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Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover

March 11th, 2019

Before moving on, I’d just like to return to the winner of our Book Review Competition. I really enjoyed reading all the entries but the ones that got shortlisted were the ‘professional’ ones. By this I mean the ones that were presented like you would see a review in a newspaper or magazine. Before the review begins there should be the title, the author, the publisher and the ISBN (International Standard Book Number). The ISBN is usually displayed above a barcode on the back cover of a paperback. The review then needs to pique the reader’s interest and, in the case of a novel, not provide any ‘spoilers’. Writing a good review isn’t always as easy as it seems!

I love reviews and over the years have built a reading list based on what takes my interest. Each week I read the book review section of my Sunday paper and each month I note any recommendations in Writing Magazine. First, I check to see if my chosen book is available on my library app and either download it or reserve it. Next, when I visit the local library I’ll take my list along and browse to see what they’ve got in. Finally, if I can’t get a book from the library I check out how much it would cost to download from Amazon (can’t you just tell I’m a cheapskate)!

If you don’t have some kind of system you often end up either borrowing/buying books haphazardly that you don’t really enjoy (you can’t always judge a book by its cover). Or you play it safe and just stick to the same small group of writers that you know and like.

Incidentally, if you’re a member of our Association of Freelance Writers you can get half-price subscription to Writing Magazine in your first year. If you’ve never subscribed before you’ll find it interesting and useful. It covers a wide range of writing topics – advice, interviews with published writers, competitions, market news – and is a great source of information.  And if you do join The AFW there are various other perks to be enjoyed.

There are writing competitions that are only open to women, others that are only open to ethnic minorities or the LGBT community. Now we have one that’s dedicated to older writers! Write Time runs short story competitions four times a year, the latest one closing on 31st March. The maximum word length is 1500 and the fee is £3 per story (two for £5). Visit their website for full details of how to enter. As I’ve said before, I’m not completely comfortable with competitions that exclude other groups as I feel that writing should be taken on its merits, not judged by who has written it – but perhaps that’s just me!

Talking of which, don’t forget that our own Short Story Competition closes on 31st March, so if you’re planning to enter (and we don’t care what your background is, as long as you can write!) you’d better get your skates on.

My guest next week is former Writers Bureau tutor, Alex Gazzola, who will be looking at the best way to identify and correct mistakes in your writing. He’s an expert on a wide variety of topics as well as writing-related ones, so it will be interesting to hear what he’s got to say.

Author: Diana Nadin



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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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