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August 2011 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • 'The advent of ebooks and consumers’ reluctance to accept the high price of hardbacks are having an impact on the traditional relationship between hardback and paperback publication. Traditionally, one year has been the norm and publishers have stuck to this for many years, in spite of the growth of sales of paperback editions.' News Review investigates.

  • 'Now it’s beginning to look as if World Book Night may shortly become just that, rather than an aspirational name for the adult version of the UK’s World Book Day. The United States is to partner the UK, launching World Book Night in 2012... and 8 more Quick Reads are to come from bestselling authors. News Review reports.

  • 'American author Bob Mayer had published over 40 books with traditional publishers before he decided to take things into his own hands and convert his backlist into ebooks. By January of this year the author of 40 books had reached a turning-point. After 20 years of writing, he had written himself out of his last contract. Mayer said: ‘It was a good news, bad news situation. The good news was for the first time in two decades I could really sit down and think about what I wanted to write. The bad news is, that in traditional publishing, an author without a contract is unemployed...’ News Review on the cutting edge of the ebook revolution.

  • 'There have been a series of events on the bookselling front which may mark a seismic shift. In the States, Borders have gone into liquidation after what seems like months - or even years - of teetering on the brink. And in the UK Amazon has swooped on its successful competitor, The Book Depository, buying out the competition. News Review reports.


  • 'The biggest thrill of my life was selling my first novelette. It was a Western for Argosy magazine in 1951, called "Trail of the Apaches". I'd done a lot of research about the Apache Indians in the 1880s and they seemed like ruthless individuals out to raise hell, which fascinated me... Elmore Leonard in the Independent on Sunday

  • 'By encouraging and effectively subsidising the creation and distribution of so many free apps by providing free distribution, Apple has given rise to a situation where anything that's not free has to work incredibly hard to prove its value, and in which consumers feel a tremendous sense of entitlement to be amused and pandered to for basically next to nothing... Simon Appleby, Digital Projects Manager for Octopus Publishing in the Bookseller's Futurebook.

  • 'I write full-time, it's my job, I have nothing else to do. I've got no excuse for not writing a book a year... I have no truck at all with this supposed link between quality and quantity, tell that to Mozart...  I understand that it's not everybody's cup of tea, but because I come from a performance background, I'm not shy when in comes to standing up at festivals or in bookshops. Mark Billingham, author of Good as Dead, interviewed by Alice O'Keeffe in the Bookseller.

  • ‘It could be that subjective factors may favour the survival of a culture of the written word, whatever happens on the ever-stormy seas of technological innovation and consumer economics. So far as we can see, e-books will mean smaller rewards for many authors. The "winner takes all" and "long tail" forces of the hi-tech cultural industries generally mean feast for the few, and famine for the many – but also new markets, and new audiences, for "niche" literature old and new. Boyd Tonkin, Literary Editor, in the Independent.

  • The novelists' task: 'To find an adequate narrative vehicle for the most difficult stuff at the core of me, in the hope that that might resonate with the reader who otherwise has been feeling alone with those deep, difficult feelings...' Jonathan Franzen in the Sunday Telegraph's Seven

  • 'Actually, there's hardly a mainstream genre (fiction, history, children's books, poetry) that's not undergoing significant change, attributable to the liberation of the new technology, from ebook to Kindle: poets developing apps, J K Rowling linking Harry Potter to cyberspace, would-be novelists launching their work as ebooks.' Robert McCrum in the Observer

Writers' Quote

'F*** this, I've had enough of writing.  I don't like the book world.  I don't like most books, even.  I don't like sitting on my own in a room for hours on end.'
Alex Garland on writing your second novel (which took him nearly ten years)


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The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

Coming from the University of San Jose, this entertaining competition challenges the writer to compose the opening sentence of the worst of all possible novels. Follow its 'childishly simple' rules, 'wretched writers welcome'.

The winner of the 2011 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is Sue Fondrie, an associate professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

Professor Fondrie is the 29th grand prize winner of the contest that that began at San Jose State University in 1982. At 26 words, her submission is the shortest grand prize winner ever.

Given annually since 1982, the competition, sponsored by the English department at the University, is inspired by the melodramatic first line of Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton's 1830 novel Paul Clifford

John Jenkins' July column

John introduces Dr Bernard Lam's Guarding the Queen's English, which he can 'recommend to all writers and would be writers, particularly those bewildered by me and I, who and whom, it’s and its, that and which, who’s and whose.'

Set up your own blog

In order to be in the best position to promote yourself and your writing, it’s well worth setting up a blog. In case you find this idea a bit alien, here’s why you should take the trouble to do this.

A blog offers you the opportunity to start building an audience for your work and the chance to experiment with writing about yourself and with different kinds of writing. Many successful writers’ blogs start with a small readership of family and friends, but build a good audience over the years. Relax and just write what comes naturally, it makes sense for your blog to be more informal, more personal than a standard piece of non-fiction writing and more lively than a slice of autobiography, as there are no conventions that go with it.

Magazine - Girl underwater

Help get your book ready for publication with an editorial service

Marti Norberg, who has worked as a reporter and managing editor for several Colorado newspapers, advises on how to use an editorial service (such as WritersServices) to get your book ready.

Great review of WritersServices

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

'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.

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Rotten Rejections

Our latest new contribution: 'One agent wrote to say my titles were so uncommercial that reading my synopsis made him laugh and that he couldn't sell any of my titles to a publisher even if he had a million years to try.'

John Jenkins' August column

John provides a lively and rather cynical view of this year's Booker shortlist.

Help for Writers

Update to our links

Our 23 lists of recommended links have just been updated with many new links to sites of special interest to writers. these range from Writers Online Services to Picture libraries and from Software for writers to Writers Magazines & Sites.

John Jenkins' June column

John's latest column is entitled 'A new chapter for publishers' and deals with the vast changes sweeping through the publishing world as the ebook rapidly gains a large audience - to his regret.

Getting your manuscript copy edited

If you are looking for copy editing online, it is difficult to ensure that you are getting a professional copy editor who will do a good job on your manuscript.

WritersServices has now made its copy editing service unique, as it will offer as standard two versions of your script, one prepared using 'track changes' and one with all the changes accepted.

Writing Historical Fiction

Our revised article on Writing Historical Fiction brings this subject up to date.

Other articles cover Writing Crime Fiction Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Romance Writing Non-fiction and Writing Memoir and Autobiography.

Inside Publishing series

This extremely useful 19-part series has just been 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 covered The Frankfurt Book FairWorld's largest trade fair for books; held annually mid-October at Frankfurt Trade Fair, Germany; First three days exclusively for trade visitors; general public can attend last two., the Sales Department, the Production Department, Pricing and Distribution.

And the third week it was Book clubs and Direct selling. The fourth covered Creative Commons and the fifth The Financial relationship between writers and publishers. This completes the update of the whole series.

WritersServices Self-publishing

If you're thinking about self-publishing, this is the place to find out what's involved.

If you're ready to go ahead, our high quality service is second to none and there's an economy version for those who want to tackle some of the work themselves. You can estimate the cost for yourself.

Our Editorial Services for writers

Check out the 17 different editorial services we offer, from Reports to Copy editing, Typing to Rewriting. Check out this page to find links to the huge number of useful articles on this site, including Finding an Agent and Making Submissions.