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What's New in 2019

July 2019

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.