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Editorial Service: 'Beat the Rejection' Clinic

Hosted at the Bloomsbury Publishing offices in central London, this 30-minute meeting with an agent is an opportunity to learn how best to take your manuscript submission forward. Book online or call 0207 631 5985.


‘Rejection.’ It’s the one word writers dread the most. And when it’s finally stopped ringing in their ears and making their eyes water, writers divide into two camps. Those who abandon their dreams ... and those who hold fast to them and seek to improve.

Understanding the hopes and fears of writers is what has made the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook into the indispensable guide to the publishing business that it is. Our Beat the Rejection Clinic will be an equally vital support network for those who do not get their books accepted first time.

This is an opportunity to discover why your work was rejected. Or to give your submission the best possible chance of catching the eye of a literary agent. You will have a 30-minute one-to-one meeting with a literary agent who has fully appraised your submission (letter, synopsis and first three chapters). The session will deliver valuable insight into how you might be able to turn your submission around and what your next targets should be. You will depart not only with a viable action plan but also the unvarnished truth of your situation as seen from the perspective of a publishing insider.


"It was just what I needed! Very constructive." Eva Stenborre

"The agent went above and beyond what I had expected. I came away inspired, enthused and more importantly...ready" Freya Morris

"Jenny has a very genuine and supportive approach and I felt she was interested in my ideas." Susan Rollinson

"...the reaction of an Agent was very useful, particularly in spotting a couple of flaws that I suspected, but - after several drafts - no longer had the enthusiasm to fix." Sean Barker

"I had thought that agents were a bit like guillotines but rather less polite. Lucy was chatty, helpful, with a genuine interest in my work...and made many extraordinarily useful suggestions for my current book, as well as broad brush strokes which will help with future writing. Lucy clearly had looked at my 7000 words in considerable detail beforehand, making many notes on the margins....Satisfied, I left, resolved to plunge into an MS re-work, à la Lucy." Alison Gardiner

"You will be at the top of the slush pile for thirty minutes of intensive discussion with an agent, and you will find out how (or if) you can bring your manuscript to a professional level. This is a great opportunity to be taken seriously." Will Fraser

“Juliet was friendly, open and engaging. She provided practical guidance on how I could improve my MS and was very honest in her assessment of strengthening my story. She reviewed my cover letter and synopsis, providing written feedback which I took away. I left the session with more confidence and with a very clear idea of what I should change and what my next steps should be. I'd definitely recommend this session for anyone trying to get an agent.” Farheen Kahn

Features & benefits

You get the following:

  • A 30-minute one-to-one with an agent
  • Suggestions on how you can improve your covering letter and the first three chapters
  • Inspiration and encouragement
  • Lessons from a top literary agent
  • Advice on 'targeting' as well as content

What you receive

At Writers & Artists, we know the value of what's tangible. So the Rejection Clinic is more than just a talking shop.

You will take away clear action points. The agent will point out mistakes made in your submission package and advise how best to avoid repeating them.  Together you will discuss a strategy for targeting those who might be interested in your book, helping you develop your submission package into one that piques the interest of literary agents.  Finally, the agent will also focus their editorial eye on your submission, often providing suggestions for revisions on your opening three chapters.

Who are the agents?

Juliet Pickering - Blake Friedmann Literary Agency

Juliet Pickering is an agent at the Blake Friedmann Literary Agency. She studied English Literature at university before working for Waterstones as a fiction buyer. She joined A P Watt in 2003 and become an Associate Agent in 2007.  Juliet joined Blake Friedmann in 2013 and her list includes Costa, Commonwealth, Orwell Prize, Sky Arts and Guardian First Book shortlisted authors as well as journalists such as Lucy Mangan and Laurie Penny. Her interests range from literary and well-written commercial fiction to mystery, crime and thrillers. She also represents many non-fiction writers across the board, including memoir, pop culture, social history, feminist and political commentary, cookery and food writing, and all sorts in between.

Imogen Pelham - Marjacq Scripts

Imogen Pelham is a literary agent at Marjacq Scripts, representing authors including Costa Short Story Award winner Angela Readman, Wellcome Prize shortlisted Emily Mayhew and Encore Prize longlisted Olivia Glazebrook. Prior to Marjacq, she worked at Aitken Alexander Associates for five years where she began building her list whilst working alongside Gillon Aitken. She represents literary and high-end commercial fiction, as well as a range of non-fiction including history, psychology, travel and food.

Federica Leonardis - Martin Leonardis

Federica Leonardis

Federica Leonardis is the founder of the Martin Leonardis Literary Management. Her publishing career includes four years in Foreign Rights at Ed Victor Literary Agency, three years in the Contracts department at the Orion Publishing Group and over two years at Rogers, Coleridge & White Literary Agency where she worked alongside two senior agents while building her list until July 2016.

She’s looking for commercial, cross-over and reading group adult fiction with inspiring characters, universal dilemmas and compelling plots. She’s also interested in some non-fiction such as food writing and cookery, business, psychology, smart thinking and self-help.

Fully bilingual, she considers submissions in both English and Italian. Check out the website or follow her on Twitter

Julia Churchill - A.M. Heath Literary Agents

Julia Churchill joined A.M.Heath in 2013 as Children's Agent, after four years building up the UK side of the Greenhouse Literary Agency, and six years at the Darley Anderson Agency where she started the children's book side of the list. She represents some fabulous writers including Sarah Lean, Sarah Crossan and Joanna Nadin. She’s always on the treasure hunt for new writing talent and considers the slushpile to be the greatest place on earth. She’s looking for debut and established authors with storytelling magic, from picture book texts right up to YA fiction. Follow her on Twitter: @JuliaChurchill.

Jenny Savill - Andrew Nurnberg Associates

Jenny Savill is a senior literary agent at Andrew Nurnberg Associates Ltd where she represents authors of adult fiction as well as children's and YA authors. After gaining an MA in Medieval History from St Andrews University, Jenny worked in the theatre, joining Andrew Nurnberg Associates in 2002. She has built a strong children’s and YA roster, whose authors include Sophia Bennett, Dave Cousins, Keren David, and Andy Robb. 

Jenny works editorially with her authors and is on the look-out for authentic voices, plots which surprise and engage, and characters who leap off the page. She loves quirky, life-affirming stories and and while she is not looking for high fantasy, she does like a story with a slight thread of magic running through it. She is interested in finding new voices in both commercial and literary women’s fiction, historical fiction, speculative, humorous,memoir and narrative non-fiction. Her adult fiction authors include Deborah Install and Natasha Pulley, and, on the non-fiction side, Mark Logue and Peter Conradi.

Danielle Zigner - LBA Books

Danielle Zigner

Danielle Zigner joined LBA Books as a Junior Agent in 2014, after having spent a year working with a number of publishers and agencies, and has been since actively building her list. Her heartland lies with Young Adult literature, and she’s open to all genres within that. She’d love to find some quirky YA, as well as some YA romance and fantasy. She also loves adult fantasy and science-fiction, as well as historical thrillers, and is keen to take on clients in these areas.

For middle graders she’s after adventure stories and mysteries that capture the imagination. And of course, books that make her laugh.

On the non-fiction side she looks for feminist literature that has something new to add to the dialogue. She also represents a couple of health and cookery titles, and is excited to find new stars in this area.

Sallyanne Sweeney - Mulcahy Associates

Sallyanne Sweeney grew up in Dublin and studied English at Trinity College before completing an MPhil in American Literature at Queens' College, Cambridge. After graduating she joined Watson, Little Ltd, becoming a Literary Agent in 2008 and a Director of the company in 2011. She joined Mulcahy Associates in 2013 and is building her list of fiction and non-fiction authors for children and adults, as well as a small number of picture book illustrators. Passionate about working with debut authors, her fiction tastes are wide-ranging, from the literary to the very commercial, but she is particularly looking for voice-driven narratives with a strong hook. In non-fiction, she is interested in memoirs and food writing. Sallyanne regularly attends writing festivals and events and is a judge for the inaugural Bath Children's Novel Award.

Hattie Grunewald - Blake Friedmann

Hattie Grunewald graduated from University of East Anglia in 2013 with a BA in English and Creative Writing, and started work as an intern at Blake Friedmann the next week. She assists across the book department, handles short fiction and permissions on behalf of Blake Friedmann clients, and is now beginning to build her own list.

Hattie is looking for women's fiction, crime and thrillers outside of the 'male cop, dead woman' mould, speculative fiction and realistic YA and middle-grade fiction. In non-fiction, she is looking for personal development, accessible books about politics, economics and science, and funny and clever narrative non-fiction. She is not currently accepting fantasy or fiction set before 1900, and she hates sport - sorry! Specifically (but not exclusively), Hattie loves: love stories, especially slow-burners or ones disguised as something else; dysfunctional families (particularly step families, or dads who are neither deadbeats nor heroes); large sprawling casts of diverse and believable characters; authors from under-represented backgrounds; books that aren't afraid to call themselves feminist; books about mental health; blogs and tweets and writers that understand social media; pop culture; anything to do with food.

Hattie is also a poet. Her first pamphlet was published by Nasty Little Press in 2013, and one of her poems also appeared on tube trains across London as part of the 'Poems on the Underground' scheme. 

Louise Lamont - LBA Books

After studying English Literature and Medieval Studies at university, Louise Lamont joined the literary agency AP Watt Ltd after a brief spell in the world of film development. Louise worked with Caradoc King and his clients for seven years, while also building my own list. In 2013, she moved to LBA Books. Louise is particularly looking for writers and illustrators for children and teen readers: strong, sharp storytelling with a hint of humour and a sense of adventure. 

What you need to submit

The process begins when you make book your appointment, make your payment and send us electronically:

  • Your submission letter.
  • A one-two page synopsis.
  • Three chapters (to a maximum of 10,000 words).

The synopsis should deliver as much of the following as possible:

  • The genre you think the book is in.
  • A summary of your story in one paragraph.
  • Elaborate on your plot over three or four paragraphs.
  • A sense of who the main characters are.
  • A sense of how you’ve written it – first person, third person, more mixed.
  • If you were a bookseller recommending your title, which author or book would you compare it to?

It is important to provide as much information as you feel is needed in order that the clinic with the agent is of maximum practical value to you.

It would smooth the process if the pages of your submission are numbered (and named, where appropriate).  We would prefer that you use a standard typeface such as Times New Roman in 12pt and double-spaced.  It is essential that you submit your work as a Word.doc file please.

Booking & payment

The key steps are as follows:

  • To book a place, apply now
  • Book a slot by making a payment.
  • Then submit your letter, synopsis and first three chapters.

Please note that each literary agent needs at least 48 hours' notice to review your work and arrange their schedules.