Traditional Publishing

Writers' News

I finally landed a 6-figure book deal after 20 years of trying to become an author. Here's how I did it. – Wednesday July 19, 2023

Scoring a book deal is always an accomplishment, but after I dreamed of becoming an author for more than 20 years, selling a nonfiction project for six figures to a Big Five publisher felt both astonishing and hard-earned.

Like a lot of people, I'd always secretly harbored ambitions of becoming a writer, but I didn't start taking my craft seriously until my mid-20s when I invested in a Master of Fine Arts. Even then, writing remained a hobby for another few years.

In 2010, I lost my job in elementary education when an essay I wrote was publicized by the New York Post and the whole world — including my then-employer, the NYC Department of Education — was made aware that I had worked as a stripper and prostitute before becoming a schoolteacher.

I turned a humiliating experience into a flourishing freelance career, and I got serious about my ambitions to become an author.

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Chris Parker on writing women narrators and seeing the world from their eyes – Monday July 17, 2023

I’ve been asked why I chose to make the narrator of my first novel, Nameless Lake, a woman, but really, that’s putting it the wrong way round. Something made me start writing in the voice of this character – Emma – and I only realised later that she would be the perfect narrator for the story I wanted to tell.

The roots of my decision might lie decades in the past, with the whole family rushing to the sofa in response to the mournful brass blare of the Coronation Street theme tune. Here was a world dominated by women’s voices, sharp and wild and larger-than-life yet somehow more real than anything else. I absorbed these voices long before I had an inkling that someone, somewhere had written them.

But years later, through some miracle of luck and time travel, I stood in a bar in Manchester while the Street’s creator Tony Warren shook my hand and told me he had enjoyed an episode I had written. I had somehow stepped into a parallel universe and was part of a team responsible for putting words in the characters’ mouths, fifteen of us taking turns to pick up the endless story and bring it to life by getting inside the skins of these people whose faces were as familiar to us as our own.

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Wattpad to Launch its Publishing Scheduler – to Empower Authors – Monday July 17, 2023

Wattpad is going to launch its Publishing Scheduler designed to redefine the publishing experience. The new tool, which will be available on July 19, will help webnovelists connect and engage with readers in a whole new way.

Here is how:

Studies show that 77% of Wattpad readers are more likely to read regularly updated ongoing stories. The Publishing Scheduler will allow authors to schedule story parts in advance, boosting readers’ engagement and excitement. Advanced scheduling will also save time so they can focus on writing rather than worrying about publishing at the right time.

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Writers' Guild of Great Britain Publishes Report on AI – Sunday July 16, 2023

The Writers' Guild of Great Britain, a union that represents writers in such professions as books, film, and TV, has revealed the results of a survey about artificial intelligence. Sixty-five percent of respondents said that they believed that the increased use of AI will reduce their income from writing, while 61% were worried that AI could replace jobs in their craft areas. In response, WGGB has published "Writers and AI," a policy position statement outlining the challenges caused by AI and the risks that go with it, as well as the potential AI has to benefit the writing profession.

Current concerns about AI in the report include decreased job opportunities for writers, the suppression of writer pay, infringements of copyright and the use of writers' work without their permission, and lack of adequate regulation from the government. Eighty-one percent of respondents to the survey felt that writers should be paid a fee when their work is used by AI systems.

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New Literary Agent Listing: Francesca Riccardi – Thursday July 13, 2023

Reads widely, especially across popular commercial genres, but is a particular fan of crime and thrillers, and loves a dogged detective or unusual sleuth. She also enjoys books about unusual family dynamics, toxic friendships and people keeping secrets.

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U.K. Writers Guild, Music Union Set Out AI Concerns – Wednesday July 12, 2023

The U.K. Writers Guild has published its policy on artificial intelligence, setting out the challenges and potential benefits of the technology for writers.

On the back of a recent survey organized by the Guild, which found 65% of respondents believed AI would reduce their writing income, the org. has published “Writers and AI: A policy position statement.”

Among the concerns the policy document sets out are worries about fewer job opportunities, pay, copyright infringement and lack of regulation. The Guild suggests that although AI is not yet “sophisticated” enough to mimic professional writers, “this is a likely future scenario.”

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My A.I. Writing Robot – Tuesday July 11, 2023

In May, I was confronted with a robot version of my writer self. It was made, at my request, by a Silicon Valley startup called Writer, which specializes in building artificial-intelligence tools that produce content in the voice of a particular brand or institution. In my case, it was meant to replicate my personal writing voice. Whereas a model like OpenAI’s ChatGPT is “trained” on millions of words from across the Internet, Robot Kyle runs on Writer’s bespoke model with an extra layer of training, based on some hundred and fifty thousand words of my writing alone. Writer’s pitch is that I, Human Kyle, can use Robot Kyle to generate text in a style that sounds like mine, at a speed that I could only dream of. Writer’s co-founder and chief technology officer, Waseem Alshikh, recently told me that the company’s goal is to use A.I. to “scale content and scale language.” For more than a month now, I have been experimenting with my literary automaton to see how well it accomplishes this task. Or, as Robot Kyle put it when I asked him to comment on the possibility of replacing me: “How could a machine generate the insights, observations, and unique perspectives that I provide as a human?”

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Country Life publisher Future launches buyback amid fears media group running out of steam – Monday July 10, 2023

Magazine publisher Future has launched a £45m share buyback to placate investors, as the media group battles to reverse flagging earnings and readership.

Future, which owns titles including The Week and Country Life, said it planned to repurchase up to 10pc of total shares.

The London-listed company said the move would provide greater flexibility to deliver value for shareholders, while still maintaining a strong balance sheet.

Shares rose 48p to 741p on the announcement.

However, industry analysts said the buyback was an attempt to soothe investor concerns about Future’s flagging share price and earnings.

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Pushkin Press acquires two indie publishers and unveils new classics list – Monday July 10, 2023

Pushkin Press has announced plans for a new Pushkin Classics list following the acquisition of two independent publishers, Peter Owen Publishers and Angel Classics.

The first eight titles on the new list will be published in the UK on 3rd August, with roughly two titles a month following. Encompassing fiction and non-fiction, the list will feature new translations as well as covers by Pushkin Press art director Jo Walker.

Some titles are brand new to Pushkin Press, while others have been published before by Pushkin. Many are books that Pushkin brought to a UK audience for the first time, including launch titles The Evenings by Gerard Reve, Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman, Journey by Moonlight by Antal Szerb and The Spectre of Alexander Wolf by Gaito Gazdanov.

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How does anyone make a living writing about what they love these days? – Monday July 10, 2023

You may have to subsidize the price of passion, but you don’t have to become a foot soldier in the clickbait content cavalcade.

A few months ago, Serena Coady, a London-based journalist, wrote on Twitter that she was courted by an editor at an entertainment news site that “rhymed with Green Pant.” That wasn’t newsworthy; it was the limbo champion rates, which Coady shared.

My disgust — what the hell are “Super Features”? — soon hardened into indifference. I’ve been a full-time freelance writer since 2008.  Inspired by Roger Ebert’s annual “Movie Yearbooks” and Entertainment Weekly during its smart, snarky mid-’90s heyday, a healthy chunk of my career was spent trying to be an entertainment writer. I saw gigs like this, built on speed and clicks and being kind of, sort of, not really adjacent to showbiz, all the time.

I had some of them. I wrote posts for an entertainment blog for $6 a pop. I profiled actress Rose Byrne, who was lovely, for the unpleasant rate of $12. This personal essay on dating shows fetched me nothing.

I’ve written about my travails as a movie reviewer before. The balcony isn’t just closed; I fear it’s bricked solid.

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