Thursday, 31 December 2009

Now available!

It's a day early, but already showing as in stock on Amazon. Thank you, Accent Press.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Editors? What do they do?

Sarah from London sent in the following question to Words with JAM e-zine: People keep referring to ‘editors’, but I’m confused as to what an ‘editor’ actually is. Are there different types of editors and what do they do?

The answer is that there are many categories of editor and each of them has a different job within the publishing industry. The answer below has been taken from The Writer’s ABC Checklist.

Commissioning editor
In magazine publishing, the commissioning editor will assign writers to produce non-fiction articles and features. In book publishing, the commissioning (or acquisitions) editor has a major role in developing the publisher's book list by identifying current trends and spotting gaps in the market. The commissioning editor will be involved with a book and its author every step of the way, from assessing the initial proposal and manuscript, to issuing the author contract and dealing with publication.

Copy editor
A copy editor, whether working on magazines or books, ensures work due for publication is error free. Some copy editors form part of the publishers’ staff, and others are employed on a freelance basis. Their role can involve a variety of things, which might include:

• Fact-checking
• Ensuring continuity of presentation
• Checking consistency of style, particularly where co-authorship is involved
• Correcting spelling, grammatical and typographical errors
• Making sure that captions match illustrations
• Checking cross-references
• Querying inconsistency in plot and character traits
• Highlights conflicting statements
• Spotting over-writing
• Flagging up anything potentially libellous

Features editor
Larger magazines often have dedicated editors who are responsible for different kinds of non-fiction content. For example, some of the glossies will have a fashion editor, a beauty editor, travel editor, and so on. More modest-sized publications might have one feature editor with a wider role who is in charge of all lifestyle content. This editor will decide which work will appear in each issue and commission a freelance, use an in-house writer, or write the features themselves.

Fiction editor
The fiction editor is responsible for reading submissions, and for deciding on a magazine’s fictional content. It is a good idea to write to a magazine’s fiction editor asking for their style guide. These useful guides will outline the kind of stories which are not acceptable. For instance, some publications will not print stories that involve crime or violence, ghosts, horror, religion, or stories with twist endings.

Managing editor
A managing editor is in charge of all editorial decisions regarding a magazine or newspaper. He or she will manage the editorial team, organise the publication schedule, ensure the work is meeting deadlines, and liaise with printers and distributors.

Picture editor
These editors track down suitable images for use in books, magazines, newspapers, television, advertising, and so on. They are responsible for negotiating the fee with the copyright holder, archive, or picture library, for using the image, and for commissioning photographers to provide new ones.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Writing Questions answered in Words with JAM

Jessica from Southport asked: If someone has read my book or a piece of my writing, and given me a written quotation, can I use it on publicity material?

Yes, you can use quotes from a review on your website, blog or any other promotional material. If you have received a written review prior to publication, then you could include excerpts from it on the book cover when it is published.

If you have a writing-related question you would like answered in a future issue of Words with JAM, why not drop me a line at:

You can take up a free subscription by filling in the form on the right of this page.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Experiencing Synopsis Hell?

As well as being co-author of The Writer's ABC Checklist, I am also deputy editor of a great new FREE e-zine for writers - Words with JAM

In the next issue Sheila Bugler will pull on her white coat and work together with one of our readers to help improve their synopsis. She will be giving in-depth comments, as well as line edits, and we'll show you a before and after version to help you understand how you can implement her suggestions in your own synopsis.

Sheila's first novel, Ready to Fall, won her a place on the 2008 Apprenticeships in Fiction programme. The novel was also short-listed for the Wannabe a Writer novel-writing competition and the Book of the Year. The book is currently with a publisher who may or may not decide to publish it. In the meantime, she's working on her second novel and spending way too much time indulging her unhealthy interest in synopsis-writing.

You can subscribe to Words with JAM from the link on the right

Monday, 7 December 2009

Question Corner

I'm fortunate enough to be closely connected with a great new magazine for writers called Words with JAM. Each issue includes Question Corner, where I answer questions sent in by writers.

In the first issue of Words with JAM, Sean from Liverpool asked: What are first serial rights? And are they global?

First Serial Rights are given to a publication the first time that work appears in print. FSR are used up regardless of whether or not any payment has been made. They are country specific, which means you can sell FSR on the same piece of work several times – for example, to South Africa, the UK, the USA and Australia.

Some magazines ask for World Rights, but you should only accept this condition if the fee paid compensates for the amount you would lose on the various country specific FSR you could have exploited.

It is possible to sell Second Serial Rights on a piece of work that has previously appeared in print, as some editors will accept reprints, but you need to state up front that only SSR are available.

The subject of rights is quite a complex one and needs more space than this column has available. A full article on rights will appear in the next issue of Words with Jam – so subscribe to the free online magazine now by going to the Words with JAM website.

If you have a writing-related question you can send it to:

Friday, 4 December 2009

Books for Writers - 3 for 2 offer

Great 3 for price of 2 offer on books for writers from Accent Press. Modesty forbids me (almost, but not quite) from saying that the one with the orange cover is pretty good. :) Accent Press offer page