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1 April 2024 - What's new

1 April 2024
  • 'Some writers start with a sentence and have no idea where it's going. Others know every character's biography. I'm in between. I know the beginning and the end before I start. I recommend you know where you're going. You're a lot freer to twist and turn if you know your destination. Always ask "What if?" What if you put spyware on your kid's computer, discover something and then your kid disappears? What if you saw your dead husband cuddling your child on your nannycam?' Harlan Coben, who has has over 80 million books in print and has written 35 novels, in the Sunday Times' Culture.
  • 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.
  • The Bridport Prize 2024 has a range of different competitions, look carefully at their site for the details. The Poetry, Short Story and Flash Fiction prizes are open to unpublished work from any writer writing in English over 16. The Novel Award is restricted to UK writers, and to British and American writers living abroad. The entry fees are £12 per poem, £14 per story, £11 for flash fiction and £24 per novel. There are a range of prizes, including Poetry and Short Story 1st Prize £5,000, and Flash Fiction 1st Prize £1,000. The Novel Award's prize is a year's mentoring and a critique. The closing date is 31 May.
  • Veteran editor Maureen Kincaid SpellerMaureen Kincaid Speller a reviewer, writer, editor and former librarian, is our book reviewer and also works for WritersServices as a freelance editor.'s 7-part series An Editor's Advice includes Points of View: 'Not so long ago, I read what ought to have been a really exciting novel filled with drama, action, treachery and romance. Or it would have been but for one thing. I saw none of this drama, I only heard about it later. Why was that? It was because the author had decided to use a first-person viewpoint character and, unfortunately ‘I' was nowhere near any of the action... In fact, ‘I' was in a bunker halfway up a mountainside, having rather a dull time of it all while mayhem broke out elsewhere. As the reader, I had to stick with ‘I' and likewise, I had a pretty boring time. It is a great temptation for the inexperienced author to write from the first-person viewpoint because it somehow seems easier to imagine oneself directly into a situation and to write about how things might seem from that point of view...'
  • It's been a quiet time for links, but here are some about writers' craft: 'In 2023, for the first time in my writing career, I stopped writing for myself, The First Rule of Writing Is Writer's Block Does Not Exist | Jane Friedman; a summary is when you take a longer piece of writing, fiction or nonfiction, and you write a brief explanation of only its vital parts, How to Write a Summary: An Essential Guide - The Art of Narrative; much to my astonishment, writes Lesley Fernandez-Armesto, I appear to have written a novel, Blowing up the truth; "You need to cut all this setting stuff. Thriller fans don't care about setting. They want to get to the action, quick." The Importance of a Great Setting in Crime Fiction ‹ CrimeReads.
  • 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.
  • Our 19 Factsheets from the legendary Michael Legat are full of tips for the new writer or anyone who is trying to get their book published. From Literary agents to Copyright, from Libel to Submissions, this series is full of essential background information.
  • This newsletter's Endorsement is from Alison Chaplin in Manchester: '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.'
  • You can join up as a member on the homepage and choose to have the newsletter, or you can choose to receive just the newsletter at any time, and of course you can Unsubscribe from either whenever you want.
  • Links to writers' stories: saying that romance is a genre the literati love to hate is a hackneyed truism, 3 Elements That Make Historical Romance Successful | Jane Friedman; despising the concept of genre, Genre Communicates a Contract with the Reader ‹ CrimeReads; and many years ago, we paid a visit to Jim Swire and his wife, Lifelong Trauma in a Psychological Thriller ‹ CrimeReads.
  • For a down-to-earth and practical account, 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...'
  • 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...'
  • Are you having difficulty writing a blurb for the cover of your book? Our Blurb-writing service can give your book a professional look. What about your synopsis - often a tricky task for a writer? Our Synopsis-writing service can provide a synopsis of whatever length you need for your submissions.
  • Links on AI and social media: BookTok creators reflect on how authors fit into the BookTok ecosystem, The Bookseller - Books - Books on BookTok: an author platform? A week doesn't go by these days without AI coming up with new ways to amaze us and alarm us - sometimes both at the same time, Getting AI to Behave - and How We Can Find Out When It Doesn't; and OpenAI has claimed it's "impossible" to build good AI models without using copyrighted data, but Here's Proof You Can Train an AI Model Without Slurping Copyrighted Content | WIRED.
  • How do you go about Marketing your Book? This page will get you started.
  • What about Preparing for Publication? Have you managed to find a publisher for your work and are you now enjoying the thrill of knowing that your book will soon be published? If you're wondering what happens next, here is a helpful outline of the processes involved.
  • If you need to clear copyright for your book, Clearing Copyright shows you how to do this: 'Copyright provides a framework for trading in intellectual property. In practice it protects the author's position and ensures that the publisher is able to take on the risk of publication in the knowledge that the publisher's rights are protected. In effect authors, (the originators of intellectual property) sub-license their rights through their book contracts to different parties in individual territories and in specific forms...'
  • Links for children's writers: death of the painter and storyteller who revived his father's picture-book series about the elephant king, Laurent de Brunhoff, author of Babar children's books, dies at 98 | Books | The Guardian; and Teen Librarian on books targeting the golden age of children's reading, ages 8-12, The Importance of Middle Grade Fiction Today, a guest post by Dawn Dagger.
  • 'Beginning a novel is always hard. It feels like going nowhere. I always have to write at least 100 pages that go into the trashcan before it finally begins to work. It's discouraging, but necessary to write those pages. I try to consider them pages -100 to zero of the novel.' Barbara Kingsolver in our Writers' Quotes.