Issue #125

Writers' Newsletter

August 2013  



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New book to help writers get published

This month sees the launch of a brand new directory to help writers get published, providing contact details for hundreds of literary agents, book publishers, and magazines:

The Writers' Handbook 2014 is's first print book, and is available in paperback from outlets all over the world, including,, and others:

Already a Number #1 Bestseller!
The directory has met with immediate success, becoming in its first week on sale the number 1 bestselling writing and publishing directory on!

In the article below, the editor, J. Paul Dyson, explains what's gone wrong with the existing directories for writers, and why writers need a new alternative. 


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What went wrong with the Writer's Market and the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook
By J. Paul Dyson
Managing Editor,

If you're anything like me, you've probably spent years buying books like Writer's Market, and Writers' & Artists' Yearbook. And if you're anything like me, then the reason you did so was to get contact details for literary agents, publishers, and magazines. You were probably vaguely aware, as I was, that there were other things in there – articles you never read, and lists of obscure things you didn't need – but you probably had the impression that they were little extras tucked in around the edges. Maybe 10% of the total. That's what I thought. 

It's only recently that I've come to realise how wrong this is – just how little of these books I actually find of any use. When you start to add up the pages, it makes for some surprising statistics.

Let's take Writer's Market for starters. If you were looking for a literary agent, then this is one of the books you might think of buying. The whole book runs to over 900 pages – but how many of those pages are dedicated to contact details for literary agents, do you think? Only 10. That's not a typo. That's not meant to be "100". That's ten. Ten pages. Less than 2% of the book.

By contrast, 188 pages – over 20% of the book – is dedicated to "useful" articles such as "Earn a full-time income from blogging" and "How to get social". Is that really what you bought the book for?

The Writers' & Artists' Yearbook is just as bad. This book runs to over 800 pages, but how many of those pages are dedicated to listings of agents, publishers and magazines? If you'd told me it was less than half I'd have been disappointed. In fact it's just a quarter: only 204 pages.

So what's going on in the other 75% of the book? The 75% of the book that I didn't even notice was there? Well, there's a whole section of thick, glossy adverts; some more of those wonderful articles; and more than a dozen "notes from successful authors". These include big names: Joanna Trollope, Terry Pratchett, and J.K. Rowling, to name but a few. It sounds very impressive. So what invaluable insights do these successful authors provide? Let's take J.K. Rowling's note as an example. It's a page long. Just the one. And actually, when you take away the 16% of the page covered by the large title, and the 22% taken up by the author bio plugging the author and her new book, the other 62% only amounts to four paragraphs. But that's okay, if it's good stuff – right? After all, the back cover boasts that you'll be receiving "advice" from J.K. Rowling, so surely these four paragraphs must hold some valuable insight – some key to whirlwind publishing success?

Well, to sum it up, it goes like this: when she was writing her first book her friend advised her to consult the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook, and she did. She got some contact details of publishers and agents, and approached them.

That's it.

So – basically – the advice you are receiving from one of the most famous authors in the world (which is actually second-hand advice from her friend, who isn't one of the most famous authors in the world) is to consult the book that you must have already decided to consult in order to be reading her advice in the first place.


The fact is that in the few paragraphs provided by most of these successful authors there's very little opportunity to convey anything meaningful. Are they included to provide insight for authors? Not really. The real reason they are included is so that the marketing people can write a long and impressive-sounding list of well-known names to put on the back cover and in their promotional material.

All of this made me start to wonder why I'm paying out every year for a whole load of pages that aren’t of any use to me – pages that are put there for the benefit of advertisers, or marketing executives, but not me, the paying customer. I realised that writers needed an alternative – a directory which was just that: a directory. No padding; no waffle; just the contact details that writers actually need.

That’s why we’ve launched The Writers’ Handbook: a new, annual directory that focuses purely on the facts authors really need: a few pages explaining publishing industry terminology; a note on copyright protection; instructions on how to format your manuscript; and then just pages and pages of places to send it to. No adverts. No articles on “improving your presentation skills”. No unnecessary lists of book packagers and libraries. Just hundreds of pages of agents, publishers, and magazines. 

So while Writer's Market gives you 10 pages of literary agent listings, we give you over 80.

And while Writers' & Artists' Yearbook gives you 204 pages of agents, magazines, and publishers, we give you more than 280.

But by getting rid of all the other stuff we can do this in a book that’s half the length of the other two – and which is therefore also half the price. In the US the Writer's Market has a list price of $29.99, compared to just $14.99 for our new directory. In the UK the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook lists for £19.99, compared to just £9.99 for ours – and the ebook version (which includes enhanced functionality) is even cheaper!

If you value all the lists of libraries and articles on blogging then the existing books will continue to serve you well. But if all you really want is contact details for literary agents, publishers, and magazines, then The Writers’ Handbook can give you more listings for a lower price.

Publishing has gone global
One of the other key failings of the Writer's Market and Writers' & Artists' Yearbook is that they have both failed to adapt to the fact that in the last ten years publishing has transformed into a far more global industry. Ten years ago, most listings would have said “No approaches by email”. Having to use post meant that the cost and complexity of making overseas submissions effectively segregated countries into separate markets, and the Writer's Market and Writers' & Artists' Yearbook both reflect this, each concentrating strongly on their own country.

But as working practices have changed, email submissions have become more and more common and acceptable. There are now an increasing number of agents, publishers, and magazines that will only accept submissions by email. Submissions by post will not even be considered.

This means it’s often just as easy to submit to a market on the other side of the world as in your own back yard, and writers now need a directory that reflects that – a directory that offers access to the global market, not just the market in their own country. English-language publishing has two main centres: the United States and the United Kingdom (and more specifically London and New York), and if your directory isn’t offering equal access to both these markets then you could be needlessly throwing away half your chances of getting published.

That’s why we’ve ensured that The Writers’ Handbook is a global directory, with unparalleled access into the major markets. This means it has lots of listings that aren’t included in the Writer's Market, and equally it has lots of listings not included in the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook

So if you’ve been buying those books year after year – looking at all the same old listings again and again – why not take a change and try some fresh listings this year? You never know – the success you’ve been looking for might be waiting just across the pond, and might be just an email away!

The Writers' Handbook 2014 can be purchased from in the United States, and from in the United Kingdom. It is also available through Amazon’s other international websites.

The ebook version is also available on Kindle at an even lower price through the following links:


Submit to The Consequence Prize in Poetry

Celebrated poet Brian Turner, author of Here Bullet and Phantom Noise, will select the winner of this year’s Consequence Prize in Poetry. No entry fee is required. The prize recognises exceptional work addressing the culture and consequences of war. It includes a cash prize of $200 for the best poem. The winning poet and three finalists will have their work published in the Spring 2014 issue of Consequence Magazine, and online at The deadline for submissions is October 1, 2013. To enter, please follow the guidelines below.

The contest submissions period opens June 1 and closes October 1, 2013.

The poem(s) should address the culture and consequences of war.

Submit no more than three poems, of any length.

Please note that the procedure for submitting to the contest has changed.

All entries must be submitted through the online submissions manager. 

  • Each poem must begin on a separate page. 
  • Do not identify yourself on the page containing your poem. Include your name and contact information in your cover letter only.
  • In your cover letter include a short biography of no more than 75 words.
  • Your entry must be received by October 1, 2013.

Results are announced on the website. Due to the large number of submissions, the announcement on the website will be the only notice of contest results.

For more details, go to 

For the details of over 60 other current poetry competitions, click here


Click here for great value writing classes!

Abridged calls for poetry submissions

Abridged 0 – 34: In Blue Submission Call
This issue encourages the consideration of the vital connotations of the concept of "blue" to the human condition and the individual’s contemplation of place, purpose, self and essence:

"The strong association of the colour blue with the natural (the sea and sky), the broken (melancholy) and the forbidden have led to said colour concurrently evoking ideas of apparent wholesomeness, failure and seedy delinquency. Blue runs underneath us and domes above us; it is what bore us and what we aspire through imagination to return to: another dimension, another means of perceiving, breathing, moving, experiencing… It is the colour of the most subtle moods of pain, not burning with the disarming immediacy of horror or despair but throbbing in mellow multiplicity and tonal diversity, slowly moving through the depths of reflection. Blue dances with dappled light, altering perception and renewing reflection. In creative discourses we take it from outside us and hold it as our own, making our subtle moods of humanity material by weaving them through its soft, swelling diversity. Blue was our home, to blue we long to return. We wish to wallow in its mellow discontent hoping for a return to the good old days. Days that never did or could have existed: days that define us."

Abridged, the poetry/art magazine is looking for submissions for its In Blue issue. A maximum of 3 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 (preferably) be emailed to 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 September 30, 2013.

Abridged 0 – 13: Mara Submission Call
"Mara sees Abridged explore our home city’s forgotten spaces, the excluded places lost and alone that impinge on our consciousness like an aching tooth, the covered up and boarded, the hidden and hurt, the Derry and Londonderry lurking in Derry/Londonderry. Mara in Buddhist mythology is apparently the embodiment of all unskilled emotions and a metaphor for the entirety of conditioned existence. We have no interest per se in religious mythologies but note that the similarity of the ‘conditioned existence’ of Buddhism, and the ‘terms and conditions applied’ of Abridged. This is not a project about the beauty of contemporary ‘ruins’ though in some cases there is an undeniably poetic appeal to decay and neglect. It focuses on the forgotten architecture and social places, the places that whilst seemingly unimportant were vital cogs in the engine of a place or a person. Nostalgia is not an aim of this work; rather it is a reflection on where we are now and how we have arrived here. We are looking for poetry only for this issue. It DOES NOT have to be about Derry. Architectural abandonment and decay can be seen as a metaphor for a million other things…This issue will be in association with artist Mara Cavalli whose photographic work will be featured in the issue and whose film-work will be available on the Abridged website initially exclusively for the Abridged readership. The issue will contain a password which gives access to the work. There will also be an exhibition."

A maximum of three poems may be submitted of any length. Submissions can be (preferably) emailed to 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 30th September 2013.

For the details of over 1,700 other magazines, click here



New promotional website for writers

"Flash Your Fiction" is a new promotional site for those writers who have a published book, be it print or ebook; self-published or published through a publisher. 

Writers can submit a 500 word sample from their book, along with a link to where people can buy it, and find readers browsing for good finds

For more details, go to: 


Calling all film makers for the inaugural Pighog Poetry Film Competition

Pighog has launched a new film competition based on the poems in their award-winning collections.

How does it work?
The competition asks filmmaker entrants to pick a poem from a Pighog poetry publication and create a 90 second film based around it. This could mean anything from an animation to a live action film. The competition will run from the July 24, 2013, to October 31, 2013.

How do I enter?
The competition is open to anybody around the world, however you must be 18 or over to submit a film. All the info about how the competition works, and details of how to make your submission are on the website.

Then what?
The winner and shortlisted entrants of this international competition will be featured and celebrated as part of the growing Pighog poetry and film community. The winner will receive £500.

For more details, go to 

For the details of over 140 other current competitions, click here


The importance of writers' groups
By Marcella Simmons

About two weeks ago, I submitted a query letter about my romance novel to an agent found online. Three days after submitting the letter, several emails from this agency were in my Inbox – but it was no literary agent at all. It was a "Print on Demand" company who was trying to get me to pay them $4,500+ to print my book. I emailed the company back, declining their offer and letting them know that my book was submitted to several traditional publishers.

That same day, a phone call came in from the agency. The guy, "Tom", was well educated and had his sales pitch intact. He wasn't giving up! But again, I declined his offer and I told him "If my book isn't worthy to be paid for by a traditional publisher then it's not worthy to be paid for out of my pocket."

"You must be part of a writers' group," he said. "They always tell their members not to self-publish. If you're not Oprah Winfrey or Martha Stewart, no traditional publisher will ever read your book, let alone publish it. Writers groups are like 'the blind leading the blind' and my suggestion is to quit these groups – they can't help you," he said. "In order to get published with traditional companies, it's really a matter of who you are or who you know."

I hung the phone up before he could say another word. He has sent me five emails since and I reported him as SPAM.

The very next morning at 8:00 I received an email from Harlequin Books requesting a synopsis and the first three chapters of my book. I emailed "Tom" and said "Well, I'm not Oprah or Martha but looks like you were wrong, Buddy!" They haven't agreed to publish my book yet but they are considering it, and to me, that's a step in the right direction.

My book has been critiqued by several members of my group. Some of the advice I took with a grain of salt yet they caught flaws and typos that I didn't see. I took some advice and made changes on my manuscript that made it better.

My synopsis and the first three chapters are on their way via email and now it's just a matter of waiting on the editor's response.

Writer's groups are support groups – we all lean on each other and learn a lot of valuable information each month. We may be "the blind leading the blind" but that's okay too – there's nothing wrong with gleaning inspiration, encouragement and motivation from others – especially those just like we are.

Every group is different, as are writers. There are Christian writers; romance writers; sports writers; newspaper and magazine writers; there are poets and fiction writers; and children writers; business and technical writers... If there is a group in your area, attend it a couple of times to see if its right for you. If there isn't a group in your community, start one.

I attend several groups and started a Christian writers group in our area. This has been one of the greatest adventures I've ever been on and what I have learned from each group is priceless. It's like taking a writing class every week.

The next time someone refers to my group as "the blind leading the blind", I will invite him to join us because he definitely doesn't know anything about writers' groups!

About the Author
Marcella has been writing professionally since 1988 – with over 700 published credits in over 300 small press publications nationwide, including several local newspapers, she continues writing for several publications and websites such as this one. In 2005, her first book of poetry entitled
Bittersweet Morsels, was published.

Marcella is working on several romantic suspense book projects at this time. "Writing is a way of life for me. I couldn't imagine 'not' writing. One of my many passions is writing for children – some of my stories appeared in Primary Treasure, Christian Educator, The Vision and many others," Marcella said. "In 1991, I graduated from THE INSTITUTE OF CHILDREN'S LITERATURE: Writing for Children and Teens; WRITER'S DIGEST SCHOOL: Nonfiction Writing; and ICS School of Short Story/Journalism," she continued. "I enjoy writing and teaching others how to write".

Marcella leads the Toledo Bend American Christian Writers group in Logansport. She also publishes a magazine for writers called The Writer's Monthly Review. Marcella is a member of the American Christian Writers ACW, Shreveport Writer's Group and the Attoyac Writers’ Guild in Center, Texas.


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