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April 2017 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • 'Some sensational figures have just been released showing the trend towards book sales in print form as opposed to ebook is continuing, as sales of consumer ebooks in the UK dropped by a whopping 17%. These figures exclude self-published titles, which have contributed a large proportion of the ebook sales. But more than 50% of genre sales are now reckoned to be in ebook form...'
  • 'Two new initiatives from Amazon are worth checking out, one which may help get your books out there and one which seems largely to benefit Amazon's drive to grow its Amazon Prime business. Plus there's also an author outlining how you can get your own ebooks out to an international audience...'
  • The Bologna Children's Book FairThe Bologna Children's Book Fair or La fiera del libro per ragazzi is the leading professional fair for children's books in the world. this week has been attracting a good number of visitors and there is ever-increasing interest from outside the publishing word, from media and film companies. Reflecting the solid growth and current stability of children's publishing, the Fair offers an opportunity for everyone involved in children's publishing to gather for the biggest annual bash.
  • 'In a week when we're glad to publish this list of 36 magazines which reply within a week, it's also fair to consider the question of how much writers have to pay to make submissions, especially when so many of them are rejected...'
  • The recent death of Colin Dexter has produced plaudits from fellow-authors and editors alike. In the UK he was one of our best-loved crime writers inspiring a uniquely affectionate response amongst readers and the publishing world alike. Quoted in Bookbrunch, fellow crime writer Peter James praised him highly: 'I think Colin Dexter truly changed both the landscape of British crime fiction and also its stature in the canon of literature...' News Review on the Death of a crime writer.
  • 'World Poetry Day has been marked by the publication of some encouraging sales figures from the UK, showing sales up 16% on last year in the first quarter. But a lot of these sales seem to be driven by social media and to feature poets who are appealing to a young female audience. Rupi Kaur's self-published Milk and Honey, which was mentioned on WritersServices last September in link to an article entitled How To Sell Nearly a Half-Million Copies of a Poetry Book, is a case in point and her sales spiked after International Women's Day... News Review on World Poetry Day and new ebook platform Bookgrail.


  • ‘I refuse to be bullied by the idea that you have to have mental peace to write. I have no mental peace but I have written despite that. It's been from about the mid-Seventies that we've had this phenomenon of women with children writing. There's 2,000 years of that not being true, like literally never true...' Zadie Smith, author of Swing Time, NW and White Teeth, in the Evening Standard.
  • 'Writing about sex is very difficult. I did not set out to write lots of sex scenes - they kept recurring and I realised they were intrinsic to the story of the relationship. And yet, I wanted it to be the opposite of pornography - even literary sex can be pornography. In this novel, it was the characters' way to speak to each other about what they could not verbalise...' Our Comment is from Eimear McBride, author of The Lesser Bohemians and A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, and is from the Observer.
  • 'I actually say I write books about adults or about young people. I think it's an important distinction. But in the young people's books I've never tried to use simpler language, simpler stories or simpler themes. I've written the book I would normally write, but with a young person at the centre of it. Most writers for young people these days aren't thinking about children as being little kids. They're tackling serious subjects, writing about issues that are really faced by young people today, and that's what they want to read....' John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Heart's Invisible Furies, in the Observer.
  • ‘My experience of becoming a writer... I was a little too late to the game. I wrote when I was younger but I could never get anything to really cohere, so for me the big revelation, before my first book... was that I had to really restrict myself. I had to really constrain myself and write in a very narrow vein - comic, very contemporary, maybe a little futuristic...' George Saunders, author of just-published Lincoln in the Bardo and Tenth of December, which won the inaugural Folio Prize in 2014, in the Bookseller.
  • Our Comment is some advice from Selina Walker, Publisher of Century and Arrow, which starts with: 'Once you have your idea for a story, write yourself a rough outline and You will need to work out who your characters are, what type of ‘journey' you're taking them on, what's going to kick their story into gear (your opening), and how it's going to end...'
  • 'I used to worry that I'd run out of ideas. But as I get older I know it's not ideas; it's energy. As long as the job involves words and story - and it's what I really want to do - I'll give it a go. I enjoy the contrasts between the different forms. Writing a film script is so different to writing a novel, I find it quite easy to give proper attention to both in the same working day...' Roddy Doyle, author of The Commitments and The Guts provides this week's Comment from Bookbrunch.
  • 'Outside the bubble of hype are authors in various genres quietly working away with large and valuable readerships. They are producing books and working in areas that might raise eyebrows or even a hint of derision at many acquisitions meetings. Yet readers still love it, they will keep coming back for more. In this respect then I think the ebook market can buck mainstream fashion; and the entire book market is all the better for it...' Our Comment is from Michael Bhaskar, Co-Founder of Canelo and author of Curation: The Power of Selection in a World of Excess and is from in PW's London Show Daily 15 March, which is sadly not available online.


'But if a stranger in a train asks me my occupation I never answer 'writer' for fear that he may go on to ask me what I write, and to answer 'poetry' would embarrass us both, for we both know that nobody can earn a living simply by writing poetry.'

W H Auden

Links to this month's top stories

Our 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:

Writing A Memoir? Avoid These Mistakes | BookBaby Blog

Amazon expands its literary horizons, making big imprint in translation niche | The Seattle Times

The Most Common Entry-Level Mistake in the Writing Game | Jane Friedman

How eBooks lost their shine: 'Kindles now look clunky and unhip' | Books | The Guardian

Ask the Publicists: What's the One Thing I Can Do For My Book? | Literary Hub

Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society ALCS at 40 Small beginnings, big ambitions

What Type of Book Editing Do You Need - And When? BookBaby Blog

The Secrets of Writing in Multiple Genres

Authors need help with their digital presence that they still are not getting - The Idea Logical Company

Subverting Genre Conventions | Script Society | Create a Screenplay

Sara Paretsky: From Joan of Arc to Little Women, a History of Heroes | Literary Hub

Book publishing in the digital age | TechCrunch

New YA sensation Angie Thomas: "Publishing did something pretty terrible. They made the assumption that black kids don't read."

Malcolm Mackay: Life in the Golden Age of Scottish Crime Fiction | Literary Hub

Unseen Sylvia Plath letters claim domestic abuse by Ted Hughes | Books | The Guardian

Plath's letters probably won't harm Hughes's reputation | Rafia Zakaria | Books | The Guardian

Do two unpublished books make you a failed author? No, you're a quitter | Books | The Guardian

Margaret Atwood, the Prophet of Dystopia - The New Yorker

The Inequality of Indie Authors - The State Times

Against Worldbuilding - Electric Literature

What Happens to Your Memories When You Write a Memoir -- Science of Us

Bologna Report 2017 By Mary Hoffman

Whatever Happened To The Last Big Things

Finding Your Voice As A Writer | Writing Advice | BookBaby Blog

Going it alone: Why there has never been a better time to be a self-published author | The Bookseller

Julian Barnes: 'I told the film-makers to throw my book against a wall' | Film | The Guardian

My advice to writers? Glue yourself to an editor who is also starting out

Girl reading book

Fake News! In Self-Publishing - The Book Designer

Why the paperback fought back... and what's next in digital marketing | The Bookseller

Should Authors Go Exclusive with Amazon?

February 2017 Big, Bad, Wide & International Report: covering Amazon, Apple, B&N, and Kobo ebook sales in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand - Author Earnings

In our Google era, indexers are the unsung heroes of the publishing world | Books | The Guardian

Why publishers might reject your next book, even if it's a good one

'It's no longer about the vanity press': self-publishing gains respect - and sales - British Columbia - CBC News

Amazon Books opens new Chicago neighborhood location - Business Insider

How Many Books Will You Read Before You Die? | Literary Hub

Every Writer Needs an Editor, Especially if that Writer is Also an Editor

How celebrity deals are shutting children's authors out of their own trade | Books | The Guardian

How Nan Talese Blazed Her Pioneering Path through the Publishing Boys' Club | Vanity Fair

Jacob Polley: ‘I'm a fool as a writer - you have to take risks' | Books | The Guardian

Why poetry is the perfect weapon to fight Donald Trump | Books | The Guardian

4 Questions to Ask Before Writing Your Life's Story | The Huffington Post

How to finish a novel: tracking a book's progress from idea to completion | Books | The Guardian

Children's Books and China's Crackdown on Western Ideology - The New Yorker

Stop Focusing on Follower Count: 5 Better Approaches for Improving Social Media Use | Jane Friedman

What Goodreads' Explosive Growth Means for Writers and the Broader Economy


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 20 different editorial services we offer, from Reports to Copy editing, Manuscript Typing to Synopsis-writing and our new service, Translation editing. This page provides links to the huge number of useful articles on this site, including Finding an Agent, Your Submission Package and Making Submissions. Our new services are Translation Editing and Writer's edit.

Literary magazines with one week's response time

Sandeep Kumar Mishra's useful list, recently added to the site. The magazines range from literary fiction to non-fiction and include science fiction and fantasy, popular non-fiction, politics, flash fiction, reviews, humour, social issues, the economy, lifestyle, horror, artwork and much more. If you've ever despaired at how long magazine submissions can take, this is the list you need.

Our services for writers

A new page this month lists all 20 editorial services offered by WritersServices, the widest range available on the web. Go straight to the service you're looking for.

The Writer's edit is our top-level new service for writers who want line-editing as well as copy editing. Does your manuscript need high-level input from an editor to help you get it into the best possible shape for submission or self-publishing? This may be the service for you, offering the kind of editing which publishers' senior editors used to do in-house on their authors' manuscripts and which is now hard to find.

How to get your book translated into English (without it costing the earth)

Have you got a manuscript which needs translating: "if your English is good enough, what about translating your book yourself, and then getting your translation polished and copy edited by a professional editor who is a native English speaker?" Or perhaps it's written in English but needs polishing? This could be a cost-effective way of reaching the international English-speaking market.

Translation editing service

Have you translated your work into English? Or do you have a translation that someone else has done? Now you need to make sure it's good enough to publish, or send to a publisher. If you need help to get your work into perfect condition, our new service, Translation Editing, is for you. Acknowledging the growth of world English, this new service is designed for the many non-native English speakers throughout the world who want to publish their work in English.

Our Inside Publishing series offers 19 articles offering an insider's perspective. On Copyright 'Many writers worry about losing their copyright. Before sending out your manuscript it is always advisable to put a copyright line consisting of the copyright sign ©, the year and your name on the title page...' On The Writer/Publisher Financial Relationship: 'There's no escaping the fact that publishers and authors are essentially in an adversarial position. Even in the very best and most supportive publisher/writer relationships there is the tension caused by the fact that authors would like to earn as much as possible from their writing and publishers to pay as little as they can get away with...'

Are you a self-publisher? 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.

Which report?

This  page gives the lowdown on the three reports we offer.

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 looks 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... 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...'

WritersServices Guide to Self-publishing

In Joanne Phillips' fantastically useful WritersServices Self-publishing Guide there are ten articles, including No 9 dealing with  Marketing and Promotion for Indie authors: Online and No 10 dealing with Offline.

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

Our new Writing Opportunities this month were The Sunday Times PFDRepresents authors of fiction and non-fiction, children's writers, screenwriters, playwrights, documentary makers, technicians, presenters and public speakers throughout the world. Has 85 years of international experience in all media. PDF now have a POD section. Some good advice for those seeking a representative. Young Writer of the Year Award 2017, the Virago/The Pool New Crime Writers Award and the Daily Mail/Penguin Random House New Crime Novel Competition. Current Writing Opportunities include The Booklife Prize in Fiction 2017.

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 5,000 pages on the site.