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August 2017 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • Two recent developments highlight what's happening to book reviewing and coverage. The New York Times' celebrated and influential bestseller lists have been the focus of controversy this week, with accusations that an author has been trying to get her book to the top of the lists. In the UK, crowdingfunding publisher Unbound has become so concerned about the lack of newspaper reviews that it is launching its own literary magazine.
  • The Australian Society of AuthorsWell-designed site with a lot of useful content, including List of Publications, Getting Published and list of Australian agents. has launched a digital marketplace, designed to showcase and sell the work of authors and illustrators to publishers, agents and literary scouts worldwide. Meanwhile, should reading children's books be considered a guilty pleasure for adults?
  • Reports of sparkling growth from the UK's Northern Fiction Alliance show the strength provided by working together, the importance to small publishers of international rights and book sales, and how public subsidy can make a difference.
  • Can this be true? A recent study quoted in Bookbrunch claims that 52% of UK adults believe they have a book in them. And, according to the old adage, that's where it should stay. Figures produced suggest that those thinking they could write a book could amount to 25 million people in the UK.
  • A powerfully-argued article in the Bookseller's Futurebook has highlighted how the explosion in social media and freemium games means we have reached saturation point - what the author defines as ‘peak attention', where the time we have available has run out and we have to cut down on something, which will very probably be books...'
  • Figures quoted by China Daily show that publishers in China are benefiting from 300m users of mobile devices who read electronic books. The market is up 25% year on year and reached $1.7 billion in sales last year.... Difficult though it can be to get western books into China, this presents a huge opportunity for international publishers and their authors, although of course the biggest potential is for Chinese writers reaching readers in their own country and beyond.


  • ‘To begin with, the novelist does not rely on someone to give them a job. They can pick up their pen, or add to a document, whenever they like. They can squeeze it around the day job, the nappy changes, the school day, the boiling of potatoes. There's no immediate pressure to "get it right" as there is with an audition...' P K Lynch, author of just-published Wildest of All, provides this week's Comment Actor to writer in Bookbrunch.
  • 'When I begin a book, I think a lot, make a few notes, then start writing. I could never plot it out, chapter by chapter, as I'd go crazy with boredom. I don't know how creative writing students do so many drafts, I'd run screaming round the room, I usually do one draft, then tidy it up. It either works out or not. If not, I start something else...' Susan Hill, author of The Woman in Black and many other books in The Sunday Telegraph's Stella. Her new book Jacob's Room is Full of Books, is out in October 2017.
  • ‘The basic challenge for the writer can be very simply explained - it is to create an imaginary world and then draw the reader into that imaginary world. All novelists are trying to do that. Once we get there, different writers may have different concerns. Personally, I want to entertain you...' Ken Follett, author of The Kingsbridge Series and The Century Trilogy, whose latest novel is Edge of Eternity, in the Introduction to his helpful online Masterclass.
  • ‘I love structure in a novel and the detective story is probably the most structured of popular fiction. Some would say that it is the most artificial, but then all fiction is artificial, a careful rearrangement by selection of the writer's internal life in a form designed to make it accessible and attractive to a reader. The construction of a detective story might be formulaic; the writing need not be...' P D James writing about detective fiction in her book 1999 book, Time to Be in Earnest: A Fragment of Autobiography, which can be found on the wonderful new website dedicated to P D James launched by Faber & Faber this week.
  • ‘A short story... can be held in the mind all in one piece. It's less like a building than a fiendish device. Every bit of it must be cunningly made and crafted to fit together perfectly and without waste so it can perform its task with absolute precision... The ideal short story is like a knife - strongly made, well balanced, and with an absolute minimum of moving parts.' Michael Swanwick, author of many short stories and a number of SF novels including Chasing the Phoenix, provides this week's Comment.


'Poetry has been to me 'its own exceeding great reward'; it has soothed my afflictions; it has multiplied my enjoyments; it has endeared solitude; and it has given me the habit of wishing to discover the good and the beautiful in all that meets and surrounds me.'

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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:

Val McDermid: 'Even on a romantic holiday my thoughts turn to murrrder' | Books | The Guardian

14 Habits Of Highly Successful Authors | HuffPost

The Promise and Potential of Fan Fiction | The New Yorker

Driving Down the Price of Publishing

The 7 Writer Types You Should Avoid Becoming - Chicago Review of Books

Why We Should Stop Searching for the Next Gone Girl

Before Dylan, Tagore: on the erasure of Indian literature | Overland literary journal

Interview with Poet and Man Booker Prize judge, Helen Mort

The Long, Winding Path to One Debut Novel's Publication

How Indie Authors Can Cultivate Superfans

Hugo awards 2017: NK Jemisin wins best novel for second year in a row | Books | The Guardian

Writing for audio is a unique art form | The Bookseller

Russian Publisher Admits Removing LGBT Plot from Hit U.S. Fantasy Novel

Shocking figures: US academics find 'dramatic' growth of swearing in books | Books | The Guardian

'Lazy and sloppy': historical novelist Philippa Gregory's bizarre take on genre writing | Books | The Guardian

My fellow authors are too busy chasing prizes to write about what matters | Amit Chaudhuri | Opinion | The Guardian

So You've Decided to Write: Is Your Novel Actually Fiction or Non? | Literary Hub

Best Dystopian Books

Stop dissing romance novels already - The Washington Post

Man in library

What is the Theme of a Book? An Author's Guide • Reedsy Blog

Curtis Brown leads the way in dealmaking as new lists thrive | The Bookseller

The Difference Between a Press Release and a Pitch (You Need Both) | Jane Friedman

In the Era of Digital Composition, What Should a Writer Keep? - The New York Times

100 Must-Read, Best Books On Writing And The Writer's Life

On eBooks Being a Dead Format | The Digital Reader

Reader Analytics from Jellybooks: Crunching the Numbers to Improve Book Marketing and Sales | Jane Friedman

Adult Nonfiction from the Children's Lit World

10 Writing Rules You Can (and Should) Break

Is Trump Ruining Book Sales? | New Republic

So You've Decided to Write: Will You Tell the Truth? | Literary Hub

Not everyone on the internet should write a book - Quartz

Literary Style and the Lessons of Memoir | The New Yorker

Top 10 opening scenes in books | Books | The Guardian

Kurt Vonnegut's Greatest Writing Advice | Literary Hub

10 Steps To Self-Publishing Your Book | HuffPost

Will Writing That E-Book Really Boost Your Business?

Authors warned not to sign 'morality' clauses | The Bookseller

So You're an Author Without a Social Media Presence: Now What? | Jane Friedman

So You've Decided to Write: When to Drown Your Darlings | Literary Hub

Forget George Eliot: now it's male authors disguising their sex to sell more books | Books | The Guardian

Crime in the City: Singapore, World Capital of the Cozy Mystery | Literary Hub


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 recently created page 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.

Writing Opportunities

Our Writing Opportunity in a quiet month was the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award. Current Writing Opportunities.

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.