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August 2010 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • 'Can creative writing courses really open up the world of writing to the students who pay heavily for the privilege of taking them? As students begin the return to college or university across the northern hemisphere, this seems a good time to examine whether or not creative writing courses earn their keep...' News Review investigates.

  • News Review reports on recent studies of bestsellerdom: 'So, what does it mean for authors? Well, the strongest message from all this is that people buy books by author brand. They’re affected by bestsellerdom, which tends to be a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, as bestsellers get more display space and marketing spend, in the attempt to turn them into ever greater bestsellers, which means they sell more.'

  • 'Keith Ogoreck, Senior VP for Marketing for Author Solutions, has made a rather astounding prediction in book editor Alan Rinzler's blog on Forbes. He suggests that big publishers like Random House could one day ‘cede the midlist to a vast army of self-published authors’.  His theory is that the 80% of publishers’ lists which make up what is known as the midlist – literary fiction, cookbooks, self-help books and presumably a lot of genre fiction publishing, they’d just cherry pick from self-published authors who had already tested the market by publishing their book and shown a track-record of success.' News Review looks at some predictions of the future

  • 'Television Book Clubs are back in the news again with much talk about Oprah’s new choice and the relaunch of the Richard and Judy Book club in the UK. Richard and Judy presided over a real phenomenon, with the launch of their highly successful book club on Channel 4 in 2004. Over the last six years the titles in their club have sold in excess of 10 million copies and generated over £60m (nearly $93m) million in book sales, turning at least eight authors into multi-millionaires and throwing a welcome spotlight onto new writers.' News Review reports.


  • 'When I was a child, we lived in a two-up, two down. We had no bath - it was a tin tub in the back yard. The toilet was at the end of the yard. The first six years of my life, we used to go over the road twice a day and fetch water from the well. We were too poor to own books. However, every night we were read a story, and those stories came from books, and those books came from the library... Pie Corbett, in an interview on the National Literacy TrustUK-based organisation which has campaigned since 1993 to improve literacy standards across all age groups. Excellent research information and details of the many initiatives the charity is currently involved in. It also has a useful page of news stories on UK literacy, which links to newsletter website

  • 'A writer's passion, his belief in his work, is what keeps him going through those long, dark stretches when it seems as if no one is ever going to get it. But if a writer has got himself out there - just a toe in the water - then readers' passions come into play too, and in the age of Amazon and e-readers independent booksellers still have a huge role to play.' Erica Wagner in The Times

  • ‘Some people think they know what my books are about when they haven’t read them. They feel I’m in favour of bad behaviour or swearing.  Some even think I write about drugs.  There’s nothing of that kind.  Mostly, my books are about outsiders, kids who don’t fit in.  I feel they’re quite moral tales, although they do show that there are things even loving parents can’t always protect children from.  Children recognize the truth of that… Jacqueline Wilson

Writers' Quote

'Justice to my readers compels me to admit that I write because I have nothing to do; justice to myself induces me to add that I will cease to write the moment I have nothing to say.'
Charles Caleb Colton

Our Editorial Services for writers 

Check out the 17 different editorial services we offer, from Reports to Copy editing, Typing to Rewriting.

Reaching new poetry audiences

The Poetry Book SocietySpecialist book club founded by T S Eliot in 1953, which aims to offer the best new poetry published in the UK and Ireland. Members buy at 25% discount. The PBS has a handsome new website at has just announced the launch of two major new websites, and, which will provide a substantial way for poetry readers to find out about poetry and to buy poetry books and CDs. It’s becoming ever harder to find a decent selection of poetry in bookshops, so these new sites offer a good way of finding out about the latest new poetry - and much more - and buying it.

Great review of WritersServices

We're complimented by Stuart Aken's review of our site in his blog for 27 July:

'It is the Resources pages that really make this site stand out from the crowd. Here you’ll find reviews of books and software, listings of agents, self-publishing facts, educational matters, health and safety advice, and there’s a new feature, reviewing writing magazines. You’ll see there is a great deal of information on this site. It’s well presented and easily navigated, which is as well, considering the number of pages. It’s a site I browse often and I think you’ll benefit from a good look at this one.' Read more.

The English language publishing world

In the face of a changing situation as English becomes ever more established as the international language, 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. has revised this article in the Inside Publishing series, which consists of 19 articles which take you inside the publishing world.

Mountain reflection small

The Writing Workshop Notebook by Alan Ziegler

Our reviewer 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. concluded that: 'This is an unconventional book about writing, inspirational as much as it is practical, and focusing on an aspect of the writing process that isn’t much discussed. It would, I think, prove a valuable addition to the writing bookshelf if you are at all interested in the workshopping process and what it involves.'

John Jenkins' August column

Ever fancied a bet on the Booker? John reviews the field and offers his own caustic comments on the whole process.

Writing Memoir and Autobiography
Writing Historical Fiction
Writing Romance
Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy
Writing Crime Fiction
Writing non-fiction

Choosing a Service

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

Our book review section 

Inside Publishing series

This extremely useful 19-part series is in the midst of being revised to take account of changes in the publishing world. The introduction, How the publishing business works, Advances and royalties, The Relationship between agents and publishers, Subsidiary rights, The English-speaking publishing world and The Marketing department have all just been brought up-to-date.

This second week we're on to The Frankfurt Book Fair, the Sales Department, the Production Department, Pricing and Distribution.

And the third week it's Books clubs and Direct selling.

John Jenkins' September column 

John tells the inspiring story of Joe Delaney, whose agent suggested he should switch to writing for children, which he did with the Wardstone Chronicle series.

The first book, The Spook’s Apprentice, spent seven weeks in the bestseller’s charts, was translated into 12 languages and landed a film deal with Warner Brothers.

My Say 10

Dominae Primus writes about initial and continuing impressions of WritersServices, which she calls: 'a useful and user friendly website for both writers and aspiring writers... You could say that is akin to a writers’ magazine minus the subscription fees.'

Review of The Arvon Book of Life Writing by Sally Cline and Carole Angier

Our reviewer, 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.,  concluded that it was: 'a brisk and helpful guide on how to set about writing a life story... It is a sensible account of life writing from experienced practitioners of what is both art and craft, and I recommend it!'

Agents' listings

Our agents' listings have been compiled from agents' own websites and other information they publish about what they're looking for. You can use them to research which agents to submit to.

The listings cover UK and US agents, with separate listings for children's agents in the UK, and international agents from all over the world.

Tips for Writers Our new series for writers:

Improving your writing, Learning on the job, New technology and the Internet, Self-publishing - is it for you?,  Promoting your writing (and yourself), Other kinds of writing, Keep up to date and Submission to publishers and agents

Previous magazines:

August 2010

July 2010

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Help for Writers 

Check out this page to find links to the huge number of useful articles on this site, including Finding an Agent and Making Submissions.