In Search of New Writing

If you want to find some new writing by unpublished authors, these are some good sites to check out:

Bo’s Cafe Life: A funny blog about coffee cups authors. Sounds weird but check it out.

Hyperbole and a Half: Not a writing website per se, but definitely worth a look. It’s a combination of short fiction and weird little crazy comic book pictures. Really funny, really strange, have a look.

Notes From the Underground: Not only to I like anything with ‘Notes from the…’ in the title, this blog is best described by their own words ‘contemporary fiction, cartoons, poems and non-fiction features for you every issue. We want to be a place where new and emerging writers can find a platform and so we want to see your work.’ A great read especially for anyone hoping to find some fresh short fiction.

New Writing Dundee: I discovered this publication while in Vienna, as Goatee brought along last year’s copy as inflight reading material. It’s an annual anthology that features the work of both published and unpublished authors. They put out an annual call for entries, and every year place previously unpublished authors alongside side big name authors. A short story from last year’s anthology has even been turned into a podcast read by Brian Cox. There is a number of different genres represented, making it a lovely showcase of new talent. This certainly seems like a good way for an inspiring author to get a strong writing credential under his/her belt.

The Dundee International Book Prize: According to the website: ‘The Dundee International Book Prize has established itself as the UK’s premier prize for emerging novelist. Its £10,000 cash award together with publication by Birlinn Ltd, publishers of the Polygon imprint, make The Dundee International Book Prize highly valued by tomorrow’s great new writers seeking to break into the publishing world.’

Wow, this is really impressive, £10,000 for a first time writer and a publishing deal. You can also find chapters from authors who were short listed for the prize. Reading through the chapters, the good writting really stands out. What a great way to get new writers noticed, published, and a little cash in their pocket.

The Terry Pratchett Prize: Anywhere But Here, Anywhere But Now: According to the website, ‘Sir Terry Pratchett and Transworld Publishers are proud to launch a new award for aspiring debut novelists … Transworld will offer the winning author a publishing contract with a £20,000 advance. The award will be judged by Sir Terry Pratchett, Tony Robinson, Michael Rowley from Waterstone’s and two senior members of the editorial team at Transworld Publishers.’

Words with Jam: This free emagazine, with articles on writing as well as a number of short stories, is published monthly. If you sign-up for an email subscription, they’ll email you a link to download a PDF of the magazine. It is laidout like a print publication, so there are high quality images included and it’s really reader friendly. In fact, it would probably look pretty good on an ipad. What I quite like about this publication is the articles on writing. This month they discuss: publicising your book, ‘things I do when I should be writing’, and grammar; plus, they have a film review, interviews and loads of smaller articles on writing. In general, I’d highly recommend this publication. 

The Thought Fox: Did you know Faber and Faber have a blog? Well, I didn’t until today. It’s a really cool site with loads of interviews, reviews and news clips on various Faber and Faber authors. Of course, deep down, it’s a marketing tool, so it’s a little one sided, but who cares. It’s still full of interesting interviews and information, and I wish we did something like this with MNM.

Orange New Writers: We all know of Waterstones’ (one of the only bookstores left in the UK). We also should all be aware of one of Britain’s most coveted awards, the Orange Prize. Well, seems like the two brands are teaming up to promote new writers.

 Waterstones will feature a book of the month as sponsored by Orange, with publishers putting forward their favourite new novelists. While ‘Orange New Writers’, as it’s being called, promotes published authors – leaving those behind who are struggling to find a publishing contract – it does finally give much needed marketing to those writers who are trying to build a reputation.

Rach Writes: This is a cool idea by a blogger named Rachael Harrie. Hoping to start an online community of bloggers who write and support one another, she came up with the idea of a ‘Writers’ Platform-Building Crusade’. (Yeah, not the catchiest title, but still a good idea.)

She encouraged aspiring authors to sign-up to her blog as ‘Crusaders’. She then lists all these ‘Crusaders’ on her site. Then she posts writing challenges, and each of the Crusaders is to write according to the challenge. Next, everyone reads each other’s posts, makes comments, and generally gives a supporting hand to one another. As I’ve learned, in blogging some people can be really supportive while others are kind of cruel. Rach Write’s Crusade seems like a good way to shun the naysayers, and instead support new writing.

Dogmatika: This is a really cool blog/website that feels like the old zine scene. (Really, I don’t know what a ‘zine scene’ is, but everyone over the age of 30 seems to be talking about it.) Actually, it’s a very interesting site as it includes interviews with authors, both well known and the more obscure, and it publishes writing by new authors. Perusing through the site, you definitely get the feel that some of the newer authors will be ‘the next big thing’, and that the site is recognising potential other people may be missing.

The only downer is that they don’t seem to have updated in a year, and I can only hope that they have plans on continuing with content in the near future.

This is Central Station: a strange little online gaggle of writers, artists, and performers, who support each other through blogs, event marketing and general debates. You sign up like you would to any other social networking site, but those on the site work in some sort of artistic field– many crossing the lines between art, performance and writing.

Mslexia: This magazine has been around for years and includes both new and well-known authors. It also includes nonfiction articles and is a general discussion of writing by/for/about women.

Women Writers: A Zine: A wonderful site full of new writing by women. 

Five Dials: This is a really interesting short story site with some amazing short stories, but there doesn’t seem to be many previously unpublished authors featured. 

Short List Press: The only problem with this site is that you have to download the stories to iTunes. I guess that’s there way of keeping the pieces from being pirated, but it’s kind of a pain. I personally like sites where I can just go and upload the story directly from the site. With this said, if you go to iTunes and have a look for Short List Press, there’s loads of work included and many by new authors.  

The Short Story: Another website that is filled with amazing stories, but, once again, they don’t seem to feature many new authors. 

Shortbread Stories: I’ve know about this site for a while. It’s a website which features unpublished short fiction. People send their stuff in to the editor who posts it on the site. People make comments and vote, and the fiction with the highest votes get made into professional podcasts. I like this site not only because it’s new authors, but the pod casts are really good.

Authonomy: Is a site run by the giants Harper Collins, which hopes to encourage exposure to new writers. This is this company’s alternative to the slush pile, and it ‘ invites would-be authors to upload 10,000 words or more of their book and receive feedback on their work from the online community.’ It’s a cool concept that kind of takes the pressure off the publishers for finding the next big author, while giving the public some new and interesting reads.

If you bring your boss a coffee: This is a great little poem about being an intern, on a site about internships. Wow! The trifecta!

The Imaginary Scrapbook: This woman wrote a short story a day for a year. The stories are geared towards children, but they’re still quite fun all the same. And there’s 365 to choose from.

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