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What's New in 2024

2024

 

12 February 2024 - What's new

February 2024
  • ‘I didn't set out to write a novel about the future. Most of my novels have been set in the past, which for me is the space of the greatest mystery and enlightenment. The future, if I thought about it, seemed by contrast thin and predictable. We know that people will be hotter, more opinionated and less well-informed; but in 30 years' time, I thought, they're also likely to still be preoccupied by money, sex and how their football team is getting on. So my new novel, The Seventh Son, didn't start out as "future-fi" or "near-fi", let alone as sci-fi. But the future crept up on me as I wrote, in terms intriguing, and sometimes more comic, than I'd imagined...' Sebastian Faulks, author of his new book The Seventh Sun, Birdsong, Charlotte Gray and 17 other novels and anthologies, in the Sunday Times.
  • 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 www.joannephillips.co.uk' revised version of the Writersservices Self-publishing Guide 4 is new on the site and shows you how to move on to ebooks: Formatting for Kindle: 'Last time we looked at KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and how self-publishing authors can upload their books to Amazon directly. Now we're going to focus on one key thing: formatting your ebook for Kindle. Once your book has been edited and proofread, it's time to create an ebook. Remember, ebooks have fluid, or ‘reflowable' text, which means there are no fixed pages and the reader - using the e-reading device of their choice - can change things like font size, orientation and line spacing...'
  • The BBC National Short Story Award 2024 closes on 18 March. This big award is open to British nationals and UK residents, aged 18 years or over. There is no entry fee. The winner gets £15,000 and 4 shortlisted authors are awarded £600. There's also considerable publicity.
  • 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.
  • Writers' links: bagging a top literary agent is not always the golden key to success - I've had three of them, so I should know, Getting published: thirty years of hurt; print continues to serve both ends of the marketplace, but it's hard to see the wider digital market as a failure, The Bookseller - Editor's Letter - Premium print; it's 9:30 on a freezing Monday night in January and there's a line stretching down the block outside of the Book Club Bar in the East Village of Manhattan, How Sarah J. Maas Built a Sprawling Fantasy Multiverse | TIME; and a new posthumous picture book by by the great children's author - Mino the Magician waves his wand and, poof, a rabbit appears, Maurice Sendak's new children's picture book 'Ten Little Rabbits' : NPR
  • From our Endorsements page: 'I've used two services with this company: The Editor's Plus Report and the Writer's Edit. I am completely satisfied with the service I received and said service has led to the completion and publication of my first novel: Lightforce. I would recommend any of these services to any aspiring author.' Jason Handleman, author of Lightforce (Everything Changes Book 1)
  • 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.
  • Our Children's Editorial Services offer three levels of report and copy editing from specialist children's editors. Use their expertise to help get your work ready for publication in this tricky but potentially huge market.
  • Links about tech developments: over millennia publishing has cycled through scepticism, experimentation, iteration, improvement and ultimate acceptance of new technologies, 10 ways AI is transforming book publishing for the better; George Walkley reports on a year of thinking about AI in publishing, Not such artificial innovation; did you know what the stats are about self-publishing? Self-Publishing Facts and Figures; and most agents say it is still too early to have a realistic sense of its impact on revenue, The Bookseller - News - Spotify's impact on author incomes uncertain, say trade insiders.
  • Our Services for Writers is just a list of the 22 services we offer, which we think is the largest on the web.
  • Have you managed to find a publisher for your work and are now enjoying the thrill of knowing that your book will soon be published? If you're wondering what happens next, here is an outline of the processes involved. Preparing for Publication
  • Writing Memoir - If you want to write a memoir or autobiography, you're in good company - lots of writers want to try their hand at this category. As with other non-fiction books, do give some thought to your market before you start, if you can. Although writers often actually write their memoir and then think about what to do with it later, it does help to know who you're writing it for, so it's a good thing to sort this out in your own mind at an early stage if you can...'
  • Links to writers stories: her first novel The City of Stardust (Hodderscape) bagged the number one spot in its launch week, The Bookseller - Bestsellers - Box clever: Georgia Summers' subscription-boosted The City of Stardust débuts at number one; 'I cherish this august institution. Moving with the times doesn't mean sidelining fellows - or devaluing the society's principles, I will defend the Royal Society of Literature against all attacks. It is more alive than ever | Bernardine Evaristo | The Guardian; last year ended #HEA (that's happily ever after) for Romance & Sagas, as sales continued an upward BookTok-boosted momentum to hit £62.4m, The Bookseller - Spotlight - Love is in the air as sales surge; and a fascinating study of why a good old-fashioned book is better for your mental health, The Case for Paper: Books vs. E-Readers | Psychology Today United Kingdom.
  • Advice for Writers is a really useful page which takes you into our archive and helps you explore our more than 9,000 pages of information for writers.
  • 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.
  • 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...'
  • Our last set of links are from the publishing world: book sales boom as readers escape the ‘oversaturation and noise of the wild west digital landscape', ‘Reading is so sexy': gen Z turns to physical books and libraries | Books | The Guardian; the trade has predicted a "far buzzier" London Book Fair (LBF) for 2024 with a return to pre-Covid attendance and a particularly strong American presence, with some major auctions already under way in the lead-up, The Bookseller - News - Bolstered US presence sees editors and agents excited for 'buzzier' London Book Fair 2024; driven by higher revenues as well as lower manufacturing, freight and distribution costs, The Bookseller - News - HarperCollins global revenues grow 4% driven by higher digital sales; and accusations of censorship in the voting process for the 2023 Hugo Awards, Resignations, Censures Follow in Wake of Hugo Awards Controversy.
  • 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. 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...'
  • From our Writers' Quotes: 'The English language is an arsenal of weapons. If you are going to brandish them without checking to see whether or not they are loaded, you must expect to have them explode in your face from time to time.'

29 January 2024 - What's new

January 2024
  • 'As for a tip, the one I always recommend is to set yourself a daily word count quota - mine is 1,000 words - and hit it every day you're writing. You can always write more, of course. But extra words don't count against tomorrow's quota; you have to hit it afresh every day. For example, just this morning I wrote 1,500 words, which is great. But tomorrow I'll write at least another 1,000. While it sounds simple and obvious, it takes discipline to put this into practice day after day, month after month, year after year. But if you do the results can be extraordinary...' Anthony Johnston, author of The Dogsitter Detective series, Atomic Blonde (a graphic novel), The Explosion Code and three other thrillers, and The Organised Writer in Bookbrunch.
  • 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.
  • Our new series by a seasoned editor, The Pedant: how to make your editor happy, covers a range of subject-matter if you want to improve your writing and avoid common errors. The series covers Accents and dialects, Dialogue tags, The use of bold, italics and capital letters, Spoilt for choice: formats and fonts, The trouble with ‘as' and What's all the fuss over hyphens?
  • Links on writers' craft: how to build a relationship that not only leads to book sales but creates fans that stay with you for the long-term, Avoid Random Acts of Content | Jane Friedman; these days it really is possible to get published as there are multiple routes to seeing your book in the shops, How to get your book published, according to a top UK agent - The Big Issue; and you're going to succeed with non-fiction by doing podcast interviews, To Get on Podcasts, Create a Media Kit | Jane Friedman.
  • From our Endorsements page: 'I cannot thank you enough!! Your editor has worked her magic and I am delighted with the results!! Please thank her for me, I really appreciate what she has done!' Wendy White.
  • Are you struggling to get someone to look at your poetry? Our Poetry Critique service for 150 lines of poetry can help. Our Poetry Collection Editing service, unique to WritersServices, edits your collection to prepare it for submission or self-publishing. Both can provide the professional editorial input you need.
  • 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.
  • Links about social media and online services: Spotify said: "It's early days, but we're incredibly excited about what we're seeing since launching Audiobooks in Premium in the UK, Australia and the US three months ago, The Bookseller - News - Spotify pays 'tens of millions' to audiobooks publishers with Britney Spears' memoir the most listened to; in Britain, Japanese novels in English translation are experiencing a boom in popularity among a new generation, with word-of-mouth on social media driving book sales, TikTok and YouTube fuel a Japanese literature boom in Britain - The Japan Times.
  • The Caterpillar Poetry Prize 2024 for a children's poem closes on 31 March. It is open to all poets across the world over the age of 16, as long as the poem is original and previously unpublished. Entry fee €15 per poem. The First Prize is €1,000 and a week-long stay at The Circle of Misse in France, Second Prize €500 and Third Prize €250.
  • Other Competitions which are still open.
  • If you aren't sure which service you want, Choosing a service gives you a chance to browse through what is available.
  • The My Say series gives writers a chance to write about their writing lives, so we have: My Say 7: Timothy Hallinan on the Writing Session, My Say 11 by Natasha Mostert, There are few things as satisfying as typing THE END to a manuscript and My Say 12 by Richard Hall: "Write about what you know" - does this adage always make sense? 'For those planning a contemporary novel it may be sound advice to write about what you know. But what about writers of historical novels? They cannot have personal knowledge of anything before the recent past. So for historical fiction should we take the adage to mean ‘know' in the sense of having academic knowledge of the subject, from reading and other research?...' Contributions should ideally be 300 to 500 words in length and of general interest. Please email them to us.
  • Links to writers' stories: The Mediterranean Caper was the debut novel by my father Clive Cussler, and introduced the indomitable character of Dirk Pitt, 50 Years of High Seas Adventures with Dirk Pitt ‹ CrimeReads; as it does for many, my obsession with Agatha Christie started young. I was ten or so when I picked up my first Christie, fresh off a self-prescribed course of Greek mythology, Agatha Christie's Final Mystery ‹ CrimeReads; and a murder mystery needs a detective, of course, and for Guinevere 'Gwinny' Tuffel I drew inspiration from the many amazing women, particularly older women, I've known in my life, Q&A: author Antony Johnston. (Also in this week's Comment.)
  • 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.
  • How to prepare your prelim pages. There is a set order for the pages at the beginning of a book (known in the business as 'prelims') and you will need to send them to the designer with the rest of the manuscript for them to work on if you are self-publishing. Here we provide detailed instructions for preparing your prelim pages, according to standard publishing practice.
  • Our final set of links are from the publishing and reading world: for many parents and educators, reading aloud doesn't feel natural at all, The Bookseller - Comment - Crisis of confidence; an unabashed celebration of the bestseller, The Bookseller - Editor's Letter - Moneyball; and how publishers dealt with long Covid, The Bookseller - News - Michael Rosen and Suzie Dooré reveal Long Covid impact while publishers are praised for support.
  • '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.
  • 'It can be hard work finding an agent to represent you. Make sure though that, when you set up the relationship, you do so in a professional manner Don't let your eagerness to find representation mean that things are left vague. You will be depending on the agent to process all your income from the books they sell, so you need to have a written record of your arrangement, preferably a contract...' Working with an agent
  • 'The importance of developing a daily writing habit cannot be overstated. Even if you can only spare twenty minutes daily, consistent writing is the key to honing your skills, overcoming writer's block, and unlocking your creative potential.' Keidi Keating in our Writers' Quotes

 

15 January 2024 - What's new

January 2024

 

1 January 2024 - What's new

January 2024
  • ‘When the first books came out, I loved them. They were so different and they had Lisbeth Salander - a character that I, and a lot of women, could really relate to... My take is not less violent than the others - maybe it's even more violent, because I use violence differently. I have the female eye on it. And writing is sort of revenge for me, to dig into what happens to people who are exposed to violence...' Karin Smirnoff, who has picked up the reins from Lagercrantz for the next Scandi-noir instalment of the era-defining Millennium series, The Girl in the Eagle's Talons in the Bookseller.
  • The latest new version of 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 www.joannephillips.co.uk' Writersservices Self-Publishing Guide covers Ebooks: How to Sell Your Books on Amazon Revised. 'As we enter into the second decade of the self-publishing revolution, Amazon stands as an indomitable force, particularly in the realm of ebooks. If you're an indie author looking to connect with readers, having a KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) account is not just beneficial but an essential first step. For the uninitiated, KDP is your gateway to getting ebooks onto Amazon. It's a straightforward process that empowers authors to upload their creations, set their prices, and fine-tune categories and keywords to enhance discoverability...'
  • WritersServices offers 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 bring your work to a professional level of excellence. All our editing services offer competitive rates and excellent value for money. If you are not sure which of our editing services you require, we can assess your manuscript, and recommend the service that is most appropriate to your needs. Copy editing services. Get in touch to let us know how we can help.
  • 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.
  • Our first set of links is about writers' craft: screenwriter, script consultant, and NCW Academy tutor Christabelle Dilks shares the aspects of creating compelling characters for film or television drama, How to develop engaging characters for screen | National Centre for Writing | NCW; Eli Cranor talks with today's top crime writers about craft, routine, and what gets them through the writing day, Shop Talk: A Year of Writing Advice and Stories from the Trenches ‹ CrimeReads; is a degree course the only option for someone who wants to be a professional author? Everything I wish I'd learned on my creative writing course; learn how to use the Save the Cat Beat Sheet to outline your plot, How to Plot with Save the Cat - The Art of Narrative; and when solving a problem feels like revealing a hidden connection beneath the skin of the world, Historical Research as Procedural ‹ CrimeReads.
  • Worldbuilding 2: the basics of writing fantasy fiction, is the second in our new five-part 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.'
  • Here's a detailed article on how to prepare Your submission package - '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. Less is more, so don't send a full manuscript, as it's very unlikely to be read. Far better to tempt them with a submission package that will leave them wanting to see the rest of the manuscript...'
  • It's not always so straightforward though. 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.
  • Our second set of links are from the publishing world: suing for the unauthorized use of its intellectual property in the training of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, 'New York Times' Sues OpenAI, Microsoft for Copyright Infringement; publishers are beginning to dive into the new AI tools, exploring the edges, How Publishers Can Navigate the AI Revolution; the romance publishing veteran has made a top-tier publishing career out of finding and putting out romance novels across a span of subgenres, PW Notables 2023: Monique Patterson; and 'Technology has transformed publishing in every conceivable way, from how books are acquired to how they are printed, marketed, discovered, and sold' says PW veteran, Some Parting Words for the Book Biz from Jim Milliot.
  • From our Endorsements page: 'Please extend my gratitude to the editor for his/her thoughtful and detailed edit. I could not ask for better work! Its value far exceeded the cost.' Jim, Santa Fe, New Mexico (USA)
  • The Rubery Prize 2024 is closing on 31 March. It is open to all writers internationally who have published their work through a small press or self-published their work. The entry fee is £45, varying internationally. The First Prize is £2,000 plus £200 for four category winners. Every winner receives a glass plaque and all winners & shortlisted authors receive a write up.
  • There are three other competitions we've listed which are still open.
  • 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 to writers' stories: from a new biography, The Secret History of John le Carré's Career in the Intelligence Services ‹ CrimeReads; the author discusses his latest thriller and a career writing detective and espionage stories, The Bookseller - Author Interviews - Mick Herron | 'There's something about frustration and failure and career despair that really appeals to me when I'm writing'; and she was 15 when she first thought she might write a novel, Melanie Price works in London publishing but chooses to go it alone in her novel debut.
  • 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...'
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • Our final set of links starts with an interesting blog from a top blogger, Agents and Editors Aren't Always Right About Market Potential | Jane Friedman; the UK's beleaguered public libraries have been let down by years of indecision and delays over how to spend millions of pounds in funding earmarked for a nationwide website, Millions wasted on attempt to create nationwide UK library website, campaigners claim | Libraries | The Guardian; and, on a lighter note, How to Be Photographed: 12 Tips for Putting Your Best Writerly Face Forward ‹ Literary Hub.
  • 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, 'And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.' Sylvia Plath