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Getting Published

Nearly every writer ultimately wants to get their work published – read these blogs for tips and tricks on how to make it happen, from the authors who've already done it and the experts in the industry.

Finding an Agent: Why You Shouldn’t Give Up

Writing advice

Looking back on my quest to secure an agent and asking myself what my experience has taught me, I find I have very little to pass on to fellow writers. What I discovered is that there are no tricks or short cuts or secret recipes. It’s simply a case of doing what everyone says you must do: write the best book you can, put together a strong submission, keep smiling in the face of rejection and keep sending it out there until someone says yes. It’s as simple as that.

There is one common cause of failure I have noted, which is that people tend to give up too soon. It can take many submissions before you find the right agent for your book, which means steering a course through a number of rejections. One author I heard about set herself a positive target of receiving at least one hundred rejections. This was, I thought, a rather clever way to inure herself against conceding defeat.

So, here are three common reasons I can think of why people give up prematurely.


1. Submission fatigue.

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Same, Same - But Different!

Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2017

One of the expressions my colleagues in the publishing company I worked for in Singapore would use with great frequency, simultaneously shaking one of their hands in a swift waggling motion, was the wonderful: ‘same, same, but different’. It’s a catch-all phrase that for me, has come to epitomize the content of each new edition of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook – all 816 pages of this big, red tome. Riffle its pages and there is much that readers, writers and illustrators from across the years (a whopping 110 years in fact, as the first edition was published in 1906) will find familiar. But much too that is new: a reflection of the fast pace of change across the publishing industry. The Yearbook has two main strands of content: articles and an extensive directory of contacts.

In each incarnation, there are more than 80 articles packed with advice from successful writers who share their own experiences of being a debut novelist, trying to get poetry published, …

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What North-South Divide?

Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2017

Some of the most topical issues in UK Publishing at the moment are only tangentially to do with books and readers; rather more tied up with post-Brexit discussions over inequality in the industry. Notably, there's a lack of BAME publishing talent: a legitimate gripe and a long-standing issue. And then there's the supposed lack of northern (and for that read ‘working-class’) creative talent. I might take exception to that if I was a novelist, poet, illustrator or screenwriter housed north, or indeed east or west, of Watford Gap!

As Editor of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbooks, I don't commission pieces because of where authors live; I invite contributions from the very best writers because I think they have something to say about their experience as a writer. Collectively they present a whole cast of characters in all their glorious variety. Good to know, then, that there ARE writers thriving tens and hundreds of miles outside London.

Open the pages of the Children's Writers' …

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Why A Course on Writing for Children?

Alysoun Owen

At Writers & Artists our job is to bridge the gap between you – the as-yet unpublished author – and industry experts, providing the sort of knowledge, know-how and context you need in order to take your book to the next level. With these core principles in mind, Alysoun Owen, editor of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook and the Children’s Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, has curated a special set of practical evening sessions dedicated to one of the most exciting, competitive and rapidly evolving areas of the publishing landscape: writing fiction for children and young adults.

"In my role as editor, reader and parent, I am passionate that the very best writing for children gets published.

One of the greatest pleasures of editing the Children’s Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook is the contact I have with so many supremely talented writers and illustrators. Between them they offer advice and inspiring dedication to their craft. Being able to …

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On The Road: A Writer's Journey

Bloomsbury asked me to blog about the journey from writing my manuscript to winning the inaugural Bath Children's Novel Award, with my YA novel, Hurts So Good. What’s it like to win? Thrilling. And terrifying. Now, more than ever, I need to be clear in my head, about what I want to write. And why.

My manuscript evolved from an exercise on the Bath Spa MA Writing For Young People. We had to show character through action and dialogue, I thought about the worse thing my protagonist could do, and for me, that was abducting a baby.

The story of teenagers, stealing a baby caused controversy, from the get go. Violence is not my bag, so Hurts So Good is a psychological thriller, with the Nordic Noir emphasis on family and setting. I wanted readers to empathise with 16-year-old Ellie, not judge her actions, but to feel compassion and dread for her. The Norwegian Fjords and ancient forests, with wolves, gives my YA story its vibe of jeopardy and beauty.

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