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1 June 2020 - What's new

June 2020

25 May 2020 - What's new

May 2020
  • 'The rules for writing under lockdown are no different to other ties. It won't happen unless you make it happen. It's incremental and frustrating, and your chances of being paid for it are tiny, but it's a fascinating process, with all the glamour and excitement of an affair but with less chance of divorce. Once you discover the joys of it, and the pains, it will bring you the deepest pleasure. Good luck...' Writing under Lockdown from Louise Doughty, author of nine novels including Platform Seven, Apple Tree Yard and Black Water, and the how-to-write guide A Novel in a Year, in the Sunday Times Magazine.
  • From our 19-part Inside Publishing series - 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...'
  • You'll have to be very quick to enter The Bridport Prize 2020, which closes on 31 May. There are four parts to this Prize, as follows: Poetry, Short Story and Flash Fiction are open to unpublished work from any writer writing in English over 16. The Novel Award is restricted to UK writers. The entry fees are £10 per poem, £12 per story, £9 for flash fiction and £20 per novel. Poetry and Short Story 1st Prize £5,000, 2nd Prize £1,000, 3rd Prize £500. Flash Fiction 1st Prize £1,000, 2nd Prize £500 and 3rd Prize £250. Novel Award 1st Prize £1500, 2nd Prize £750 and 3 awards of £150. Go for it!
  • Other competitions which are still open.
  • We have a new endorsement from Daniela Stanciulescu in Paris, on her English Language Editing for writers who are not native English speakers: ‘WritersServices editors are not just excellent professionals, they are persons of letters involved in helping the writers who are trying to enter in the world of British books... I am impressed. I am grateful. I'm delighted. Thank you so much.'
  • Our links: the impact on publishing and authors, How Book Publishers Decided To Move Publication Dates During The COVID-19 Pandemic; hundreds of YA book releases and publicity plans have been altered by the Covid-19 pandemic, YA Authors Move Online; this will be a very different Frankfurt. The plan is to run the event not only on the fair's grounds but also decentralized at locations in the city, and as a virtual event, Frankfurt Book Fair 2020 to go ahead | The Bookseller; a lively conversation with Judy Blume, Curtis Sittenfeld Rewrites Hillary Clinton's Life Without Bill; and "like watching an IMAX movie from the front row," NPD's Kristen McLean on US Book Sales During the Pandemic.
  • Rotten Rejections provides a note of the things publishers wish they'd never said: on Animal Farm by George Orwell ‘It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA' and Carrie by Stephen King 'We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.'
  • More links: the Pandemic will hit many industries hard, there is a particularly deep fear for those in the relatively privileged cultural industries, Radical Publishing in a Pandemic; making sure your readers are on the edge of their seats, Five tips for keeping your readers gripped - National Centre for Writing; in 1909, long before the invention of the World Wide Web or the prospect of a world where we must live socially distant from each other, he arguably predicted both, How E.M. Forster's Only Foray Into Sci-Fi Predicted Social Distancing | Literary Hub; and what a truly amazing row, Romance Writers of America aims for happy end to racism row with new prize | Books | The Guardian.
  • Our 20 Services for writers - just a list of what we offer at WritersServices.
  • From our Writers' Quotes 'Sometimes the ideas just come to me. Other times I have to sweat and almost bleed to make ideas come. It's a mysterious process, but I hope I never find out exactly how it works. I like a mystery, as you may have noticed.' J K Rowling.

18 May 2020 - What's new

May 2020

11 May 2020 - What's new

May 2020

4 May 2020 - What's new

May 2020
  • ‘I think this period, if it's doing nothing else, is probably making reading a more central part of people's lives than before. Reading is always, in one sense, a form of escape. It's escaping into a life which is not the life that you're actually having to live. That's why we do it.' Penelope Lively, author of Booker Prize-winning Moon Tiger, Family Album and more than 38 other books for adults and children in the Observer. Escaping the Lockdown.
  • An Editor's advice on planning, part of our 7-part series, 'Some people like to know exactly what they're doing before they start writing. They make very elaborate diagrams of the plot, note what each character is doing and when - this is particularly useful if you're writing a story which depends very heavily on a complex series of events coming together at just the right moment. Some writers focus on building detailed descriptions of their characters, so they know how they will react in any given situation, and then put them into the action. Once they've made a plan, they stick to it, but they then make a note of the ideas they have as they work, and then go back later and see if they can be incorporated into the story. If not, they might be worth using elsewhere...'
  • The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award 2020 is open to all. The entry fee for Poetry entries is £12, with £18 for Short Fiction entries, but hurry because there's an offer if you enter by 10 May. £1,000 is awarded to both the Poetry and Short Fiction winners, plus publication the Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology, which is awarded to 60 writers shortlisted by the judging panel. Closing 31 August.
  • If you've come to the site looking for a report on your manuscript, how do you work out which one would suit you best? Which Report? includes our new top-of-the range service, the Editor's Report Plus, introduced by popular demand to provide even more detail. This very substantial report takes the form of a chapter-by-chapter breakdown and many writers have found this detail helps them to get their book right. Through our specialist children's editors we can offer reports on children's books.
  • Our links: A Portable Paradise, which has already won the T S Eliot prize, moves from the Grenfell Tower fire to the Windrush generation and the legacy of slavery, Roger Robinson's poems of Trinidad and London win Ondaatje prize | Books | The Guardian; ever since early March independent booksellers have been tweaking their business models in an attempt to remain solvent, Virtual Author Events Are the Next Big Thing; a significant proportion of the UK and Ireland's smallest independent presses say their businesses are at risk as a result of the Coronavirus lockdown, Small presses fear being 'wiped out' by autumn | The Bookseller; if you're in any way a member of the independent publishing community, welcome, What Can Independent Presses Do to Survive These Uncertain Times? and another really thorough article, How to Write a Novel Synopsis | Jane Friedman.
  • If, in spite of Jane Friedman's help, you find it difficult to write your own synopsis for submission to agents and publishers, our Synopsis-writing service can help. If you're preparing to self-publish and having difficulty with your blurb, our Blurb-writing service from a professional copy-writer will make your book stand out.
  • More links: 'I miss writing stories in which a life lived online does not figure, On the Relief of Ignoring the Internet in Fiction | Literary Hub; on publishing when bookshops are closed, being an ‘exercise nut' and the dangers posed to writers by mob rule, Lionel Shriver: 'Some people think I'm evil incarnate' | Books | The Guardian; the Queens of Crime who dominated the Golden Age of British detective writing, Christie & Sayers & Allingham & Tey | CrimeReads; and, from a fan of the great poet who left it too late, Dear Eavan Boland, I Wanted to Send You a Letter | Literary Hub.
  • How to get your book translated into English (without it costing the earth) - for non-native English speakers wanting to reach the international English language market. If your English is good enough, what about writing your book in English or translating it into English yourself, and then getting your translation polished and copy edited by a professional editor who is a native English speaker? The result should be a publishable manuscript at a relatively low cost, ready for you to publish or submit to publishers.
  • From our Writers' Quotes, Stephen King on audiobooks: ‘I listen to my own books. The reason why is because you can hear everything you did right and everything you did wrong. This is the most honourable form of storytelling there is.'

27 April 2020 - What's new

April 2020

20 April 2020 - What's new

April 2020

13 April 2020 - What's new

April 2020

6 April 2020 - What's new

April 2020

30 March 2020 - What's new

March 2020

9 March 2020 - What's new

March 2020

2 March 2020 - What's new

March 2020

24 February 2020 - What's new

February 2020

17 February 2020 - What's new

February 2020
  • Modern children have ‘a yearning for a world without screens. Yes it's rough and Torak and Renn go through some difficult times, but it's this amazing world where there's no climate change, lots of animals, no pollution. It doesn't matter what you look like. What matters is you don't make any noise when you're hunting... Michelle Paver, author of Wolf Brother, Dark Matter and Spirit Walker, talking about her new book Viper's Daughter, published next month, in the Bookseller. Our Comment.
  • Advice for Writers is a really useful page which takes you into our archive and helps you explore our more than 7,000 pages of information for writers.
  • If you have written a poem you think would appeal to 7-11-year olds, then why not enter the The Caterpillar Poetry Prize 2020? It is open to all poets across the world over the age of 16. Entry fee €14 per poem and the prize is €1,000. Closing date 31 March and the Prize will be judged by Roger McGough.
  • 'Professional copy editing does make sense, either if you are trying to give your work its best chance when submitting it or, even more crucially, if you are planning to self-publish. But how are you supposed to tell who will do a good job, when the editorial services on the web all sound pretty much the same and it's tempting to go for the cheapest?' Getting your manuscript copy edited
  • Our links:"What did you find to be the biggest difference between writing crime and writing fantasy?" Worldbuilding: Crime and Fantasy Books Have More in Common Than You Might Think | CrimeReads; not for everyone perhaps, but 'I use a systematic and business-like approach to help take the sting out of rejections and keep me focused on moving forward with querying', Here's a System and Template for Tracking Your Submissions; 'You ask yourself if you are a writer if there is no novel to prove that you are what you say you are,' Brandon Taylor, Reluctant Novelist | Literary Hub; erased from my zine's page, Did Amazon Throttle My Sales After I Criticized Them in the New York Times? | Literary Hub; and Fanny Blake reports on the crucial contribution of the Quick Reads programme to improving adult literacy, Making a difference - quickly.
  • Working with an agent: 'Don't ever take on an agent you don't like or don't trust, however desperate you may feel. You have to be able to work with them in what should be an extremely important relationship for you as a writer. You must also feel confident that they are competent, enthusiastic about your work and can be trusted, both in terms of the advice they offer and in relation to handling your money...
  • 'We have a new page which gives an editor's take on using pdfs, So what's wrong with PDFs? 'If you need your file to be edited, PDF is not the ideal format; in fact, it is practically the worst format you can choose. Why? Precisely because PDFs are designed not to be tampered with or changed. When you stop to think about it, editing is no more or less than a process of changing - and correcting - your file...'
  • More links: political books are selling like Donald Trump merchandise at Mar-a-Lago, dominating nonfiction bestseller lists for the past few years, John Bolton's $2 million book deal about the Trump administration isn't brave - Vox; finally moving into the limelight, Asian American Writers Are Finally Breaking Out on Their Own Terms; cover presentations designed by Amazon Publishing did by far the best job of luring in prospective buyers, Judging a Book by Its Title; and it's pretty clear what's unfair. Not paying on time. Breaking the terms of an agreement between publishers, booksellers, authors, agents. But fairness is more difficult to pin down, Opinion: Richard Charkin on Fairness in Book Publishing.
  • Our 20 Services for writers - just a list of what we offer at WritersServices.
  • From Tom Clancy in our Writers' Quotes: 'The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.'

10 February 2020 - What's new

February 2020

27 January 2020 - What's new

January 2020

20 January 2020 - What's new

January 2020
  • ‘The biggest kick is reading something new and exciting and then getting other people to share your enthusiasm... Beyond all the cant and hypocrisy in publishing, that's what it's all about... I have always found comfort in the confines of a book or a manuscript, Reading is how I spend most of my time and is still the most joyful aspect of my day. I want to be remembered not as an editor or publisher, but as a reader...' Sonny Mehta, Publisher of Knopf, who died recently. Our Comment.
  • From our 19-part Inside Publishing series: 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...'
  • The Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize 2020 represents a brilliant opportunity for writers. It's open to writers of any nationality writing in English and the entry fee is £20 but there are two prizes with £15,000 for the winner of each prize, plus a publishing deal with Bonnier for Best Unpublished Manuscript. Closing 2 March.
  • Our copy editing services for writers. WritersServices can provide a range of services working on your manuscript, to help you get it ready for submission or self-publishing. We are UK-based and our skilled professional editors have been working on writers' manuscripts for 17 years. We have just introduced free samples and free assessments on most of these services, please see the individual service page.
  • WritersServices editor Kay GaleWritersServices editor who has worked for many years as a freelance editor for number of publishers. on The Slush pile: 'When I started working in publishing over thirty years ago it was part of my job to check through the pile of unsolicited manuscripts that arrived on a daily basis, and like every other enthusiastic young editorial assistant, I dreamed of finding the next bestseller in the ‘slush pile'. I was soon disillusioned..'
  • Our links: now the giant retailer is breaking into publishing with bestselling authors, Can Amazon Finally Crack the Bestseller Code? | The New Republic; from the doyenne of a particular type of black women's lit, Terry McMillan, Thwarter of Book Biz Gatekeepers, Has a New Novel; should the subject matter, & their titles, be treated with a little more thought & consideration? Can a work of fiction about the Holocaust be inaccurate? Romance narratives served as a kind of template for my own early love-affairs, Thrillers Pick Up Where Romance Leaves Off | CrimeReads; and 32 years of writing V.C. Andrews, How to Be a Ghostwriter.
  • How to get your book translated into English (without it costing the earth) asks writers who are not native English speakers with a manuscript which needs polishing or translating: "if your English is good enough, what about translating your book yourself or writing in English, and then getting your work polished and copy edited by a professional editor who is a native English speaker?" This could be a cost-effective way of reaching the international English-speaking market.
  • More links: the dominance of women in the book trade is most apparent in fiction... It wasn't always thus - obviously, In Publishing, Women Routinely Make Blockbusters - The Atlantic; a new spate of science-fiction and fantasy novels are quietly and gracefully opting instead to imagine worlds where homophobia does not exist, 'Why would I close the door to a queer person?' LGBTQ fantasy comes of age | Books | The Guardian; in more than 40 years as a journalist, I've interviewed some terrifying people, The True Crime Story That Changed My Life | CrimeReads.
  • 'Sometimes the ideas just come to me. Other times I have to sweat and almost bleed to make ideas come. It's a mysterious process, but I hope I never find out exactly how it works. I like a mystery, as you may have noticed.' J K Rowling in our Writers' Quotes.
  • If quotes are your thing we have a large collection in our Archive, More Writers' Quotes and Even More Quotes.

13 January 2020 - What's new

January 2020

6 January 2020 - What's new

January 2020

30 December 2019 - What's new

December 2019

16 December 2019 - What's new

December 2019
  • ‘There were a couple of years where, if I could have finished the book, I could have stayed ahead of the show for another couple of years, and the stress was enormous. I don't think it was very good for me, because the very thing that should have speeded me up actually slowed me down. Every day I sat down to write and even if I had a good day - and a good day for me is three or four pages - I'd feel terrible because I'd be thinking: "My God, I have to finish the book. I've only written four pages when I should have written 40."...' George R R Martin, whose epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire has been made into the hugely successful tv series, Game of Thrones, and which still has two more volumes to come, in the Observer. Our Comment.
  • Our Services for Writers - just a list of 20 services to help you get your work ready for publication.
  • The Spread the Word Life Writing Prize 2020 is open to writers who have yet to publish a full-length work or to have a literary agent, living in the UK and aged 18 or over. There's no entry fee. The winner gets £1,500, an Arvon course, a writing mentor and two years' membership of the Royal Society of LiteratureThis British site may seem rather formal (stated aim ‘to sustain and encourage all that is perceived as best whether traditional or experimental in English letters, and to strive for a Catholic appreciation of literature’), but has a lively series of lectures and discussions involving distinguished authors. Also administers literary prizes. http://www.rslit.org/index1.html, and the Prize closes on 3 February.
  • Other active competitions and prizes.
  • We have a new endorsement for WritersServices: 'The outcome of my experience with Writerservices has far exceeded my expectation and I was amazed by their professionalism, hard work, knowledge and keenness to edit my manuscript of the novel, Uncle Thesiger's Mashhuf, in every detail, thereby ensuring it will appeal to English readers. Their services are very helpful to all writers', Ammar Al Thuwaini, an Iraqi novelist and translator.
  • Our links: she felt it was not for people like her, Who Has the Right to Be a Writer? | Literary Hub; you know them as bodice rippers. But during the last 10 or so years, that perception has started to shift, Romance Is a Billion-Dollar Literary Industry. So Why Is It Still So Overlooked? | Glamour; my editor slashed through my sentences, slathering them with ink, making me read my version first, then his, and tell him why his was better! The Wonderful Thing About Line Edits | Jane Friedman; former winner Jane Davis on what success in our awards for self-publishing meant to her, The Selfies - what it means to win and a writer with an ability to create believably strange natural worlds from a place of granular fascination, Visiting Jeff VanderMeer's Weird, Wondrous Worlds | Literary Hub.
  • 'You are a first-time author without an agent and you receive a contract to publish your book - just how do you evaluate it? Is it fair or biased against the author by prevailing industry standards? Is your publisher looking out for your interests as well as his own - or wording the clauses in a way only advantageous to the company?' Why your book contract needs vetting.
  • More links: how to gain access to the gatekeepers - that is, get your idea in front of book editors, What to Say (and Not to Say) in Query Letters to Book Editors - The Chronicle of Higher Education; the knock-on effect of going bust (but this story has a happy ending for some) Book People collapse plunges small publisher Galley Beggar into crisis | Books | The Guardian; the epic role of one translator, How Chinese Sci-Fi Conquered America - The New York Times; and the controversies surrounding literary prizes, A year of literary prizes and surprises in 2019.
  • Have you ever wondered why you don't win any of those competitions? What can you do to improve your chances? Our tipsheet on Entering Competitions.
  • 'You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.' Annie Proulx in our Writers' Quotes.

9 December 2019 - What's new

December 2019

25 November 2019 - What's new

November 2019
  • Do genre writers receive adequate respect from the literary establishment? ‘Everything's upside down. They assume that to do something that appeals to a huge audience is somehow easier than to do something that appeals to a tiny audience. Because we do a book a year people think you just crank a handle and out it comes. All my peers are smart, intelligent, well-informed, interested in the world; everybody puts in a huge amount of effort. It's not easy to do. This peculiar assumption that it is needs to be laid to rest. As Henry James said, "Easy reading is hard writing."' Lee Child, author of 36 novels, including the highly successful Jack Reacher series and ranging from Blue Moon to Killing Floor, in The Times magazine. Our Comment.
  • From 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 www.joannephillips.co.uk, The Business of Writing for Self-publishing authors offers terrific advice for all writers: '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 a brief guide to the essentials your self-publishing business needs - because it is a business, even if you only publish one book!'
  • Wicked Young Writers 2020 is open to 5-25 year-old writers in the UK. There's no entry fee. Each winner gets four tickets to see the London production of WICKED at the Apollo Victoria Theatre + meet cast members after the show along with an exclusive backstage tour and £50 worth of books/eBooks tokens to spend. Closing 2 March.
  • For anyone thinking about or embarked on self-publishing, our ten-part WritersServices Self-Publishing Guide - also by Joanne Phillips - is an essential starting-point, taking you through the process step-by-step. 'Indie authors access the same professional services as traditional publishing houses. They employ freelance editors, proofreaders and cover designers. They have their work professionally formatted for ebooks and typeset for print. They may use service providers to manage some or all of the publishing tasks, or they may go it alone...' Articles include Choose Your Self-publishing Route and Marketing and Promotion for Indie Authors: Online.
  • Our links: after 20 years of writing, my first novel finally entered the world in August of 2019, Lessons: The Less-Traveled Road to Getting a Book Published - The Millions; "All money made by the band goes back to the band", Advice for Women with Book Advances; in Australia indigenous literature has been one of the top-performing categories for local booksellers in 2019, Indigenous books going global as local, international sellers notice spike; and - how things have changed - until the 2010s, if you were reading, it generally meant you weren't doing it online, What Tweets and Emojis Did to the Novel - The New York Times.
  • Last year we launched the Writer's edit, a 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. Our other copy editing services.
  • More links: Lady Oracle is both the title of a Margaret Atwood novel (1976, very funny) and the author's unofficial epithet, Margaret Atwood on the Relevance of The Handmaid's Tale; his first title was Unreliable Memoirs - it was an immediate bestseller and went on to sell over a million copies, Clive James dies at 80; a last poetry book will come next year | The Bookseller; a story of copyright and licensing infringement that sheds light on the exploitative nature of one of Egypt's most respected publishers, Naguib Mahfouz's Daughter Fights to Preserve Her Father's Legacy | Literary Hub; and my writing has always been a part of me, much like my disability, but for a long time I kept the two things stubbornly separate, A Writer's Wheels.
  • For quotes fans we have superb collections in More Writers' Quotes and Even More Quotes.
  • And this week, in our Writers' Quotes, from British poet Karen McCarthy Woolf: 'Poetry is a communicative art and also one that has the capacity to disrupt through its relationship with grammar, music and form.'

18 November 2019 - What's new

November 2019

11 November 2019 - What's new

November 2019

4 November 2019 - What's new

November 2019
  • ‘When the last autumn of Dickens's life was over, he continued to work through his final winter and into spring. This is how all of us writers give away the days and years and decades of our lives in exchange for stacks of paper with scratches and squiggles on them. And when Death calls, how many of us would trade all those pages, all that squandered lifetime-worth of painfully achieved scratches and squiggles, for just one more day, one more fully lived and experienced day?... ' Dan Simmons, author of 37 horror, science fiction, fantasy and historical novels and collections of short stories, including Drood, Hyperion and The Terror. Our Comment.
  • From our nineteen-part Inside Publishing series, you can read up on Advances and royalties: 'Publishers usually offer to pay authors advances against royalties. How do you work out how much money you might earn from your book? You need to understand for yourself how advances and royalties work and what they mean for you...'
  • From the same series, Copy editing and proof-reading explains the difference between the two: 'Proof-reading is a separate activity from copy editing and should always be done afterwards as part of a final check that the text is in good order. Traditionally, proof-reading was done at galley stage, when the text was set up in type but not yet made into pages...'
  • The Bookbrunch Selfies Awards 2020 is for self-published titles published since January 2018, and entries will be accepted from authors based in the UK who are predominantly or only self-published. There is an entrance fee of £25+VAT per title, and all those submitting work will receive six-month subscriptions to BookBrunch. The winners will get £1,000 in each category and other prizes.
  • WritersServices can provide a range of services working on your manuscript, to help you get it ready for submission or self-publishing. We are UK-based, offer exceptional value and our skilled professional editors have been working on writers' manuscripts for 17 years. We have just introduced free samples and free assessments on most of these services, please see the individual service page. Copy editing services.
  • Our links: Jane Friedman argues that the secret to selling a book is understanding its readers and how to deliver on their expectations, No Clear Readership, No Clear Sales; what's behind our heightened connection with children's books? Why the books we read as children are the ones that shape our psyche | Books | The Guardian; book publishing has changed dramatically over the last twenty years, Intellectual Property: The Big Picture for Authors | Jane Friedman; and how do you tackle writers block? I don't believe in writer's block, Bernardine Evaristo on the Illusion of Writer's Block | Literary Hub.
  • Why your book contract needs vetting - 'You are a first-time author without an agent and you receive a contract to publish your book - just how do you evaluate it? Is it fair or biased against the author by prevailing industry standards? Is your publisher looking out for your interests as well as his own - or wording the clauses in a way only advantageous to the company? Would you, for example, know which rights to grant - for how long and on what terms...' Our contracts expert on why contract vetting is essential if you don't have an agent.
  • More links: should only writers from marginalized backgrounds tell stories about people who share their cultural histories? Who Gave You the Right to Tell That Story? What interests me most is that I think the different eco-systems within publishing are settling down somewhat, Questions for: John Bond; lost or found languages, Conlangers invent languages for science, pleasure-and the occasional hoax; his prison memoir I Will Never See the World Again, was longlisted for the £50,000 Baillie Gifford prize in September, Jailed Turkish author Ahmet Altan freed after three years | Books | The Guardian.
  • Are you thinking of submitting your book to an agent? Try our Finding an Agent page or Your Submission package. Our Submission critique service may also help, as it's essential to get your package into the best possible shape before you start submitting.
  • 'It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style.' P D James in our Writers' Quotes.

28 October 2019 - What's new

October 2019

21 October 2019 - What's new

October 2019
  • ‘I had always wanted to be a writer as a child but couldn't spell out this dream to myself because during the Cultural Revolution all writers were condemned. To be a writer was the most dangerous profession. I wrote my first poem aged 16 and destroyed it. When I was working spreading manure in the paddy fields aged 16 and 17, I was always writing in my head...' Jung Chang, author of the bestselling Wild Swans, Empress Dowager Cixi (with Jon Halliday) Mao The Untold Story and the just-published Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister, about the sisters who helped shape modern China, in the Observer. Our Comment
  • Inside Publishing is a 19-part series looking at publishing from the writer's point of view. Our article on Copyright: 'Unless there is a very good reason, authors should in general seek to retain copyright in what they write. The most obvious exceptions are if a writer is employed by a newspaper, journal or company, when the writer is producing the work as part of their job...' On Children's Publishing: 'Age groups are an important element of the way publishers look at publishing for children. The storyline and language must be appropriate for the intended age-group and this is where many writers who haven't written for children before are likely to go wrong...'
  • Our new page Copy editing services covers our six services working on writers' manuscripts, a range which includes our top of the range Writer's Edit and English Language Editing. We offer free samples and free short written assessments on most of these services, which are provided by our skilled professional editors. We are transparent about our rates and our high quality copy editing services are also very good value.
  • Our links: overall visitor numbers were up at the 2019 Frankfurt Book FairWorld's largest trade fair for books; held annually mid-October at Frankfurt Trade Fair, Germany; First three days exclusively for trade visitors; general public can attend last two., where rights trade was brisk and events addressed timely topics including Brexit, feminism, racism, and climate crisis, Frankfurt 2019: Big Crowds, Upbeat Industry, Social Purpose; Writing well is hard. All writers know this. So why don't we talk about it more? Demystifying the Writer's Fear of Failure | Literary Hub; these days, a huge following on social media, particularly Instagram, is a must for a book deal, What's an Influencer Worth to Books? You don't expect an author with more than 100 million copies of her books sold into 36 languages and 120 countries to tell you that she's out on a limb, Cornwell's New Spacewalk: 'Not Just About Putting a Flag on the Moon'; and writing the book had broken me open, filling me with a giddy joy, On the Darkness, Strangeness, and Unbridled Joy of Children's Books | Literary Hub.
  • We have a new page which gives an editor's take on using pdfs, So what's wrong with PDFs? 'If you need your file to be edited, PDF is not the ideal format; in fact, it is practically the worst format you can choose. Why? Precisely because PDFs are designed not to be tampered with or changed. When you stop to think about it, editing is no more or less than a process of changing - and correcting - your file...'
  • More links: writing books - which requires solitude and stamina and more solitude, Deborah Levy Beats Writers' Block by... Swimming | Literary Hub; speaking with editors about three areas of expansion, YA Publishing Widens Its Lens; one of the most daring writers working (in my opinion), Joyce Carol Oates Talks Crime Fiction, Character, and Cats | CrimeReads; and when the "Queen of Crime", who counts London gangsters such as Krays' rival Eddie Richardson as friends, gives you an order it would be foolish not to listen, Martina Cole: Best-selling author says she is 'victim of snobbery in publishing' | Books | Entertainment | Express.co.uk.
  • Putting together Your submission package - 'given the difficulty of getting agents and publishers to take on your work, it's really important to make sure that you present it in the best possible way. Less is more, so don't send a full manuscript, as it's very unlikely to be read. Far better to tempt them with a submission package that will leave them wanting to see the rest of the manuscript'.
  • 'Read, read, read everything - trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out the window.' William Faulkner in our Writers' Quotes.

14 October 2019 - What's new

October 2019

7 October 2019 - What's new

October 2019

30 September 2019 - What's new

September 2019
  • 'I only really care about my readers. But I've always been irritated by the lazy assumption among critics that what I do is somehow easier than what ‘literary' novelists do. It's actually quite the reverse - to write something to please millions is obviously harder than doing something that only has to please thousands. I also think that genre writers have a greater responsibility. A literary reader has no expectation that everything they read is going to be great...' Lee Child, author of the 23 Jack Reacher novels, most recently Past Tense, in Books magazine. Our Comment
  • Bob's Journal is a long-running column from writer Bob Ritchie described by fellow EastEnders script-writer Pippa McCarthy: 'Just discovered your web page... I've just spent the last hour crying with laughter with periodic yelps of 'been there!'... I'm going to make my entire family read your diary. Then perhaps will understand own bizarre behaviour every time I start a script... Anyway, will shut up now but just wanted to say you have cheered me up no end. It's brilliant.'
  • As well as our highly-regarded Copy editing service, which will help you prepare your manuscript for submission or self-publishing, we have Manuscript Polishing, which provides a higher-level polishing service, English Language Editing for those for whom English is not their native language and our new Writer's edit, providing line-editing. Get the right level of editorial support for your needs. Contact us to discuss what you want and take advantage of our free samples - and written assessments on most of these services.
  • Our links: for almost two years after my first book was published, I did not write a single new thing, Maybe the Secret to Writing is Not Writing? | Literary Hub; what's the difference between an unforgettable crime thriller and the sort of thriller that retreats into the remote fissures of your brain? The 5 Essential Elements of Unforgettable Crime Thrillers | CrimeReads; it sounded like a book, or a film, or something, a cool story, It sounded like a novel - so I wrote it; and joining their tribe seems simple enough: Get a book, read it, and voilà! Why Do Some People Love Reading? - The Atlantic.
  • WritersServices editor Kay GaleWritersServices editor who has worked for many years as a freelance editor for number of publishers. on The Slush pile: 'When I started working in publishing over thirty years ago it was part of my job to check through the pile of unsolicited manuscripts that arrived on a daily basis, and like every other enthusiastic young editorial assistant, I dreamed of finding the next bestseller in the ‘slush pile'. I was soon disillusioned...'
  • More links: for decades, Mighty Girls have devoured her works, Protecting "The Books That Will Never Be Written": Judy Blume's Fight Against Censorship | A Mighty Girl; publishing is the business of creating books and selling them to readers. And yet, for some reason we aren't supposed to talk about the latter, Everything You Wanted to Know about Book Sales (But Were Afraid to Ask) - Electric Literature; and this summer, author Megan Miranda won the publishing lottery, Reese's Book Club is publishing's secret weapon - Vox.
  • Have you ever wondered why you don't win any of those competitions? What can you do to improve your chances? Our tipsheet on Entering Competitions.
  • ‘The crime novel should have a compelling and credible plot, characters who are more than stereotypes, good writing and the creative integration of setting, narrative, characterisation and theme. To put it simply, a good detective story should be a good novel.' P D James in our Writers' Quotes.

23 September 2019 - What's new

September 2019

16 September 2019 - What's new

September 2019
  • ‘Sometimes I feel like I talk about these things too dramatically. I'm sure some writers might read this and go, "For f*** sake you just published a book. Get over yourself." But you have to understand - before, there was none of it, then everything changed... It's changed my life, and made it so interesting and exciting. So happy, on a cellular level... When your first book is a bestseller is our Comment from Jessie Burton, author of just-published The Confession, The Muse and her bestselling first novel The Miniaturist in the Sunday Times' Culture.
  • The Inside Publishing series consists of 19 articles giving you an insider's view of publishing. The English Language Publishing World looks at the traditional way in which the international English-language publishing has been split between UK and US publishers. Why does the world get divided up into publishing territories? How has this come about? How does it affect authors? Then there's 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...'
  • Closing on 9 December, the Nobrow Short Story Competition is open to all writers of 18 and over internationally with an unpublished and not yet submitted story or creative non-fiction piece. There's no entry fee. Winning stories will go into a book and the overall winner will receive £2,000, with all selected contributors receiving £150 and two complimentary copies of the book.
  • Other competitions we've covered on the site which are still open.
  • As well as our highly-regarded Copy editing service, which will help you prepare your manuscript for submission or self-publishing, we have Manuscript Polishing, which provides a higher-level polishing service, English Language Editing for those for whom English is not their native language and our new Writer's edit, providing line-editing. Get the right level of editorial support for your needs at a sensible price. Contact us to discuss what you want and take advantage of our free samples - and written assessments on most of these services.
  • Our links: how do writers manage - or deploy - the distractions? 'I have to put my phone in the wardrobe': how do authors deal with social media? | Books | The Guardian; one day not long ago in a college class I was teaching, some of my students couldn't find the page I was talking about in the reading, Opinion | Steal This Book? There's a Price - The New York Times; Sleepless in Seattle, the starry-eyed, bi-coastal love story written and directed by Nora Ephron in 1993, is a strange bird, The Best 1990s Rom-Coms Are Detective Stories in Disguise | CrimeReads; and increasingly, people of the book are also people of the cloud, Books Won't Die.
  • If you're planning to submit to agents, you'll want to get your submission package into good shape before getting started, to give your book its best chance.
  • More links: as self-publishing services have proliferated, promising all variety of benefits and recipes for boosting sales, it's more important than ever for indie authors to have a discerning eye when seeking out assistance, DIY: How to Avoid Self-Publishing Scams; from a successful children's publisher, Questions for: Kate Wilson; encountering a legendary editor, On the Rare Decency of Susan Kamil | Literary Hub; beautiful objects that would be there for hundreds of years but weren't flashy like stained glass or carvings or floor tiles, Tracy Chevalier Is Threading the Past.
  • Authors often find it difficult to write their own synopsis for submission to publishers, which is where our Synopsis-writing service can help. If you're preparing to self-publish and having difficulty with your blurb, our Blurb-writing service from a professional copy-writer will make your book stand out.
  • John Steinbeck in our Writers' Quotes: 'Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.'

9 September 2019 - What's new

September 2019

2 September 2019 - What's new

September 2019

26 August 2019 - What's new

August 2019

19 August 2019 - What's new

August 2019
  • ‘I was often accused of having an overactive imagination as a child and I was an avid reader. I used to fib to my mum, saying I was going out to play with the other kids and actually having a book in my pocket. I'd built a den on the waste ground at the far end of the housing estate where I grew up and I would hide there and read. I wrote a novel when I was 11; I even cut out cardboard covers because I wanted it to be a hardback. And I spent a lot of time in the local library. It made me into a writer... Louise Doughty, author of just-published Platform Seven, Whatever You Love, Apple Tree Yard and six other novels in the Observer. Our Comment.
  • Are you writing for the children's market? Have you found it difficult to get expert editorial input on your work ? Do you want to know if it has real commercial potential? Or are you planning to self-publish? Our Children's Editorial Services provide three levels of report, so you can get your work assessed, and copy editing by specialist children's editors.
  • The Ginkgo Prize for Ecopoetry is open to unpublished poems from poets from all over the world writing in English. The entry fee is £7 for the first poem, then £4 for every subsequent poem. The First prize is £5,000, Second prize £2,000 and Third prize £1,000. Closing on 15 September.
  • From Tom Chalmers, formerly of IPR, two articles about rights for self-publishers, Self-publishing - the rights way and How to get your book in the hands of an international audience. 'It's a fact that most self-published authors understand the process that takes them from a written manuscript to a published book, but few realise the additional elements that make publishing a profitable business. Rights licensing is arguably the most vital element in this equation. Whether it's selling translation rights, audio rights or optioning the film rights, these all help balance the book's books...'
  • Our links: no one seems to have escaped the fan fury over the finals season, not even the author, George R.R. Martin Doesn't Think Game of Thrones Was 'Very Good' For His Writing Process | Mental Floss; Orwell's reputation may be secure, but his sentences are not, Paging Big Brother: In Amazon's Bookstore, Orwell Gets a Rewrite - The New York Times; Why has the literary world gone crazy for her, Sally Rooney and the Hazards of Writing While Female - The Atlantic; and China's sales are growing fast - when will they challenge the US, the market leader? Exchange rates | The Bookseller.
  • Have you managed to find a publisher for your work and are now enjoying the thrill of knowing that your book will soon be published? If you're wondering what happens next, here is an outline of the processes involved. Preparing for Publication
  • More links: as writers, we need our room-with-a-view to be both reflective retreat and motivating, sustaining base camp, The Ways in Which Writing May or May Not Resemble Sex | Literary Hub; you may not even realize that your book contract could be canceled if you're accused of misconduct - or just cause drama, What Writers Need to Know About Morality Clauses - Electric Literature; a reminder of how much comics and popular culture have changed since the first show in 1970, The Next 50 Years of Comics Publishing; and the curious case of the paranormal-romance author who claimed that "her ex and one of her former assistants hatched a ‘Shakespearean plot' to murder her by poison, Author Sherrilyn Kenyon Drops Suit Against Ex for Poisoning.
  • 'You are a first-time author without an agent and you receive a contract to publish your book - just how do you evaluate it? Is it fair or biased against the author by prevailing industry standards? Is your publisher looking out for your interests as well as his own - or wording the clauses in a way only advantageous to the company?' Why your book contract needs vetting.
  • 'Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.' Stephen King in our Writers' Quotes.

12 August 2019 - What's new

August 2019
  • ‘It wasn't really writing. It was sort of doing something at night, rather than cultivating friendships. I found myself very good company, so I never needed a party or a dinner in order to make me wonder on Saturday night, what are you going to do? And besides I had these little children, so I wrote at night, sporadically, trying to build on a story I had written years before. I liked the authority of being in a place where I was doing it, and I liked how hard it was. And I liked the privacy, the interior world that was all mine, the freedom to explore that in a systematic way...' Toni Morrison, who died last week and was the author of Beloved, Song of Solomon, Sula, Jazz and 7 other novels, in a 1987 interview with Publishers WeeklyInternational news website of book publishing and bookselling including business news, reviews, bestseller lists, commentaries http://www.publishersweekly.com/. Our Comment.
  • If you're aiming at traditional publishing, Finding an agent and Working with an agent are two practical checklists to help set up and maintain this vital relationship. 'Try to find an agency which is ‘hungry' for new clients. To keep their workload under control, an established independent agent might take on something like four new authors a year, but only to replace four departing clients. This may seem obvious, but whether or not an agent is actively looking to build their list of clients is probably the single most important factor affecting how closely they are looking at unsolicited submissions...'
  • The Nan Shepherd Prize for Nature Writing is open to previously unpublished and self-published writers based in the UK and there's no entry fee. The winner gets an advance of £10,000, editorial mentoring and the option of literary representation with Jenny Brown Associates

    Literary fiction, crime writing and writing for children; non-fiction: biography, history, sport, music popular culture. Also adult fiction and general non-fiction. No poetry, science fiction, fantasy or academic.

    Represents children's writers and illustrators. No reading fee. See website for submission guidelines.

    Submissions by email: Prefers to receive submissions by email. You will find their individual preferences and email addresses listed on their Agents page. Please email your submission directly to the agent you feel will be most compatible with your work. They read all submissions made in order of receipt. Please note that they will only respond to submissions if they wish to read more. If you have not heard back within eight weeks then you can assume that they do not feel that the work is right for the agency.

    Submissions by post: Their strong preference is for submission by email, but if this is not possible, then send a hard copy to your preferred agent at Jenny Brown Associates, 33 Argyle Place, Edinburgh EH9 1JT. They will only respond if they wish to see more. Unfortunately they are unable to return material submitted, and their policy is to recycle all materials.

    For fiction: send the first 50 pages (no more) and a synopsis in a single document, with a covering letter (see below).

    For non-fiction: email a proposal and short example of the proposed work - a sample chapter, for instance. Please include a short note on the competing or comparable literature stating, where possible, author, title, publisher and publication date. It would be helpful to have an overview of possible marketing outlets and a biographical note outlining your background, training and experience.

    For children's: Does not represent poetry or plays.

    All submissions: Please write a covering letter in the body of the email giving an account of the background of the book and your writing career to date. If you have been referred to us by a publishing or personal contact then make this clear. If you have had previous correspondence with one of their agents please mention this. They appreciate knowing if your project has been sent to or is being considered by other agents or publishers.

    Founded 2002

    . Closing on 10 September.
  • Other live competitions and prizes.
  • 'If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.' was Stephen King's view and Sarah Taylor-Fergusson argues that it's essential for nearly all authors to do a lot of reading. Writing for Children: Rule Number One
  • Our links: his books have sold hundreds of thousands of copies since he signed with Mondadori, Formerly Self-Published Italian Author Lands Netflix Series; bright stars in the self-contained, lucrative universe of ebooks, Amazon's Plan to Conquer the World of Publishing - The Atlantic; the man who spent weeks in a noisy, arm-waving debate about the ideal angle of tilt for bookstore shelving, Can Britain's Top Bookseller Save Barnes & Noble? - The New York Times; fiction that reflects and explores the social truths of our world, In Praise of Samuel R. Delany - The New York Times; and choosing such a backward time to set books, Why Write Medieval Mysteries? | CrimeReads.
  • If you've come to the site looking for a report on your manuscript, how do you work out which one would suit you best?  Which report? gives you a breakdown on our three levels of report, including the most popular, the Editor's Report Plus, and the reports we can provide as part of our Children's Editorial Services.
  • More links: figure out what your characters do for work and show them working, Why You Should Write About Your Characters at Work | Literary Hub; the retail and streaming giant has been refused permission by the estate to use the bulk of the book's plot, Amazon's new Lord of the Rings 'cannot use much of Tolkien's plot' | Books | The Guardian; could we look to poetry, of all places, to lead the way toward more diverse representation of writers? The Case of the "Disappearing" Poet | The New Republic; and something which some writers may find useful, 6 Rules for Writing Realistic, Meaningful Gunfights | CrimeReads.
  • If you need to get your material typed up, but can't face doing the job yourself, Typing manuscripts is a service for writers who have an old or handwritten manuscript or audio tapes, which need typing before they can proceed with reworking, submission or publication.
  • 'Which of us has not felt that the character we are reading in the printed page is more real than the person standing beside us?' Cornelia Funke in our Writers' Quotes.

5 August 2019 - What's new

August 2019
  • ‘The best advice on writing drama was given to me by Barrie Keefe, wondrous playwright and screenwriter of The Long Good Friday. His guidance was simple: "Write great parts for actors." A brilliant actor is a dramatist's strongest weapon. And remember, as you stay at home writing, actors have to be in make-up at 5am, in the pouring rain, miles from home, standing around for twelve hours to shoot three minutes of screen time. Make it worth their while.' Chris Chibnall, television writer and producer, whose credits include Torchwood, Broadchurch and Doctor Who. Our Comment.
  • Last year we launched the Writer's edit, a 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. Our other copy editing services.
  • Closing on 6 September, the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition 2019 is open in two categories to both new and established poets aged 18 and over from across the globe. Its unique English as an Additional Language category is open to all poets aged 18 and over who write in English as an Additional Language. It costs £5 to submit one poem or £4 per poem for more than three entries. Winners in each category will receive £1,000 and both runners up will be awarded £200.
  • From our 19-part Inside Publishing series: 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...'
  • There's a good crop of links this week in spite of the summer lull in the northern hemisphere: the consensus is that it's a positive move for bookselling in the US as Daunt takes over the biggest chain, Elliott Completes Purchase of B&N; Margaret Busby says she was 'my literary inspiration, the person who I wished I could become', 'Rest, Toni Morrison. You were magnificent'; leading writers on the great American author | Books | The Guardian; weaving something abstract and ultra-modern into the oldest kind of story, Towards a New Canon of Technothrillers | CrimeReads; and I've come to realize that the writers I actually see most of myself in are the other members of my writing group, Is It Okay If I Don't Care About Making Money from Writing? - Electric Literature.
  • If you are submitting your work to an agent or directly to a publishing house, check through our guidelines to give it its best chance. Making Submissions.
  • More links: "The reason Horrible Histories has been a success is I'm a fiction author. I published 50 fiction books before I turned to Horrible Histories." Horrible Histories: Author Terry Deary on being 'a fish out of water' - BBC News; the sales of crime and thriller fiction began their serious climb at more or less the same time as its launch, Crime Club at 50 (issues); a good summary of this significant case, Lady Chatterley's legal case: how the book changed the meaning of obscene | Law | The Guardian; a fascinating look at how the very young make book choices, What I Learned From Tracking My Toddler's Reading | Book Riot.
  • Have you been working on your book? Are you now ready to submit to publishers or to self-publish? We offer the widest range of editorial services on the web, tailored to writers' requirements and carried out by our professional editors, Our Services for writers.
  • 'Occasionally, there arises a writing situation where you see an alternative to what you are doing, a mad, wild gamble of a way for handling something, which may leave you looking stupid, ridiculous or brilliant - you just don't know which. You can play it safe there, too, and proceed along the route you'd mapped out for yourself. Or you can trust your personal demon who delivered that crazy idea in the first place. Trust your demon.' Roger Zelazny in our Writers' Quotes.

29 July 2019 - What's new

July 2019

22 July 2019 - What's new

July 2019
  • 'I write for myself first and foremost, but as I write, I imagine I am speaking to a friend who has just walked in, to whom I'm recounting a story already known, but for whom I am trying to make it worthwhile to listen again. Sometimes the "friend" here is one I have never met, but who I am confident will be cool with me. I write with that assumed familiarity. Sometimes I write song lyrics, sometimes lyric poems, always they are lyrical; and sometimes I write plays.' Inua Ellams, poet, playwright, author of six poetry pamphlets, including Candy Coated All Stars and Thirteen Fairy Negro Fairy Tales, and seventeen plays, in the Sunday Times Culture. Our Comment
  • My Say gives writers a chance to air their views about writing and the writer's life. So we have Lynda Finn about the isolation of New Zealand writers and their problems with getting published, British author Eliza Graham, author of Playing with the Moon, on her route to publication and Zoe Jenny, who is Swiss, on writing in English and why it was liberating. Send us your contributions, ideally 200 to 400 words in length and of general interest. Please email them to us.
  • The Tony Lothian Prize 2019 is open to all writers with a proposal for a first biography. The entry fee is £15 and the prize is £2,000. Closing 30 August.
  • Our new page Copy editing services covers our six services working on writers' manuscripts, a range which includes our top of the range Writer's Edit and English Language Editing. We offer free samples and free short written assessments on most of these services, which are provided by our skilled professional editors. We are transparent about our rates and our high quality copy editing services are also very good value.
  • Our links: a longlist packed with big names - but notable for its exclusion of well-received novels and for the fact that no American authors are included, Handmaid's Tale sequel leads 'exacting' 2019 Booker prize longlist | Books | The Guardian; a quick guide to the shortlist, Not read them yet? A cheat's guide to the 2019 Booker prize longlist | Books | The Guardian; the notion of being taught language has always been oxymoronic because language is in a constant state of flux, Style and Grammar Guides Won't Help You Write Better; and a useful article for all authors, Fourteen Kinds of Content Your Readers Will Want to Share.
  • Get some professional help. If you're self-publishing, you need good quality copy for the cover. Our Blurb-writing service can provide a professionally written piece of cover copy. Submitting to agents but finding it difficult to write your own synopsis? Commission a synopsis which will present your manuscript in the best possible light for submission.
  • More links: sometimes you just want to sit back with a book that's engaging, ingeniously plotted, and populated by memorable characters. In nineteen novels from 1959 to 1993, she gave you exactly that, Patricia Moyes: A Crime Reader's Guide to the Classics | CrimeReads; books are generally presented as the work of one person, but almost 60 others worked on mine, Should books include credits like films? | Books | The Guardian; a lively and varied "biography", 9 Things You Didn't Know About the Semicolon; and a useful list of pitfalls self-publishers face when doing their own book formatting, Top Five DIY Book Layout Mistakes.
  • Literary magazines with one week's response time is Sandeep Kumar Mishra's useful list, which we added to the site. They 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, or wanted to extend your range, this is the list you need.
  • 'The books we think we ought to read are poky, dull, and dry
    The books that we would like to read we are ashamed to buy
    The books that people talk about we never can recall
    And the books that people give us, oh, they're the worst of all.'
    Carolyn Wells casts a sardonic eye on books in our Writers' Quotes.

15 July 2019 - What's new

July 2019
  • 'The best books come from someplace deep inside. You don't write because you want to, but because you have to. Become emotionally involved. If you don't care about your characters, your readers won't either. Those of us who write do it because there are stories inside us burning to get out. Writing is essential to our well-being. If you're that kind of writer, never give up! If you start a story and it isn't going well, put it aside... You can start as many as you like because you're writing for yourself. With each story you'll learn more...' Judy Blume, author of Are You there, God? It's Me, Margaret, Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, Forever, Wifey and 25 other books, which have sold over 85 million copies worldwide, but often been banned. Our Comment.
  • An Editor's Advice is a series of seven articles by one of our editors on really useful subjects for writers such as Manuscript presentation, Doing further drafts and Planning: 'The idea of planning doesn't fit well with the idea of the writer as inspired genius, frantically scribbling away. However, I am willing to bet that, no matter what they would have you think, most successful writers plan as much as they write. They just don't tell you about it. The biggest objection that most inexperienced writers raise when someone broaches the delicate matter of planning is that it will get in the way of their inventive powers. A plan will be like a straitjacket. They'll be stuck with this plan and if they come up with a good idea along the way, they will not be able to use it. They are genuinely horrified at the thought...'
  • If you're planning to submit to agents, you'll want to get your submission package into good shape before getting started, to give your book its best chance.
  • Not long now for young poets 11-17 from anywhere in the world to get their entries in for the wonderful Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2019, closing on 31 July. The Curtis Brown First Novel Prize closes on 1 August and The Booklife Prize 2019 is open till 31 August. Other prizes.
  • Our links: sometimes a writer's life can be pretty amazing, From Uber driving to huge book deal: Adrian McKinty's life-changing phone call | Books | The Guardian; "Here's your cover! We hope you like it." Authors Don't Have Much Control Over Covers; Here's Why | Book Riot; it's 10 years since One Day became a publishing phenomenon - a word of mouth sensation that has sold more than five million copies, David Nicholls: Writing new novel 'completely terrifying' - BBC News; and authors can't win, Why should authors read your bad reviews? | Books | The Guardian.
  • Writing Biography & Autobiography is a serialisation from our Archives of the book by Brian D Osborne published by A & C BlackClick for A & C Black Publishers Publishers References listing. In the first excerpt, Managing the matters of truth and objectivity, the author says: 'Just as you need to remember that letters, reports, census forms, legal documents and so forth were not created simply for our convenience, so you also need to remember that what is written in them may not be true...'
  • Which service should I choose to help me get my work into good shape for submission or self-publishing? This is the question our page Which service? answers and it then goes on to give a quick rundown on our 20 editorial services for writers, the biggest range you can find on the internet.
  • More links: it's a bit dry, but this report contains encouraging news about audiobook sales, Audio Publishers Association: Nearly $1 Billion in 2018 Audiobook Sales; when you hear a poem, you meet it in a more intimate space, Podcasts Are Providing A New Way Into Poetry : NPR; and Monica Wood on why sometimes a story demands more than just a plot to move its emotional content forward, Creating Context.
  • If you need to get your material typed up, but can't face doing the job yourself, Typing manuscripts is a service for writers who have an old or handwritten manuscript or audio tapes, which need typing before they can proceed with reworking, submission or publication.
  • 'For me, writing [was] a question of survival...I could not trust anyone, even my family. The atmosphere was so poisoned. People even in your own family could turn you in.' - Gao Xingjian, refering to writing during the Cultural Revolution of Mao Tse-Tung. In our Writers Quotes.

1 July 2019 - What's new

July 2019
  • ‘There's been a great democratisation of the world of poetry, In the past, it was seen as only certain kinds of people wrote poems, but now there isn't that same divide. There's all sorts of different forms: spoken-word poetry, Instagram poetry... Poets like Hollie McNish have taken off and are selling lots. But the average poet is not selling lots, that's a bit of a press distortion...' Jackie Kay, Scottish Makar (Poet Laureate) and author of nine books of poetry, including Fiere and The Empathetic Store, as well as fiction and memoirs, in the Observer. Our Comment.
  • Getting Your Poetry Published has some suggestions on how to get started with this. 'Don't even try to approach publishers until you have a collection-length amount of material to offer. Your chances will be much better even then if you can point to publication of your poems in magazines. Don't waste any time trying to get a literary agent to represent you...'
  • The Caterpillar Story Prize 2019 for the best story of no more than 1,500 words written by an adult for children aged 7-11 is open to all writers over 16. The entry fee is €12. The First Prize is €1,000 and Second Prize a week's retreat at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Co. Monaghan, Ireland. Closing on 30 September.
  • Other live Opportunities include the Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award 2020 and The Booklife Prize 2019.
  • An essential read for children's authors is Suzy Jenvey's special series for WritersServices, the four-part 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 and the fourth part is about Submitting Your Work to Agents and Editors. This series by a hugely experienced children's editorial director and agent helps you get started on your own story or develop what you're already working on.
  • Are you writing for children? Our Children's Editorial Services can help you get your work ready for publication or self-publishing. Have you found it difficult to get expert editorial input on your work ? Do you want to know if it has real commercial potential? Or are you planning to self-publish? Three reports and copy editing are available from our highly-skilled children's editors, including essential advice on age groups and vocabulary.
  • Our links: 'We are not in the publishing industry. We are in the entertainment industry.' A challenging view, Business Musings: Rethinking The Writing Business (Part One) - Kristine Kathryn Rusch; underneath the froth, these were books written by women who not only understood the ways in which women's lives were changing but who were eager to capture those changes on the page, Bonkbusters are about so much more than sex and shopping | Books | The Guardian; and why are strong, attention-getting titles so important for indie authors? (in fact all authors), The Indie Authors' Guide to Book Titles.
  • As well as our highly-regarded Copy editing service, which will help you prepare your manuscript for submission or self-publishing, we have Manuscript Polishing, which provides a higher-level polishing service, English Language Editing for those for whom English is not a native language, our new Writer's edit, providing line-editing, and Proof-reading. Get the right level of editorial support for your needs. Our low-cost services represent exceptionally good value - contact us to discuss what you want.
  • More links: the latest big book-to-screen news, Neil Gaiman's 'Sandman' Coming to Netflix; 130 submissions from 21 African countries - chair of the judges Dr Peter Kimani discusses what the prize has meant to African writing, 'Like placing a palm on the continent's pulse' - Dr Peter Kimani on judging the Caine Prize for African Writing; and I didn't try for an agent with my second novel, The Year of Dan Palace, because I'd been disillusioned about the traditional publishing business, Why Pursue Traditional Publishing? (Are There Enough Good Reasons?)
  • 'When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art.' I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.' George Orwell in our Writers' Quotes.

24 June 2019 - What's new

June 2019

17 June 2019 - What's new

June 2019
  • 'I think I am starving for publication: I love to get published; it maddens me not to get published. I feel at times like getting every publisher in the world by the scruff of the neck, forcing his jaws open, and cramming the Mss down his throat - 'God-damn you, here it is - I will and must be published...' Our Comment is from Tom Wolfe, journalist and author of several novels and works of non-fiction, including The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, The Right Stuff and The Bonfire of the Vanities.
  • Inside Publishing is a 19-part series looking at publishing from the writer's point of view. Our article on Copyright: 'Unless there is a very good reason, authors should in general seek to retain copyright in what they write. The most obvious exceptions are if a writer is employed by a newspaper, journal or company, when the writer is producing the work as part of their job...' On Children's Publishing: 'Age groups are an important element of the way publishers look at publishing for children. The storyline and language must be appropriate for the intended age-group and this is where many writers who haven't written for children before are likely to go wrong...'
  • The Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award 2020 is open to writers writing in English and resident within the British Commonwealth and Eire, who have not yet published or self-published a full-length book. There's no entry fee and the First Prize is £10,000, with two runners-up prizes of £1,000. Closing on 31 October.
  • We have a new page which gives an editor's take on using pdfs, So what's wrong with PDFs? 'If you need your file to be edited, PDF is not the ideal format; in fact, it is practically the worst format you can choose. Why? Precisely because PDFs are designed not to be tampered with or changed. When you stop to think about it, editing is no more or less than a process of changing - and correcting - your file...'
  • Our links: "You can really find your tribe online," a positive response to the question, Has the Internet Changed Book Culture? A room of one's own is still viewed as the most important requirement for a writing career 90 years on from Virginia Woolf's seminal essay, Two thirds of professional writers earn less than £10k, RSL survey finds | The Bookseller; some writers speak about their own difficulties, 'There's no safety net': the plight of the midlist author | Books | The Guardian; and the formula of the traditional mystery is straightforward. A crime (usually a murder) occurs, and then the detective assembles an array of clues, all of which are laid out in front of the reader, who is then given ample time to have a crack at solving the problem themselves before the detective lays out the solution in the final chapter, Sherlock Holmes, Hardboiled Detective | CrimeReads.
  • Our new page Copy editing services covers our six services working on writers' manuscripts, a range which includes our top of the range Writer's Edit and English Language Editing. We have introduced free samples and free short written assessments on most of these services, which are provided by our skilled professional editors. We are transparent about our rates and our high quality copy editing services offer very good value.
  • More links: What is it about language that gets people so hot under the collar? Language wars: the 19 greatest linguistic spats of all time | Science | The Guardian; after years, it finally happened: I was published in a literary magazine alongside Diane, my ultimate writing enemy, What My Writing Nemesis Taught Me About Myself | Literary Hub; a magazine produced in cooperation with the International Publishers Association and its 'Africa Rising' seminar in Nairobi last week, Publishing-Perspectives-Magazine-African-Publishing-June-2019-Magazine.pdf; and the dramatic ups and downs of a writer's self-esteem, which are entirely dependent upon the stage of the writing/editing process they're in, Why Does Writing Suck?
  • From our Endorsements page: 'As a total neophyte as a writer, I have been doing a huge amount of research suddenly as to what services are available to writers, on both sides of the Atlantic, and am amazed that you are able to have someone read a whole book and give a serious critique for just 180 pounds. I think that is incredible value for money, compared to other similar services that appear to be available out there. I hope to be back to you again for more assistance, once I've cleaned up my work! Martin Humphries, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
  • Frank Yerby in our Writers' Quotes: 'It is my contention that a really great novel is made with a knife and not a pen. A novelist must have the intestinal fortitude to cut out even the most brilliant passage so long as it doesn't advance the story.'

10 June 2019 - What's new

June 2019
  • ‘First the length. In an age of ever-shortening attention spans, you have to have a pretty powerful message to keep anyone's interest for much over 75,000 words (about 300 pages). In fact, if you can't present your proposition in 300 pages, then you may have a problem with excessive verbiage you should deal with...' David Craig, management consultant and author of The Great Charity Scandal and Don't Buy It! in an article on the Andrew Lownie Agency website. This week's Comment is on Writing your first non-fiction book.
  • If you are not a native English speaker but you want to publish your book in English to make it available to the international market, what do you do? If your English is good enough, what about writing it in English or translating your book into English yourself, and then getting your translation polished and copy edited by a professional editor who is a native English speaker? The result should be a publishable manuscript at a relatively low cost, provided by our English Language Editing Service. How to get your book translated into English (without it costing the earth).
  • An endorsement from Anthony Fitzgerald for our English Language Editing Service: 'The result? A book that reads like it's written by a native speaker for only 13% of the price a complete translation would have costed. Thank you, writersservices.'
  • Closing on 31 August, The Kindle Storyteller Award 2019 is open to writers of 18 or over publishing in English in any genre, who publish their work through Kindle Direct Publishing between 1st May and 31 August 2019. There's no entry fee and the Grand Prize is £20,000 cash, a publishing agreement with Amazon Publishing and an Amazon launch.
  • Other competitions and prizes
  • Our links: although there have been reports of a competing bid for Barnes & Noble from Readerlink, these seem to have come to nothing, Daunt Relishes Challenge of Leading B&N; for many years regarded as a low-appeal format, audiobooks continue to boom, Fifth of book buyers consume audiobooks, PA survey reveals | The Bookseller; and - it sounds healthy - every day more than 1.8 million books are sold in the US and another half a million books are sold in the UK, BBC - Future - Does reading fiction make us better people?
  • Are you struggling to get someone to look at your poetry? Our Poetry Critique service for 150 lines of poetry can help. Our Poetry Collection Editing service, unique to WritersServices, edits your collection to prepare it for submission or self-publishing. Both can provide the professional editorial input you need.
  • More links: Guardian research shows that the top 100 illustrated children's books last year showed growing marginalisation of female and minority ethnic characters, 'Highly concerning': picture books bias worsens as female characters stay silent | Books | The Guardian; "There's no replacement for beginning to build a relationship in person; once you make that connection, your later follow-ups, via email or social media, are much more likely to be successful." Smart Indie Authors Connect at Writers' Conferences; and a digital launch from the International Publishers Association‘s (IPA) "Africa Rising" seminar in Nairobi, Nigerian Entrepreneurs Chidi and Chika Nwaogu: Publiseer.
  • Do you want some help with your writing but don't know quite what you want? Are you a bit puzzled by the various services on offer, and not sure what to go for? Choosing a service can help you work out which service is right for you.
  • Stephen King in our Writers' Quotes: 'If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.'

3 June 2019 - What's new

June 2019

13 May 2019 - What's new

May 2019

6 May 2019 - What's new

May 2019
  • ‘Why would anybody be intimidated by mere words? I mean, neither I nor any other atheist that I know ever threatens violence. We never threaten to fly planes into skyscrapers. We never threaten suicide bombs. We are very gentle people... It's just an opinion.' Richard Dawkins, ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and author of The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, The Enemies of Reason, River out of Eden, The God Delusion and 9 other books. Our Comment.
  • If you are trying to get your work into shape for publication, or for self-publishing, there's plenty of advice on the WritersServices website which you may find useful. Advice for Writers gives a rundown of what's on the site.
  • The Curtis Brown First Novel Prize is open to unpublished writers of 18 or over, writing a novel in English and resident in the UK or Ireland. There's no entry fee. First Prize is representation by Curtis Brown plus a prize of £3,000, and there are five generous runners-up prizes. It's closing on 1 August.
  • Other live competitions and prizes.
  • If you are looking for copy editing online, it can be difficult to ensure that you are getting a professional copy editor who will do a good job on your manuscript. Let WritersServices help you. Hardly any authors can copy edit their own writing and it is in any case notoriously difficult to spot the errors in your own work. So professional copy editing does make sense, either if you are trying to give your work its best chance when submitting it or, even more crucially, if you are planning to self-publish. Getting your manuscript copy edited.
  • Our links: new figures show that many authors are being subsidised by their partners or a second job in order to stay afloat, Writing at risk of becoming an 'elitist' profession, report warns | Books | The Guardian; a desperate industry increasingly addicted to quick takes for fast profit, Book Publishers Have a Trump Problem | The New Republic; "I realized if I did not trust myself enough to write it, it would never be written." From Trauma to Triumph: An Indie Success Story; and - more on memoir - The New Toolkit For Opening Up Your Memoir Writing | Literary Hub.
  • Health Hazards is our special series about the various health risks for writers, including the dreaded Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. If you know you're spending too much time at a keyboard, it's worth making sure you're being careful about how you're sitting, your eyes and your wrists.
  • More links: Do disturbing novels reflect an extreme reality or are they just titillation? Would American Psycho be published today? How shocking books have changed with their readers | Books | The Guardian; the author hasn't made a single mention of HBO's Game of Thrones on his Twitter or blog since the April 14 premiere of the show's final season, George R.R. Martin can still fix this shit | The Outline; this year, the Mellon Foundation provided $2.2 million in funding for poets, Funding the Poets: PW Talks with Elizabeth Alexander; a new publisher planning to put a robust rights strategy at the heart of its business model by seeking - and exploiting - world English language rights, Interview: Amanda Ridout on Her Boldwood Books' Rights Strategy.
  • A new page which gives an editor's take on using pdfs, So what's wrong with PDFs? 'If you need your file to be edited, PDF is not the ideal format; in fact, it is practically the worst format you can choose. Why? Precisely because PDFs are designed not to be tampered with or changed. When you stop to think about it, editing is no more or less than a process of changing - and correcting - your file...'
  • 'Actually, writers have no business writing about their own works. They either wax conceited, saying things like: 'My brilliance is possibly most apparent in my dazzling short story, "The Cookiepants Hypotenuse."' Or else they get unbearably cutesy: 'My cat Ootsywootums has given me all my best ideas, hasn't oo, squeezums?"' A less serious note from Connie Willis in our Writers' Quotes.

29 April 2019 - What's new

April 2019
  • ‘I knew it had to be a long book. That was partly because I guess I was thinking that the one thing that the novel as an art form has over other art forms is time. I think I got this from those 19th century books I read when I was younger. One of the great pleasures I used to get was sort of living in a novel for ages. And I suspect that with a first novel you are unconscious of your influences, so what I grew up reading is still kind of in me... Isabella Hammad, whose highly-praised nearly 600 page first novel The Parisian was published in April. Our Comment.
  • Closing on 15 June, the Sunday Times/University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award is open to a published or self-published work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by a British or Irish author aged 18-35 years. The Prize is £5,000 with three awards of £500 for runners-up.
  • If you have ever wondered why you don't win any of those competitions, our check-list gives you tips on Entering Competitions.
  • Bob's Journal is a long-running column from writer Bob Ritchie described by fellow EastEnders script-writer Pippa McCarthy: 'Just discovered your web page... I've just spent the last hour crying with laughter with periodic yelps of 'been there!'... I'm going to make my entire family read your diary. Then perhaps they will understand own bizarre behaviour every time I start a script... Anyway, will shut up now but just wanted to say you have cheered me up no end. It's brilliant.'
  • The Children's Poetry Summit has just launched a weekly blog about children's poetry, starting with an encouraging overview from Michael Rosen, https://childrenspoetrysummit.com/
  • Our links: one of the biggest names in American trade fiction is suing the Brazilian writer Cristiane Serruya for what Roberts alleges is "multi-plagiarism", US Authors Guild Praises Nora Roberts' Legal Action on Digital Plagiarism; where there are books, there are errors, How to Publish a Perfect Book; part of the perennial fascination of the publishing business, for any book lover, is the ringside seat it provides of the creative process, Lunch with Mr Eliot and Kazuo Ishiguro with a guitar: untold tales from a lost literary Britain | Books | The Guardian; and once again, the Edgar Awards are upon us - that august night of crime and mystery when honors are bestowed, traditions celebrated, and champions of the genre feted, The State of the Mystery: Part 1 of a Roundtable Discussion | CrimeReads.
  • 'It's a common enough fantasy for writers: maybe now I can leave that dreary job and devote myself wholeheartedly to writing... But how practical is it? Is it something you can realistically aspire to, or just a distant fantasy? What are your chances of making your dream come true? Don't give up the day job.
  • More links: I'm glad I didn't let this question stop me from writing my first novel, Should Writers Write What They Don't Know? literature is "morphing into a giant quilting exercise", Creative writing graduates will 'never make a living as novelists', says Self | The Bookseller; What is it about the Tudors that attracts us so? Pomp, Excess, and Murder with The Tudor Dynasty | CrimeReads; and for many authors, live readings and events are the best part about writing books, The Indie Authors Guide to Organizing Author Events.
  • Are you writing for children? Our Children's Editorial Services can help you get your work ready for publication or self-publishing. Have you found it difficult to get expert editorial input on your work ? Do you want to know if it has real commercial potential? Or are you planning to self-publish? Three reports and copy editing are available from our highly-skilled children's editors, including essential advice on age groups and vocabulary.
  • 'Looking back I imagine I was always writing. Twaddle it was too. But better far write twaddle or anything, anything, than nothing at all.' Katherine Mansfield in our Writers' Quotes.

22 April 2019 - What's new

April 2019
  • ‘Ten or 15 years ago, (literary estates) were dead. There were a few classic books that will always be with us, and the rest was dust. Then e-books provided the mechanism of making old things timeless - there was no such thing as backlist or frontlist any more. We, like a lot of people, worked hard and scrambled to make these books available again...' Bill Hamilton, MD of the A M Heath Literary Agency, which celebrates its centenary this year, in the Bookseller. Our Comment.
  • 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, which includes Copy editing, Blurb-writing, Poetry Collection Editing, Typing manuscripts. Our Services for Self-publishers are just a few of the 20 services on offer.
  • It's closing on 1 May but there's still time to enter the Poetry London Clore Prize 2019. It's open to all poets for unpublished poems in English with an entry fee of £7 or £3 for subscribers. 1st prize £5,000, 2nd prize £2,000, 3rd prize £1,000. Four commendations get £500 plus publication in the magazine.
  • Other competitions and prizes which are still open.
  • Read More than You Write."If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that." - Stephen King. 'Author opinion falls into two camps on this one, with some writers maintaining that reading fiction while writing is a very bad thing. To this I might say that if you have been working for years as a published author, and you have that degree of sophistication, dexterity and confidence, then maybe sometimes yes. But for the majority of us who are not at that level...' Sarah Taylor-Fergusson in Rule Number One on Writing for Children.
  • Our links: being an author is hard. There's no way around it, Beat the Author Blues: How to Manage Writer's Doubt - Written Word Media; an absorbing account of a writer's career, Amy Tan Reflects on 30 Years Since The Joy Luck Club | Literary Hub; almost anyone who has spent time in the query trenches knows how challenging it is to capture the attention of a literary agent, Beyond Good Writing: Two Literary Agents Discuss What Matters Most | Jane Friedman; and we've all been there. We send a piece of ourselves out into the world and then wait to see what happens, Is Anybody Out There? One Writer on the Purgatory of Submission - The Millions.
  • The Web as a Research tool - there are some sensational research resources for writers on the web. The search engines and other directories have made these accessible. But it helps to understand a little about how they work.
  • More links: a useful page for traditionally published and self-publishers alike, Author Photo Basics; and a generous gift to fund poets, Inaugural Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowships Announced.
  • Which service should I choose to help me get my work into good shape for submission or self-publishing? This is the question our page Which service? answers and it then goes on to give a quick rundown on our 20 editorial services for writers, the biggest range you can find on the internet.
  • 'Just set one day's work in front of the last day's work. That's the way it comes out. And that's the only way it does.' John Steinbeck in our Writers' Quotes.

15 April 2019 - What's new

April 2019
  • ‘I'm a great believer in turning up still. No forgiving yourself because you are tired. I try to get there before 10, not too early. On those magical writing days you forget you exist and you surface an hour later and you have 400 words you were not expecting to write. But turning up is certainly the first condition...' Ian McEwan, author of Machines Like Me, The Children Act, Atonement, Amsterdam, Enduring Love, The Child in Time and many other celebrated novels in the Guardian. Our Comment.
  • From our Endorsements page: ‘Absolutely first class job! Very professional. Thank you very much indeed. Wish I'd found you before, it would certainly have saved me a lot of unnecessary headaches. I'll now bin the rest of the editors I've so far dealt with, and hope to keep contact with you.' Steven Kocsis.
  • A new page which gives an editor's take on using pdfs, So what's wrong with PDFs? 'If you need your file to be edited, PDF is not the ideal format; in fact, it is practically the worst format you can choose. Why? Precisely because PDFs are designed not to be tampered with or changed. When you stop to think about it, editing is no more or less than a process of changing - and correcting - your file...'
  • My Say gives writers a chance to air their views about writing and the writer's life. So we have Natasha Mostert on typing 'The End', Mary Garden on writers' block, Timothy Hallinan on The Writing Session and Dominae Primus on WritersServices. Other contributions to the series.
  • Do you have something to say? Contributions should ideally be 200 to 400 words in length and of general interest. Please email them to us.
  • Our links: "There's just no other substitute for the amount of work and creativity that goes into a book," said Matt Thunell, v-p of original series at Netflix, The Netflix Literary Connection; why the genre retains its outsider status; 'It drives writers mad': why are authors still sniffy about sci-fi? | Books | The Guardian; does the hunger for new authors mean some publishers were no longer spending enough time building enduring relationships with their existing list? Authors told to write under pseudonyms to fuel debut obsession, claims Harris | The Bookseller; and fans of the show and novels are still wondering when George R.R. Martin will finally release the series' sixth book, Game of Thrones Books: Why Winds of Winter Isn't Coming Soon | Fortune.
  • Our new page Copy editing services covers our six services working on writers' manuscripts, a range which includes our top of the range Writer's Edit and English Language Editing. We have just introduced free samples and free short written assessments on most of these services, which are provided by our skilled professional editors. We are transparent about our rates and our high quality copy editing services are also very good value.
  • More links: from a writer with 'a very structured and disciplined writing routine', Cecelia Ahern on How She Writes a Novel a Year | Literary Hub; the traditional advice for aspiring novelists is to write about what you know, but what about Writing about what you don't know; I read somewhere that you need to write a million words before you know what you're doing, Five Writing Tips from Tana French; and helping you to choose who to go with, DIY: How to Self-Publish an E-book.
  • Here's a detailed article on how to prepare Your submission package - 'Given the difficulty of getting agents and publishers to take on your work, it's really important to make sure that you present it in the best possible way. Less is more, so don't send a full manuscript, as it's very unlikely to be read. Far better to tempt them with a submission package that will leave them wanting to see the rest of the manuscript...'
  • 'It's a feeling of happiness that knocks me clean out of adjectives. I think sometimes that the best reason for writing novels is to experience those four and a half hours after you write the final word.' Zadie Smith in our Writers' Quotes.