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Writers' & Artists' Blog

2015 Costa Short Story Award

Costa Book Awards


Just one week left to enter!

  • Open to both published and unpublished writers
  • Awarded for a single, previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words by an author aged 18 years or over
  • Closing date Wednesday 5th August at 4pm

Launched in 2012, the Award – run in association with the Costa Book Awards but judged independently of the main five-category system – is unique in that it is judged anonymously (without the name of the author being known throughout the process).  

It is open to both published and unpublished writers, for a single, previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words by an author aged 18 years or over and written in English.  

Entries must be submitted online via a dedicated page at www.costabookawards.com.  Entrants need not have been previously published but publishers and agents may submit entries on behalf of authors. 

A shortlist of six stories is selected from the entries by a panel of judges comprising author Raffaella Barker; …

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Rights & Licensing A-Z

Rights & Licensing

In the first part of this article we looked at the wider book rights and licensing arena. In this post, I’d like to offer a snapshot of the most commonly traded rights.


Anthology and Quotation Rights

These are the rights for the publisher to grant permission for another publication to quote from or include your work in an anthology. The author would usually be consulted before this took place.

Audio Rights (Abridged) 

The right to record a shortened version (you may get approval of the abridgement) of your book for sale on tape, CD or digital download.

Audio Rights (Unabridged)

The right to record the full, verbatim text of your book for sale on tape, CD or digital download.

Book Club Rights

Book Clubs such as The Book People and Scholastic Book Fairs receive high discounts from publishers for committing to a certain number of copies - as a result the terms agreed in your contract will be different to the terms for other book sales.

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Thinking of Crowd-funding Your Book?

Goodfruit.co

Although it’s been around for a little while now, there’s still a slight wariness from writers considering the crowdfunding route as a way of getting their next book published. This is the route that allows writers to generate financial support from their personal and professional networks in exchange for physical rewards, and is emerging as an invaluable marketing tool for self-publishing authors as well as insightfully gauging the interest of a book early on, directly from potential readers.

‘It’s too much work’, ‘It’s not as prestigious’, ‘I might not get as much return for my book’ are all responses you might hear cautious authors giving as they assess their options. And for some books this might be true, but for others, crowdfunding is the route they wish was available years ago.

The great thing about crowdfunding is that it’s the only form of publishing where readers can obtain the book directly from the author. It connects readers …

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Writer's Block: What Can Cause Those Kinks In The Hose

‘Writer’s block’ is a term that never quite seems to convey the severity of the frustration it brings. ‘Writer’s misery’ however... well, that sounds far more accurate, doesn’t it? What could be more miserable for a writer than struggling to write three words together that you’re convinced even a toddler could write with a crayon in its sticky fist? 

Last year, I was in a bit of a... fog – not quite there, deep in writer’s misery, but a fog, where finding word after word felt like rooting around, shoulder deep, in a tissue-stuffed fairground lucky dip, being grateful for absolutely anything I could get my hands on – and in my desperation, I turned to Google. After a few clicks, I found a rant by Ray Bradbury, and one line jumped out at me immediately: ‘You’re being warned, aren’t you? Your subconscious is saying “I don’t like you anymore. You’re writing about things I don’t give a damn for.”’
Until that moment, I used to think that …

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Writing dialogue: the voices in my head

Nick Jones

In the very early stages of plotting my ghost story ‘King’s Cross’, I realised what an important part authentic dialogue would have to play. The novel features a diverse collection of characters: nuns, mini-cab drivers, firemen and a feisty Lolita-like teenager named Alice (who has some of the book’s best lines).

Would Alice say: ‘I don’t know.’ Or ‘Dunno.’? Almost certainly the latter. Would a mini-cab driver ask a fare (on being offered a £20 note): ‘Haven’t you got anything smaller?’ or ‘Ain’t yer got nothin’ smaller?’ Probably the latter. Drafting dialogue at one’s computer is all very well, but it can be time-consuming. And though most writers carry a notebook in order to scribble down their thoughts, trying to jot down a bon mot, when you’re driving the kids to school, can be dangerous! 

So I began to develop the technique of ‘rehearsing’ these exchanges in my head, usually when I was out and about doing something mundane like …

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