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February 2013 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • 'It's a sign of the changing times that Pan MacmillanOne of largest fiction and non-fiction book publishers in UK; includes imprints of Pan, Picador and Macmillan Children’s Books Science Fiction and Fantasy imprint Tor UK is now accepting direct submissions from authors. Most publishers have long since decided not to accept unsolicited submissions, so this is a major turnaround. It's possibly also a comment on the fact that so relatively few agents represent Science Fiction or Fantasy authors, in most cases because the agents concerned don't profess to understand these genres...'
  • 'Big brand name authors continue to play a major part as far as UK readers are concerned and many of these are American. Danielle Steel, author of 80 novels, is the only writer to have appeared in every annual list of most-borrowed books from libraries in the UK in the last 30 years. Her books were borrowed an astonishing 900,000 times from libraries last year. Altogether they have been borrowed more than 42m times since 1999, a period over which she has also sold an estimated 11 million books...
  • 'Amazon's fourth quarter results have just come in $1 billion (£632,62m) short of analysts' expectations, but because of a 55% increase in operating income to $405m (£256m), shares rose 6%. There are however plenty of people who are beginning to wonder whether Amazon, with its ever-increasing sales and its wafer-thin margins, is ever going to make a profit...'
  • 'At last there's some hard information on ebook sales in the UK and an interesting indication of future trends in the US. The Bookseller has managed to put together some ebook sales figures which show that ebook sales in the UK are currently worth around £250m. There has been a huge impact from the 20p ebook offers from Sony and Amazon and real signs that they may be cannibalising book sales...'


  • 'No longer was I the only mad woman in the attic. I went to an RNA weekend in Bournemouth. I had to get the train and I arrived late, and I knew no one, apart from the main speaker. And I only knew her because she'd been on television. But it was so wonderful meeting other people with the same obsession. Because when you're a writer, it's very difficult to explain what you do to those who have no concept of what it's like...' Katie Fforde, author of A French Affair and President of the UK Romantic Novelists' Association
  • 'When I heard I was on the shortlist for my category I thought, "This is enough."  It surpasses anything I have ever dreamed of. To have won it is such an extraordinary feeling and I can't imagine winning overall...' Francesca Segal, winner of the 2012 Costa First Novel Category with The Innocents in the Evening Standard
  • 'After each book I get panicky. I don't love the reviews. I don't like going through all that, and you would think that, after almost 40 years of writing, I'd have got the hang of it.' Judy Blume in the Sunday Telegraph's Seven
  •  'I'd like to say - if it seems relevant - that I'm a woman writer, but as long as I'm allowed to explain for me, that still means being subversive, heretical, and exploring difference.' She is uncomfortable with gender-based writing 'As though men write one kind of writing and women write another, which is nonsense...' Michele Roberts, author of Ignorance

Writers' Quote

 'Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.'
T S Eliot

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:

Books in Translation: It's Time for Others to Join the Fight

Killing the "Pay First, Read Later" E-bookselling Model

Osprey Takes Flight on Brands, Tribes, "Clonefiles" and the Crowd


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

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.