Skip to Content

January 2010 - Writers Magazine

The selected file could not be copied, because no file by that name exists. Please check that you supplied the correct filename.

News Review



  • 'So are agents really feeling the pinch now? Long regarded as the fats cats of the industry, there are signs that the London agency constituency is really beginning to join in the pain. You cannot escape the conclusion that there will be redundancies, closures and mergers of agencies. Independent agents have few enough overheads in any case and will cut back on the new authors they take on. But some of the larger agencies have become quite big businesses and they will find it difficult to sustain their cost bases. News Review examines the latest news from the agency world.

  • There's better news from the UK book trade. 2009 was down just 1.2% down in value and only 0.5% down in volume in a year which has seen a contraction in the overall economy of 5%, so the book trade can justifiably claim that book sales have held up reasonably well. News Review reports.

  • 'Americans are buying fewer books because of the economic downturn, and purchase cheaper books when they do buy...  Knocking on the head a favourite publishing theory that books do well in recession, only 2% of consumers said that they were choosing to buy books as an alternative to more expensive kinds of entertainment. So, green shoots of recovery notwithstanding, the American book trade is still experiencing tough times.' News Review looks at the American book business.

  • 'This has been a week of dramatic developments in the publishing world, as publishers scramble to work out how to navigate a completely new playing field. The debate centres around four crucial issues: who controls e-book rights, the timing of e-book editions and what the prices and royalty rates for e-books should be.' News Review reports from the battlefield.

  • 'Is it possible that the short story is at last getting a new lease of life? The form, long beloved of writers, seems to be reaching new audiences through the Internet and benefiting from new opportunities in the form of prizes. ' News Review investigates the latest good news.

Comment



  • 'We all know the adage of 'everyone has a book in them' - but how many truly have the commitment, courage, tenacity - and skills - to write a series of novels? Writing a novel is not about ‘burning ambition’ - where ambition is solely about publication or money or fame. For a novel to be a good novel - and worthy of the generous readers who part with their cash to buy it - it can only arise from the author’s absolute desire to write that story out of their system - and being blessed with the necessary talent to do so...' Freya North, in a Bookseller blog

  • ‘Self-publishing has taken a huge leap forward in recent years. It’s always existed, but with all the technological changes from desk-top publishing systems to POD to blogging and so forth it’s now more acceptable than ever before... The trend is hardly surprising: mainstream publishers have cut back and cut back, so that even authors who had niche titles published and might have been in print for some years now find it harder and harder to keep their books available.'Eileen Campbell, Mind, Body and Spirit expert and author of 6 books, in Bookbrunch

  • 'My life changed when I took control of my time. Instead of waiting for inspiration to strike, I sit down to write for three hours every day. It's much more effective - it's about giving yourself the space for creativity to come. Esther Freud, author ofLove Falls in the Sunday Times' Style magazine

  • 'As a screenwriter you have to be succinct and cut out any extraneous words or descriptions so when I started writing prose for the first time it was really difficult to make it last.  I'd write Chapter One (and it would take up) three-quarters of the page!' Belinda Bauer, author of Blacklands, in the Bookseller

  • 'I am concerned about those very young people being trained up in creative writing courses and universities around the country; being taught how to present, how to sell as if they were heading for careers in advertising, being snapped up by agents and scraping it all in the first - only? - book.' Sadie Jones, author of The Outcast in the Sunday Telegraph

Writers' Quote


'Most people do not believe in anything very much and our greatest poetry is given to us by those who do.' Cyril Connolly

International Book FairsInternational Book Fair Information 2010


Our updated line-up of the year's book fairs across the world, a unique feature of the site which is much in demand.  Is there a book fair near you?  It might be worth planning to attend it if so.


John Jenkins' January column


John's January column looks at a Robert Altman film, the Gingerbread Man, based on a discarded story by John Grisham:


'Although it wasn’t Grisham’s best story, I enjoyed it. But the moral of this story is: never throw anything away. I realise that Grisham could probably sell his laundry list to a publisher but for your new year resolution, dip down into that drawer and see what you can salvage. You may find a gem.

And after you have done that go through stories and features you have sold in the UK and see if you can sell them on for the American and other rights.'


Success story


This week's success story is the talented Evie Wyld, who has just won the prestigious John Llewelyn Rhys Prize with her novel After the Fire, A Still Small Voice.


New Categories series


Writing Historical Fiction


So you want to write historical fiction?


Well, your timing is good, because historical fiction is fashionable again after many years in the doldrums. In fact it’s so popular that it has virtually reinvented itself as a category.


Our latest article in this series explores the market and approaches to writing historical fiction.


Writing Romance


Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy  


Writing Crime Fiction


Writing non-fiction


Reading on Lawn


British Library web archive


We feel very honoured that the British Library has asked to archive www.writersservices.com in its web archive.


The UK Web Archive is a corpus of websites selected by leading UK institutions for their historical, social and cultural significance in the UK. Also listed in this article on their archive are other international web archives.


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, including Finding an Agent and Making Submissions. 

Latest changes in the book trade 5:


In the fifth part of this series, 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. gives an update on writers' routes to their audiences:


It is a supreme irony that at time when creative writing courses are turning out large numbers of keen writers and almost everyone seems to think they have a book in them, it has never been so hard to find a publisher.


First article: Bookselling
Second article: Publishing
Third article: Print on Demand and the Long Tail
Fourth article: Self-publishing - career suicide or 'really great'


Winning poems from the Old Possum’s Children’s Poetry Competition


Read the two winning poems from  the gifted young 7-8 and 9-11 year-old poets who have won first prizes in this international competition.


John Jenkins' December column


John is on feisty form this month as he attacks the 'log-rolling' of reviews and the silly results from best books of the year round-ups - for which he gives his own suggested list.


My Say 9


Zoe Jenny, who was born in Switzerland but is shortly publishing her first book written in English:


'Now that I am writing in English I have to start all over again, earning my credentials in a new market. I am essentially back to square one. But maybe that is the most exciting place to be.'


My Say 7: Timothy Hallinan on the Writing Session.


My Say 8: Jae Watson on the magic formula which enables writers to 'cross that fine, elusive line dividing unpublished and published writers'.


I'll Take a Community With That Book, Please!


Fauzia Burke is founder of a an Internet marketing firm specializing in creating online awareness for books and authors.  Her article shows how successful niche publishers are reaching communities of readers on the web.


The Ins and Outs of Indexing


Joanne PhillipsUK-based freelance writer and ghostwriter. She has had articles published in national writing magazines, and has ghostwritten books on subjects as diverse as hairdressing and keeping chickens. Visit her at www.joannephillips.co.uk' article on Indexing looks at why non-fiction books need them, why it's a specialist job and why computers can't achieve the same result as a skilled indexer.


Our new Indexing service


A professional index is essential for any work of non-fiction. Readers expect to find a useful, well-presented index at the back of a book, and can get very frustrated if the index doesn’t quickly lead them to the information they seek.



  • Are you an author planning to compile your own index?

  • Have you been asked by your publisher to provide an index for your book?

  • Are you self-publishing your work? If so, don’t let your readers down by offering them a sub-standard index.

A professional index will set your work apart from other self-published books. Indexing need not be expensive – and an effective index is the key to a good non-fiction book.


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


Our Editorial Services for writers


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


Our book review section