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16 January 2017 - What's new

16 January 2017
  • 'As an editor, I'm often asked what sorts of books I am looking for, and my answer is invariably the same. Whether it's crime or fantasy or women's fiction, I am looking for one thing: someone who knows how to tell a story. It should be a story that asks questions of the reader; that takes us from our known world and plunges us into another; it should be filled with believable characters who we care about; and it should have a narrative with a beginning, middle and an end that draws all the different strands together in a satisfying way...' Selina Walker, Publisher of Century and Arrow at Penguin Random House UKPenguin Random House have more than 50 creative and autonomous imprints, publishing the very best books for all audiences, covering fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children’s books, autobiographies and much more. Click for Random House UK Publishers References listing provides this week's Comment.
  • A must-read for children's authors - Suzy Jenvey's special series for WritersServices, the four-part The Essential Guide to Writing for Children. The first article looks at the all-important question of age groups and what you should be aware of in writing for each one. The second part is - Before You Write: What is My Story Going to be? The third part deals with Starting to Write and the fourth part is about Submitting Your Work to Agents and Editors.
  • The first major publishing news of the New Year has been the announcement that Pearson, having declared a profit warning because of change and volatility in the educational market and declining sales in higher education, is intending to offload its 47% stake in Penguin Random House - and its partner Bertelsmann is keen to acquire it. News Review
  • 'Hardly any authors can copy edit their own writing. It is 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: Thanks to Hollywood's baffling inability to produce anything that wasn't first a book, a question that gets asked more and more these days is: "Should I read the original?" This year's biggest book adaptations - and which ones are worth reading first | Books | The Guardian; if you're one of those who has always aspired to become a writer but don't even know where to begin, then this list is a good place to start, Tips for aspiring writers from a successful indie author; Why Poetry? Well, yes. Most books of poetry sell a couple of thousand copies, at best. So in a quantitative sense, what's the point of supporting it? A Few Questions for Poetry - The New York Times; and a clear shift in the overall direction of publishing, Indie Author Predictions for 2017 - BookSparks.
  • 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...'
  • More links: Jackself, described by chair of judges Ruth Padel as ‘incredibly inventive and very moving', takes prestigious £20,000 honour, 2016 TS Eliot prize won by Jacob Polley's 'firecracker of a book' | Books | The Guardian; shortlist announced for the top prize in pan-African, award program for debut authors, Stressing 'an African Sensibility,' Etisalat Prize Announces Shortlist; and in 2015, Chinese Sci-fi hit the American literary scene when Ken Liu's translation of The Three-Body Problem by Chinese author Cixin Liu received a Hugo Award and a Nebula nomination, The rise of Chinese sci-fi: Part 1 | Asia Times.
  • Why your book contract needs vetting - 'We've been offering our Contract Vetting service for many years and it's always surprised me how relatively few writers take advantage of it. There are not many ways that a first-time author can get advice of this kind, and lawyers are very expensive and not always up-to-date about what is going on in publishing...'
  • ‘You need to commit to a time to write. If you don't commit to your writing, who's going to commit to you?' Val McDermid in our Writers' Quotes.