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Time To Try Something Different?

January 11th, 2021

A rather belated New Year to all our readers!  I’m sure many of you found your plans changing at the last minute and that, overall, it was a rather peculiar time. But, we’ve got through it and need to start looking to the future.

I’ve decided not to make any resolutions this year. I’m rather tired of listening to all the self-help gurus giving advice and suggesting we should be ‘mindful’ or that we think of three things to be thankful for before we go to bed each night.

Instead, I’m just going to try to get through this difficult time as best I can using my own inner resources (and the occasional glass of red wine!) I find I’m going to bed earlier at night (hibernation?) and that I’m reading a lot more. Plus, I’ve got to agree with those who advocate a dose of daily exercise, if it’s only to top-up your vitamin D levels. Read the rest of this entry »




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The Rise And Fall Of The E-book

July 11th, 2017

First, thanks to Walter for last week’s blog. I couldn’t agree more with what he has to say. Winning a writing competition has lots of advantages: the prize (whether cash or some other goodie), the confidence it gives you (let’s be honest, we all like our egos massaging at times), publication, the promotion you get as a writer and, of course, the chance to meet famous authors!

There’s also the fact that making yourself write something new for a competition and then polishing it until you know it’s the very best you can do is wonderful discipline for any writer. And this is one of the main reasons why, here at Writers Bureau, we hold a number of competitions each year: short story, flash fiction, poetry and limerick. So, here’s a quick reminder that you’ve still time to have some fun and win a cash prize by entering our latest Limerick Competition. The closing date is 31st July… so it’s creeping up on you fast! Read the rest of this entry »




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Spread Your Talent

August 11th, 2016

tennysonsgif4thestate-blogI was reading an interview in the paper last weekend with best-selling author James Patterson. To date he’s sold more than 350 million books – but he was rejected by 31 publishers before his first novel ‘The Thomas Berryman Number’ was published in 1976. So, if you’ve had your fair share of rejections, don’t despair!

When asked what advice he’d give to others he was quoted as saying, “Writers always ask me how they should market their books. My advice is, don’t worry about that. Just start your next book. Just write.”

Sounds good, but I suspect it only really works if you already have a publisher, are earning lots of money for them and you are famous. For us mere mortals, in an age where getting an agent, let alone a publisher, seems nigh on impossible, I don’t really think it works. Publishers are having their promotional budgets cut all the time and the onus to generate self-publicity is falling more and more upon the author. And if you choose to self-publish, you’ve no alternative but to use every means at your disposal to reach the reading public. The thought of sitting at home beavering away at book after book may sound comforting but it’s not going to get a novice writer noticed. Read the rest of this entry »




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Share Your ‘Best Reads’ With Friends

May 20th, 2016

iphone_litsy7_screen-blogLast week I mentioned that we’d soon be able to announce the winners of our Flash Fiction Competition.  We had well over 500 entries and it’s been quite easy to whittle these down to a shortlist. But when we got that shortlist  – and this year there were 25 stories on it –  it became very difficult to choose the actual winners as the quality of all of them was so good.

I find it hard to enjoy the brevity that goes with a flash fiction story that is only 50 or 100 words – there’s just not enough ‘depth’ for me. But give a good writer 500 words to play with and they can create a piece that really resonates with the reader. We’ve more or less made our decision now and we should be announcing it next week – so watch this space, and I feel sure you’ll agree with me. Read the rest of this entry »




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Bookshops Rise Again

February 12th, 2016

Bookstore-Indie-blogA few years ago bookshops were in decline and everyone was telling us that paper books were finished, but it now seems to be going the other way.

Over in China dangdang.com, a huge online retailer, is planning to open 1000 new bookshops across the country, following the launch of its first outlet in Changsha City, Hunan.

After 20 years of online sales, Amazon opened its first real-world bookstore recently in Seattle’s University Village. It’s stocked with 6000 books at the same price as they can be bought on the website and I suspect that the roll-out will continue if it proves profitable. Read the rest of this entry »




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