Traditional Publishing

Writers' News

David Nobbs Memorial Trust 2024 writing competition opens – Saturday February 17, 2024

The annual comedy writing competition run by the David Nobbs Memorial Trust is now open for entries, with the deadline set as 17th March.

The competition, which seeks out 10 pages from a sitcom script or four 3-minute sketches, is now in its seventh year. The trust, which was established in 2017 after the death of the beloved Reggie Perrin author, runs the competition to encourage and champion emerging talent with one-off financial aid for winners and events for long-listed entrants.

The competition offers cash prizes to up-and-coming comedy writers, helping them 'buy time' for writing. Prizes for the 2024 competition will see the overall winner will take home £1000. Any runners-up will receive £250 per entry. The winner will also be offered one-to-one consultation with an established comedy producer or commissioner from the Trust board.

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Eli Keren to join the Curious Minds Agency as non-fiction agent – Thursday February 15, 2024

Eli Keren is joining the Curious Minds Agency as a non-fiction agent, working mostly with experts, academics and researchers on "ideas-led" books in the fields of smart science and current affairs.

Keren was previously an associate agent at United Agents, where he represented clients for both fiction and non-fiction. “I learned a vast amount from my colleagues at United Agents over these last eight years, and I’m looking forward to focusing on my core interests going forwards," he said. "As a former research scientist, Curious Minds feels like a natural home for me, and I’m excited to join a team I hugely admire."

He will remain in his role as treasurer of the Association of Authors’ Agents.

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Bloomsbury boss hails ‘publishing phenomenon’ Sarah J Maas as shares hit record high – Wednesday February 14, 2024

The boss of Bloomsbury Publishing hailed author Sarah J. Maas as a “publishing phenomenon” as it revealed its revenue and profits are set to be “significantly ahead” of expectations.

Fantasy writer Maas’s popularity on Tik Tok is set to push Bloomsbury’s profits beyond £40 million, and has helped send shares in the Harry Potter publisher to an all-time high. More than half a million videos featuring the hashtag #SarahJMaas have been posted on Tik Tok, attracting a combined 3.3 billion views.

Bloomsbury said it would invest more in fantasy following the success of her books, with the most recent release - House of Flame and Shadow in January - being an especially big hit. 

Boss Nigel Newton, said: "I am overjoyed to report an exceptionally strong period of trading, principally driven by the increasing demand for fantasy fiction.

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Curtis Brown Creative launches new short story writing course on Zoom, taught by Naomi Wood – Monday February 12, 2024

Curtis Brown Creative (CBC) is expanding its Zoom courses, with Writing Short Stories – Advanced, taught by 2023 BBC Short Story Award winner Naomi Wood.  

It will take 15 students and last for nine weeks. Students will also attend two exclusive Zoom masterclasses: one with Deborah Treisman, fiction editor for the New Yorker, and one with Kevin Barry, short story writer and Booker Prize-longlisted author, and his literary agent, C&W’s Lucy Luck. At the end of the course, the CBC team will help students submit their stories formally to the agents at Curtis Brown and C&W.   

The new course is the latest in CBC’s range of online courses with interactive Zoom teaching sessions. CBC said it has increased its online offering four-fold in the past three years and now runs over 40 online courses for writers of all levels of experience, supported by its bespoke learning platform, which was updated and relaunched in 2023.  

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Call for entries: 2024 next gen indie book awards – Thursday February 8, 2024

If you would like to receive greater recognition, monetary prizes, awards and exposure for your books, here is an opportunity not to miss. Enter the 2024 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

Calling all indie book authors and publishers – including small presses, mid-size independent publishers, university presses, e-book publishers, and self-published authors who have a book written in English released in 2022, 2023 or 2024 or with a 2022, 2023 or 2024 copyright date to enter the most rewarding book awards program.

Offering 80+ Categories – More than 80 Awards – with over 80 monetary prizes totaling over $10,000 in cash, including $1,500 cash prizes plus trophies for best fiction book and best non-fiction book, $750 cash prizes plus trophies for second best fiction book and non-fiction book and $500 cash prizes plus trophies for third best fiction book and non-fiction book!

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Fern Press launches £3k Fern Academy Prize for essays – Thursday February 8, 2024

Fern Press and How to Academy have partnered on a new essay award worth £3,000, in association with Tortoise Media, for unpublished authors.

Fern Press was launched by Vintage last year, while the annual non-fiction essay prize is "for those working at the frontier of creativity and thought", organisers said. 

The prize is designed to find and nurture emerging non-fiction talent and will be awarded to an essay of literary merit with an international and multicultural interest. The prize encourages essays that shine a light on the universal human experience – on a micro or macro scale – and “which speak clearly to the times we live in", organisers said. The prize is open to unagented and unpublished writers from around the world, writing in the English language. 

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Publishing trends you can expect to see in 2024 – Wednesday February 7, 2024

George Chrysostomou explores the publishing trends to look out for in the year ahead, from the rise of AI to the ever-growing role of BookTok

2024 is set to be a massive year for the publishing industry, as it continues reshaping for a modern age. New audience interests and groundbreaking technology has challenged the traditions of the space. Shifting genres, alternative marketing methods and ever-changing styles are sure to lead to an alteration in publishing strategies, which will lead to noticeable differences that impact readers and their book choices.

The use of AI

Artificial intelligence appears to be the topic of discussion for the year, as writers and editors look at the benefits and drawbacks of this versatile and novel technology. Audiences are likely to come across more AI-influenced texts in 2024, with creators either crafting their narrative from scratch using artificial intelligence, or utilising it as a tool to reframe, refresh and reinvigorate their concepts and drafts.

There’s certainly a place for AI to be used in controlled spaces and when the creative minds themselves are in control. There may be worries that the human element could be lost with the increase in the use of this tech, but ultimately this will be a year where those boundaries are tested and the limits of AI are explored further. 

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Sarah Ballard joins C&W after 16 years at United Agents – Wednesday February 7, 2024

Sarah Ballard has joined C&W as an agent, representing a wide range of both fiction and non-fiction writers.

Ballard was an agent at United Agents for 16 years before joining C&W, part of The Curtis Brown Group, on 5th February. “I’m thrilled and honoured to have been asked by Clare Conville and by my good friend Sophie Lambert to join the team at C&W," she said. "I’m grateful to my friends and colleagues at United Agents whom I have been privileged to work with, and am excited for a new challenge.”

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RCW's Claire Wilson steps up to AAA president – Thursday February 1, 2024

The Association of Authors’ Agents (AAA) vice-president Claire Wilson, of RCW Literary Agency, has stepped up to president. 

Wilson was formally appointed at an association meeting on Tuesday (30th January) and praised outgoing president Catherine Clarke of Felicity Bryan Associates for her “thoughtful, dedicated and highly effective leadership”. 

Hellie Ogden, of WME London, joins as vice-president, and Karolina Sutton, of CAA, joins as an ordinary member, after Madeleine Milburn, of the Madeleine Milburn Literary, Film and TV Agency, stepped down.  

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New Sci-Fi/Fantasy Publisher Gungnir Hopes to Hit Its Target – Thursday January 25, 2024

Gungnir, a new sci-fi/fantasy publisher helmed by two comics veterans, will launch in April 2024.

In Norse mythology, Gungnir was the staff of the god Odin, which always hit its target. The name relates not only to the publisher’s sci-fi/fantasy orientation, the publisher said, but also to its ambition to foster a new creative ecosystem for writers and artists. The company has partnerships with Herø Projects, a creative studio headed by former Heavy Metal publisher Matthew Medney that will publish graphic novels through Gungnir, and Iconic Arts, a multimedia studio that will develop the properties for games, film, television, and more.

Gungnir plans to publish four to eight titles a year, primarily in the science fiction and fantasy categories, with a mix of graphic novels, prose novels, and art books. Distribution to the book channel is via Diamond Book Distributors, and Gungnir will publish digitally via and release audiobooks via Amazon’s Audible.

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