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Alysoun Owen blog posts

Getting Published: Andy Stanton on the Yearbook

Andy Stanton, award-winning writer of the Mr Gum series and all-round funny man, waxes lyrical about the Children’s Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook in this archived extract from his Foreword to the eight edition of the Yearbook.

As Andy will be speaking at our children's fiction writing course Your Children's Book, we thought we would share his inspirational advice on the importance of finishing what you write, and just where an idea on paper can take you...

You are holding in your hands one of two things. You are either holding one of the most powerful little books on the planet, a book which has the potential to CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOR EVER; or you are holding a cool little lifestyle accessory, a book which you can keep on your shelf to announce to yourself and others: ‘Oh, I’m a writer-sort of person, I’m sure I’ll use this book one day. But in the meantime, doesn’t it look professional.’ For years before I got published I would frequently buy the latest copy of the

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The Writer's Constant Companion

'The Yearbook remains an indispensable companion for anyone seriously committed to the profession of author, whether full or part-time.' David Lodge

In his Foreword to this year’s 2018 edition of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, veteran novelist, critic and literary savant, David Lodge reflects on his lengthy writing career. In his eyes, since his first novel was published in 1960 at the age of 25, ‘the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook is just about the only thing that is common to that world and the world of the writer today.’

And we agree with him.

In an ever-changing landscape, the Yearbook still remains the writer’s constant companion after 111 years. Publishers come and go, imprints close and new ones prosper, and literary agents go it alone after years at larger, established agencies.  There are more ways than ever before in which your writing can be shared, more outlets for your genre fiction, screenplay or poetry to reach their target market, and a …

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The Process of Publishing and Editing the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook

Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2017

Between the months of January and April every year, I live and breathe all things Writers & Artists (and in reality at other times too), but for the first half of every year I’m deeply immersed in ‘creating’ the new editions of both Yearbooks. It’s an intense and fast-paced process and involves a collective of editorial, design, technical and production know-how and co-operation. We’ve got it down to function as a (fairly!) well-oiled machine, and (unless the wheels fall off at any stage), it pans out something like this.


In fact before the start of the year, I gather the three listings editors and the articles editor of both Yearbooks together over a publisher’s lunch (an essential kick-off to each new edition), to talk through the trends and the ups and downs of the publishing world since the previous edition was published (they appear every July) and how these will affect the layout, content and editorial judgments we make for the next one. We discuss …

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Same, Same - But Different!

Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2017

One of the expressions my colleagues in the publishing company I worked for in Singapore would use with great frequency, simultaneously shaking one of their hands in a swift waggling motion, was the wonderful: ‘same, same, but different’. It’s a catch-all phrase that for me, has come to epitomize the content of each new edition of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook – all 816 pages of this big, red tome. Riffle its pages and there is much that readers, writers and illustrators from across the years (a whopping 110 years in fact, as the first edition was published in 1906) will find familiar. But much too that is new: a reflection of the fast pace of change across the publishing industry. The Yearbook has two main strands of content: articles and an extensive directory of contacts.

In each incarnation, there are more than 80 articles packed with advice from successful writers who share their own experiences of being a debut novelist, trying to get poetry published, …

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What North-South Divide?

Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2017

Some of the most topical issues in UK Publishing at the moment are only tangentially to do with books and readers; rather more tied up with post-Brexit discussions over inequality in the industry. Notably, there's a lack of BAME publishing talent: a legitimate gripe and a long-standing issue. And then there's the supposed lack of northern (and for that read ‘working-class’) creative talent. I might take exception to that if I was a novelist, poet, illustrator or screenwriter housed north, or indeed east or west, of Watford Gap!

As Editor of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbooks, I don't commission pieces because of where authors live; I invite contributions from the very best writers because I think they have something to say about their experience as a writer. Collectively they present a whole cast of characters in all their glorious variety. Good to know, then, that there ARE writers thriving tens and hundreds of miles outside London.

Open the pages of the Children's Writers' …

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