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Authors and Books

Read about authors' experiences in their own words, find discussions on the issues faced by the publishing world and discover what makes a book impossible to put down, from experts in the industry.

The Joy of Reading

Are you suffering from Tsundoku? I know I am. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that if there’s a situation in modern life, the Germans or the Japanese will have a word for it. Tsundoku is the accumulation of reading material that you then don’t read. Also known as That Pile Of Books By The Bed.

The thing is about That Pile is every one of those books looked really enticing when you picked it up, but something about being in That Pile makes them turn into homework on a Sunday evening. Someone I know has wrapped their Pile in newspaper so it starts looking more intriguing again. I suggest dismantling it and redistributing the books around the house until it grows again. It will. 

Reading, generally, is often a ‘should’ activity rather than a pleasure. 

‘I should read more.’

‘I should read more literary books.’

‘I should read that book that someone recommended.’

‘If I want to be a good writer, I should read widely in my genre.’

I read for work, …

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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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Top Tips On Writing Crime Fiction

On the evening of 5th April 2017, I attended the Writers & Artist’s How to Write Crime Fiction masterclass, with best-selling author Mark Billingham. It was a fantastic introduction to writing crime fiction – talking rules and when to break them. 

Here are 10 top tips I learnt from Mark:


1. Write the book you want to read

As a writer, don’t look for gaps in the market. Instead, write about what interests you as a reader  as this is likely to interest other people too. 


2. Choose a strong opening

You need to hook the reader quickly and early. You have 15 seconds in a bookshop to ‘sell’ your book through the cover, blurb and first few paragraphs. Lure the reader in with a killer sentence or anything that asks a question. This is essential if you’re submitting a manuscript to an agent or publisher, as this will make the difference between them reading your first three chapters or not. 


3. Decide on your point of view (POV)

You may find you write more …

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Be a Better Writer

In her book, 10 Rules of Writing, Elmore Leonard advised would be authors to – ‘Get an accountant, abstain from sex and similes, cut, rewrite, then cut and rewrite again – if all else fails, pray’. Whilst Ernest Hemmingway famously wrote, ‘There is nothing to writing. All you do is just sit at a typewriter and bleed.’

But surely there’s more to great writing than simply praying and hemorrhaging at your desk… I’ve analysed advice by famous authors in an attempt to discover how to become a better writer.  My favourite tips are listed below; let me know what you think of them.

1. “Find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!” – Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451

How to use it:

At first glance it seems Bradbury is advocating a sort of voodoo magic in the creative writing process whereby protagonists take care of the plot for you. However I think what he’s really saying here is that your characters should …

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