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 Issue #105

Free Writers' Newsletter

Dec 29, 2011  

  

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Writers' & Artists' listings disappear from website

In the days before the internet, writers in the UK would generally turn to The Writer's Handbook (published by Macmillan) and the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook (published by A&C Black) for listings of literary agents, magazines, and publishers, etc. At the start of 2011 both these publications had online versions: the listings on the website for The Writer's Handbook were available to those who had purchased the print product, and those for the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook were available to anyone for free. At the end of 2011, however, both of these online services have ceased to exist. 

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Earlier this year Macmillan announced that they would cease publication of the The Writer's Handbook altogether, leading to the closure of the website service (see fwn 95), and while A&C Black appear to be continuing with the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook, this month has seen a redesign of their site where the free listings that were formerly available have disappeared without warning – replaced instead by a series of tips and suggestions that shepherd writers towards an array of services and conferences marketed at wannabe writers, ranging from about £100 to over £1,000 in price.

A&C Black claim that they intend to re-introduce the listings "over the coming months", but this will come as cold comfort to anyone who was in the process of working through the listings to try and find markets for their writing. "This is one of the problems with these free services," observes firstwriter.com Managing Editor, J. Paul Dyson. "With no sense of accountability to their users (since they aren't paying customers), there's nothing to stop them from withdrawing the service without warning, leaving their users high and dry."

The old listing service on the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook website was notable for its extreme slowness (click a link, then go and do something else while you wait for it to respond), paucity of information, lack of features, and a narrow concentration on UK markets. However, A&C Black have promised improvements to at least the search facility when the service returns. "A&C Black's plan seems to be to use these listings as a come-on to writers so that they can get them to their site, where they can then try and sell them expensive premium services. If the listings are to become something of a sideshow, it will be interesting to see whether or not their promises translate into a commitment to providing the kind of online listing service 21st century users expect."

Disappointed users of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook listings who would like a more reliable and international service can subscribe to firstwriter.com for as little as $4.49 / £2.65 / €4.49 a month, with substantial savings of up to 35% available for longer term subscriptions. firstwriter.com listings include advanced search systems searching as many as 20 different criteria, and providing practically instantaneous results. Extensive information covers the US, the UK, and other English-speaking nations, including details provided by agents / publishers / magazines / competition organisers themselves; information sourced by researchers; feedback from other users; and independent assessments from other resources. Advanced user-specific database functions means the site tells you which listings you have looked at and when, and tells you if a listing has been updated since you last looked at it. You can save specific searches to get one-click access to them from your own personalised home page, and even add personal notes to listings, which you can search for keywords, and which can include reminders to pop up at a specific date. You can even tell the site your interests and receive email updates whenever listings that match them are added or updated!

To subscribe now and begin benefiting from these features immediately go to www.firstwriter.com/subscribe 

  

 

Call for submissions: Poems on the theme of "silence"

Abridged, the poetry/art magazine, is looking for submissions for its Silence issue. A maximum of three poems may be submitted of any length. Art can be up to A4 size and can be in any media. It should be at least 300 dpi. Submissions can be emailed to abridged@ymail.com or posted to: Abridged c/o The Verbal Arts Centre, Stable Lane and Mall Wall, Bishop Street Within, Derry BT48 6PU. Closing date for submission is January 14, 2012:

"To those who have ever known sound, true silence can be but a myth. It is a phantasm, and something to be feared, for in silence we are vulnerable to our own conscience and its persistent echoes of memory, desire and confusion; we lose the means of dismissal and voluntary ignorance and become vulnerable. In silence we are naked, stripped of the sound layers we have used to define ourselves to outside eyes, a defensive muffling of truths. Today we abjure silence, avoiding its solitude. We are in a constant conversation with an ultra-social and info-overdosed humanity repeatedly relaying sculptures of mundane phrases that numb us to the experience of meaning. We dare not lie still enough to stir or coax the phantom film reels of our past from their shadows. Instead we light fires, shouting and stamping our feet to drive back the dark and its inhabitants. It is our fear of the silence of the void, the vacuum. Humanity cannot see nothingness but we run from it, choking the subtle sound of our own breathing with the bustling of contemporary life where everything is virtual and reality utterly abandoned. We convince ourselves we grow by sponging up the noises of the clattering world that engulfs us. In silence we are trapped as we are made to face the cold starkness of what we feel is missing, or the fierce jab of what we long to erase. We stand in silence and we stand in a room of mirrors. A ticking clock is a heartbeat.

For details of over 1,450 other magazines, click here

  

Click here for great value writing classes!

  

Creative writing opportunities on IdeasTap

IdeasTap is a not-for-profit organisation that helps young people break into the arts and creative industries. They offer opportunities including funding, free advice and skills sessions, and networking to help young people develop and showcase their creative talent. They’re also partnered with major arts organisations such as Old Vic New Voices, National Youth Theatre, National Skills Academy for Creative and Cultural, Magnum Photos and NSDF. They currently have a number of creative writing opportunities on their site:

BBC Writersroom
BBC Writersroom is offering 40 IdeasTap members the chance to attend hands-on radio and TV scriptwriting workshops with Writersroom Development Producer Paul Ashton. This free workshop is aimed specifically at writers aged 18–30 who don't yet have broadcast credits. 

The Class: Laurence Marks Writing TV Comedy
Want to write for television? Got an idea for a cracking TV comedy script but don't know where to take it? There are 20 places on offer for a comedy screenwriting workshop with Laurence Marks. Marks, who created sitcom classics such as Goodnight Sweetheart and Birds of a Feather, will offer his advice on breaking into the industry and writing a strong script.

The Anthology
The chance to create and curate an anthology is on offer to a small editorial team. It could be an anthology of poetry, creative writing, photography, comedy.. whatever sparks their imagination. Funding and professional mentoring to help get the project off the ground will also be provided. 

The Columnist
A talented writer is sought to write a weekly column for IdeasMag, an online magazine. The columnist would be expected to write a 500-word column on culture and the arts, and they'll get paid £125 a week for it. This opportunity is open to any young writer, anywhere in the United Kingdom, to build up their editorial portfolio.

For more information go to www.ideastap.com

 

  

Sean Egan's autobiography of James Kirkwood

Sean Egan, whose short story "The Interview" was featured in the very first issue of firstwriter.magazine published way back in 2002, has just had his 560-page biography of the late author and playwright, James Kirkwood, published by BearManor Media.

London-born Sean Egan has contributed to Billboard, Book Collector, Classic Rock, Record Collector, Tennis World, Total Film, Uncut and RollingStone.com. He has authored or edited seventeen books, including works on The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Coronation Street and Manchester United. His critically acclaimed novel, Sick of Being Me, was published in 2003; while his 2008 collection of short stories, Don’t Mess with the Best, carried cover endorsements from Booker Prize winners Stanley Middleton and David Storey. 

Ponies & Rainbows: The Life of James Kirkwood is available from amazon.com here.

   

Resources for writers at firstwriter.com

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About fwn

fwn is a free newsletter from firstwriter.com, providing articles, news, interviews and opportunities of interest to writers.

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fwn
uses English spelling conventions. Spellings such as "realise" "colour", "theatre", "cancelled", etc. differ from other spelling conventions but are nonetheless correct. 

  

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