New ideas4writers website and blog

We have a lovely new website, and have moved to

The new website is also the new home of the ideas4writers blog, which now features extracts from our Date-A-Base Books. If you’ve been following the blog for a while you’ll probably remember these from a few years ago. We’ve brought them back!

We’re posting extracts 6 months in advance. As it’s currently June, this month’s extract features 31 historic anniversaries in December 2019 – one for each day.

We’ve also reintroduced Lifetime memberships. New members can sign up for a one-off payment of £79 and get access to all of our books – a total value of more than £230. New members will also be able to download new books and new editions as we release them, at no extra charge.

Current Lifetime members: you can download all of our books at the new site, just as before, but we’ll need to manually move your account from the old site to the new one. Please email us at if you would like your account moved.

The writing engines are not yet working on the new site. (They weren’t working on the old one either). They’re still a work-in-progress.

How to Win Short Story Competitions (Second Edition)


We’ve updated our book How to Win Short Story Competitions.

This new *Second Edition* is available from Amazon in
Kindle ( and
paperback ( editions,
from just £2.99/$3.99.

Two highly experienced, award-winning writers and short story competition judges share everything they know about entering, judging and (most importantly) winning short story competitions, in an easy-to-follow Q&A format.

Find out:

* Exactly what the judges are looking for.

* How the scoring system works.

* How to score highly in every category.

* What impresses judges – and what turns them off.

* How to write exceptional short stories.

* Which competitions give you the best chance of winning.

* How to avoid being disqualified.

* And much more.

New to this edition are:

Updated and expanded content – now 140 pages
Table of contents and full index
TWO award-winning short stories
First time available in paperback

The Date-A-Base Book 2019 is here!

cover19_3d_transThe Date-A-Base Book 2019 is now available!

Details of 1,500 newsworthy and notable anniversaries in 2019, including important events, inventions, discoveries, and significant births and deaths.

Buy your copy at

(Lifetime ideas4writers members can download it free of charge from the members’ area.)

As previously advised, we’ve gone back to our old format, with only the top 1,500 most significant (and useful) events of the year included. This makes it much faster to produce.

We are only producing the chronological version this time, not the “grouped by date” version. But as there are only about 8 pages for each month, you should be able to find the dates you need quite easily.

We should be able to get the printed version on sale within the next few days – though you will have to buy it from Amazon rather than our own website. The advantage is that wherever you live, you should only have to pay local shipping rates rather than airmail from the UK. Unfortunately, it will have a regular paperback binding, not the spiral wire binding we’ve used for the last few years. We’ll post another message here as soon as it’s available.

Is there any demand for a Kindle version? Please let us know in the comments or email Kindle editions have never sold particularly well when we’ve tried them in the past. If there’s no demand, we’d rather get on with producing the 2020 edition.

Best wishes


Wanted: someone to run a Kickstarter campaign for us. Reward: 10 percent of funds raised.


We’re looking for someone with experience of running a Kickstarter campaign who would like to earn some money.

We’re getting lots of complaints that we’ve discontinued The Date-A-Base Book/Next Year’s News series. This was our annual collection of historic and newsworthy anniversaries for the coming year. We weren’t selling enough copies to make it worth continuing. But some high-profile companies and writers had come to depend on it.

So we’re considering a Kickstarter campaign that will raise £15,000 – £20,000 (more would be nice) where people pay £10 to order their copy of “Next Year’s News 2019” in advance. If we reach the target – equivalent to at least 1,500 copies – we’ll drop everything and get it written ASAP. But if we don’t hit the target then it won’t get written, and the series will be retired.

We don’t have the time or marketing expertise to be able to pull this off, but we’re sure someone out there does. If not you personally then a friend of a friend, perhaps. We’ll give that person 10% of whatever the Kickstarter campaign raises. (However, they only get paid if the campaign reaches its target.)

So … £1,500 – £2,000 (maybe more) for a few weeks’ work … anybody?

[UPDATE] To help sweeten the deal, we’ll raise the reward to 20% if the campaign fund reaches £20,000, and to 50% if it reaches £50,000. achieving that kind of figure won’t be easy, but it’s certainly possible. If you have the crowdfunding skills to pull it off, £25,000 could be yours.

Please spread the word and let’s see if we can save this much-loved series!

If you’re interested in running the campaign:

Please email us: and tell us about your previous experience of running a successful Kickstarter campaign. (If it wasn’t successful, you need to be confident that it would be if you did it again – lessons learned, etc.)

We have the contact details for everyone that has bought a copy previously, so you’d be able to email them and try to enlist their support.

We can supply any graphics or text that might be required – just tell us what you need.

If you want to see what the book looks like, here’s the link to the 2018 edition:

Or email us at the address above and we’ll send you the pdf of the 2017 edition.

The 2018 edition has only sold about 120 copies so far, which is why the series will be discontinued unless we can get the funding. The minimum number of copies required for a viable product is 1,500.

We think there should be a lot more demand for it. Previous editions have sold significantly more copies than the current one. But we don’t seem to be reaching the right people with our marketing. We also believe that Google is preventing people from finding our website because it isn’t mobile responsive yet, and we haven’t had the time to fix it.

The key targets for marketing purposes would be media/production companies, newspapers, journalists, and article writers.

New Book: 176 Lovingly Crafted Ideas for Romance Writers

176 Lovingly Crafted Ideas for Romance Writers

Here’s the first book in our rebranded series of ideas and story prompts for writers.

All of the ideas have been edited and updated;
there’s a lovely new cover;
the Kindle price has been slashed to just 2.99;
and it’s now available in paperback too!

It’s only available from Amazon, and to comply with their exclusivity requirements, we will no longer be selling it on the ideas4writers website.

Here’s the new description:

Create romantic stories your readers will never forget. No more boring, over-used plots; clichéd, one-dimensional characters; or stories that lack imagination. Your plots will be fresh and exciting, your characters will be realistic and compelling, and your stories will be so full of imagination and depth that your readers will be hungry for more.


  • An easy way to write romantic stories
  • The essential elements of romantic fiction
  • How to create the perfect hero and heroine
  • Conveying emotion and building tension
  • The perfect formula for sexual chemistry
  • How to write romantic dialogue
  • And much more
  • Plus 50 great storylines you can use immediately or adapt as you wish

Here are those all-important links:

Kindle edition:


(Hint: the paperback version would make a lovely Christmas gift!)

We’ll be working on the Thrillers collection next. It should be available in about two weeks.

Guest post: E. Rachael Hardcastle (Author of Finding Pandora)

6016f2_1e64bbd333624e3da9900739929e2dbc-mv2_d_1280_1214_s_2.pngToday we’re delighted to welcome supernatural fantasy novelist and West Yorkshire lass E. Rachael Hardcastle to the ideas4writers blog. Her box set Finding Pandora – The Complete Collection (Books 1 – 4) is out this week.

Naturally, we wanted to know all about her, her ideas, and her writing and publishing experiences, and to see if she had any useful tips to share. Here’s what she had to say:

How do you find and evaluate ideas for characters, plots, dialogue, etc?

It’s an overused response but ideas just come to me. Sometimes after watching TV or reading a book I wonder what new swing I could put on that premise, so I’ll write it down and explore it later on. I never base characters on real people – I like to let the characters develop into who they need to be and usually fill in a profile sheet (as seen on my blog) to make sure I cover everything.

How did you get your latest idea? What made it good enough to write about?

My latest idea came to me after watching Jurassic Park and reading a book called The Great Zoo of China. I wanted to explore the theme park idea further, where the guests have to escape for some reason. I know the idea is popular because the movies do well, and to the best of my knowledge the books have done well too, so I thought I’d note it down and brainstorm some ideas. I haven’t started writing yet, but I know it’s a golden nugget because it crosses my mind every day.

How did you expand the idea?

  • Use brainstorming and mind mapping ideas

  • Use story beats to note everything down and build a story/characters

  • Note down the cliches I wanted to avoid and why

  • Watched the movies, read the books etc for research and to see how I can make my story unique

How do you do your research?

I prefer to use reference books rather than the internet, though I do often mix the two. I write fantasy, so some of my research is on myth, legends, signs and symbols, etc, which is fun, so I don’t actually mind this part of the process. I then keep notes in a ‘story beats’ outline document in OpenOffice, which I refer to whenever it is needed. I tried Scrivener but haven’t yet made friends with it.

Would you be willing to share with us some of the ideas you’ve rejected?

I very rarely reject ideas, I just note them down for use in a future project. I think my advice would be not to reject anything because even if it has been used before, there’s always a new way to approach it. They say there are no new ideas and I believe this is true to some extent – it’s what you do with them that counts.

Which book marketing ideas would you recommend?

I offer free content to prove I am trustworthy and helpful. I think marketing can be creepy when you’re posting ‘buy my book’ on social media. Your posts will be ignored and you might lose followers by doing this. Post free content on your blog, helpful notes and resources, and then offer your book at the end. For example, you could advertise your book at the end of a YouTube video that is free and offers the viewer a solution to a problem.

How did you get published?

I self-published my work after coming close to traditional publishing and turning down two offers. I decided I wanted to be in control and give it a shot myself. That way, I could learn the ins and outs and possibly turn hybrid later.

Have you had any really bad/bizarre rejections or reviews?

I once received a postal rejection (with my manuscript enclosed) and on the title page was the comment ‘We don’t publish poetry’. I had submitted my 50,000+ word high fantasy novel…

How do you find the time to write?

I think I steal the time to write after work and between chores at home. If you want to be a writer, you should write, and those who are serious will make the time.

Where do you write?

I have a home office. I keep all my reference books, tools and notes in that room so I can access anything I need quickly and easily.

Can you recommend any software or apps that help with your writing?

And finally, where can we find out more about you and your books?

My website is at

Thank you! Good luck with the box set and for your future writing success.

Thank you!