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Writers' & Artists' Blog

Don't Be A Book-Alike

Book covers are make or break, now more than ever. If there is one industry that relies on looks outside of the cosmetics industry, it's the publishing industry. We judge a books by their covers every day. The fact that most books are bought online, compounded by our incredibly short attention spans means that our snap decisions are getting, well, even snappier. As we scan through charts on our smartphones or tablets, we are mentally discounting books as we scroll and swipe. It's so easy for your book to be overlooked, but you need to make sure that doesn't happen by having a really strong effective cover design.

This is particularly true for debut authors. Big name authors develop large followings of ready-and-waiting readers (who would probably happily pre-order the book without knowing what it looks like). For example, J.K. Rowling could probably put anything at all on the cover of her next book and still sell really well. And as for The Holy Bible, well three words imprinted …

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The secrets to writing a prize-winning book

If you’ve ever entered a writing competition, you’ll know that it takes a certain kind of story to win. What that story is however, isn’t always clear. So how can you write a prize-winning book? And what is it that makes a book ‘outstanding’?

These are questions we think about a lot at CompletelyNovel, as our authors strive to create and publish the best books they can. So, to shed some light on the secrets of prize-winning books, we’ve taken a closer look at four of the biggest book competitions in the UK, and what their winning entries have in common.

Man Booker Prize longlist - ‘Do something exciting with language.’

The Man Booker Prize is thought of as being the biggest prize for books in the UK, although there’s plenty of controversy this year, as most of the longlisted authors seem to be American.

But what do these books really have in common?

"The range of different performances and forms of these novels is amazing. All of them do something exciting with the …

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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  • Open to both published and unpublished writers
  • Awarded for a single, previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words by an author aged 18 years or over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  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?

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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