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What's New in 2023

August 2023

28 August 2023 - What's new

August 2023
  • ‘I think I'm a bit of an accidental short story writer... the model I absorbed for a writing career was that you hone your craft learning the art of the short story and then you, effectively, graduate to writing novels... What I like about short stories is that they offer infinite possibilities for play. Experimentation in a novel can get exhausting, but the brevity of the short form means you can attempt some zany things and not overstay your welcome in your readers' heads. That's kind of how they function for me: as playgrounds and laboratories to try things out, test ideas, discover answers I didn't expect, and explore.' Malachi McIntosh, former editor of the magazine Wasafiri, whose first collection of stories, Parables, Fables, Nightmares is published by The Emma Press in September, in the Bookseller.
  • Our new six-part series The Pedant: how to make your editor happy deals with dialogue tags, accents, formats and fonts, the trouble with 'as', the problems with hyphens and the use of bold, italics and capital letters: 'There are times when, no matter how well you write, you need typographical support to emphasise a point. English is a wonderfully flexible and suggestive language, but it can't do everything by itself, and replacing plain type with, for instance, italics, can really help the reader to understand what's happening in your story. In this article, we will look at the use of these non-standard fonts and suggest a few simple rules of thumb. Let's start with bold face type. In recent years, I've seen quite a lot of writing that incorporates bold type and, I have to say, I don't think it works...' If you want to improve your written English, this series is for you.
  • Here's an unusual competition: The First Graphic Novel Award is open to UK residents only. The entry fee is £10 and the Prize is first option for publication by SelfMadeHero. It closes on 14 September 2023, so you'll need to move fast to get your material together to enter this one.
  • Our 22 Services for Writers offers links to all our editorial services - the biggest range on the web.
  • Links on writers' craft: if you want to be the person who supports yourself with your writing career, then it's time to take a good look at money, Pay Yourself to Write | Jane Friedman; 'it's so tempting, after coming up with an idea, to immediately sit down and start to write, but writing the script isn't the work', The five hardest scriptwriting lessons to learn | National Centre for Writing | NCW; novelist Anita Frank on how she created the eerie setting in her new novel, Strange hostility and unsettling houses: how setting creates atmosphere; not everyone delights in blood and gore and that's where cozies come in, The Enduring Appeal of Cozy Mysteries ‹ CrimeReads.
  • From our Endorsements page: ‘A wonderfully detailed and helpful report. The editorial advice and knowledge sharing is extensive and generous. Your editor has identified the points where and why my novel falls short and provided clear and practical advice on how to remedy the shortfalls... I would not hesitate to recommend your service to other writers both in terms of output and value for money.' Elspeth, UK
  • 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.
  • How Literary Agents Work - an article written exclusively for Writersservices by literary agent Mark Gottlieb of Trident Media in New York: 'I have often heard that authors are interested in how literary agents work. It is very simple: a literary agent exists to provide services to authors...' A short but clear summary of what agents do.
  • More links on ChatGPt and social media: frustrated with my progress on a third full revision and still dancing around my novel's central story question, I turned to ChatGPT, I Hired ChatGPT As My Writing Coach | Jane Friedman; we don't just love books for their text, but for the complex humans behind them, The Bookseller - Comment - Why AI can't compete with authors; adult fiction has been publishing's steadiest-selling category for the past 18 months, BookTok Helped Book Sales Soar. How Long Will That Last? What do you get when you combine artificial intelligence with human stupidity? Can't decide which books to ban? Leave it to ChatGPT! | Arwa Mahdawi | The Guardian.
  • 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.
  • Advice for writers gives you access to the massive amount of information available on the site, which currently consists of 9,385 pages.
  • Don't give up the day job. Perhaps you've even been indulging in thinking about it as you lay on the beach this summer, or more likely spent your precious holiday working on your latest novel. 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?
  • Links from the publishing world in its summer lull: The Knights Of editorial director on how the industry has changed since her first job, Questions for: Eishar Brar; and Amazon is already facing a potential lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission, but now Authors call on FTC to investigate Amazon's alleged monopoly in the bookselling industry - The Verge.
  • So you want to write fantasy or science fiction? You are in good company, as many of the writers who come to WritersServices are writing fantasy, with science fiction as a less popular choice. Science fiction was an important category during much of the twentieth century, with a growing cult audience, until it was overtaken by fantasy. It's often seen as more cerebral, a way of trying out new ideas of the future or other worlds. These days there's a relatively small demand for new science fiction writing, and you have to have a distinctive voice and something interesting to say to stand much chance of getting published. Writing science fiction and fantasy
  • Choosing a service is our longer guide to what our different services offer.
  • In Writing for Children: Rule Number One a highly experienced children's editor explains why she thinks reading is so important for all authors. As Stephen King says: 'If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.'
  • Links to writers' stories: between 2010 and 2019, one of every seven crime novels published was by a single author - James Patterson, My First Thriller: James Patterson ‹ CrimeReads; the legend of King Arthur is to Britain what the Wild West is to the USA: our preeminent founding myth, Wherefore Art Thou Arthur?: On What Lies Behind Our National Myths and Legends ‹ Literary Hub; from the first two-time winner of the Selfies Awards, The Selfies questions for 2023 fiction winner Halima Khatun; and UK publishers donate to support libraries, Book Aid International to ship 25,000 books to Ukraine.
  • Prolific British crime-writer Elly Griffiths in our Writers' Quotes: ‘For me it always starts with the characters, and I hope that the characters take me to the plot - that's the plan, anyhow. I just start with a few ideas and hope it works out. I suppose if having written 28 books has taught me anything, it's that it might work out in the end.'

14 August 2023 - What's new

August 2023
  • 'Lots of people ask me for advice on getting published. All I can really offer however is what happened to me. I wrote my first novel while working full time as a journalist. The first draft took me about year to complete and while it was dreadful (it had characters changing name in the middle of a sentence and had plot holes you could drive an articulated lorry through) it was at the same time a complete novel, something I could work on, fix and improve, which is exactly what I did... After a long wait I received a rejection followed by another rejection and then just as I was beginning to lose hope the third agent got back to me and informed me that she loved the book. We worked on the manuscript together for three months ironing out the creases before sending it to seven publishers on a gloomy Friday afternoon in October...' Mike Gayle, author of 17 novels, including My Legendary Girlfriend, Wish You were Here and All the Lonely People, on his website.
  • 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.
  • Closing on 18 September and open only to women writers across the world, the Mslexia Women's Fiction Competitions 2023 are well worth entering. The prizes are various and entry is for Novels, Short Fiction and Flash Fiction.
  • Our first set of links are on tech, AI and social media: screenwriters, actors, authors, and artists are fighting to ensure that human beings are not shunted to the margins of our culture, Hollywood's Fight Against A.I. Will Affect Us All | The New Republic; what if AI could help us visualize what fairy tales for the climate crisis could actually look like? Orion Magazine - We Tried to Create AI Fairy Tale Art. Results Were Mixed; TikTok recommendations are driving sales and launching authors' careers as the social media app continues to reshape the industry, ‘I can't stress how much BookTok sells': teen literary influencers swaying publishers | Books | The Guardian; BookTok is beloved as a guerrilla democratizing force, but the platform's pivot risks killing the thing that makes it great, TikTok Is Becoming a Publisher. Will It Ruin the Book Industry? | The Walrus; and YouTube is the most popular way of discovering books online for young adults, The Bookseller - News - YouTube narrowly beats TikTok for young adults discovering books online, according to Nielsen report.
  • Worldbuilding 2: the basics of writing fantasy fiction, the second in our new series, 'Fantasy fiction is a niche market, but a very popular niche market. It is particularly popular among new writers, and I suspect this is a consequence of growing up on a diet of best-selling fantasy fiction over the last couple of decades. This article will look at the differences between writing fantasy fiction and other genres, and also the similarities. Then I will look at some of the issues involved in writing fantasy fiction.'
  • WritersServices offers a comprehensive range of editorial services for authors writing for the children's book market. All our services are carried out to the highest professional standard, and offer competitive rates and excellent value for money. Writing for children is not an easy option. It requires sound writing skills, originality, a clear understanding of the target audience and a good grasp of the market. Our expert editors are specialists in writing for children, and they will help you make your work the best it can be. Children's Editorial Services.
  • ‘A wonderfully detailed and helpful report. The editorial advice and knowledge sharing is extensive and generous. Your editor has identified the points where and why my novel falls short and provided clear and practical advice on how to remedy the shortfalls... I would not hesitate to recommend your service to other writers both in terms of output and value for money.' Elspeth, UK, on our Endorsements page.
  • Links to writers' stories: I'm a writer who also works in publishing, Seeing Novels from Both the Writing and Publishing Sides; a children's writer who's a legend, ‘I wanted to be No 1. But a certain JK Rowling came along': Jacqueline Wilson on rivalry, censorship - and love | Jacqueline Wilson | The Guardian; and now making her adult debut after YA success, The Bookseller - Author Interviews - Cassandra Clare| 'I want the characters to drive the story not the magic';
  • 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, 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!'
  • 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.
  • Links from the publishing world: Paramount Global has agreed to sell S&S to one of the world's largest investment firms, The Bookseller - Comment - The questions raised by KKR's S&S buy; some in the industry will welcome it as putting at least a temporary stop to industry consolidation, KKR Wins S&S for $1.62 Billion; and copyright infringement case appears headed toward final phase of the litigation, Judgment Phase of Internet Archive Copyright Case Appears Imminent.
  • 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...'
  • 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.
  • Our final set of links from writers: "Are you a volunteer?" "No. I'm a passenger," I told her. She was mortified because it was clear to us both that she had assumed that I - a young brown woman - was a member of staff, Breaking into cliquey crime fiction; the independence of self-publishing, The Selfies questions for 2023 non fiction winner Sarah Ziegel; 'What strikes me after almost 25 years in the industry is that publishing and bookselling still attract enthusiastic, occasionally eccentric people who love and understand books', Q&A: bestselling novelist John Connolly; and writing for the golden age of childrens's writing, The Shifting Middle Grade Market.
  • 'Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.' Stephen King in our Writers' Quotes.
  • If quotes are your thing we have a very large collection in our Archive, More Writers' Quotes and Even More Quotes.