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Services: Submitting a Manuscript to a Publisher

A three-session masterclass on how to ensure that your submission stands out from the pack, held over two consecutive weeks at Bloomsbury Publishing's central London offices.


What is this service?

A two-session masterclass on how to ensure that your submission stands out from the pack. The course is held over two consecutive weeks in our central London office. During this masterclass, you will be guided and personally advised on your:

• Synopsis

• Letter

• First three chapters.

Features & benefits

  • Valuable insider advice on how to improve your submission.
  • Professional insight on what professionals look for.
  • Practical know-how in creating submission documents.
  • Peer review from other writers in your position.
  • Potential new network of friends and colleagues.
  • Increase your chances of getting an agent’s attention.

How it will work?

Session 1: Letters and Synopses

Run by Cressida Downing

1st hour:

  • Editor outlines what is looked for from a pitch.
  • Everyone is given a genuine sample covering letter. Your task is to identify the problems and try to re-write it for the author.
  • Present your conclusions.
  • You then have 10 minutes to think about how to sum your novel up in a tweet.

2nd hour:

  • Read out your own letter and tweets for group discussion, and help in rewriting

3rd hour:

  • Synopsis - Editor outlines what they are looking for (including 'What is your hook?').
  • You are each given a real synopsis: your task is to identify the problems and try to re-write it for the author.
  • Homework assignments:

i. Write a synopsis of no more than 450 words for a favourite, preferably well-known, book. Take out any character names, and bring along to the next week.

ii. Re-write your own synopsis in no more than 80 words.

In pairs, swap your first three chapters and take home to read – focusing on flow, style, opening, length of chapter and ongoing interest.

Session 2: Masterclass on your Synopsis 22nd MARCH 2012

Run by Cressida Downing with Literary Agent Jenny Savill - Synopses and the first three Chapters

1st hour:

  • Homework synopses are read out for everyone to guess and discuss.
  • Participants to read out their own 80-word synopsis for feedback too.

2nd hour:

  • Re-write your own synopsis after points gleaned from masterclass.
  • Editor available for one-to-one help during the session.

3rd hour:

  • Each person gives feedback to the room on the chapters they have read – with response from the author.
  • During this hour, each author gets a 10-minute slot with the Agent on their work.
  • Ending with Q&A session

Booking and payment process

Both fiction and non-fiction are accepted. To book this masterclass you need to:

  • Book a slot by making payment and submitting your first three chapters.
  • You then receive a confirmation email.


All sessions will be held at: Bloomsbury Publishing offices, 50 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3DP

Who are the industry experts?

Your submission will be reviewed by two industry professionals.

The Editor

Cressida Downing has been working in the book industry for more than twenty years.  Starting as a bookseller in charge of the children’s department, she went on to work in publishing, back to bookselling, and now works as an editorial consultant ( .  Her clients include Orion, a number of literary agents, and working directly with authors.  She blogs for and gives workshops and talks on various aspects of publishing. A passionate reader, she is committed to getting the best out of every writer.

The Agent

Jenny Savill

Jenny Savill joined Andrew Nurnberg Associates in 2002. Her background in working creatively with young people, coupled with a life-long love of children’s books, has led her to build an exciting roster of children’s and YA authors at ANA Ltd. These include Keren David, When I Was Joe, Almost True and Lia’s Guide to Winning the Lottery (Frances Lincoln 2010, 2011), Katie Dale, Someone Else’s Life (Simon & Schuster 2012), Sara Grant, Dark Parties (Orion 2011); Helen Moss, Adventure Island series, Orion (2011), Ellen Renner, Castle of Shadows and City of Thieves (Orchard 2010), and Andy Robb, Geekhood: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind, Stripes Publishing (2012). Jenny is always on the look-out for authentic voices, killer plots and that certain something that makes her forget to breathe while she’s reading.