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What the tools of the trade tell us: Emma Barnes

thebookseller.com – Wednesday December 30, 2015

I founded a little publisher that I still run, called Snowbooks, in March 2003. And in about April 2003 I realised that there weren’t any decent or affordable tools to run my company properly. So I spent the last decade and a bit learning to write code so I could create my own. Over that time we’ve all witnessed other amazing software come to market. Cloud-based apps and web services help us to do everything nowadays, from ordering the weekly shop to developing complex character arcs.

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Are small independent publishers doing the work for big publishers?

theguardian.com – Tuesday December 22, 2015

Here’s an observation: it sometimes feels as though smaller independents are the research and development departments for the big publishers, where literary fiction is concerned. We find great writers, nurture them, wipe their brows, polish their work and buff it until it shines. Then we send them out, readers love the books and they get shortlisted and win major literary prizes.

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On Star Wars, The Craft of Writing and What Novelists Can Learn From 'The Force Awakens'

huffingtonpost.co.uk – Monday December 21, 2015

I was 4 years old when I saw Star Wars for the first time. It was on a 12-inch cathode-ray television that had 4 buttons, 2 knobs and looked like a giant microwave (not, I'm guessing, what Lucas had in mind) and I got sent to bed during the trash compactor scene. It was 1982. The subsequent 50 or so viewings (making it to the trench run and victory) took place my Grandma's top-loading Betamax.

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Literati cities: just the spot for networking, less so for writing a great novel

theguardian.com – Monday December 14, 2015

What happens when all the culture capital is concentrated in one place? Take Brooklyn, which the New York Observer called “a zone of infestation, not only of novelists but reporters, pundits, poets, and those often closeted scribblers who call themselves editors and agents”.

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What Jules Feiffer taught me about writing for kids

boingboing.net – Saturday December 12, 2015

25 years into creating my comic strip “Tom the Dancing Bug,” I’ve just embarked on another venture: writing books for kids. My series of books, The EMU Club Adventures, began in April with Alien Invasion in My Backyard, and the second installment, Ghostly Thief of Time, was released last month.

Now, “Tom the Dancing Bug” is certainly not for kids, but writing for kids was something I’ve always wanted to do. I love kids’ literature and culture, and I love kids; if I’m at a gathering of friends and family, you’ll probably find me laughing it up with the kids.

But as I started this new task, I was kind of worried about whether I could write for an audience that wasn’t me. My comic strip is pretty much what I would want to read – would consciously writing for another audience render the work stilted, off-target, or even pandering?

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What’s the secret of good writing?

theguardian.com – Friday December 11, 2015

I first encountered Robert Boice’s name about three years ago, somewhere online; after that, it started popping up every other month. Boice, I learned, was a US psychologist who’d cracked the secret of how to write painlessly and productively. Years ago, he’d recorded this wisdom in a book, now out of print, which a handful of fans discussed in reverent tones, but with a title that seemed like a deliberate bid for obscurity: How Writers Journey To Comfort And Fluency. Also, it was absurdly expensive: used copies sold for £130. Still, I’m a sucker for writing advice, especially when so closely guarded. So this month, I succumbed: I found a copy at the saner (if still eye-watering) price of £68, and a plain green print-on-demand hardback arrived in the post. So if you hunger to write more, but instead find yourself procrastinating, or stifled by panic, or writer’s block, I can reveal that the solution to your troubles is…

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A Simple 4-Step Process for Writing Your First Book in 100 Days

entrepreneur.com – Thursday December 10, 2015

It's on a lot of people's bucket lists, along with "go to space” or “walk through Central Park naked.” Okay, maybe that’s just my bucket list.

But my guess is, somewhere on your list too is the desire to write a book. I also know that the very thought of writing a book generally feels like a monumental task, probably something akin to launching a rocket into orbit.

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Portico prize winner Benjamin Myers: 'Why bother chasing the big publishers?'

theguardian.com – Wednesday December 9, 2015

After being turned down by ‘every major publisher in London’ for his Portico winning novel Beastings, the author says landing the £10,000 prize ‘felt like a vindication’.

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Should Writing Be an Art or a Career?

newrepublic.com – Tuesday December 8, 2015

There’s a very funny photograph taken by Brassaï of Pablo Picasso posing in his Paris studio. Picasso had acquired a giant oil painting of a nude woman from an antique shop, and he strikes an affected pose before it, his brush poised and his little finger extended, as though he’s preparing to make the finishing touch on a masterwork. The actor Jean Marais is stretched out on the floor beside him, pretending to serve as the model despite being fully dressed. The target of the joke is clear: Picasso was ridiculing the pretensions and conventions of the professional painter. “I am not a professional artist,” Brassaï recounts him repeating, “as if he were claiming innocence of a slander.”

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What Acclaimed Authors Love About Writing

huffingtonpost.com – Monday December 7, 2015

Over the years, I've had the incredibly good fortune of interviewing many of the most widely-read novelists on the planet. I often (but not always) ask certain questions of each author. One of my favorites is: What do you love about the writing life?

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