The Indie Author Dream: Fact or Fiction?

Much of the ongoing drama between the self-publishing proponents and the traditional publishing industry boils down to one chief concern: money. With whole data...

Curtis Brown launches site for new writers

Agency Curtis Brown is launching a site for aspiring authors, curtisbrowncreative.co.uk.

The website is aimed at aspiring writers looking to find out more about the path to publication.

On Saturday (September 22nd) the company will be holding a Discovery Day at Foyles in Charing Cross Road, with a panel of agents scrutinising novelist's first pages and a 30-second pitch.

New site lets writers rate agents

A new social community website aims to connect authors and agents.

LitFactor - in beta form until 1 July - allows authors to rate and review the agents they approach. Agents can use the site to announce changes in their submissions criteria.

LitFactor aims to reduce rejections and create an online community where writers "speak as a whole, not just with a small voice at the end of a letter."

What writers don’t talk about

Photo of man with pen

Until very recently I was a member of a writers’ group. This was not an online forum but a real flesh-and-blood group. We’d meet in each others’ flats, talk intensely about our work for two hours, then go down the pub and talk even more intensely.

Peer review: Learning to give criticism

I can't hear you

Every writing forum has its own guidelines and standards for reviewing, and most of them include something along the lines of “be constructive.”  You should look up the word "constructive," and note that it has nothing to do with being positive or encouraging. I mention this because a lot of writers seem to think otherwise, and will accuse you of not being constructive if you offer anything that isn’t outright praise.

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What’s the story?

When, a few years ago, I started writing a book, friends would ask me what it was about. I’d say it was about a lot of things - a world where no one believes in anything, conspiracy theory, drugs, the lost dreams of the Sixties and Seventies - but that wasn’t what they wanted to hear. They wanted to know what the story was. In truth I didn’t have one. I thought I could write a novel based on ideas rather than character and story.

The best thing a new writer can do is read

22 Britannia RoadBookShed writer Amanda Hodgkinson celebrates a backing from Oprah Winfrey for her debut novel 22 Britannia Road.

When Fig Tree head Juliet Annan bought world rights to the work from agent Rachel Calder at the Sayle Literary Agency, she spoke of a story that had echoes of A Small Island and Sophie's Choice, calling it "a powerful novel of acceptance, survival and love." Its status as a bestseller was secured when Winfrey's O Magazine called it "a riveting historical novel."

Getting Inside Your Characters’ Heads

This piece is written by Book Shed writer BillJustBill.

An important technique that I think generally is most helpful in understanding what you’re doing (and need to do in any particular fictional situation) is get very deeply into the head of your characters, particularly your main character. Some people can do this and some people can’t, but I certainly think it’s something that can be learned, because I’ve learned to do it, at least more or less and to some extent. And of course I’m still learning.

Hunting Down the Pleonasms

Allen Guthrie, an acquisition editor for Point Blank Press, wrote up a 'white paper' three years ago called 'Hunting Down the Pleonasms' that has become a cult classic.

Guthrie gave Adventure Books of Seattle permission to reprint this document wherever they liked. It is a permanent download at their site. It is very specific. Over at the AB site, it's been downloaded hundreds of times, and every writer should consider posting this on the wall near their computer.