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June 2013 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • Short stories seem to be in demand as never before. The web has given new impetus to this literary form and many writers have embraced it eagerly, as it's undoubtedly easier to write a short story than a novel. That's where a lot of writers start.
  • Recent data from Bowker confirms that self-published books now make up 20% of all ebook sales in the UK and it's more than that in the most successful ebook categories - crime, science fiction and fantasy, romance and humour.
  • Will Self's recent comments at the Hay Festival suggest that the literary world has changed out of all recognition: ‘What has changed in the past 30 years is that it has become impossible for the rump of the literary profession - those middling sorts (of sales, that is, not necessarily of brow) - to earn a reasonable living simply by writing books. The abolition of the net book agreement in the 1980s heralded two simultaneous developments: a vertiginous integration of book distribution and retailing, and a simultaneous collapse in the formerly steep-sided pyramid of critical authority.
  • This weekend New York has been the destination of thousands of booksellers, publishers and others involved with books, as they participate in the annual Americna Booksellers' Association BookExpo. Second only internationally to the Frankfurt Book Fair in terms of size, the convention had 190 new exhibitors this year and seems to be upbeat about prospects in the book world.


    'I've enjoyed my work self-publishing, and I will never rule out the possibility of self-publishing something again in the future, but right now, I'd rather focus on my writing instead of stressing about formatting and pricing and book covers and finding editors.'  Amanda Hocking, who has just sold a new series to St Martins' Press, in Bookbrunch
  • 'Most of the time, I'm just like, "Ah, you're right, I'm horrible: I should just quit now. But for a long time, y'know, I heard nothing but positive. At the very beginning, in fact, it was my sister who pretty much bullied me into sending out letters to agents, and it took me maybe only two months to get one - and then, a month later, to get a book deal. So it wasn't the normal paying-your-dues kind of thing. I got my negative later...' Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series in The Times magazine
  • 'It was a bit unimaginable when I began that I'd ever get to 25 books. But it was also unimaginable how much crime-writing would have changed. In hindsight, I can see that several things happened at the same time. Literary fiction in the UK became very interested in critical theory and lost its relationship with narrative and, to some extent, with the reader...' Val McDermid in the Guardian
  • 'The publication of my first book, The Cry of the Wolf - still in print after all these years with Andersen Press - turned me overnight from a pathetic saddo who wrote reams of stuff no one ever read into a published author. It's a narrow line. Fifteen years! It goes to show what a hard thing good writing is, Sometimes writers do fall from the sky complete, like a shower of frogs - although it is usually frogs that fall, and not, say T S Eliot - but most of us have to work at it. Melvyn Burgess, author of The Hit, in The Times

Writers' Quote

‘Songwriting is about getting the demon out of me. It's like being possessed. You try to go to sleep, but the song won't let you. So you have to get up and make it into something, and then you're allowed to sleep. It's always in the middle of the night, or you're half-awake or tired, when your critical faculties are switched off. So letting go is what the whole game is.

John LennonBlackman named Children’s Laureate | The Bookseller


Links to this month'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:

Author of erotic bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey earns £12.6MILLION in just six months¿ but still lives in £350,000 terrace house | Mail Online

Philip Pullman: Pay us for library e-books or writing will not be 'commercially viable' | Mail Online

Blackman named Children's Laureate

BookBrunch - The Literary Consultancy: Writing in a Digital Age

Will Self-Publishing Counterbalance Trade Publishing Consolidation? | Publishing Perspectives 


Our series about writing in different genres

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 Editorial Services for writers

Check out the 19 different editorial services we offer, from Reports to Copy editing, Manuscript 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.


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

Talking to Publishers 1

Suzanne Ruthven kicks off our new series with an article about their books for writers: 'It would be a great mistake to think that writers' how-to books were only written for beginners - there are times when even more experienced writers also need a bit of helpful advice, especially if thinking about changing direction, or exploring a completely different genre...'

Writing Opportunities

This month's writing opportunities are the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, the UK's biggest national competition for playwriting, which closes on 3 June and the Mslexia Poetry Competition and the Mslexia Pamphlet Competition, which both close on 17 June. There's also The H W Fisher Biography Prize and the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award.

New PhD editing service

Our new PhD editing service is just launched. Are you working to prepare your PhD for submission? Professional editing can help you improve the presentation of your work and iron out any grammar or spelling errors.

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.

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 3,700 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.