firstwriter.com – Saturday November 21, 2020
The 2021 edition of firstwriter.com’s bestselling directory for writers is out now, and represents the biggest overhaul of the book to date!
The number of listings of literary agents, publishers, and magazines has increased dramatically – from just over 1,300 in the last edition to over 3,000 in the new one. In fact, there are so many new listings that we've increased the page size by 70% to accommodate them. The new page size makes the book even easier to use as a physical object: while thicker books with smaller pages refuse to stay open on the page you want, the 2021 edition of The Writers' Handbook is much happier to lay open at the page you leave it on.
The new edition includes revised and updated listings from the 2020 edition, as well as over 2,000 brand new entries. And it's not just the number of entries that makes this the best directory for writers seeking markets for their writing. Finding the information you need is now quicker and easier than ever before, with new tables and an expanded index, and unique paragraph numbers to help you get to the listings you’re looking for.
A variety of new tables help you navigate the listings in different ways, including a new Table of Authors, which lists over 3,000 authors and tells you who represents them, or who publishes them, or both.
The number of genres in the index has exploded from under 100 in the last edition to over 500 in this one. So, for example, while there was only one option for “Romance” in the previous edition, you can now narrow this down to Historical Romance, Fantasy Romance, Supernatural / Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Romance, Diverse Romance, Erotic Romance, Feminist Romance, Christian Romance, or even Amish Romance.
The new edition includes:
All in a book that is 30% cheaper than the Writer’s Market ($29.99 RRP), and more than 50% cheaper than the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook (£25.00 RRP).
International markets become more accessible than ever, with listings that cover both the main publishing centres of New York and London, as well as markets in other English speaking countries. With more and more agents, publishers, and magazines accepting submissions online, this international outlook is now more important than ever.
There are no adverts, no advertorials, and no obscure listings padding out hundreds of pages. By including only what’s important to writers – contact details for literary agents, publishers, and magazines – this directory is able to provide more listings than its competitors, at a substantially lower price.
The book also allows you to create a subscription to the firstwriter.com website for free until 2022. This means you can get free access to the firstwriter.com website, where you can find even more listings, and also benefit from other features such as advanced searches, daily email updates, feedback from users about the markets featured, saved searches, competitions listings, searchable personal notes, and more.
“I know firsthand how lonely and dispiriting trying to find an agent and publisher can be. So it's great to find a resource like firstwriter.com that provides contacts, advice and encouragement to aspiring writers. I've been recommending it for years now!”
~ Robin Wade; literary agent at the Wade & Doherty Literary Agency Ltd, and long-term firstwriter.com subscriber
The print version is available to buy now at https://www.jpandadyson.com/books/writers_handbook.php, with an ebook version to follow soon.
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By G. Miki Hayden
Instructor at Writer's Digest University online and private writing coach
firstwriter.com – Wednesday October 28, 2020
Writers can always use “extra” dollars, and these days the “extra” is very much necessary. Okay, we may not know how to do much other than push words here and there, but if we do that well, our abilities, honed over the years, may bring in the hoped-for bucks—freelancing as an editor for other writers. The nice thing about taking on projects this way is that we can sleep late and work at home in our sweats, another important point these days. Some of us do it, so why not you?
Having the talent to do the work is the starting point for the would-be freelancer. But don’t fool yourself. Not all writers are editors. Just because you can write a publishable novel (even one not published yet) doesn’t mean you can tell somebody else how to do the same thing.
What makes a good fiction editor? Long-time editor Mary I. Kilchenstein (AKA Mary Kirk) details this frankly: *The ability to make someone else’s story and characters your own, just as if you yourself had created them. *The detachment to remember that the story and characters aren’t yours and that their creator has final say over what happens to them. *The ability to pinpoint the exact problems standing in the way of a manuscript being published. *The ability to articulate the identified problems so that it’s useful to the author. *The imagination to find workable solutions that make sense. *The judgment not to overwhelm—and maybe paralyze—the client by telling her more than she can deal with. *The courage and the integrity to tell the truth, even when the truth may be that the manuscript will require major revisions. *The compassion to know how to deliver bad news in a friendly but unemotional, considerate but straightforward manner.
“A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down,” notes Kilchenstein who is so tactful that clients thank her for thirty-five page revision letters saying, in essence, “Bury it.”
Katriena Knights further reminds would-be freelancers, “An editor needs to be willing to let the author breathe. In the end, it's her book, not yours, though it can be hard for the editor to let go. You need to be able to allow other writers to keep their own voices and styles without forcing your own on them.” She also suggests that when a freelancer takes on a job, she has to be disciplined in meeting deadlines, and be organized so the little details don't fall through the cracks.
Editors should additionally be fairly knowledgeable about markets, and somewhat intuitive in regard to each particular author's strengths and capacity.
Mostly, a bottom-line requirement for a freelance word-worker is a thorough grasp of the technical side, particularly grammar and punctuation.
Finding the Jobs
Those loaded with the outlined skill-set will want to be underway immediately. So where are the jobs found?
A “ton” of freelancing opportunities exist out there, states Knights. She advises searching online under the keywords “freelance writing and editing jobs,” where you’ll find a collection of website portals. At these, you can either set up an account and bid on work, or have access to lists of available projects.
Other than that, network all over the place—plus you may often receive referrals from satisfied clients.
The Dollar Payoff
The next big question is what to charge. Understanding that writers are often strapped for cash, try to keep your rates at a reasonable level. I’ve found that most work with clients is either by word count (the fairer option) or by the (defined in terms of format) page. And I say add in a certain amount for particularly difficult work. If the client writes without knowing the rules of the road—punctuation and such—the job will take longer and so the editor may add a charge on that account. The charge should be agreed upon by both parties at the start of the project.
Knights has a certain pay scale in mind when she bids on work, and she notes, “One of the problems with freelance portals, overall, is that a ton of people out there expect to pay extremely low rates for work. I bid high, because I want to be able to make a living.” (Knights now has her client base and isn’t seeking further editing jobs.)
Publishers often have set fees or hourly rates for projects they assign to freelancers, so you take it or leave it.
Affect on the Novelist’s Own Writing?
Knights finds that her editing jobs have improved her own writing, since this makes her more alert to all the little details. Further, “Sometimes I'll ding somebody for a plot point and go oh, wait, I did that same thing in such-and-such. So, yes, a lot of learning goes on as you edit other folks' work, and that definitely can come out in your own writing.”
Kilchenstein echoes the finding that editing can improve the editor’s own writing. However, she says, “It’s also made writing a thousand times harder for me. In the first place, I can’t think about more than one story and set of characters at a time, whether they’re mine or somebody else’s. So when I’m editing, I can’t write—period.” At the same time, the analytical part of her brain goes into overdrive with the editing and she needs some space afterward to return to a better balance of creative and analytical “sides”.
Thus, while the requirements for doing this sort of work may seem the same as those for sainthood, and the work can be stringent, it can also be rewarding—both in terms of helping others to create some wonderful written works and in making those so-called “extra” dollars.
Using an Editor?
What can you expect as an author looking for an editor’s help with a project?
*Editors do want to make money but their time is limited. They can only work on so many projects per year. Therefore, they have to deem projects worthy before taking them on. Don’t feel insulted if you’re rejected by the editor. That mostly means the fit wouldn’t be a good one. Go down the line and try the next person recommended.
*Deciding on the fit works both ways. You can ask for a small sample of the editing—maybe a page—in order to see what you’re getting yourself into. Even then should you decide to go ahead, if you’re not convinced this is the right editor, make a small commitment to start rather than asking to have the whole work edited. You should be able to tell after an hour or two of editing whether you and the freelancer click.
*Money is one of the major considerations for most authors. You want to have the best manuscript possible to send out but does that mean you have to spend thousands of dollars? A reasonably good editor shouldn’t cost the author a king’s ransom—more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better skills (don’t be intimidated)—but cheaper isn’t always better, either. Cheaper might mean the editor’s skills aren’t strong, but more expensive can simply mean someone with a good reputation who may or may not be better than a less pricey freelancer.
*You can expect to have the editor set a fixed fee and a finish date before starting to work. While a date might change due to emergencies, it shouldn’t shift by weeks or months. You might want to build some recourse into your agreement, though most freelancers will honor any deadlines set. You should also anticipate having to send your freelancer a deposit of at least half the total upfront, and you may have to send the remainder before completion of the second part of the work.
Generally speaking, the editing of a manuscript means one go through, which also means the results won’t be absolutely pristinely perfect. If you want perfect, that means more than a single draft—and a much higher pay scale for the editor. (I do a second go-through anyway because I invariably miss something and that bothers me.)
Do you really want an editor to work on your writing? Yes, you well may. A career as a writer ultimately is about the selling. If you have some writing weaknesses, and we all do, then turn to a professional to help you out. Many authors do just that, for the competitive advantage.
For details of firstwriter.com's editorial services, and for an instant online quote, click here
G. Miki Hayden is the author of the award-winning guide for mystery writers, Writing the Mystery: A Start-to-Finish Guide for Both Novice and Professional, available now from JP&A Dyson.
"Whatever your habitual errors are, punctuation, writing style, or even not understanding what the agents/editors are looking for, if you'd like to correct your flaws, take a class with me at Writer's Digest: https://www.writersonlineworkshops.com/. Or for some less-expensive guidance, you might want to download The Naked Writer for your Kindle at Amazon. Yes, I work with clients privately. Find me on Facebook."
G. Miki Hayden always has a new class starting at Writer's Digest. The feedback she gives is personal, thorough, and actionable.
Writers' Handbook 2020 - Out Now!
Some of this month's news for writers from around the web.
publishersweekly.com – Wednesday November 18, 2020
In a New York Times story this morning, the paper reported that the country’s two largest trade book publishers are the leading candidates to buy the country’s third largest trade publisher. HarperCollins and Penguin Random House are favored, and were cited as such after private equity firms reportedly dropped out of the bidding.
Several international publishers had been thought to be looking at S&S as well, with France's Vivendi believed to still have interest.
booksandpublishing.com.au – Monday November 16, 2020
In the UK, stats from the Publishers Association (PA) show that total book sales across the industry fell 11% in the first six months of the year, reports the Bookseller.
According to the PA, the total invoiced value of sales from UK publishers in all formats (including exports) was £1.5 billion (A$2.72b), down from £1.7 billion (A$3.1b) in the first half of 2019. Total sales for the UK market alone were down 6% to £837 million (A$1.51b), while exports fell 17% to £653 million (A$1.18b).
A big increase in fiction titles (up 13%), and a surge in sales of ebooks (up 26%) and audiobooks (up 47%), were outweighed by a 17% drop in print books, led by steep falls in the educational and professional sector.
theguardian.com – Saturday November 14, 2020
Sales of digital books by British publishers are set to hit an all-time high this year as the public turns to reading to escape pandemic cabin fever.
However, the ebook and audiobook boom comes at a high cost for the industry, with global sales of printed books by UK publishers plunging by 55m in the first six months of the year as high streets and schools closed during the first coronavirus lockdown.
The pandemic has revived the fortunes of the consumer ebook. The format once touted as the future of reading has suffered six straight years of sales declines since peaking in 2014 but this year has been different, with sales home and abroad up 17% to £144m in the first half. UK publishers can now expect consumer ebooks to enjoy their best year since 2015, when sales were just under £300m.
|Click here for the rest of this month's news >|
A selection of the new listings added to firstwriter.com this month.
firstwriter.com – Wednesday October 28, 2020
Publishes thrillers, women’s fiction and romances without the hero’s point of view, between 60,000 and 100,000 words, suitable for a female adult audience.
firstwriter.com – Friday November 20, 2020
I have an interest in science, psychology, cultural history and environmental issues. I enjoy gripping adventure fiction, speculative fiction and emotionally driven commercial fiction. Submissions should be sent to my assistant by via email, with a synopsis and first three chapters. Please do not send submissions via the post.
firstwriter.com – Wednesday November 18, 2020
Most interested in narrative nonfiction in the areas of popular science, big ideas, history, humor, pop culture, memoir, and reportage, in addition to voice-driven literary fiction with a bold plot and fresh, imaginative characters. She’s excited by strong female and underrepresented voices, the strange and speculative, and projects that ignite cultural conversation.
|Click here for more of this month's new listings >|
Some of this month's articles for writers from around the web.
chortle.co.uk – Friday November 20, 2020
British publishing is scared of funny novels, according to Caimh McDonnell.
The former stand-up, turned author said he first released his witty thrillers himself because he couldn’t find a publisher who would take them.
Even though his next title, The Stranger Times, is being released by a traditional company, Transworld, he said: ‘A couple of editors said they didn’t want to put in a big offer because they were scared of the funny.
femalefirst.co.uk – Tuesday November 17, 2020
Two years ago, when my literary agent had to suddenly retire to take care of her ailing hubby, I prepared to pitch to new agents at a local writers’ conference. Before I could join the pitch session, an agent buddy pulled me aside and told me not to tell anyone my book was a Paranormal Romance. Call it anything else, but not that.
We stood in a quiet hallway at the conference while I tried to process what she’d just shared. Then she leaned in close and whispered, “Tracey, Paranormal Romance is dead.”
I couldn’t hold back my disbelief, mouth dropping open, eyes blinking, seeing nothing. Paranormal Romance dead? How could that be when I see bookshelves, both physical and virtual, filled with books in this genre? Readers are hungry for these stories.
The agent went on to share that the Big 5 publishers weren’t actively acquiring Paranormal Romance. They had too much already on their author roster. So agents were steering clear of anything with even a whiff of Paranormal Romance. It would be a hard “no.”
I believed my friend, I truly did. But in my heart, I knew that nothing would ever kill this genre.
theguardian.com – Monday November 2, 2020
If everyone has a book in them, then November is the month that many of those books are conceived. NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, comes of age this year with its 21st birthday, and the concept remains as simple as it was in 1999: over 30 days, write at least 50,000 words of your novel.
Almost 368,000 novels have been completed by participants. There are no prizes or league tables, just the satisfaction of taking part – and the potential creation of something publishable.
There remains some sniffiness over NaNoWriMo in some quarters, usually published novelists who like to point out that some people write all year round. Half the world wants to write, it seems, and that means they think they can. Yes, writing a novel is hard work. And for every author that gets published, hundreds – possibly thousands – fail. But does that mean that we shouldn’t write novels just for sheer enjoyment?
|Click here for the rest of this month's articles >|
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