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Inside this packed issue of E-zee Writer you will find advice on which rights to sell, 10 top tips on writing erotica and ideas for future articles.

E-zee Writer
Top Tips For Writers

E-zee Writer Top Tips for Writers Issue 96 
October 2008

Hello all and welcome to a great October issue.

Thoughts of the forthcoming festivities of Hallowe’en are at the front of my mind this month. I am a big fan of traditional pagan celebrations, although this one is a little mixed up with Christian religion too, and I like to make a big effort, especially with my nieces and nephews. We will go trick or treating, carve pumpkins into scary patterns and face paint each other. I can’t imagine how I’m going to look after my 5 year old niece gets hold of me – fun, fun, fun!

If you celebrate Hallowe’en, have a good one. If you don’t, and you are curious about what it is, take a look at this site for the serious stuff: and this one for the fun stuff: and have a go at carving your own pumpkin and send e-cards to your friends and me if you like!

Thanks to all of you who sent in your treasured poems; I enjoyed seeing what you like to spend your time reading. And, I am pleased to say, I found one that I particularly like. Sent in by Akizina Esso Lomie from Kenya, They ran out of mud, by Kenyan poet Miriam Khamadi Were is simple, beautiful and to the point. More importantly, it made me smile. I found Akizina’s explanation of why she liked it endearing as I too, for whatever reason, have a habit of leaving half finished projects strewn about the place. She also makes a brief but interesting comparison to the political environment she lives in, which will strike a chord with many of you. You can read Akizina’s poem and her thoughts in the End Note.

Lorraine Mace, our new tutor, is offering her expert opinion to us this month on the subject of getting it right – as in getting your rights right as a freelancer. This is something we get asked about a lot – many of you find the different legal aspects of writing tricky. So read through Lorraine’s excellent, and easy to understand, guide and the fog should clear.

Our successes this month come from Lorraine in the UK and Lesley in India. They should provide you with some encouragement and belief in the impossible becoming reality.

Also remember that there are always lots of events you can attend to improve your writing. For instance throughout October, November and December the University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing is running a series of talks featuring famous novelists. In their words, ‘Our unique events bring the best-known contemporary novelists and poets to Manchester to discuss and read from their work’. You can view the programme here

Or if you want to break into screenwriting you should attend the 2008 Screenwriting Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Centre, California. The four day event starts on 12th November and will offer the chance, amongst other things, to make a pitch, attend classes on screenwriting and meet Hollywood’s best writers. Details here If you are interested in scriptwriting take a look at one of the websites I’ve recommended this month, too!

If anyone knows of or attends any events they feel particularly enthused about, no matter how big or small, please let me know so that other writers can benefit as well.

Finally, this year’s Writer of the Year Competition winners are now on our website. Well done to Justin, Allison, Hazel, Paola and Christine – phew! You can read their stories on our website and entries for next year are now being accepted!

Have a great month!


P.S. Do you have a piece of work that you are struggling to sell? Are you starting work on a project? Or maybe you are just stuck trying to find the perfect ending for that story you’ve been writing forever?

If so, you should take a look at our Review and Appraisal service. We offer this service for those of you who do not want to embark on a full course of study but would like to have a professional, one-to-one critique and some valuable feedback from a knowledgeable professional. It’s well worth it!



‘I’d always fancied the idea of being a “writer”, and had a notion of sitting with an ink pen and notebook, probably in a beautiful garden. I would ideally write best-selling novels, but also articles for magazines and newspapers. However, I am a person who needs to feel prepared before they jump into something and wasn’t confident enough to just start. Therefore I enrolled on the Writers Bureau Course and devoured all the course materials that were relevant to what I wanted to do.

‘I only did three assignments and was encouraged by the feedback I received. It was enough to give me the confidence and information I needed to just get on with it!

‘However, with a busy job and social life, I didn’t have enough time to devote to my writing to actually get anywhere, so I quit my job, bought a round-the-world ticket and headed first to South America with my tent and my toothbrush.

‘By day I would walk over the Argentine pampas, or the Chilean Andes and as night fell I would put up my tent behind some bushes and write up all the thoughts that had been swirling round my head during the day, and try to forget that there were still pumas out there...

‘I finished my novel seven months later sat on Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia and then it was time to come home. I checked my Writers Bureau notes, then sent my book off and the first publisher, Honno, accepted it for publication.

‘Chocolate Mousse and Two Spoons was published this April and since then I have been trying to help in the marketing of it, so back to my Writers Bureau notes again for advice on magazine articles. I have since had several things published, both paid and unpaid, but the best thing about it is that I am doing what I had planned to do all those years ago!

‘I am just doing the last edit before I send my second novel to Honno, although the writing of this has been very different – in the corners of playgroups and in lay-bys as our two young children sleep in the back of the car – not quite the beautiful garden and an ink pen scenario, more of an exercise book and a sticky biro.

‘The Writers Bureau course gave me confidence and unravelled the mystery of the writing industry. Although the work obviously has to be good, the process of publication and marketing needs to be understood if writing is to actually get anywhere – and this is what the course did for me.’

Chocolate Mousse and Two Spoons!;

Travel mag:

BBC website:

Guardian website:

Synergize Website:

Lorraine Jenkin, UK

‘When I enrolled with the Writers Bureau for their creative writing correspondence course I did so for three basic reasons. The first and the most important reason was to earn a living by doing what I love the most, writing. Although I had seen my name in print even before taking this course, I knew that this was only a small piece of my potential. So my second reason was to write for a more varied genre. And lastly, I wanted to access foreign markets and be able to tap the huge market resource of the internet.

‘Now that I am into my second year and have completed 10 assignments I can proudly claim to have achieved all these three desires just half way through and to top my achievements, I have also earned back my tuition fee!

‘The market research benefited me the most. I was sitting on a gold mine and never even knew it. With the guidance of my tutors and the study material I was able to submit to so many markets that were suitable for my type of writing. And those who were not, I learned to slant my articles and they got accepted. I have also been successful in writing short stories, poetry, fillers, anecdotes, blogs, news stories and umpteen features and articles for both print and the internet. I have become a freelance correspondent for our local supplementary newspaper which is a part of The Times of India. I have taken up content writing for a web magazine and have work regularly published in The Teenager,, East Kolkata Plus and Woman’s Era. But the works that have given me the most satisfaction are an article I produced for the Funds for Writers small markets newsletter because being a writers’ newsletter I was thrilled to be a part of it. The other was an anecdote for The Reader’s Digest. All of which would have been impossible had I not joined the Writers Bureau Creative Writing course.’§id=2&contentid=2008082920080829174217434350

Lesley Biswas, India

If you would like a prospectus for the courses studied by Lorraine or Lesley email us here with your full name and postal address.

Or, to share your success stories with others, just send an email to with 'Success Story' in the subject line.


FREELANCE MARKET NEWSFreelance Market News Magazine
an essential guide for freelance writers

For up-to-date market information, Freelance Market News is invaluable.

Issued 11 times a year it's packed with information on markets in Britain and around the globe, plus you get all the latest news and views on the publishing world.

Every subscription comes with FREE membership of The Association of Freelance Writers. Your membership also entitles you to discounts on books and competitions, a free appraisal worth over £30 and a Membership Card which confirms your status as a Freelance Writer.

FREE sample copies are available to view at the website, along with more details about the magazine and how you can subscribe.


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Getting it Right


Lorraine Mace

For many writers, and not just newcomers to the world of freelancing, it is hard to understand exactly what we are signing away when we accept a contract. Can we sell the same piece of work again? If yes, where and how often can it be sold? If no, why not, and have we been paid fairly for losing out on all the other rights we could have offered elsewhere? The following sections should help clarify exactly what is meant by each Right offered, because, as writers, we need to make sure we are Getting it Right.

What are Serial Rights?
All writers own the full copyright to their work until those rights have been assigned to a third party. The moment a piece of work is written we automatically own a package of rights which can be broken down into various components. Each part can be sold, or assigned, separately, or you can sell the entire package in one transaction, although this isn't advisable unless the fee is too good to pass up. Selling All Rights is dealt with in more detail later in the article.

First Serial Rights:
When you sell a publication the right to publish your story, article or poem for the first time, you are assigning to that publication First Serial Rights for the country in which the item will appear. All other rights remain with you. So, if you sell an item with First British Serial Rights and then sell the same piece to an overseas publication, you would subsequently be assigning First North American Serial Rights, First Australian Serial Rights, or First Rights for whichever country you have sold into.

Second Serial (Reprint) Rights:
Selling Second Serial Rights means giving a publication the right to publish your work after the piece has already been published elsewhere. You must always state when you are offering reprint rights, as the magazine may believe they are buying First Rights unless you do so.

If you are able to locate several markets for Reprint Rights, you are free to sell your work as often as you wish, as Reprint Rights are non-exclusive. So, let's say a piece you've sold in Britain is subsequently sold to another British magazine, you would offer the new magazine Second Serial Rights. If you then sold the same piece to another country, you could still offer First Serial Rights, but only for the new country.

All Rights:
Selling All Rights means exactly what it says and should only be done when justified by the fee received. You will be allowing the publisher to use your work in any format they choose, without any additional payment, whether the use is print or electronic. You would normally keep the right to say you are the author, but would lose all the other rights. This means you cannot publish, market, or perform the piece anywhere in the world - ever.

Subsidiary Rights:
A book publishing contract might contain a clause covering Subsidiary Rights. Subsidiary Rights cover a variety of rights such as (amongst others) anthology and quotation, Braille, computer game, film, video, audiotape, educational, translation, book club and foreign rights. It is advisable to obtain legal assistance with book contracts. If you do not have an agent it is worth contacting The Society of Authors. The society offers its members a contract vetting service.

Electronic Rights:
These rights work in a similar way to print rights in that you have First Electronic Rights, which means selling the work for the first time in electronic format. The difference is that Electronic Rights are not limited to country. If the piece has appeared on a website anywhere in the world, you have used your First Electronic Rights. However, even if your work has previously appeared in print form you can still offer First Electronic Rights. In practice, though, some editors will only offer to purchase Reprint Rights if the work has appeared in print.

Exclusive Electronic Rights:
This means selling all electronic (but not print) rights for a specific period of time. At the end of the time period, which will vary from one website to another, the rights revert to you.

Non-Exclusive Electronic Rights:
The editor is purchasing the right to keep your work on their website for a specified period of time, but you are free to sell the work to other websites at the same time.

All Electronic Rights:
You are selling all rights in electronic format worldwide, which means you cannot even use the work on your own personal website, but you still retain print rights.

All Rights:
As has already been stated under the print rights section, All Rights means exactly what it says, so it is worth repeating here. If a website asks for All Rights (not All Electronic Rights) you would be giving up all your rights, print and electronic, and the fee should reflect this. You will not be able to sell the item to anyone else, anywhere in the world. The only way to reuse your work would be to rewrite it in a completely different form, even if the facts remained the same.

Archival Rights:
As with Exclusive and Non-Exclusive Rights, Archival Rights usually have a time period specified. These rights are normally non-exclusive, so you can have the same article archived on several websites and still sell Non-Exclusive Rights elsewhere. However, some websites ask the author not to do this, so do check the contract to make sure you haven't given Exclusive Archival Rights.

Print Publications and their attitude to Electronic Rights:
Many publishers will not accept First Serial Rights if your work has appeared online, even if only on your own personal website. For this reason, it is advisable only to put work on your site that has already been published in print format.

The other side of this equation is that some print publications are now asking for Electronic Rights, as well as First Serial Rights, without offering an additional payment. It is up to you to decide whether the prestige of the publication, and the payment offered, is sufficient to give up these rights without an increased fee.

Dramatic, Television and Motion Picture Rights:
If you are selling work for use in a play, television or film, these are the rights you will be selling. Normally, a work will be optioned. This means that the author is paid a percentage (usually10%) of the agreed upon purchase price of the work, in exchange for the exclusive right to market and produce the work. There is normally a time limit before the option expires. If the option is not exercised by the company, the author retains the money and is then free to offer the work to someone else.

To summarise:

· You own the copyright in your work and can assign rights to various publications.

· First Serial Rights are given to the publication which brings out your piece for the first time.

· Each country can be offered First Serial Rights in the same work.

· Reprint Rights can be sold as many times as you are able to find markets, but the publication must be made aware that you are only offering Reprint (Second) Rights.

· All Rights should only be sold if the fee covers the loss of income you will suffer from giving up Second Rights in the first country of sale, First Rights in other countries, and all Electronic Rights.

· Subsidiary Rights often appear in book contracts and advice should be sought before signing away these rights.

· Electronic Rights come in various forms and you need to understand which rights you are selling.

· Dramatic, Television and Motion Picture Rights entail selling an option to purchase, which doesn't necessarily mean the work will be ultimately bought or produced.

Lorraine Mace, a columnist with Writing Magazine (UK) and Queensland Writing (Australia) is the co-author, with Maureen Vincent-Northam, of The ABC Checklist for New Writers. Her work has been published in five countries. Winner of the Petra Kenney International Poetry Award (comic verse category), she writes fiction for the women's magazine market and is a writing competition judge. 


10 Top Tips on…Writing Erotica

Writing erotica is big business and can prove to be a lucrative outlet for your work. But if you’re a shrinking violet, blush at the mere thought of writing about sexual encounters, or worry about what your mother might think if she read your work – then this isn’t the genre for you!

1. Don’t confuse erotica with pornography. The latter usually provides graphic descriptions of the nuts and bolts of sex. Erotica, on the other hand, is much more cerebral, dealing with the magic of sexual passion.

2. You can’t get by with just a series of sexual encounters. You need to come up with a proper, gripping plot. It’s just as important as in any other genre if you are to keep your reader hooked.

3. You need a proper balance between fantasy and credibility. Are a couple – however infatuated – going to rip off their clothes in the fruit and veg section of the supermarket in the middle of the afternoon? Is a middle-aged, over-weight, balding librarian really going to be a babe-magnet, fighting women off at every turn?

4. You need the right setting – a sexually charged location. It has to be exotic, intriguing or glamorous – penthouse apartments, a millionaire’s yacht or a Victorian boudoir. Avoid squalor – the majority of readers are not turned on by public toilets.

5. Power is an aphrodisiac. Can there by any other reason why so many women seem to be attracted to ugly politicians and statesmen? Alternatively, think about the dynamic where one character has absolute power over another – the willing sex slave.

6. This is one genre where historical settings are still in demand. Consider the license that masqued balls, country house parties and the Victorian master-servant relationships provide. Think of the clothing your characters might wear (or enjoy taking off) – basques, corsetes, riding breeches!

7. Get the mood right and take especial care with the language you use when describing behaviour and body parts. If you are too polite the story will sound twee; if you are too graphic it will be seedy. Try to strike a balance. And remember, a good erotic tale doesn’t need swearing and sexual insults.

8. Writing erotica isn’t an easy option. In fact, it’s one of the most demanding genres. You need to be able to create atmosphere, tension and sexual frisson to make it work.

9. This is one of the few areas where using a pen-name is acceptable. Many well-known authors write erotica under a pseudonym.

10. And finally… know the taboos. Most outlets for erotica are fairly liberal but you must do your market research as thoroughly as you would for any other genre. Most magazines/ezines will have guidelines and many will not countenance incest, under-age sex, bestiality, necrophilia or extreme violence. Although, gay or lesbian sex and mild bondage/SM are usually acceptable. 

This is a great site if you need an expert opinion on something. Say, for instance, you are writing an article about dogs and you need to know what the best way to train your dog is. Click the menus, choose your expert, e-mail the question and - ta da - in three days you should have the answer! If you might want to quote the expert in your articles it would be best to mention it in the question. Do bear in mind that this is an American site but it will still be useful for free advice from those in the know. I used the site and received feedback within the hour – how good is that!
We get lots of queries regarding scriptwriting so I thought you might be interested in this site dedicated wholly to the art or writing for the entertainment industry. It provides, ‘the same professional feedback a screenplay would garner in the marketplace without the risk of negative consequence, as well as guiding its customers through the demands and expectations of the industry’. It is your connection to agents, producers, managers and studio and development executives who are always on the look out for new talent – so go on, this could be your lucky day!
I love this website! It contains everything you need to know about writing crime, including a ‘Reference and Research’ section covering such topics as how a routine autopsy is carried out, prison slang and forensic entomology (!), a ‘Mystery Writing’ section which includes links to websites such as Red Inkworks and Mystery Net (both offer resources for the budding crime writer) and a ‘Groups and Associations’ section which has links to all kinds of crime writers’ associations.

Crime writing is big news and potentially very lucrative. According to Crimetime, a free, downloadable online magazine available through the above website, ‘Almost one in every five books sold is a crime novel’. So, put your best detective hat on and get plotting!

If you fancy trying your hand at writing crime for competitions see the October issue of Freelance Market News. Page 14 details a fantastic competition run by Criminal Tendencies for writers previously unpublished in this genre – you could see your work alongside Val McDermid, Peter James plus other big names from the crime writing world. To subscribe to FMN please click here.

Remember, if you run a website that you think may be of use to our readers, let us know. If we like it, we’ll publish a link to it giving you a free plug. What could be better then that?

END NOTE and a little inspiration


Could you write an article about ...

2nd March 1807

The United States Congress decides to abolish the slave trade, effective January 1st 1808.

3rd March 1931

The Star Spangled Banner, written by Francis Scott and set to the music of a popular English drinking song written by John Stafford Smith, becomes the national anthem of America.

6th March 1980

The Academe Francaise accepts it’s first female novelist, Marguerite Yourcenar, most famous for Mémoires d'Hadrien.

7th March 1876

Alexander Graham Bell’s invention – the telephone – receives its patent.

9th March 1959

The first Barbie doll debuts in shops in the USA.

11th March 1952

Author of the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams, is born on this day.

13th March 1781

The planet Uranus is discovered by German-born British astronomer William Herschel.

15th March 44BC

The assassination of Julius Cesar takes place on the Ides of March.

16th March 1968

The massacre of My Lai – a village in southern Vietnam – takes place at the hands of American soldiers.

18th March 1858

The first diesel engine is invented by, yes – you’ve guessed it – Mr Diesel. Rudolph Diesel to be precise!

20th March 1828

Dramatist Henrik Ibsen – best known for A Doll's House (1879), Ghosts (1881), and Hedda Gabler (1890) – is born.

26th March 1971

Bangaldesh is formed after East Pakistan declares independence.

28th March 1941

Virginia Woolf, the British novelist and critic, commits suicide.

30th March 1853

Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh – famous for The Potato Eaters, Starry Night and Irises, amongst numerous others – is born in Zundert, Netherlands.

31st March 1959

The14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, moves to India following an unsuccessful attempt at rebellion by the Tibetan people against Chinese occupation.

Well folks, another issue comes to an end. I hope you enjoyed it! To finish with I have included Akizina’s favourite poem and her explanation as to why she likes it so much. I hope it makes you smile and, perhaps, think a little too!

They Ran Out of Mud (by Myriam K. Were)

There is a little hut
Built across from here;
They’ve mudded two walls
And the rest stands unmade…
For they ran out of mud.

There is a deep gully
Running along the road;
They have lifted it halfway
And the rest is still gaping…
For they ran out of mud.

There is a pot by the altar
That they began to mould;
They finished the base
But the neck remains undone…
For they ran out of mud.

Mud! Mud!
Who can find mud?
May be if it were gold
Someone would.

Akizina say’s:

‘This poem is my favourite. I love to read and reread this poem. Think of empty promises from politicians! The poem reveals to me what many of us do. We start something but we are unable to finish it. The reason for not carrying on? We lack the very item that is common place, in this poem ‘mud’. Instead we are after big achievements which require us to look for resources that are not readily available like ‘gold’.

‘When I read this poem, I no longer ask what I lack that hinders me with my work. On the contrary, I ask myself what I possess that will help me with my work. When sometimes I get impatient with myself over my achievements in writing, I read this poem to remind myself that maybe I have been looking for gold while I ought to start with the mud around me. In every undertaking, it is not only important to see far but also understand that you arrive there by taking one step at a time.

‘Do you have unfinished projects? Perhaps it is time you looked around you to find the readily available resources that can assist you to get your projects done.’

Akizina Esso Lomie, Kenya

Next month we have an article by Simon Whaley called Recycle, Recycle, Recycle – I think you can perhaps guess what that might be about, and it’s nothing to do with big green bins or bags for life!

We will also be bringing you more success stories and useful websites to digest.

If you found something of use to you in this issue please pass the word on to all your writer friends – and even those who don’t! You never know, you might inspire them to take it up. They can sign up here

Shelley x 


As usual, if you've any suggestions or would like to comment on content then please contact me at:


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Annemarie Munro Writers Bureau's Student of the Year 2022

"I have seen my writing journey as an adventure: What can I write? What am I best at? What new aspects of writing can I discover and contribute towards? I have welcomed the wide range of modules covering different types of writing, challenging me to try new aspects in style and content, pushing me gently outside my comfort zone with encouragement.

"I signed up for the course in December 2020 as a Christmas present to myself and I started the first module in January 2021. I have had eight pieces published: three paid earning £1080 and a star letter where I won a £250 hotel voucher."

Annemarie Munro - Writers Bureau Student of the Year 2022

Read Annemarie's full story


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