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May 2013 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • A recent Bowker study showed that the number of publisher-owned online communities is set to more than double in the next two years. Two-thirds of responding trade and academic publishers in the UK and US already have such a site, and it's expected that 90% of them will do so by 2015. Most of them believed that the investment was already paying off.
  • A reading campaign based around Premier League footballers has been a resounding success, according to the report released today by the National Literacy TrustUK-based organisation which has campaigned since 1993 to improve literacy standards across all age groups. Excellent research information and details of the many initiatives the charity is currently involved in. It also has a useful page of news stories on UK literacy, which links to newsletter 'Reading Stars', with UK Premier League footballers such as Theo Walcott, is a huge success, inspiring more children to read and raising library attendance and literacy.
  • 'Video games influence our narrative structures; people are telling stories in the way we never had before. I think people can be snobby about that, but people used to be snobby about the influence of cinema on literature. But if you look at Source Code that movie is essentially a structured video game as you keep reloading and trying again. That type of storytelling is bleeding into books.
  • This week's publishing sensation is James Oswald, Scottish farmer and writer, who has achieved his current success because of single-minded determination to publicise his work. Through his own efforts he reached the top of the Kindle bestseller lists in the UK and has used this self-publishing success to find a publisher.
  • Bestselling author James Patterson has taken the unusual step of speaking out about the changes going on in the industry. He's gone for a novel way of doing this, with full-page ads in Publishers' Weekly and the New York Times Book Review, asking the government to bail out bookshops. Patterson says that books and reading are a vital part of our culture and play an essential part in literacy, so he's asking the US government to wade in in order to save an industry besieged by bookstore closings and consolidation of the remaining major publishing houses.


  • ‘She had called my agent and said: "Name a price. I will pay it. I want it off, so there's no auction or anything." I'd only ever earned six pounds an hour, so I thought," What do you do when someone says that?" My agent went back and said to Arzu, "It has to be something where Abi can stop waitressing and write." That was what we agreed on...'Abigail Tarttelin, author of Golden Boy, in the Evening Standard
  • 'I'm writing for myself. I'm writing the book that I want to read and I have come to know that there is a broad spectrum of the population that like to read what I like to read. What I do, I do very intentionally and it takes a lot of time and energy.  And it's funny to me that there are critics who say, "Oh, it's a lazy style." I believe that the purpose of language is to convey an idea and I personally don't like language getting in the way...'
  • ‘While I'm sure that some of the many available writing courses now on offer are worth the time and their fees, I do worry that so many people and companies are looking for ways to profit from the never-ending queues of unpublished writers wanting to be published. It's an ever-hopeful, never-diminishing number, with few ever questioning their own talent, so they are vulnerable, and ripe for exploitation. Lack of expertise in the topic they are teaching does not seem to be a barrier for the tutors. For example, surely someone teaching a course on how to get published should at least be published themselves?

Writers' Quote

'The writer's way is rough and lonely, and who would choose it while there are vacancies in more gracious professions, such as, say, cleaning out ferryboats.'

Dorothy Parker


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 - Doors

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

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.

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.

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 3,700 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.