Skip to Content

November 2014 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • 'Two interesting pieces of news from the last week show that publishing - of both the traditional and the new variety - is stronger than you might think. In China the second Shanghai International Children's Book Fair has attracted 250 exhibitors from 25 countries, with 6,000 Chinese and international business visitors and 20,000 Chinese consumers expected to attend This new Fair offers a real challenge to the international children's rights fair in Bologna...'
  • 'It's a great relief to all parties that Hachette and Amazon have come to an amicable settlement after many months of wrangling in a dispute which has been very much in the public eye, even though it was never made public exactly what the argument was about... News Review this week covers the good news of Amazon and Hachette burying the hatchet...'
  • 'Latest figures from the States suggest that readers are not parting with their print books, in spite of the growth in ebook sales, which have reached $8.5 billion in value worldwide. In the US the figures show that 23% of all male adult readers and 33% of females ones read ebooks. But global print still stands at $53.9 billion so there's a lot of catching up for ebooks to do to overtake, let alone wipe out, print books. News Review on why American readers are loyal to print...'
  • 'The growth of literary prizes of one kind and another seems unending, although it's a pity from the point of view of unpublished writers that so many of them are restricted to books which have come from traditional publishers. WritersServices doesn't usually feature these, on the basis that they already get plenty of publicity and it is usually publishers rather than writers who have to do the submission...' News Review on Prizes, prizes and competitions...'
  • 'Some encouraging publishing-related figures have emerged this week. The number of books published worldwide in 2013 was an astounding 28 million, raising the question of whether there are enough readers - and buyers - for them all. In the US there were 390,000 ISBNs for self-published books and 300,000 for trade (general) books...'


  • ‘Beginners' failures are often the result of trying to work with strong feelings and ideas without having found the images to embody them, or without even knowing how to find the words and string them together. Ignorance of English vocabulary and grammar is a considerable liability to a writer of English. The best cure for it is, I believe, reading. Ursula K Le Guin , author of the classic The Left Hand of Darkness and Dancing at the Edge of the World on Brain Picking.
  • ‘I'm very conscious that as I get older, I think less nimbly and feel more keenly than I used to. Fingersmith, with its very complicated plot and its big twist, had an energy to it. I don't think I could write a book like that any more. Not that I'd especially want to. What I enjoyed about The Paying Guests was the depth of emotion in it. It was very heartfelt, wrenching to write but satisfying...' This week's Comment is from Sarah Waters, author of Fingersmith and The Paying Guests, in the Observer.
  • ‘My audience is someone similar to who I was when I got started with serious reading: a young person - I was 19 - who can simply read... My students at Columbia I teach to read. If you can be a good reader and can think that reading and literature are great pursuits, you can perhaps teach yourself to write. This week's Comment is from Richard Ford, author of Let Me Be Frank With You in the Observer.
  • ‘That thing of treating the writer like a famous boxer or a rock star has harmed writers, because one of the ingredients most essential for writing is that you have to be solitary. You can't be gregarious. You can't do both. The brain won't take it. That is why poor Mrs Woolf went off her rocker. Too many people, too much outside life...' Edna O'Brien, author of The Country Girls and Country Girl (an autobiography) in the Independent on Sunday.
  • ‘Young writers, if they're meant to be writers, they will write. There's nothing that can stop them. It may kill them. They may not be able to stand the terrible indignities, humiliations, privations, shocks that attend the life of an American writer...' Tennessee Williams in Writers at Work
  • 'Publishing is the process of getting an author's thoughts and ideas to the mind of a reader. Book publishing was carried out in the traditional manner for so long that everyone began to believe that publishers, agents, publicists and bookshops were essential to the process. The multiplicity of options brought about by the digital age remind us that there are only two constants in the process: the author and the reader...' Nicola Solomon, CEO of the UK Society of Authors in the Bookseller
  • 'I think I will write, in my 70s, more novellas. I love the idea of sitting down to read something in three hours - about the length of an opera, or a long movie, or a play where all of its structure can be held in the mind. A novella is a great length, and it's a demanding genre in which things have to be settled quickly.' Ian McEwan, author of The Children Act, in the Observer.


‘Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons.'

Robertson Davies

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:

Amazon and Hachette Come to Terms | Hugh Howey

Dan Brown on the Writing Life as a Global Megaseller - Publishing Perspectives

Curiouser and curiouser: What we discovered at FutureBook 2014 | The Bookseller

Virtual Sci-Fi Book Festival Makes Backlist Sexy Again - Publishing Perspectives

Shortlist Announced for 2014 Bad Sex in Fiction Award

Relief at conclusion of Amazon/HBG battle | The Bookseller

Fanfiction and Fandoms: A Primer, A History - Publishing Trends

BookBrunch - Self-publishing: time for a reality check

Literary Genre Wars' Secret Truce - Flavorwire

What Are Your Writing Habits? - Publishing Perspectives

Seattle News and Events | The Perks, Pitfalls, and Paradoxes of Amazon Publishing

The ebook industry needs to make reading more social

Hot Button Issues for English-Language Publishers in 2014 - Publishing Perspectives

Expanding the Foreign Rights Market for Children's Books

Andrew Wylie talks about the state of the publishing industry - Quill and Quire

Dr. Syntax: Do Publishers Deserve to Exist?

BookBrunch - Speak up for copyright

Your Tube | The Bookseller

BookBrunch - Content is still king, and technology has not dethroned it

BBC News - Man Booker win a boon for Australia literature

How Soon Will the Majority of Books Be Self-Published? - Publishing Perspectives

Africa space

Vox on Amazon: Way off-base, not entirely wrong -

Influential Krugman says Amazon 'hurts America' | The Bookseller

Are Publisher Advances Truly Critical? - The Digital Reader

Man Booker winner echoes fears over inclusion of US writers | Books | The Guardian

Editorial from Frankfurt: Why We Can't Afford to Stand Still - Publishing Perspectives

How to Get Traffic to Your Author Website: 30+ Tips for Discouraged Writers | Your Writer Platform

Publishers consult lawyers over Kindle Unlimited | The Bookseller

When Publishing Begins to Look Like a Bad Relationship | Publishing Perspectives

Editorial from Frankfurt: Collaborate! Innovate! Evolve! Create! | Publishing Perspectives

Literary Lions Unite in Protest Over Amazon's E-Book Tactics -

The 29 Errors a Publisher Can Make...And Counting | Publishing Perspectives

UK Publishing Crowd Gathers in London to Discuss Self-Publishing | Publishing Perspectives

Crowdfunding Authors' Books Could Save Publishing

Literary Lions Unite in Protest Over Amazon's E-Book Tactics -

Measure for measure: the Digital Census since 2009 | FutureBook

Row over literary agents' 'transparency' | The Bookseller

Mantel defends Thatcher story | The Bookseller

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.

Talking to publishers

A new tenth article in the Talking to publishers series covers How-to books for experienced writers - by experienced writers: 'In reality, no writer can exist for ever in a comfort cocoon of familiar marketplaces since editors are constantly changing, publishers frequently alter their focus, and all too often published authors find themselves redundant. That's why it's necessary for relatively new or middle list authors to be constantly re-inventing themselves to stay ahead of these market changes...'

Jessie Burton's Success story

'Jessie Burton's road to success is interesting because it's only just happened, following the publication of her first novel The Miniaturist in July. Having spent four years writing the book she was quite overwhelmed by its reception, the competition to represent her and then the eleven-publisher auction at the 2013 London Book Fair. Previously an actor (which must come close to writing in terms of the difficulty of achieving success in your work), Burton supported herself through that four years mostly through temping in the City...'

Which report?

A new page on gives the lowdown on the three reports we offer.

How to get your book in the hands of an international audience

The second article from the MD of IPR, How to get your book in the hands of an international audience, expands on his theme of authors and rights and shows how the international book rights business works amd why it's important for all authors, particularly self-publishing ones.

Success Story - Tina Seskis

Our latest Success Story is that of Tina Seskis: an irresistible subject for a Success Story because she lives just up the road from WritersServices in north London and the reasons for her success as a writer are like a textbook illustration of how to do it. After university, she went on to work in marketing and advertising for more than 20 years and it was this experience which stood her in good stead when she found herself with a book to market..."

Why your book contract needs vetting

A quick look at contract vetting and why it's essentail if you don't have an agent, from our contracts expert.

Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer

'Is unlike any other writing instruction manual I have ever seen...' It is also, quite simply, a very beautiful object, gorgeous to look at, its contents by turns playful and inspirational.' Maureen Kincaid SpellerMaureen Kincaid Speller a reviewer, writer, editor and former librarian, is our book reviewer and also works for WritersServices as a freelance editor. reviews Jeff VanderMeer's new book. Review

The Business of Writing for Self-publishing Authors

Joanne PhillipsUK-based freelance writer and ghostwriter. She has had articles published in national writing magazines, and has ghostwritten books on subjects as diverse as hairdressing and keeping chickens. Visit her at follows up her tremendously useful article on The Business of Writing with a look at the business side of self-publishing for self-Publishers: 'Self-publishing authors - also known as ‘indie' authors or author-publishers - have had a steep learning curve these past few years. Getting to grips with the various sales channels available to them, producing top quality ebooks and paperbacks, and finding a place in mainstream outlets have left many writers struggling to keep up with the paperwork. What follows is brief guide to the essentials your self-publishing business needs - because it is a business, even if you only publish one book!'

The Essential Guide to Writing for Children

Suzy Jenvey, vastly experienced children's editorial director and now agent, has completed her four-part The Essential Guide to Writing for Children. The first article looks at the all-important question of age groups and what you should be aware of in writing for each one. The second part is - Before You Write: What is My Story Going to be? The third part deals with Starting to Write, the fourth part is about Submitting Your Work to Agents and Editors.

WritersServices Guide to Self-publishing

In Joanne Phillips' fantastically useful WritersServices Self-publishing Guide we've now published all ten articles, No 9 dealing with  Marketing and Promotion for Indie authors: Online and No 10 dealing with Offline.

New articles on the site

A regularly-updated page linking you to new stuff on the site.

2015 International Book Fairs

The most comprehensive listing available on the web International Book Fairs

Do you want your book to be properly published?

There's no reason why a self-publisher shouldn't have as good a chance of finding an audience as an author whose book is coming out from a publisher. But what really lets their work down is if it hasn't been professionally copy edited. Effectively a self-publisher who goes ahead without copy editing is just publishing a manuscript, a work-in-progress which readers will react against because of all the errors. Copy editing for self-publishers

Services for self-publishers

Do you want to self-publish your work? WritersServices offers a suite of services which help writers get their work into shape before they self-publish. New to the site, our page of Services for Self-publishers.

Writing Opportunities

This month's Writing Opportunities are National Novel Writing Month 2014, ITV This Morning Novel Writing Competition and The 2014/15 Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition

Update to our links

Our 23 lists of recommended links have hundreds of 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.

Advice for writers

Use this page as a springboard to over 4,500 pages on the site.