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Writers' & Artists' Blog

Respecting your reader – what services should you be paying for and why?

Frustrated writer

Self-publishing can mean doing everything yourself, or it can include a certain amount of sub contracting.  Professional services for the self-publishing author include everything from ghost writing the book itself to formatting, editing and promoting it.

None of this help is cheap and providers range from qualified experts to re-named vanity publishers.  The self-publishing community is very adept at assessing and monitoring the professionals it deals with, another reason to be a part of it.

I always recommend that an author get help with two aspects of publishing – the editing and the cover.  Both these reflect the amount of respect you as an author have for your reader.

Covers are often dismissed, particularly for e-books where a reader doesn’t see it unless they go searching for it.  So why pay out for something so trivial?  Covers are more than just a book’s wrapping, they give out vital information to a potential reader.  There’s a reason why …

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New Website For The Creative Industries Set To Launch

Eye the Prize

Eye the Prize, a new website for the creative community, helps develop skills and advance careers through the world of creative opportunity. 

Launching on Monday 3 February 2014, Eye the Prize will be the first platform to give students, recent graduates, professionals and complete outsiders the chance to engage with opportunities in-depth, across the arts: Built Environment / Dance / Fashion, Arts & Crafts / Film Festivals / Fine Art / Industry Design / Music / Photography / Script Writing / Stage & Screen / Visual Communication / Writing.

At Eye the Prize, members will be able to discover everything they need to support them on their creative journeys: competitions, awards, commissions, funding, professional training, residencies and paid internships & apprenticeships – searchable according to individual requirements. They will be able to put themselves and their creative endeavours in front of leading organisations searching for outstanding work and the brightest …

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Should You Really be a Writer?


I am not in the business of discouraging writers. I don't think any authors are, actually. There's no worry about there being more competition, no Machiavellian desire to stop the young and the talented from making it (whatever 'it' is). Far more, the opposite is true - writers want there to be more stories, more books, and more people making art (and here let me point you in the direction of Zen Pencils' rendering of Neil Gaiman's Make Good Art speech. It is worth your time).

I read last week that the average income of writers who took the 2014 Digital Book World and Writer's Digest Author Survey is £600. That is not enough to live on. It's not actually enough to pay my rent for one month.

The reality is that being a writer means not having a lot of money, and telling stories anyway. Writing not because of the income but in spite of it. Writing for the story's sake. That's the point I want to make: don't become a writer because you want to be a writer. That's a false dream and it …

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Rhys Davies Short Story Competition 2014

The Rhys Davies short story competition

Short fiction, big names and even bigger prizes: the Rhys Davies Short Story Competition 2014 has been revamped for 2014 with the inclusion of a brand new Under 21 Prize, and an increased total prize fund of £5,000 now on offer. Literature Wales is delighted to announce that the 2014 competition will be judged by Cynan Jones and Deborah Kay Davies with Gee Williams acting as Filter Judge.

The winner of the first prize will receive an impressive £2,000. The second prize winner will receive £800, the third prize is £400 and six runners-up will receive £100 each.

Under 21 Prize

New for 2014, children and young people can enter the Under 21 Prize for the chance to win a first prize of £1,000 – one of the largest awards for a youth competition of its kind. One runner-up will also receive a prize of £200. This competition will be judged independently by Rachel Trezise.

This could be your chance to make your mark on the Welsh literary scene. You have until Friday 16 May 2014 to enter …

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The Manchester Writing for Children Prize 2014

Mandy Coe

Deadline for entries: 28th February 2014

Judges: Mandy Coe (pictured here), Imtiaz Dharker and Philip Gross

“This is a great initiative – putting children’s poetry in the same league of seriousness as the other Manchester prizes.” Philip Gross.

Under the direction of Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy – Professor of Contemporary Poetry and Creative Director of the Manchester Writing School at MMU – we are launching the brand new Manchester Writing for Children Prize. The Prize is open internationally to both new and established writers aged 16 or over (there is no upper age limit) and invites the submission of a portfolio of poetry to be read by children within the age group of 5 to 12. Portfolios should contain three to five poems, totalling no more than 120 lines. The entry fee is £12 per portfolio of poems.

Prizes include:

- publication of selected pieces from long-listed entrants in a new anthology;
- an invitation to appear alongside Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy at a special …

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