A Problem Shared

Jane Wenham-Jones – agony aunt for Writing Magazine – gives advice on literary queries, writing worries and the obstacles faced by anyone hoping to be published.

“My monthly column in Writing Magazine, ‘Talk It Over’, is a discussion of some sort of writing dilemma – what to if your work keeps getting rejected, for example, (have a stiff drink and send it out again) to whether it’s a good idea to give up the day job to do it full-time (probably not!), and why you can never get past the 10,000-word mark when you try to write a novel (you’re being a wimp – don’t give up so easily).

Doing it is particularly special to me as I can remember reading Writing Magazine and then sister publication, Writers News (they are now combined into one volume) when I first started out, and gazing enviously at all those tales of book deals etc. Writing Magazine is a very useful source of information if you’re any sort of writer or would like to be – there’s lots of info on markets, competitions, who’s looking for what and so on as well as interviews, how-to articles – and me!” Jane

Each volume features a hand-picked selection of ten of those Talk it Over columns intended to help or inspire you, whether you are a new writer seeking guidance or you are further along the path to publication and needing reassurance that you are doing the right thing.

Read the questions posed by Writing Magazine readers and Jane’s replies, with additional updates to reflect the changes to the writing industry and book world that have taken place since these columns first appeared. Where other authors’ books have been mentioned, it is likely they have published other work since, so rather than list all of them, we have provided you with their – or their publishers’ – websites so you can check them out yourself if you wish. Enjoy!

‘An excellent framework designed to tackle all kinds of writing problems in a positive and sometimes refreshingly lighthearted way. Recommended!’

Penny Alexander

A Problem Shared ~ Volume 1

  • 1. I can’t get it down on paper
  • 2. I’m retirement age – can I still get started?
  • 3. I soon dislike my own ideas!
  • 4. How do I choose a name for my heroine?
  • 5. Do I always have to show not tell?
  • 6. How do I make my writing longer?
  • 7. Do I need to be an “expert” to write a non-fiction book?
  • 8. Should I ask for feedback?
  • 9. My family don’t support me.
  • 10. How do I handle rejection?

A Problem Shared ~ Volume 1 on GoodReads

Buying Options

A Problem Shared ~ Volume 1 is available for FREE on
Amazon UK
Amazon US

‘This provides a taste of Jane’s quirky writing style and provides excellent advice to both new writers and authors.’

Mr Tibbs

A Problem Shared ~ Volume 2

  • 11: A Room of One’s Own
  • 12: Two Books a Year
  • 13: Finding Time
  • 14: Research
  • 15: Someone Else has Written the Same Book
  • 16: What is X Factor?
  • 17: Calling Myself a Writer
  • 18: Ethics and Morality
  • 19: Others’ Reactions
  • 20: Writers’ Holidays

A Problem Shared ~ Volume 2 on GoodReads

Buying Options

A Problem Shared ~ Volume 2 is available for £0.99 on
Amazon UK
Amazon US

‘A humorous approach to the problems we all encounter. It’s so nice to know you’re not alone with the issues dealt with here.’

Janice Garvey, GoodReads

A Problem Shared ~ Volume 3

  • 21. Concentration
  • 22. Writing Clutter
  • 23. Writing When Stressed
  • 24. Jealousy
  • 25. Two-dimensional Characters
  • 26. Writing Partnership Gone Wrong
  • 27. Series for Publishers
  • 28. Confidence to Approach an Agent
  • 29. Book Sales
  • 30. Building a Brand

A Problem Shared ~ Volume 3 on GoodReads

Buying Options

A Problem Shared ~ Volume 3 is available for £0.99 on
Amazon UK
Amazon US

‘Good sound sense, administrated with humour. Worth a read and a chuckle.’

P.D.R. Lindsay, GoodReads

A Problem Shared ~ Volume 4

  • 31. Too Many Ideas
  • 32. Writing a Memoir
  • 33. Older Heroines
  • 34. Series Characters
  • 35. Profanities
  • 36. Back in Love with Book
  • 37. Reinvent Yourself
  • 38. Next Big Thing
  • 39. Agent or Publisher
  • 40. Literary Festivals

A Problem Shared ~ Volume 4 on GoodReads

Buying Options

A Problem Shared ~ Volume 4 is available for £0.99 on
Amazon UK
Amazon US

‘The advice is comprehensive, self-deprecating, funny, and useful with Ms Wenham-Jones referring to other writers and quoting their answers to thoroughly explore each question for her reader.’ 

Dianne, Amazon reviewer