Writers' Newsletter

Issue #241
April 2023

What’s the Selling Attitude?

By G. Miki Hayden
Instructor at Writer's Digest University online and private writing coach – Saturday April 1, 2023

I had a client at one time (writing of course) who forever insisted she was going to sell. Someone must have told her to be relentlessly positive, but her words rang out a false note when she pursued that stance. I couldn’t quite place my finger on it, but not only did I disbelieve her, but I found her Mistress of the Universe tone somehow irritating. She seemed to be hammering away at the question of placing her work rather than the issue of how to write a novel that was worth selling—pursuing her craft.

Don’t get me wrong. After writing a good novel, the objective is placing the novel and receiving the payoff. We all want that. The money (some money, anyway), the accolades…the money. We want readers.

But is being positive enough after writing a pretty darn good novel?

[Read the full article]

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Some of this month's news for writers from around the web.

Former Picador publisher Gwyn Jones joins Greyhound Literary as associate agent

Former Picador publisher Gwyn Jones joins Greyhound Literary as associate agent – Tuesday April 11, 2023

Philip Gwyn Jones, formerly publisher at Picador, has joined Greyhound Literary as an associate agent, starting today (11th April).

Gwyn Jones, who joined the literary Pan Macmillan imprint in June 2020 from Scribe UK, departed the company by mutual agreement last year to be succeeded by Mary Mount.

During his time as publisher of Picador he led commemorative activity and new publishing around two major anniversaries – Picador’s 50th and Picador Poetry’s 25th – and the imprint saw several titles top the bestseller lists and compete for literary prizes. 

[Read the full article]

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Martin McDonagh: I'll use my will to block Roald Dahl-style edits to my work

Martin McDonagh: I'll use my will to block Roald Dahl-style edits to my work – Sunday April 9, 2023

Martin McDonagh made the comments after publishers removed references in Dahl's classic children's books to minimise offence to readers

Martin McDonagh, the filmmaker and playwright, has suggested he could use his will to block Roald Dahl-style posthumous edits to his work.

He warned that some theatre companies have refused to put on his plays in recent years because he refused to sanction changes to make the language more “palatable.”

But when asked about the potential for his work to be edited after his death, the 53-year-old indicated his will would prevent any changes. 

It comes after publishers and sensitivity readers removed references to weight, height, mental health, gender and colour in Dahl's classic children's books to minimise offence.

[Read the full article]

A look ahead to the inaugural Bournemouth Writing Festival

A look ahead to the inaugural Bournemouth Writing Festival – Tuesday April 4, 2023

The inaugural Bournemouth Writing Festival (April 21-23) offers more than 60 activities designed to improve and progress people’s writing – and how to get published! A mix of free and paid-for events, involving over 70 experienced writers and professionals, have been carefully curated to foster inspiration, networking and stimulate creativity, whatever your experience level is.

Held in venues within Bournemouth town centre, including St Peter’s Church and Art University Bournemouth’s Palace Court Theatre in Upper Hinton Road, television and film screenwriters, best-selling authors, poets, journalists, publicists, writing coaches, editors and publishers will be sharing their advice through talks and practical writing workshops.

[Read the full article]

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A selection of the new listings added to this month.

New Publisher Listing: Sinister Stoat Press

New Publisher Listing: Sinister Stoat Press – Thursday April 13, 2023

Horror publisher publishing Furry works, Queer Horror, Extreme Horror, Splatter Punk, Slashers, Paranormal Horror, Weird Horror, Vampires, Werewolves, Monsters, Cryptids (within reason), Sci-Fi horror, and Dark Fantasy. Only accepting work from Authors of Color, Authors who Identify as LGBTQ+, Authors with Disabilities, and Current and Former Sex Workers.

[See the full listing]

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New Literary Agency Listing: Perez Literary & Entertainment

New Literary Agency Listing: Perez Literary & Entertainment – Wednesday April 5, 2023

A full-service agency dedicated to storytelling in all of its forms. We believe in the power of words to open minds and change lives. In today’s fast moving marketplace, we are on the constant lookout for opportunities in both traditional and non-traditional media. We are committed to empowering our clients and helping them to formulate the best strategies to achieve their storytelling goals.

[See the full listing]

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New Magazine Listing: Tributaries

New Magazine Listing: Tributaries – Monday April 3, 2023

Weekly online publication, showcasing the brief and the inspiring, that which sustains us and takes us through unexpected courses. Each week we will feature one short piece on our website. Submit one poem or up to 500 words of fiction or nonfiction prose, translations in any genre, and hybridity that addresses the mission. Multiple submissions are not accepted. Simultaneous submissions are fine as long as you notify us immediately. We do not accept previously published work.

[See the full listing]

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Click here for more of this month's new listings >


Some of this month's articles for writers from around the web.

AI is no Shakespeare. Why ChatGPT, other tools are unlikely to take your writing job – Sunday April 16, 2023

“Shakespeare’s not such a great writer,” a fellow student said during an English class years ago. “His stuff is lazy! There’s one cliché after another.”

Certainly, the then-teen could be forgiven for thinking that the playwright William Shakespeare phoned it in, so to speak. His plays are peppered with phrases that are now clichés. “My own flesh and blood,” “cruel to be kind” and “method to my madness” are a few from “Hamlet” alone.

But those tidbits weren’t clichés before Shakespeare. They didn’t exist until everyone saw that his phrasing was so imaginative and poignant they couldn’t resist adopting them.

The distinction between turning a phrase and borrowing one is critical to gauging where generative AI is heading, and what threats and opportunities it may present for the future of human composition.

[Read the full article]

3 Simple Tips on Writing the First 5 Pages of Your Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novel

3 Simple Tips on Writing the First 5 Pages of Your Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novel – Thursday April 13, 2023

If you’re a first-time author, the first five pages of your novel can make or break your publishing chances.

If you’ve decided to write a science fiction or fantasy novel, then I can really only offer you two words: good luck. The publishing landscape is not for the faint of heart, especially to new writers seeking to break into the industry. If you want to publish a book one day, you have to prepare yourself for rejection. Not everyone is going to fall in love with your story on the first draft–some may not get it on the final draft. 

Don’t believe me? Check out this excerpt from an Amazon review: “Everything from its banal and totally meaningless plot to its incredibly idiotic and unimaginative characters miserably fail in masking one of the worst books of all time.”

The book in question was The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien. 

More than 60 years of genre-defining acclaim and a billion-dollar, Oscar-winning film franchise couldn’t convince one reader that Tolkien knew what he was doing. 

How, then, are you supposed to prove your literary worth with just five pages? Because that’s all you get when pitching your book to agents: a five-page writing sample and an introductory query letter. 

[Read the full article]

Children's author Paul Jennings reflects on childhood, success and his writing process

Children's author Paul Jennings reflects on childhood, success and his writing process – Sunday April 9, 2023

A 13-word letter from a child was probably the most profound piece of writing ever to land in Paul Jennings' lap. 

"All he said was: 'Dear Paul Jennings, how come you know what it's like to be me?'," the author says.

"Good grief, you know. That little boy could see himself in my story, which is exactly what I want."

Close to four decades and nine million book sales have transpired since Jennings began his career as a children's writer.

[Read the full article]

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