Writers' Newsletter

Issue #244
July 2023


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

Writers' Guild of Great Britain Publishes Report on AI

Writers' Guild of Great Britain Publishes Report on AI – Sunday July 16, 2023

The Writers' Guild of Great Britain, a union that represents writers in such professions as books, film, and TV, has revealed the results of a survey about artificial intelligence. Sixty-five percent of respondents said that they believed that the increased use of AI will reduce their income from writing, while 61% were worried that AI could replace jobs in their craft areas. In response, WGGB has published "Writers and AI," a policy position statement outlining the challenges caused by AI and the risks that go with it, as well as the potential AI has to benefit the writing profession.

Current concerns about AI in the report include decreased job opportunities for writers, the suppression of writer pay, infringements of copyright and the use of writers' work without their permission, and lack of adequate regulation from the government. Eighty-one percent of respondents to the survey felt that writers should be paid a fee when their work is used by AI systems.

[Read the full article]

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Country Life publisher Future launches buyback amid fears media group running out of steam

Country Life publisher Future launches buyback amid fears media group running out of steam – Monday July 10, 2023

Magazine publisher Future has launched a £45m share buyback to placate investors, as the media group battles to reverse flagging earnings and readership.

Future, which owns titles including The Week and Country Life, said it planned to repurchase up to 10pc of total shares.

The London-listed company said the move would provide greater flexibility to deliver value for shareholders, while still maintaining a strong balance sheet.

Shares rose 48p to 741p on the announcement.

However, industry analysts said the buyback was an attempt to soothe investor concerns about Future’s flagging share price and earnings.

[Read the full article]

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Pushkin Press acquires two indie publishers and unveils new classics list

Pushkin Press acquires two indie publishers and unveils new classics list – Monday July 10, 2023

Pushkin Press has announced plans for a new Pushkin Classics list following the acquisition of two independent publishers, Peter Owen Publishers and Angel Classics.

The first eight titles on the new list will be published in the UK on 3rd August, with roughly two titles a month following. Encompassing fiction and non-fiction, the list will feature new translations as well as covers by Pushkin Press art director Jo Walker.

Some titles are brand new to Pushkin Press, while others have been published before by Pushkin. Many are books that Pushkin brought to a UK audience for the first time, including launch titles The Evenings by Gerard Reve, Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman, Journey by Moonlight by Antal Szerb and The Spectre of Alexander Wolf by Gaito Gazdanov.

[Read the full article]

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A selection of the new listings added to this month.

New Literary Agent Listing: Francesca Riccardi

New Literary Agent Listing: Francesca Riccardi – Thursday July 13, 2023

Reads widely, especially across popular commercial genres, but is a particular fan of crime and thrillers, and loves a dogged detective or unusual sleuth. She also enjoys books about unusual family dynamics, toxic friendships and people keeping secrets.

[See the full listing]

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New Publisher Listing: Tenacious

New Publisher Listing: Tenacious – Monday July 3, 2023

Genres wanted at this time include Action/Adventure, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery/ Suspense/Crime, Romance (without graphic details), Nonfiction, Women’s Lit, Southern-Lit, Historical Fiction.

[See the full listing]

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New Publisher Listing: Out-Spoken Press

New Publisher Listing: Out-Spoken Press – Wednesday June 28, 2023

A London-based independent publisher of poetry and critical writing with the aim of providing a platform for compelling writing from voices that were (and remain) under-represented in mainstream publishing. Publishes full-length poetry collections and pamphlets.

[See the full listing]

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

My A.I. Writing Robot

My A.I. Writing Robot – Tuesday July 11, 2023

In May, I was confronted with a robot version of my writer self. It was made, at my request, by a Silicon Valley startup called Writer, which specializes in building artificial-intelligence tools that produce content in the voice of a particular brand or institution. In my case, it was meant to replicate my personal writing voice. Whereas a model like OpenAI’s ChatGPT is “trained” on millions of words from across the Internet, Robot Kyle runs on Writer’s bespoke model with an extra layer of training, based on some hundred and fifty thousand words of my writing alone. Writer’s pitch is that I, Human Kyle, can use Robot Kyle to generate text in a style that sounds like mine, at a speed that I could only dream of. Writer’s co-founder and chief technology officer, Waseem Alshikh, recently told me that the company’s goal is to use A.I. to “scale content and scale language.” For more than a month now, I have been experimenting with my literary automaton to see how well it accomplishes this task. Or, as Robot Kyle put it when I asked him to comment on the possibility of replacing me: “How could a machine generate the insights, observations, and unique perspectives that I provide as a human?”

[Read the full article]

How does anyone make a living writing about what they love these days?

How does anyone make a living writing about what they love these days? – Monday July 10, 2023

You may have to subsidize the price of passion, but you don’t have to become a foot soldier in the clickbait content cavalcade.

A few months ago, Serena Coady, a London-based journalist, wrote on Twitter that she was courted by an editor at an entertainment news site that “rhymed with Green Pant.” That wasn’t newsworthy; it was the limbo champion rates, which Coady shared.

My disgust — what the hell are “Super Features”? — soon hardened into indifference. I’ve been a full-time freelance writer since 2008.  Inspired by Roger Ebert’s annual “Movie Yearbooks” and Entertainment Weekly during its smart, snarky mid-’90s heyday, a healthy chunk of my career was spent trying to be an entertainment writer. I saw gigs like this, built on speed and clicks and being kind of, sort of, not really adjacent to showbiz, all the time.

I had some of them. I wrote posts for an entertainment blog for $6 a pop. I profiled actress Rose Byrne, who was lovely, for the unpleasant rate of $12. This personal essay on dating shows fetched me nothing.

I’ve written about my travails as a movie reviewer before. The balcony isn’t just closed; I fear it’s bricked solid.

[Read the full article]

Dangling modifiers, misplaced commas muddy your writing

Dangling modifiers, misplaced commas muddy your writing – Saturday July 8, 2023

Here's a grab bag of gifts for those who want to remove common errors from their writing.

Common error No. 1: Misuse of a plural verb.

"In the end, neither the malicious glee from the Right nor the aggressive minimization from the Left are treating this case with the sensitivity it deserves."

Because that sentence cites two elements — malicious glee and aggressive minimization — the writer has been seduced into using the plural verb form "are treating." But the controlling form — neither/nor — requires the singular verb "is treating."

The word neither means "this one." The word nor means "that one." The same rule applies with either/or.

[Read the full article]

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