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April 2013 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • Amazon was one of the major talking-points at the London Book Fair. Earlier in the month the internet retailer had bought the book recommendation site Goodreads. Apple had been discussing with Goodreads the possibility of integrating its content into the iBookstore, when suddenly things went quiet, then Amazon's purchase of Goodreads was announced. Amazon is also rumoured to be preparing its own phone, which would bring a direct challenge to Apple's iPhone.
  • Today is the first day of the London Book Fair, which is going to be an interesting occasion this year. The winds of change are sweeping through the publishing industry as digital developments bring a whole host of changes in their wake. It's all happening at a time of recession too, which is altering many of the traditional publishing relationships, creating both new threats and new opportunities.
  • The fiftieth anniversary Bologna Book Fair was a cheering occasion. Eminent children's publisher Klaus Flugge, the founder and publisher of Andersen Press, was awarded the honorary citizenship of Bologna for his services to children's books and to the Fair. He has attended every Bologna Book Fair to date.
  • Discoverability seems to be the word on everyone's lips at the moment in the book business.  By this is meant how people find books and it's evident from recent research that bookshops play a very important part in this. This may not be a great comfort to them, as it must be incredibly irritating to be used as a showroom for internet retailers from whom the customer often ultimately buys because they offer the lowest price.


  • 'In his essay Politics and the English language George Orwell set out a series of rules for writing that are worth repeating in full: 1 Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech that you are used to seeing in print. 2 Never use a long word where a short one will do. 3 If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. 4 Never use the passive when you can use the active. 5 Never use a foreign phrase or jargon word if you can think of an everyday equivalent. 6 Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.' Damian Whitworth in The Times
  • 'If you think of the story that you tell that's your favourite personal story, or funny story, it doesn't have flashy sentences. It doesn't have too much detail. It just tells the story. That isn't, for whatever reason, the way most people write books, But it seemed to me that there was no reason that it couldn't be the way at least one person writes books. I said "I'm going to stop writing the parts that people skim..." James Patterson, author of a great many books, in the Sunday Telegraph's Seven
  • 'I don't have a choice. If there's a story there will always be another story. There's always the Other Story. If you write fiction, your job is to apprehend the truth, something real, and be sensitive enough to give back, a reflection that is both a mirror and beyond the real: so we can use the real and the reflection and be able to survive both. There is nothing singular. We exist at multiple points...' Ali Smith, author of There but for the in The Times
  • 'The holy grail for a historian is having three things come together. First is new material, second is a good story with a tight narrative and great characters, and third is something that has global and contemporary appeal. I was lucky enough to have all three...' William Dalrymple, author of White Mughals and Return of a King, in the Bookseller 

Writers' Quote

'Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.'

Thomas Gray

Links to this week's top stories

Our new feature links to interesting blogs or articles posted online, which will help keep you up to date with what's going on in the book world:

The Slow Death of the American Author - Scott Turow, president of the US Authors Guild, on a vital change
Ten ways self-publishing has changed the books business

Magazine - Oriental girl

Writing Memoir and Autobiography

Writing Historical Fiction

Writing Romance

Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy

Writing Crime Fiction

Writing non-fiction

Our book review section

Choosing a Service

Are you having difficulty deciding which service might be right for you? This useful 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.


Our new service is for anyone who is having difficulty producing their cover or jacket copy and may be especially helpful for self-publishers. Let our skilled editor/writers do the job for you, so that you end up with a professional blurb

Writing Opportunities

The TLM Young Poets Competition, which is open to young people between the ages of 16 and 30 from around the world. It closes on 30 April though, so get your entry in quickly.

Our new Poetry Critique service

Are you ready to show your poetry to magazines and publishers, but worried about rejection from the people you most admire? Do you feel you need some help editing your poetry to really make it shine?

Our new service provides a line-by-line critique on up to 150 lines of poetry from our expert editor, plus advice on marketing your poems.

Driven to Distraction: Writers and Social Media

Jonathan Franzen famously wrote that, 'it's doubtful that anyone with an internet connection is writing good fiction', and many writers are open about blocking sites that harm their productivity. But with eight out of ten people in Britain now having access to the internet, and social media sites growing at an alarming rate, social media can be an effective and useful tool for writers to promote themselves.

This article highlights ways in which writers can utilise the two main social media sites, and reach out to an ever growing creative online community without it getting in the way of the writing itself.

New words added to Oxford Dictionaries reflect changes in society

Oxford Dictionaries Online, Oxford University Press's free dictionary and language reference service, has just added its new quarterly words, which present a fascinating picture of our changing language.

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. There's a new Writers' Blogs listing which needs populating, so please send in your suggestions.

Help for Writers

Use this page as a springboard to over 3,000 pages on the site. 

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.

Our Editorial Services for writers

Check out the 18 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, Your Submission Package and Making Submissions.