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This month we have competition news, expert advice on working in collaboration with other writers, Ten Top Tips for promoting your non-fiction book, successes stories and ideas to inspire you plus the usual useful websites.

E-zee Writer

Top Tips For Writers

E-zee Writer Top Tips for Writers

 Issue 111

December 2009


Hello dear readers,

Brrrrr – it’s cold here. Sharp sunny morning frosts follow what has been the worst soaking we’ve seen for many years in the UK – a perfect combination for falling on ones derriere I fear! And hurrah! – Christmas looms again. I look forward to some time off relaxing. However, first I need to find my festive spirit. I have to say, I am not feeling it quite yet – a bit bah humbug so far – but I will once I start to prepare my tree decorations.

Not only is Christmas approaching but so is Hannuka, Humanlight Day, the Day of Candles in Colombia, the Fetes Des Lumieres in France and Proclamation Day in South Africa. So, if you too have holidays approaching, are a student of The Writers Bureau and have been published in the last year, put a free afternoon to good use and enter our Writer of the Year 2010 competition – the closing date is 31st December 2009. You could bag yourself £250 for simply telling us what you have gained from your course and what successes you’ve had! There are also four runners up prizes of £50 each. If you want some inspiration have a read through last year’s winners.

Next year is a big one for The Writers Bureau – we are turning 21 years of age! So, as part of our celebrations we thought we’d get all of you involved by holding monthly competitions and quizzes themed around 21. Prizes range from book tokens to complete courses with a grand prize of a laptop at the end of the year. We will be announcing the competitions on a monthly basis and the first one is, of course, for January. Entries should be a poem on any subject written in only 21 words. The prize is, yes you’ve guessed it, The Poetry Writing course. Further entry details here.

And staying on the subject of competitions, here’s another. This one has a Christmas theme and will be judged by our very own tutor, Lorraine Mace. It’s for Writelink, it’s called Tinsel Tales and it’s a flash fiction competition. There are some nifty prizes and it should keep you occupied for an afternoon or two. Be quick though as they are only accepting 100 entries – register as soon as you can to be in with a chance of taking part. More details here.

And speaking of Lorraine Mace, she’s just become the editor of a new online magazine called Words with JAM. I’ll let them explain what they want, “Stories should be no more than 5,000 words (we accept flash fiction) and poems are unlimited in line length. As the magazine is very new, we are unable to pay for stories and poems we accept at the present time. Due to this, we are more than happy to consider works that have already been published either online or in print (please state where and when they were published on your submission if this is the case). For more info visit: 

Also this month we have some interesting expert advice from the author of The Writer’s ABC Checklist – Maureen Vincent-Northam – on collaboration with other writers, which may be something you’ve not considered before. Ten Top Tips covers promoting your non-fiction book, with a useful widget in Useful Websites too, and Syreeta from Nigeria provides us with an inspiring story to keep us going.
Fancy meeting some like-minded word wizards this month? If so, you could attend Bob Mayer’s Novel Writers’ Workshop, 21st January 2010, Whidbey Island, Seattle. You’ll “explore your material for your one-sentence idea, ensure your story has a core conflict lock, scrutinize the integrity of your plot, examine your writing and voice, make certain all three of these critical aspects - conflict, plot, voice - are aligned to maximize characters and storyline.” The workshop is a full day and costs $250 if you book before 3rd January.

Or get yourself a place on Cecily Bomberg’s Chelsea Workshops, London. The next is due to be held in January and is a Writer’s Advice and Mentoring Surgery. The cost is £45.00 for one and a half hours of one-to-one time. More details here.

If you feel like letting someone else do the work you should attend one of the Flying Goose readings at the cafe of the same name in Beeston. The next one is on 19th January – featuring Eirann Lorsung and Dan Tunstall – at 7.30pm and costs £3.00 on the door including a glass of wine! More information here.

Remember, if you are still looking for the perfect present for that special someone, look no further than one of our courses. If you need any help choosing which course would be best call and speak to one of our student advisors. Plus, if you let us know it’s for a gift, the free trial will not start until Christmas Day. Think about it, not only are you giving the gift of knowledge, always a good start, but you could also be giving them a new career – now that’s what I call a gift!

Shelley x


“As a child I read a lot and engaged my active imagination, writing plays and stories as fast as they came in. Then I got older and put it all behind me.


“After graduating from the university in 2004, I had no desire to use my degree, nor engage in any regular nine-five job. I decided to face what I believed I always had in me – writing. I entered a couple of writing competitions but never won any. Still not discouraged, I read up about writing on some websites and teach yourself books, but I still felt I wasn’t getting anywhere. It began to look like I didn’t know what to do with my life.

“In 2006, while surfing the internet, I came across The Writers Bureau. I did find other websites offering tutoring in writing, but something about The Writers Bureau just felt right. A few months later, I enrolled.



“A few assignments into the course, I was confident I was born to write, even though I had only one reader’s letter and an opinion article published in the newspapers – with no payment – I believed it could only get better.

“A year after I enrolled, and five assignments later, I wrote a comic article on life between newlyweds which was published in the reader’s column of True Love West Africa Magazine – a women’s lifestyle magazine, written in my country, but printed in South Africa. I won the prize of £26. I was greatly encouraged by this and started sending ideas to the editor. She was impressed with the format and manner in which I went about presenting my ideas, saying she hardly saw such professionalism – thanks to The Writers Bureau again!

“I was now a freelance writer, but after sending in three articles (Watching What Kids Watch, Hit and Miss and Virginal Monologues) – two were course assignments – the editor made me the job offer of being the staff writer for the magazine! This was very big for me, I almost couldn’t believe it. I started off writing six interview columns. It was a bit challenging for me, because I had never conducted major interviews before. But continuously reading the handbook on conducting interviews, as well as being in the field, helped me improve and a couple of months later, I was writing all 14 interview columns in the magazine. Not to mention a gross salary of £700 per month. As the staff writer, I also get promotional copies of books from authors and invitations to movie screenings and above all get to meet so many interesting people in my interviews.

“Now, lots of people know me as a writer, and based on that, a movie director approached me to come on board the editorial team for her website, where she’d like me to write an interview every week. I also write and edit scripts for a radio show. The fee is a mere token but I’m enjoying the experience. The greatest satisfaction comes from being able to make a difference in people’s lives through my work.

“With a full time job as a new mom and staff writer I’ve been stuck on my sixth assignment. Nevertheless, apart from successfully completing the course, I’d like to delve into screenwriting and, of course, write all those stories that I dream about!”

Syreeta Akinyede, Nigeria.

Thanks, as always, to Syreeta for sharing her inspirational story with us. If you would like a prospectus for the Comprehensive Creative Writing Course or any of our other courses please 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 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.






 Joined Up Writing – How to successfully collaborate with another author.

by Maureen Vincent-Northam

If you find the idea of penning a novel or non-fiction book daunting, why not team up with a writing buddy and complete this marathon task together? There are many advantages to co-authorship, but be sure to join forces with the right person. Choose your partner because you respect their work and their judgment, not simply because they’re your best friend.

The benefits: 

- A major writing project is less intimidating

- There’s potential for twice as many ideas

- You’ll have a built-in support system

- More writing gets done – you won’t want to let your partner down

- Editing and rewrites are halved

- Marketing is shared

Finding and communicating with your writing buddy

Your ideal writing partner could be someone at your local writers’ group. As well as the group’s monthly gathering, you might meet up once a week to thrash out ideas and swap completed chapters.

Online writing communities are great places to get together with like-minded folk – this is how Lorraine and I met. It’s easy to outline a plan of action and to send drafts and completed files by email, which is what we did when writing The Writer’s ABC Checklist. For more immediate interaction instant messenger services such as MSN are ideal.

Decide who’s doing what, when (and how)

For it to become a match made in heaven, co-authorship roles and responsibilities need to be clarified before you begin writing.

This is easily sorted if you or your writing buddy have explicit knowledge or are tackling your own specialist topics. But what happens when the borders are less obviously defined – if your book requires you to interview people for example? How will it be decided which of you gets to talk to the baked bean magnet and who gets to visit the chocolate factory?

Other things to bear in mind
It can be harder to maintain consistency when a piece is written by two authors.

It suits some co-writers to work closely together on each section or chapter of a book – particularly if they have differing writing styles. Working in this way, choosing or omitting certain words and phrases as you go, might get tedious but should help ensure the book gels together as a whole. For Lorraine and me – our writing styles are very similar – it was easier to be allotted sections dependant on our expertise, preferences and occasionally the spin of a coin.

Some publishers have their own house style. But when there are no ready-made style rules co-authors need to agree on how they will write certain words so that the work remains consistent. Many of these will be words that can be written with or without hyphens, such as email/e-mail.

A book’s ‘voice’ generally should remain the same throughout. The exception to this is when a novel depicts two diverse characters and in this instance the use of different author voices can work very well.

Joint copyright
Copyright is owned jointly in a piece of work (article, play, novel, non-fiction book and so on) which has been written by two or more authors.

Under UK copyright law joint authorship is defined as ‘a work produced by the collaboration of two or more authors in which the contribution of each author is not distinct from that of the other author(s)’. In other words each writer has to make a fair – though not necessarily equal – creative contribution to the work and simply suggesting a darn good idea doesn’t make anyone a joint author!

Copyright lasts for an author’s lifetime and 70 years after their death, or the death of the last surviving author in the case of co-authorship.

Public lending right and co-authorship
Public Lending Right (PLR) is a government-funded scheme which makes payments to authors and illustrators whose books are borrowed from UK public libraries. You need to register with the PLR office and payments due are calculated on the estimated number of times your book has been borrowed nationally.

To qualify, you don’t have to be the copyright holder but you do need to be named on the book’s title page or be entitled to royalty payments from the publisher. For joint authors, the PLR will be divided between the collaborators. This might be a 50-50 split, or a different percentage share depending on creative input, but should be worked out before you register. With the percentage share agreed, each co-author then submits a separate application.

Authors who are eligible for PLR must, at the time of registering, have their main home in the UK or the EC Member States, or Norway, Iceland or Lichtenstein.

A joint author agreement
It’s sensible to agree some basic rules, and get these down in writing at the onset so that each is clear about where they stand if one author decides to abandon the project.

There have been court cases where a joint copyright owner was not allowed to exploit a copyright work without the agreement of the other joint owner or owners. The effects of such a case can be lessened by an initial contract outlining the forms of use permitted by each joint owner.

Draw up a document outlining the rights held by individuals and what should happen if one of you should drop out. This needn’t be a formal document drawn up by a legal professional, but it must be signed, and a copy held by each co-author. The main points to cover in an author agreement are:
- The name of each collaborator signing the agreement 
- The project title (or working title) 
- How the workload is to be divided 
- How royalties will be split 
- Whether the co-writer can carry on with the idea if the other pulls out 
- If an author leaves, whether the remaining co-writer can use their work, or research data.

Every collaborative relationship is different. Whether you meet up regularly in real-time, chat on the phone, or communicate by email, the most important thing is to find a system that is an enjoyable and productive experience for both of you.

Maureen Vincent-Northam is the co-author, along with Lorraine Mace, of The Writers ABC Checklist, a guide for writers aiming to be published in magazines, radio, TV, e-books and mainstream publishing. 


Ten Top Tips for promoting your non-fiction book

Whether your book has been accepted by a mainstream publisher or you are self-publishing, you can’t afford to sit back and wait for sales. So here are some tips on how to promote your book:

1. Prepare a press release that you can send to local newspapers and radio stations, especially if the content of your book might appeal to local people or you have an appropriate peg on which to hang it. But remember – keep the press release short. It should be no longer than a single sheet of A4 paper and the most important facts should be at the top so that if the newspaper hasn’t space for all of it they can cut from the bottom upwards. If you send a photo with it, make sure the quality is good – or just state that photo/s are available.

2. If your local paper prints book reviews, send a copy of the book to the literary editor for review.

3. Contact your local radio station to see if they might like to interview you about your book. Or try local societies and organisations (writers’ groups, church groups etc) – ask if they would like you to come along and be guest speaker at one of their meetings.

4. Make sure you have an attractive personal website where you can showcase your book. Spend a little extra money to purchase a domain name that people will recognise and spend a little extra time making your site search-friendly. Have a look at Useful Websites for a neat widget to promote and market your work.

5. Why not blog about your interests, your book etc? But make sure that you keep your postings up-to-date or people will lose interest. Visit for information on how to proceed.

6. Join chat rooms that are relevant to the subject of your book. You can then spread the word as you chat. And make sure that every email you send out has a mention of your book, where it can be obtained and how much it costs in the signature block.

7. Send out articles to magazines on topics that are related to the subject of your book. You’ve written a book, so you are classed as an expert! Then make sure you give your book a plug at the end of each article. It’s also a good way of using the same material to make more money.

8. Go into local bookshops (preferably at a quiet time) and ask to speak to the manager. Many of the chains can purchase books with a local interest, at the manager’s discretion. But be prepared to discount the selling price quite heavily and you may also have to offer ‘sale or return’ terms.

9. Whatever your age, consider joining one (or more) of the social networking sites. The more ‘friends’ you have – the more you can promote your book by word of mouth. Also, ask your real (as opposed to virtual) friends to put their thinking caps on and see if they can come up with any good ideas for promoting your book.

10. Finally, don’t be a shrinking violet. If you want to publicise your book you’ve got to be pushy and explore every avenue you can think of. 


Being a writer is as much about reading as it is about actual writing. Writers can use other people’s work as inspiration for their own pieces or for ideas on style for example. So, to that end here’s a site that allows you access to download thousands of classic literary texts free of charge, although I would urge you to donate if you can so that the site can keep running – it can be as little as £0.01! You can search by author, title or key word. Plus, those of you on our Proofreading and Copyediting course can get some valuable experience and help the site by proofing the uploaded work.  
This is a great little tool for those of you who have websites or blogs where you can market your published books – a route that’s set to become more and more popular in the future. Upload an extract of your book to their site and then download the widget to your blog, webpage or social media page. Those interested in your book will see a dynamic cover and will be able to view a sample of your writing. They claim it should bring in more sales, but you have nothing to lose as it’s free!

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

END NOTE and a little inspiration


Could you write an article about ...



1st June 1980

CNN – Cable News Network starts to broadcast for the first time. 

2nd June 1835

The now world famous circus owned by PT Barnum starts it first tour of the USA.  

3rd June 1991

43 people – journalists and researchers – are killed when Mt Unzen erupts in Japan.

4th June 1960

The Lake Bodom murders, in Finland, take place. Three teenagers are killed with a fourth seriously wounded – the crime remains unsolved. 

5th June

World Environment Day.

6th June 1799

Possibly Russia’s greatest Poet, Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin, is born in Moscow.

7th June 1099

The Siege of Jerusalem begins with The First Crusade.  

8th June

World Ocean Day.

9th June 1934

The Little Wise Hen sees the debut of Donald Duck. 

10th June 1977

Apple begins selling its Apple II personal computers. 

11th June 

Hawaii honours it’s one-time king and founder of the unified kingdom – Kamehameha the Great – on a day with the same name.

12th June 2004

The occupants of a house in Ellerslie, New Zealand were shocked when a 1.3kg chrondrite type meteorite impacted causing serious damage to the building but no casualties.

13th June 1970

The last Beatles number one song is The Long and Winding Road.

14th June 1789

Bourbon whiskey is first distilled in Bourbon County, Kentucky by the Rev Elijah Craig.

15th June 1215

King John of England seals the Magna Carta. 

16th June

Bloomsday – for fans of James Joyce’s Ulysses. 

17th June 1939

The last public guillotine execution takes place outside Prison St Pierre.
The victim is convicted murderer Eugen Weidmann.

18th June 1992

One of Israel’s greatest painters, Mordecai Ardon, dies in Jerusalem. 

19th June 1910 

Spokane, Washington sees the first celebration of father’s day. 

20th June

World Refugee Day.

21st June 2002

Europe is officially declared Polio free by the WHO. 

22nd June 1976

Capital punishment is abolished by the Canadian House of Commons. 

23rd June 1968

The patent for the typewriter is received by Christopher Latham Sholes. 

24th June 

Feast of St. John the Baptist.

25th June

National Catfish Day.  

26th June

Christmas is declared a federal holiday in the USA. 

27th June

National Veterans Day. 

28th June 1996 

The Estonian Constitution is signed into law.  

29th June 1974

Isabel Peron is sworn in as the first female President of Argentina after her husband becomes ill. 

30th June 2005 

Same sex marriage is legalized in Spain.

Remember, if you are in the USA and you are already a successful writer you could be tutoring our students. Email with your CV and find out if you could be just what we are looking for.
Do your bit to feed the world this month whilst also testing your brain by answering simple (well, I say simple, some of the basic maths questions stumped me and the vocabulary ones had me reaching for the dictionary!) questions on a range of topics to earn grains of rice on Free Rice. Whatever you win will be donated by the sponsors of the site to those in need.
And so I end as I begin with talk of cold and sunshine. Here you’ll find Alexander Pushkin’s Winter Morning with an extremely apt photo. I adore mornings like this, plumes of breath, crunchy footsteps and the obligatory misted spectacles – what could be better!
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

Have a great break if you are due one, and see you next year!

Shelley x







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

Lou Carter"After completing the course I began writing as much as I could and in 2014 I was finally signed by my agent and within two months I had a contract with Bloomsbury.

To date I have nine picture book contracts all at various stages of publication. There Is No Dragon In This Story (Bloomsbury) and Pirate Stew (Orchard) both published last summer and Oscar The Hungry Unicorn (Orchard) is due to be released on Sept 20th 2018. "

Lou Carter

Sarah Leavesly"Since starting The Art of Writing Poetry course, I have been published many times under my pen name Sarah James, won competitions and made money."

Sarah Leavesley


Noel Gama"I was so excited about the immense potential of the Internet that I enrolled for yet another Writers Bureau course, ‘Writing for the Internet'."

Noel Gama


Gilian Atack

"The course has helped me write a story that evokes strong emotions; the constructive but motivational feedback I received from The Writers Bureau has helped me knock down the barriers to self-doubt. Recently, I held my first book launch where I talked about how and why I wrote my story."

Gillian Atack

Read Gillian's Story

Cathal Coyle

"My short-term intention is to continue combining writing for newspapers and magazines with my current job. I'm enjoying my writing 'sideline' but I may find as time goes on that I want to make the transition to full-time writer."

Cathal Coyle


Institute of Training and Occupational Learning

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