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May 2024

20 May 2024 - What's new

May 2024
  • ‘I was very aware that because the manuscript has my name on it, people would just publish it, however bad it was, and I wanted honest feedback. I wanted to know that someone believed in the book and I truly enjoyed getting unvarnished feedback through my agent. There was one editor who did not like Strike having a famous father and made that point. And obviously because I can't break cover, I can't say: "but I know how important this will be in book eight". You can't say that as a first-time writer, and I was ostensibly in this situation a first-time writer. You can't say, now, look I know a series and I know this backstory is going to work out brilliantly in book seven, eight and nine. Who the hell are you to say you're going to get a seven, eight and nine-novel deal anyway? ' J K Rowling, mega-selling author of the Harry Potter books, on writing her first Robert Galbraith crime fiction title under a pseudonym, in The Times.
  • This week we have another new article in the Worldbuilding series, It's a kind of magic. 'In the first article on magic in fantasy writing we looked at power scaling, plot armour and plausibility. Here we will look at the different types of magic and, more importantly, the cost of magic. Like many other elements in a constructed world, magic is, effectively, a technology; and technology always has a cost...'
  • Our new seven-part Worldbuilding series is designed to help fantasy, romantasy and science fiction writers think about the various things they need to consider when constructing the world in their novel: '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...' The other titles in the series are: 1: Character names in fantasy novels, 2: The basics of writing fantasy fiction, 3: Geography and physical location, 4: Technology, 5: Culture and 6: Magic.
  • 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. We also provide reports on manuscripts from children's writers from our skilled children's editors.
  • Links to writers' stories: in my new book, The Second Chance, Nell gets told the date on which she will die, and this affects every decision she makes thereafter, How a clairvoyant changed my life; conspiracy, manipulation, misplaced patriotism and bombs, Chasing America's dark side in 'Hunted', Abir Mukherjee on Writing a Conspiracy Thriller "From a Position of Anger" ‹ CrimeReads; and for me, the difference between writing for TV and writing books comes down to the difference between me and my father, Hart Hanson On Screenwriting Vs. Novel Writing ‹ CrimeReads.
  • The Moth Short Story Prize 2024 closes on 30 June. It is open to all writers over 16 with a word limit of 3,000 words. The entry fee is €15 per story. The 1st prize is €3,000, the 2nd prize a week-long writing retreat at Circle of Misse in France plus travel stipend, and the 3rd prize €1,000.
  • Three other writing competitions are still open.
  • Editor's advice 3 deals with Genre writing: 'Go into any high street bookstore and the shelves are heaving with genre novels. Most people read genre novels somewhere along the way, and genre novels are what most people, intentionally or not, set out to write. The intentional thought process goes something like this: there are loads of genre novels being published, ergo, there's a market for genre novels, so I'll read a couple of these, get a feel for what's needed, and hey presto, I too can knock out a few genre novels and make some money as well... I've been reading science fiction, fantasy and crime novels since I was a teenager, and I can spot when a writer doesn't fully understand the mechanics of their chosen genre. It may not matter to a casual reader but it really matters to the fans...'
  • Our Services for Writers is just a list of the 22 services we offer, which we think is the largest on the web.
  • Links from the publishing world: as Little, Brown's SFF imprint Orbit celebrates its 50th anniversary, publisher Anna Jackson reflects on its current record-breaking run and on building the brands of the future, The Bookseller - Features - Orbit reaches for the stars; a heartfelt plea for libraries and education from the incoming president of The Publishers Association in the UK, The Bookseller - Comment - Life-changing stories; launched in September 2023 by entrepreneur Nadim Sadek, Shimmr uses artificial intelligence (AI) to create automated marketing material for publishers to promote their backlists, The Bookseller - News - AI firm Shimmr welcomes publishing execs to advisory board; and a new survey revealing that three-quarters of readers of books for teens are over 18 has one message: read anything you like - but read, The Guardian view on YA literature: an adventure for teenagers, a comfort blanket for adults | Editorial | The Guardian.
  • From our Endorsements page, 'Thank you! I received the comments - most eagerly awaited - and just speed-read through now. When everyone is off to school I will go back to read through all of the details. It gives me much to think about. I'm most grateful for the thoughtful and articulate response. It's fantastic!' Nancy Jarzombek, Belmont, Massachusetts.
  • Writing Biography & Autobiography is a serialisation from our Archives of the book by Brian D Osborne. 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...'
  • The Writer's Edit is an enhanced editing package that offers you all the benefits of our expert copy editing service, plus an extra level of advice and support to help you take your writing to a new level. We will copy edit your manuscript to our usual professional standard, but in addition we will offer you a line-by-line edit specifically designed to improve your style, structure and form, and a set of guidance notes, giving commentary and advice.
  • More links: acclaimed for her accounts of the darkness and desire found in everyday life, Alice Munro, Nobel winner and titan of the short story, dies aged 92 | Alice Munro | The Guardian; in April of this year, Timothy Garton Ash collected his reward money for winning the prestigious 2024 Lionel Gelber Prize, Historian uses Canadian prize money to buy drones for Ukraine | CBC Radio; and debut author Alina Khawaja on writing seven books in five years, and what she learned from it, The best news at the beach.
  • 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. Your submission package
  • If you are submitting your work to an agent or directly to a publishing house, check through our guidelines to give it its best chance. Making submissions
  • If you are Writing for the web, you have to grab your readers online. Writing effectively for the web is quite different from writing for the printed page. Writers intending to write web pages should observe some simple rules if they want to attract and keep visitors to their pages.
  • With thanks to Bookbrunch, our final set of links are from debut writers: 'My theatre background has probably helped me be a braver writer and maybe more rigorous, too', Q&A: debut novelist Ellie Keel; 'Without wishing to give too much away, many years ago I stumbled across a thoroughly harrowing Guardian Long Read about a true crime case that had haunted Germany', Q&A: author AE Gauntlett; 'You can't be best friends with a dragon in the real world. So writing fantasy is the next best thing', Q&A: author John Wiswell; and Roxie Key knows what it's like to feel you're not good enough - and how to get over it, Debut author? You're not an imposter.
  • 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 publish or to self-publish, our unique Poetry Collection Editing service can help to get your work to a publishable standard.
  • 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 and self-publishing may make a lot of sense. Getting your poetry published.
  • 'Maybe I should say that memory interests me a great deal, because I think we all tell stories of our lives to ourselves as well as to other people. Well, women do, anyway. Women do this a lot. And I think when men get older, they do this too, but maybe in slightly different terms.' Alice Munro, who died last week, in our Writers' Quotes.

6 May 2024 - What's new

May 2024
  • 'I'm very reassuringly honest. It's a job as well as a calling. It's my living - I'm the chief breadwinner in my house. My husband is retired, he supported me through the two decades while I wasn't making enough to live on, and was doing all kinds of things to do with writing to survive - judging competitions, running workshops, appraising manuscripts. When he wanted to retire, I was very happy to change places - it all worked out well... I work for a big publisher, Avon is a very commercial imprint. When I first started talking to my agent, she said: What are you hoping for? And I told her I really wanted a publisher that would get right behind me, and get me in supermarkets. And that's exactly what happened...' Sue Moorcroft, the bestselling author of 25 romantic fiction titles, including One Summer in Italy, The Christmas Promise, A Summer to Remember, Starting Over and Is This Love? and President of the UK Romantic Novelists' Association, in Bookbrunch.
  • Our 8 UK-based Copy editing services specialise in writers' needs, offering competitive rates and providing highly experienced professional editors. We offer a wide range of editorial services to help you prepare your manuscript for submission to an agent or publisher, or for self-publication. Our team of expert editors has years of experience in helping and advising authors; we can help you to bring your work to a professional level of excellence. Most of our editing services offer a free sample and they are all excellent value for money.
  • Our 19 part Inside Publishing series explores how the publishing business works. I have spent my whole working life in publishing. I take for granted the inside knowledge which you absorb in any business or profession, but the truth is that some of this information is really quite esoteric. This can make it tough for a writer trying to get their work published. It is not easy to understand how publishing works, let alone why it works the way it does. Inside Publishing provides an insider's guide.
  • Inside Publishing on Copyright: 'Copyright has evolved over the centuries to protect rights in intellectual property. It provides a basis for trading in these rights and a means whereby they can be exploited commercially. Rights holders are able to license the rights in their work to be exploited in different ways (e.g. in book form or to be made into a film) and also in different territories, in a system of exclusive sublicensing...'
  • Our links to writers' stories: this author is exactly where you'd expect him to be - hunkered down at his desk, toiling away at the next novel even as his newest is hitting bookshelves around the world, Anthony Horowitz on Giving Himself a New Role in His Latest Mystery ‹ CrimeReads; after a successful career as a talent agent, Melanie Cantor became disillusioned with TV. So she took up writing - and refused to give up on her passion, A new start after 60: after a decade of rejections, I got my first novel published. Now I've got my dream, I won't stop! | Creative writing | The Guardian; psychotherapist Vicky Reynal on writing about attitudes to money for a general audience, Money therapy; the novelist reflects on reaching the end of a series, Heather Graham on Ancient Texts and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ‹ CrimeReads; 'The one thing I take with me into my writing every single day, is that no one is ever really who you think they are. We're all projections of the person we think we should be', Q&A: author Helen Fields: and the obituary of C J Sansom, lawyer turned novelist who enjoyed huge success with his bestselling Shardlake historical novels, CJ Sansom obituary | CJ Sansom | The Guardian.
  • Closing on 1 June, The Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition 2024 is open to unpublished, unagented children's writers based anywhere in the world. The entry fee is £20. First Prize is a publishing contract with Chicken House with an advance of £10,000, plus the offer of representation from literary agent Lydia Silver of Darley Anderson Children's Book Agency.
  • The Business of Writing shows you how to look after the business side of being a writer. Writing is undoubtedly a creative art. Whether we are working on the next Booker Prize winner or ghostwriting blog posts, writers need to be original, imaginative and inspired. But writing is also a business, with invoices to raise, accounts to be submitted and records to be kept. Writers, like artists, can find themselves floundering when it comes to the ‘business end' of the job.
  • Do you want to self-publish your work? WritersServices offers a suite of services which help writers get their work into shape before they self-publish. Get your manuscript ready for your publication - Services for Self-publishers.
  • Links from publishing: typesetting is one of the unglamorous, unsung heroes of the publishing process, Awards season for the supporting cast: the battle for publishing freelancers; the market contracted overall-with non-fiction struggling in particular - but romantasy and crime sent fiction to a Q1 record high, The Bookseller - Features - First quarter review: a novel experience; criticism from the UK Publishers' Association, The Bookseller - News - PA boss slams government response to Lords AI report; and another international publishing acquisition The Bookseller - News - Simon & Schuster acquires Dutch publisher Veen Bosch & Keuning.
  • From our Endorsements page: 'Thank you for forwarding the Editor's report containing the excellent professional advice and observations which I, as a first-time writer, sorely needed. I will re-work the novel as suggested and would like to resubmit it for another editing overview in due course. Please thank the Editor for her supportive comments and again thanks to you for providing a superb service with the best value I have had for £180 in many a long year.' Den Harding, Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, UK.
  • Writing for Children: Rule No One - Read More than You Write '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 (you don't need to read). But for the majority of us who are not at that level... Many other authors, however, believe the opposite to be true, that reading and being well-read is essential to good writing, and it is this argument that I am exploring here...'
  • Our 21 Frequently asked questions will help to answer questions such as Why do I need a report on my manuscript? and How do I know WritersServices aren't going to rip me off, by praising my work just to get me to pay for their services?
  • Our Services for Writers is just a list of the 22 services we offer, which we think is the largest on the web.
  • Links for children's and YA writers: Nikkolas Smith knows a thing or two about book bans. The illustrator has created five picture books over the last three years - four of which have been yanked off library shelves, How publishers response to book bans is boosting the industry - Fast Company; publishers, agents and authors assess readers' all-consuming passion for YA romantasy, YA Romantasy: True Love or Passing Fancy? And 'Britain's most-followed poet on social media', Viral Poet Nikita Gill Reimagines Greek Goddess in Debut YA Trilogy.
  • An excerpt from Bob Ritchie's Journal of a Virtually Unpublised Writer, written exclusively for WritersServices: 'Worrying about money. In The Observer Julie Myerson writes about swanning off to Milan for a five-star shopping and eating weekend. Jealously wonder if her novels really earn that kind of money or if she lives with a banker. John Updike once said that no one ever wrote for any reason other than to make money. Suspect on the contrary that in my case I made more out of writing when I was what the Japanese call a salaryman. As an employee in IT I once had to write a massive technical manual with a total intended readership of six. A depressing calculation tells me I was paid about £5000 a copy. Think maybe I should go back to a proper job...'
  • 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.
  • More links: now I encounter nearly every written work, regardless of its length, quality, and difficulty, on the small screen of my iPhone, What Phones Are Doing to Reading | The New Yorker; listen up, Potterheads: J.K. Rowling's seven original Harry Potter books are getting a massive new audiobook series, Harry Potter Books Full-Cast Audiobooks to Be Exclusively on Audible; and last week the article "No One Buys Books," by Ellie Griffin, went viral, topping Substack categories and being shared widely on social media, Book sales: What that viral Substack post gets wrong.
  • Our Editor's Report Plus was introduced by popular demand to provide helpful detail, as well as an overview. This very substantial report takes the form of a chapter-by-chapter breakdown and many writers have found this detailed framework helps them to get their book right.
  • 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.
  • From our Writers' Quotes: 'The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.' Stephen King