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13 June 2016 - What's new

13 June 2016
  • ‘In the last three decades of the 20th century rents rose, publishers moved out of central London, new publishers came and went, historical names amalgamated or went bust, agents became publishers, former publishers became agents. No more handing in manuscripts in carrier bags at reception...' Our Comment is from Fay Weldon, author of The Life and Loves of a She-Devil and Before the War in the late-lamented Independent on Sunday.
  • 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' 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 brief guide to the essentials your self-publishing business needs - because it is a business, even if you only publish one book!'
  • Recent US figures released by Nielsen show that print sales are up and ebook sales down in the US. EbooksDigital bookstore selling wide range of ebooks in 50 categories from Hildegard of Bingen to How to Write a Dirty Story and showing how the range of ebooks available is growing.' share of the total market slipped from 27% in 2014 to 24% last year, although e-book consumption via smartphone grew from 7.6% in 2014 to 14.3% in 2015. Behind these overall figures there was a remarkable movement in sales of particular categories however. News Review on Ebook sales down but SF and Fantasy booming.
  • Our Writing Opportunity is The Moth International Short Story Prize 2016, closing on 30 June, open to all with an entry fee of €12 per story and a First Prize of €3,000.
  • If you are looking for copy editing online, it is difficult to ensure that you are getting a professional copy editor who will do a good job on your manuscript. Hardly any authors can copy edit their own writing or know much about what is involved. 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
  • A great crop of links this week: as a short story writer, I lived in denial for years. I pretended that the editors were all wrong when they said that short story collections don't sell, Let Us Now Praise Famous Short Story Writers (And Demand They Write a Novel) - Electric Literature; the latest look at the vexed question of what authors are being paid, How Much Money Are Authors Making? - Flavorwire; fascinting stories of big face-offs between authors and publishers, Brought to book: when publishers go to court | Books | The Guardian; and a long but closely argued and well-informed article about festivals and the hot question of whether authors should be paid for attending them, Fair play: can literary festivals pay their way? | Books | The Guardian.
  • From our Archive, Writing for Children: Rule Number One - Read More than You Write by Sarah Taylor-Fergusson: '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...'
  • More links: a fascinating study on the effects of books in the home on children, Children who grow up with books earn more, study finds | The Bookseller; some hair-raising stories of writers whose work has been ripped off, The Rise of Plagiarism in the Age of Self-Publishing Books on Amazon, Google Play, and Barnes & Noble - The Atlantic; and imagine discovering that Amazon are stopping you getting your book reviewed, Jeff Bezos and Amazon's Book Review Policy Is Destroying Indie Authors' Ability to Sell Books.
  • From Enid Bagnold in our Writers' Quotes: 'Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it's the answer to everything. ... It's the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it's a cactus.'