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Writers' News

Want to Write a Book This Year? These Tools Can Help

wired.com – Monday January 18, 2021

2020 WAS NOT the year I wrote my first book—but it was the year I started thinking about it. And in typical freelance writer fashion, I decided to take advantage of my position and get some advice on how to go about it from people much more accomplished than me under the guise of researching this article. Here’s what I managed to learn.

A Way to Take Notes

Apparently books don’t spring fully formed from the ether. You kind of have to work on them, brainstorming different ideas, doing research, and taking notes before you can really get started. News to me, but oh well.

Chris Bailey, author of The Productivity Project and Hyperfocus, and all-around productivity guru, is obsessive about taking notes for his books. He has legal pads stashed around his home, carries a small notepad when he walks around town, and even has a waterproof notepad in his shower. If he can’t commit his thoughts to paper, he uses Simplenote.

Epic fantasy writer Brian McClellan, author of The Powder Mage series, is a little less over-the-top about note-taking, but he also prefers the paper approach and carries a notepad with him—or at least tries to. Whenever he leaves it in his car, he “whips out” his smartphone and uses whatever notes app came preinstalled.

Both writers stressed that what tool you use for taking notes doesn’t matter as much as the act of doing it. Notes can be anything from a cool word or an idea for a magic system to transcribed conversations or annotated historical documents. But, whatever form they take, they’re likely to be the base of your book.

[Read the full article]

New Magazine Listing: ARTmosterrific

firstwriter.com – Monday January 18, 2021

An online platform and community by and for African undergraduates. It runs on five sections, all different and independent from one another: Virtual residence where 3 college writers are mentored to complete a book of art; the African Prize for Undergraduates awarded every year to an African undergraduate; the Biannual Chapbook that works as an anthology, exploring thematic issues in society, the Online Issue/Mag (Prose, Poetry, Essay, Photography), and the Community (with webinars, Book Chat, Bookstore, Physical Conference, etc). Check our submission page for detailed information on each section, and feel free to subscribe to our newsletter.

Editorial Calendar

Issue Submission (January — February)
Virtual Residence (March — April)
Chapbook Submission (May — June)
Funso Oris Prize / African Prize For Undergraduates (June — July)
ISSUE SUBMISSION (August — September)
CHAPBOOK SUBMISSION (October — November)

Dates and time for community programmes, such as the book chat, webinar, undergraduate-led auditorium conference, are subject to factors.

A literary publication that features fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and photography for everything that makes you sleep, keeps you awake, breaks your heart and repairs it. Everything that rusts and unrusts you. Send us your flaws and strengths, awesome and bizarre, brilliant and outrageous. However, please note that while we accept all submissions, we are especially on the lookout for works by African undergraduates. Send us your terrific work anyways!

[See the full listing]

New Literary Agent Listing: Tasneem Motala

firstwriter.com – Monday January 18, 2021

Handles Middle Grade and Young Adult. Not currently accepting submissions from white people.

[See the full listing]

Amazon.com and 'Big Five' publishers accused of ebook price-fixing

theguardian.com – Saturday January 16, 2021

Amazon.com and the “Big Five” publishers – Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster – have been accused of colluding to fix ebook prices, in a class action filed by the law firm that successfully sued Apple and the Big Five on the same charge 10 years ago.

The lawsuit, filed in district court in New York on Thursday by Seattle firm Hagens Berman, on behalf of consumers in several US states, names the retail giant as the sole defendant but labels the publishers “co-conspirators”. It alleges Amazon and the publishers use a clause known as “Most Favored Nations” (MFN) to keep ebook prices artificially high, by agreeing to price restraints that force consumers to pay more for ebooks purchased on retail platforms that are not Amazon.com.

The lawsuit claims that almost 90% of all ebooks sold in the US are sold on Amazon, in addition to over 50% of all print books. The suit alleges that ebook prices dropped in 2013 and 2014 after Apple and major publishers were successfully sued for conspiring to set ebook prices, but rose again after Amazon renegotiated their contracts in 2015.

[Read the full article]

JK Rowling’s drama with the man who discovered her is one of many rows writers have had with their agents

inews.co.uk – Wednesday January 13, 2021

When authors become successful, they usually spend a good deal of their launch-party speech thanking their literary agent for believing in them when they were starting out and for finding them a publisher, and listing them high on their novel’s page of acknowledgments.

The agent’s role as a writer’s champion and negotiator can often result in close relationships that last years – but also intense disputes when an author moves on.

[Read the full article]

Writing awards, competitions and opportunities in 2021

artshub.co.uk – Wednesday January 13, 2021

Writers, could be this be the year you win that big prize or crack a prestigious publication? If you are thinking of entering a writing prize or competition in 2021 then populate your calendar with these prizes and opportunities.

Please note that some opportunities are listed based on when submission deadlines are open or closed, while other awards are listed by the date on which winners are announced.

[Read the full article]

Five things we learned from Marian Keyes’ first writing masterclass

irishexaminer.com – Wednesday January 13, 2021

Nestled in among a crowd of thousands, it seemed like most of Ireland attended Marian Keyes’ first ‘how-to’ class on novel writing last night, a clear sign that ‘novel writing’ is the banana bread of Lockdown 3.

It was a giddy, gig-like atmosphere, with friendships formed in the comments and one or two wise-guys causing hysteria among the masses while ‘teacher’ wasn’t looking (see Dublin singer CMAT asking Keyes if she “ever considered writing a book about a very famous popstar from Dublin” for an example). It was an experience that was an utter salve to the bleak January weather and the heart-wrenching headlines we’ve been seeing since Christmas, which is exactly why Keyes chose to share her insights and tips into a creative outlet so many people are intimidated by.

Keyes is sharing a free four-week course on the basics of novel writing, from plot to characters and dialogue plus everything in between. It takes place every Monday at 7.30pm live on her Instagram page, with a catch-up video shared on YouTube soon after. She will also be sharing weekly challenges; this week our homework is to write 500 words a day based on her writing prompts.

[Read the full article]

New Magazine Listing

firstwriter.com – Wednesday January 13, 2021

A lifestyle art publication that encourages deep analysis and thought, pushing for progressive change and identification.

[See the full listing]

Literary Agent Christopher Little dead at 79

the-leaky-cauldron.org – Tuesday January 12, 2021

We all remember the story of how Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was rejected by numerous publishers before finally being picked up by Bloomsbury for £2,500. What you may not remember is the literary agent who took on the job of trying to sell the manuscript. That agent, Christopher Little, deserves some of the credit for the Harry Potter series gracing your bookshelf today.

[Read the full article]

Bookstores Saw Graphic Novels Sales Increase By 29% In 2020

bleedingcool.com – Monday January 11, 2021

So how did graphic novels sell during 2020? Publisher's Weekly reports that print books as a whole saw sales numbers in North America rise 8.2% in 2020, selling 750.9 million copies, up from 693.7 million the year before. And the largest annual increase since 2010. While many bookstores were in shutdown, online sales took over to ramp up sales, especially with more and more people staying home looking for reading matter and unable to visit libraries.

Non-fiction books for the young also received a big boost as many schools closed for long periods, with a 23.1% increase sales. But graphic novels were had one of the most significant increases, which saw sales increase by 29% in 2020, based on 2019.

[Read the full article]

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