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What's New in 2023

July 2023

31 July 2023 - What's new

July 2023
  • 'The statistics show us that it's now the world's most popular genre, and not just in print, but if you turn on the TV or streaming services, it's crime shows that seem to be the most popular. Although crime fiction was always popular, it's reached new heights in the last few years. It is very democratised around the world. Before it was purely a Western thing, but now if you turn on Netflix India there's a whole range of crime shows that were previously unheard of in India - it was all Bollywood and soap operas, but now crime thrillers are doing really well in these kinds of countries. Korea is another big market for crime fiction. It has become a global enterprise....' Vaseem Khan, Crime Writers Association chair and author of the Baby Ganesh Detective Agency series and the Malabar House books in Bookbrunch.
  • 'President Woodrow Wilson once declared (heavens knows why) that the hyphen was "the most un-American thing in the world". Observant readers will have noticed that he couldn't have said this (and no one could have written a report of his words) without a hyphen; thus perhaps proving that the President was blithely unaware of grammatical irony. I was surprised that any non-nerd figure should express such animus towards a grammatical detail but, it appears, he was not alone. Hyphens, like apostrophes, are tricky little diacritical marks... But they certainly have their uses, even if it's only to show off your double-barrelled surname. In this article I will look at hyphen usage and how it may be changing; for the better or worse is a matter of opinion... The Pedant: how to make your editor happy 6: What's all the fuss over hyphens? is this week's new article.
  • Other articles in The Pedant series cover accents and dialects, dialogue tags, the use of bold, italic and capital letters, formats and fonts and the trouble with 'as'.
  • If you're looking for a report on your manuscript, how do you work out which one of our three reports would suit you best? Which Report? includes our latest 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 that this detail helps them to get their book right. Through our specialist children's editors we can offer reports on children's books.
  • Links to writers' stories: as long as there have been celebrity memoirs, there have been ghostwriters, ‘Does it really matter who wrote it?: the rise of ghostwritten celebrity fiction | Books | The Guardian; a book title has power to pique interest, crack open a gateway to readers, allowing the work to take it from there, Anita Gail Jones on Crafting Fiction From Family Heirlooms ‹ Literary Hub; events on Fire Island began to take a stranger turn, ‘Things started getting weird': why my novel caused a storm in my small town | Fiction | The Guardian; I never thought I'd be able to write a novel because it just seemed impossible to build the scaffolding for a whole book length work, For Ruth Madievsky, Voice Is Everything - The Millions; and writing about growing up in the old Foyles bookshop, The joy of self publishing.
  • Our unique new service is The Cutting Edit. So you have finished your book, but it is too long; how do you go about reducing the word count without losing important parts of your work? We're here to help. Our experienced editors will work with you to reduce the word count of your book while preserving the main narrative elements and your individual style. This service is available for both fiction and non-fiction, and it's a dual service - as we reduce the word count of your manuscript we also copy edit it as part of the job.
  • 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...' These articles also explain subidiary rights, which are important for any author.
  • 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...'
  • Links from the publishing world: last year, all of literature's big prizes went to small publishers, The indie publishing mavericks shaking up the UK books world | Publishing | The Guardian; the great American editor who died last month at the age of ninety-two, Jonathan Galassi Remembers His Friend, the Great Robert Gottlieb ‹ Literary Hub; and in 2009, two bookshops a week were closing in the UK and the days of physical books seemed numbered, My big Birmingham bookshop crawl: why booksellers are suddenly thriving | Books | The Guardian.
  • From our Endorsements page: ‘This report is so incredibly helpful, both for improving Gone to the Sky and my future work. Absolutely worth its weight in gold.' Ada Fox, Virginia, US.
  • 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? Chris HolifieldManaging director of WritersServices; spent working life in publishing,employed by everything from global corporations to start-ups; track record includes: editorial director of Sphere Books, publishing director of The Bodley Head, publishing director for start-up of upmarket book club, The Softback Preview, editorial director of Britain’s biggest book club group, BCA, and, most recently, deputy MD and publisher of Cassell & Co. She is also currently the Director of the Poetry Book Society; During all of this time aware of problems faced by writers, as publishing changed from idiosyncratic cottage industry, 'occupation for gentlemen', into corporate business of today. Writers encountered increasing difficulty in getting books edited or published. Authors create the books which are the raw material for the whole business. She believes it is time to bring them back to centre stage. can help you work out which service is right for you. Choosing a service. Do get in touch if you have any questions.
  • So what's wrong with PDFs? 'Well, nothing, if you use them in the way they are intended. PDFs (Portable Download Files) are designed to carry finished documents and forms. The idea is that the file does not deform or glitch when you download it... More to the point, you can't really tamper with the original content or format of the file. And there's the rub. 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.'
  • Links on writers' craft: writers, magazines, readers, other creators all existed before Twitter and will exist again, but to make an extremely obvious statement: The world is different now, What Do We Want From the Bookish Internet? |; how to refresh a long-running series without alienating the readers who love it just the way it is, Giving a Detective Series New Life ‹ CrimeReads; "Imagine my surprise and delight when I saw your name," she wrote, describing herself as "a fan of my newsletter", How My Newsletter Helped Me Land an Agent and a Big Five Book Deal | Jane Friedman; and since your first title sold 10,000 copies in its debut month, you've been able to quit your day job, but there's still The Difference Between a Successful and a Bestselling Author.
  • Get your poetry assessed before submitting it or entering it for competitions with our Poetry Critique service. If you're planning to submit a collection to publishers or to self-publish, our unique Poetry Collection Editing service can help to get your work to a publishable standard.
  • Advice for writers - if you want to delve into the wealth of information on our huge site, here's the page which will help you find what you're looking for.
  • More links on AI and social media: the power wielded by the collective reader communities of BookTok is catching the eye of TikTok itself, and they want some of it, TikTok's New Publishing House Feels Familiar And Not in a Good Way | The Mary Sue; thousands of writers have signed a letter asking artificial intelligence companies like OpenAI and Meta to stop using their work without permission or compensation, Nora Roberts, Margaret Atwood sign Authors Guild letter to fight AI : NPR; and the British view, The Bookseller - News - Thousands of authors including Atwood, Egan and Picoult sign AI open letter.
  • Some advice on preparing manuscripts: 'It's important to present your manuscript properly, as it's very off-putting if you submit something which looks a mess. So, whether you're thinking about submission, or not yet at that stage, bear in mind the following guidelines...'
  • From the late, great Isaac Asimov: 'If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.' Writers' Quotes
  • If you enjoy keeping up with What's New, you can sign up for our newsletter to be emailed to you every two weeks.

17 July 2023 - What's new

July 2023
  • ‘I not only know the beginning, middle and end of the book, but I know the beginning, middle and end of each chapter... I think it's important for my readers that there is a real sense of jeopardy for the characters. Sometimes when you read a particular genre, you get to know where things are going. But I feel it's really important that when readers meet the characters on the first page, they feel that "we can't take anything for granted here". Anything must feel possible, it's only when they get to the end of the book that they will know exactly where the story was going, and why...' Mike Gayle, author of 17 books, including his first novel My Legendary Girlfriend, Wish You Were Here and just-published All the Lonely People, in the Bookseller.
  • The latest new article in our Ask the Editor series is Ask the Editor 4: Why do I need you? 'Well yes, in the old days an editor was a necessary part of the writing process. But times change, right? Innovations in digital technology have produced handy editorial software that spots the errors in your writing and corrects or makes suggestions for amending them; online thesauruses offer you options for word and phrase choices to make your writing more exciting and impactful. So with all this new-fangled help just waiting online for your call, you don't need the intervention of an editor. Do you? Actually, it's not as simple as that. There is plenty of editing tech out there, and some of it may even be useful. But if you look elsewhere online, say at the reviews of self-published (and increasingly, commercially published) books, you will read a different story. A large proportion of reviews - and thus a large number of readers, presumably - express their dissatisfaction with the quality of the manuscripts...'
  • Other articles in the series deal with writing a synopsis, the submission letter and What genre is my book?
  • The 2023 Manchester Writing Competitions are open internationally to those aged 16 or over. The entry fee for both prizes is £18. These prestigious competitions, run by Manchester Metropolitan University, offer two £10,000 prizes: the Manchester Poetry Prize for best portfolio of poems and the Manchester Fiction Prize for best short story. Closing 1 September.
  • Are you ready to submit your synopsis and sample chapters to agents or publishers, but worried about whether you are presenting your work in the best possible way? It's dispiriting to receive rejections just because your submission package is not up to scratch. Our Submission Critique has helped many authors to improve their submission packages, helping them to get published.
  • Links from writers: 'I love to write thrillers about creeps and coercive controllers, and about letting the wrong person in', Lisa Jewell Raced Through Writing Her Latest Novel; the ghostwriter on the extraordinary phenomenon of Flowers in the Attic and its successors, Becoming V.C. Andrews; after publishing more than forty books in half a century, How Samuel R. Delany Reimagined Sci-Fi, Sex, and the City | The New Yorker; 'I think the crime genre specifically has got ever more crowded and competitive', Q&A: bestselling novelist Ruth Ware.
  • 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, the Writer's edit, providing line-editing, and Proof-reading. The Cutting edit and Developmental editing are two new services. Get the right level of editorial support for your needs from our professional editors. Our low-cost services represent exceptionally good value. Contact us to discuss what you want.
  • From our Endorsements page: 'I cannot emphasise enough my gratitude to I more or less expected that they would treat me and my texts professionally - after all, this is what the site offers. What I haven't expected was the extra mile they were prepared to go on my behalf, their beautiful attention to both the letter and the spirit of what I had to say. My manuscript has now found an agent - a happy development in which they have definitely played a role. All I can say is that if I ever produce anything else, I will definitely be their client again.' Sveta, Windsor, UK.
  • Links to articles about AI, the subject of the moment: it was a indicative of how quick and simple (and tempting) it is to use AI to write a book, The Bookseller - Comment - Responsible AI in publishing; their books, which are copyrighted, were ‘used to train' ChatGPT, Authors file a lawsuit against OpenAI for unlawfully ‘ingesting' their books | Books | The Guardian; concerned creators suing tech developers over their much-hyped generative AI technology, Authors Join the Brewing Legal Battle Over AI; for better or worse, artificial intelligence is poised to shake up the publishing industry, Seven Ways AI Will Impact Authors And The Publishing Industry; and the results of a survey about artificial intelligence, Writers' Guild of Great Britain Publishes Report on AI.
  • 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 my 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.'
  • Our Children's Editorial Services help you to get your children's book 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 might find a publisher? Or are you planning to self-publish?
  • Links from publishing: the amalgamation of brilliant minds, innovative ideas, and, most importantly, emerging technologies have encouraged its huge growth, 4 Publishing Trends to Stay in & Beyond 2023 - Good e-Reader; interest seems to be back to pre-lockdown levels, The Bookseller - News - Frankfurt Book Fair agents and scouts centre sold out after 'record interest'; the latest on book-banning, Obama speaks out against ‘profoundly misguided' book bans in school libraries | Books | The Guardian; we know throughout our 50 years of research just how essential poetry is as a genre for children, The Bookseller - Features - CLPE reflects on changing children's poetry scene ahead of CLiPPA's 20th anniversary; and social media enters a new phase, The Influence of BookTok and Bookstagram on Book Publishing Merch.
  • How to market your writing services online is a useful article 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 about selling yourself as a writer. 'Recently someone commented to me that I seem to be doing a pretty good job of promoting my writing services on the internet. I was touched by the observation - we writers get so many rejections that a little praise is especially gratifying. And I began to wonder - what does it take to market yourself successfully as a jobbing writer today?...'
  • 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 helps you work out which is the right editorial service for you.
  • More writers' links: 'most of the recent books I've abandoned are around 350-400 pages', It's Not Me, It's You: An Argument for Shorter Middle Grade Books; how becoming an author has changed the way I approach my publishing day job, The Bookseller - Comment - Swapping sides; the best children's fiction "helps us refind things we may not even know we have lost", Why adults should read children's books - BBC Culture; and charity aims to give 10 million young people across the continent the books they need by 2030, Book Aid seeks £4m for African campaign.
  • Rotten Rejections - The Letters that Publishers Wish they'd never Sent by Andre Bernard is full of the absurd things publishers said when rejecting writers' work: on Carrie by Stephen King 'We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.' On Animal Farm by George Orwell ‘It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA'.
  • From our Writers' Quotes: 'Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer.' Barbara Kingsolver

3 July 2023 - What's new

July 2023
  • ‘After finishing the 1st draft of a novel, I have the characters, dialogue, scenes, and a plotline. I used to think this meant I knew where the story was going, and what the book was about. I have learned over the years, this ain't so. As I work through its 2nd draft, characters start to nudge each other. The story itself takes its first soft and shallow breath, and one could imagine he hears a little bit of a heartbeat. Passions deepen, and emotional threads start to weave through what had earlier just been little more than a sequence of events...' Edward Fahey, author of The Morning After, The Gardens of Ailana and The Soul Hides in Shadows.
  • The third new article in our Ask the Editor series is about Writing a synopsis. 'The synopsis is a strange document; it is at once the dullest, and perhaps the most important, part of the submission package. It reduces your book, your creative project, to a few lines of plain, unadorned narration; yet it allows a publisher to see the book as a whole, to get a feel for the narrative arc and the development of the plot. In this article, I will examine the synopsis, and consider some of the problems in writing it...'
  • 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...'
  • If you're intending to stick to traditional publishing, Inside Publishing on Subsidiary Rights will explain what they are: 'When an author signs a contract with a publishing house, they generally grant the publisher 'volume rights' within certain territories. This gives the publisher the right to publish the book in certain formats. The royalties relating to hardback, paperback and sometimes trade paperback (a larger paperback format) editions will be spelt out. There will be clauses in the contract covering all the other rights. These are the 'subsidiary' rights granted to publishers and can also be referred to as sub-leases.'
  • Links on the craft of writing and what you can earn from it: earnings up 50% in a year as income for self-published writers outstrips traditional publishing models, according to research, Income booms for self published authors; the most important element you need to develop for your story is a theme! How to Write a Theme for your Story - The Art of Narrative; a solid story, compelling characters, and strong writing are a great start, What Makes a Novel Stand Out on Submission? | Jane Friedman; I only allow my journalism brain and my fiction brain to communicate as little as possible, Clémence Michallon On the Ethics of Writing Violence and the Banality of Serial Killers ‹ CrimeReads; and 'I simply couldn't think of what else to write...' Writer's Block? Maybe You're Writing in the Wrong Format | Jane Friedman.
  • UK small publisher The Emma Press has an open submissions window from 1-8 August. Non-agented submissions in English from anywhere in the world are accepted. Poetry, fiction and non-fiction pamphlets can be submitted, as well as children's fiction and children's poetry. There's no entry fee. The prizes are small advances and publication by The Emma Press.
  • 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 22 editorial services for writers, which we think is the biggest and most comprehensive you can find on the internet.
  • Why has my manuscript been rejected? It is demoralising to get your manuscript rejected by publishers or agents. Here are some of the reasons why this happens and suggestions of what you can do about it. Avoiding rejection.
  • Links from the publishing world: although this is mainly about newspaper editors, it gets to the heart of the problem, The importance of editors in the age of (highly unreliable) AI | What's New in Publishing | Digital Publishing News; how the book industry can work together to be more sustainable, A Book Wide Web? The latest on the banning of books from the celebrated American author, ALA 2023: Judy Blume Offers a Rousing Defense of the Freedom to Read; and social media is encouraging a new generation of readers to pick up and read books in English in Europe, The Bookseller - News - Publishers hail 'excellent growth' of English language exports to Europe thanks to BookTok; and I ask my peers in real life what they're reading, because young people love sharing their discoveries, The Bookseller - Comment - Beyond the BookTok loop.
  • Poets are naturally keen to see their work in print but it's actually quite hard to get a first collection taken on by a publisher. This is because most poetry lists are pretty small. Poetry is not in general given much space in bookshops and it is difficult to achieve any sales for first collections. Self-publishing offers a good approach and the live poetry scene is much livelier than it used to be. Getting your poetry published
  • An enthusiastic new addition to our Endorsements page is from a newsletter subscriber: 'Hi, I'm on your email list and just wanted to say thanks for the great emails you put out. I've entered one or two competitions as a result of seeing them on your email and, although I haven't won yet I have come close! But the information you give out is brilliant - so I just wanted to say thanks. Your efforts are appreciated.' Alison Chaplin, Manchester.
  • 'So you want to be a crime writer? This is probably a good choice. Crime writing has long been popular with readers across the English-speaking world but it had a real resurgence a few years ago. Although publishers have reined back from the subsequent tendency towards over-production, there is still a solid market for good crime writing and many bestselling writers, such as Richard Osman, write in this category. As well as being a long term publishing staple in the main English-speaking markets, the US and UK, crime novels are much in demand in translation, especially in Europe...' Writing crime fiction in our Genre writing series.
  • More links from writers: was this because of 'a new ideology of identity authorship'? Richard North Patterson's Trial was rejected by the big publishing houses. Why? Who'd go to the Cayman Islands and attend a literary event of mine? On the Pitfalls of Book Promotion in the Internet Age ‹ Literary Hub; and 'A good historical novel is just like any novel', Q&A: debut novelist Lucy Barker.
  • 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 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.
  • 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. The web as a research tool
  • ‘Writing fiction is fun. Writing non-fiction is life-changing.' Adrienne Posey in our Writers' Quotes.