventory of what they have and a wish list of what they are looking for. Enables people from 130 countries to liberate books into the world, showing the strength of the urge to share. Let your books go - and they will find new homes...

  • News Review on the clash of the titans, as Wikipedia squares up to Google and they both announce major new plans to dominate the delivery of information on the web.


  • 'For children who have difficulty with reading or just aren't interested, books based on familiar programming can be the vital hook that turns them into readers.' Sally Floyer in the Bookseller on TV tie-ins and reading.
  • 'The sorry fact is that the conventional publishing industry is currently running round like a headless chicken, giving readers what they think it wants, and getting it wrong, and losing money hand over fist. ' Fay Weldon castigates publishers in Writing and Education.
  • 'It is the storyteller, the dream-maker, that is our phoenix, that represents us at our best, and at our most creative.' Doris Lessing, in her Nobel Laureate's address
  • 'At the beginning there were people who said "She only got this deal because she's his daughter." Cecelia Ahern, daughter of the Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, in the Bookseller

Writers' Quote

'You who write, choose a subject suited to your abilities and think long and hard on what your powers are equal to and what they are unable to perform.'

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 manuscripts which cross her desk.

The series covers Dialogue, Doing further drafts, genre writing, planning, points of view, autobiography and presentation.


The ABC Checklist for New Writers: Agents - when and how to approach them

This the first of six extracts from The ABC Checklist for New Writers: How to Open Doors and Get Noticed the First Time Around by Lorraine Mace and Maureen Vincent-Northam, published by Orana Publishing at £10.99. This useful book gives succinct answers to the many problems writers face, making it an indispensable reference for the budding writer.

Poetry Writers' Yearbook own competition

A & C BlackClick for A & C Black Publishers Publishers References listing are running their own competition related to the book. You can also read the excellent poem by last year's winner and an article by the judge, the book's editor Gordon Kerr, on entering competitions.

WritersServices Competition

Magazine - Sea Urchins

Early entries for the 2007 Diagram Prize

Including How to Write a How to Write Book (for those self help fanatics) and If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start with Your Legs.

Our Editorial Services for writers

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

Enter our Poetry Writers' Yearbook competition (closing date 31 January), with copies of the book for the winners.

There's also an article from the book - 'a useful and practical guide to the fast-growing world of the poetry ezine and epoetry' - (see below).

The winner of the T S Eliot Prize for Poetry

Hot off the press, the news of the winner and the full shortlist.

International Book Fairs 2008

Our newly-updated list of 2008 book fairs around the world.

My Say

Shortly-to-be-published American author Wendy Walker on her path to the writer's life as a stay-home mom:

'How was I going to write an entire novel in the midst of the sleepless nights and frenetic days that constituted my life? It was, ironically, from this core-shaking doubt that the four characters in my first novel were born.'

Bob's Journal goes into its 8th volume  

Bob's last column for WritersServices reflects on writing and the Internet:

'Still haven’t broken through my writer’s block. No longer even sure I want to. Why write? What’s writing for? Have absolutely no idea. How can one add anything worthwhile to the work of writers like Oscar Wilde? Yet the internet grows more vast by the minute with the words of the millions who are certain their opinions are worth airing.'
This week
We've really enjoyed publishing Bob's column and are glad to say that it's still available on the site for anyone to read. In the meantime we wish him the best of luck with his writing.

The 2007 pages
The 2006 pages
The 2005 pages
The 2004 pages
The 2003 pages
The 2002 pages
The 2001 pages (if you want to start at the beginning)

The Writer/Publisher Financial Relationship

The latest new article in our 19-part Inside Publishing series deals with the tricky financial relationship between writers and publishers and gives useful advice on how to approach it.

Choosing a Service

Are you having difficulty deciding which service might be right for you?  This useful new article by 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. offers advice on what to go for, depending on what stage you are at with your writing.

Help for Writers

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