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The Hemingway Effect

July 9th, 2021

For fans of Ernest Hemingway, the new documentary series on BBC4 that started last week is a real treat. When I saw that there were six episodes I thought it might be slow and ponderous, but if the first one was anything to go by that’s far from the truth. An hour in and we’re still only up to his early twenties but it was fascinating. I suspect that many people are aware of his love of bull-fighting, his deep-sea fishing, his game-hunting, his womanising and his hard drinking. But there was so much about his early life that was new to me and shed a light on his future development both as a person and as an author. I’ll confess that he’s never been one of my favourite writers, but I find the story of his life irresistible.

Before we go any further this week, I need to remind you about our Poetry Competition as time is flying and it will be the end of the month – and the closing date for entries – before you can blink. There are three prizes of £300, £200 and £100 and each winner also receives a Writers Bureau course of their choice. Your poem can be up to 40 lines and on any theme.  The entry fee is £5.00 per poem (or £4.00 if you are a member of the Association of Freelance Writers). Read the rest of this entry »




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Top Tips For Finding A Literary Agent

September 20th, 2019

If you want to be a novelist, sooner or later you’ll face the difficult decision of whether to self-publish or go down the traditional route of finding a publisher. For anyone hoping to find a publisher, it’s highly likely (and, in most cases, advisable) to first seek representation from a literary agent.

Why do you need an agent?

The majority of publishers will not accept manuscripts directly from authors. If you are serious about getting published by a reputable publishing house, you need an agent. Of course, agents do more than just find you a publisher. A good agent acts like your best writing buddy – they support you, help you come up with ideas for books they think will sell, give feedback on your work, negotiate contracts on your behalf and help you build your writing career. Read the rest of this entry »




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A Day In The Life Of A Literary Agent

April 12th, 2019

Just recently, I seem to have had a number of guests who have given advice about self-publishing. But what about the many writers who want to go down the more conventional path and publish via an agent? So this week I’ve been talking to Susan Yearwood, who runs a successful London agency, about what her work entails and what she is looking for when taking on a new author.

“My day consists of editing, arranging and attending meetings as well as signing writers to my agency.

I recently met with a writer and discussed edits before he re-submits his script to me. His will be the second signing to Susan Yearwood Agency in just over a week, the first of which pertains to a psychological thriller writer; her script is at the line-by-line editing stage. Read the rest of this entry »




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Do Agents Earn Their Money

September 3rd, 2018

This week, instead of doing a miscellany, I’m going to look at getting an agent. So, the first question you need to ask is, in these days of self-publishing, indi-publishing and print on demand: do agents make a difference?  Yes!  If you still want to go down the route of selling your book to a mainstream publisher, then having it handled by an agent will increase your chances of success.  For one thing, it will mean you dodge the horrors of the dreaded slush pile.  Publishers trust the judgement of literary agents and will treat anything sent by them with more repect. Plus, many publishers no longer accept submissions from un-agented writers.

Agents certainly earn their 10 per cent commission.  They have the contacts and inside knowledge of the business, and will offer you advice on honing your novel before it is submitted to a publisher. Not to mention selling on various rights and pushing for overseas sales. Read the rest of this entry »




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Do You Need An Agent?

July 1st, 2016

Fiction-Book-Writers-Bureau-blogFirst, thanks to Lorraine for last week’s blog. It’s great to have her back on the team and she makes a very valid point in her post. Never limit your ambitions. Keep an open mind and be willing to try anything.

With so many people self-publishing (as e-books and print on demand),do you really need an agent? It’s a question I get asked all the time. If you hope to get into professional, mainstream publishing then the answer is still a resounding ‘Yes’!  For one thing, it will mean you dodge the horrors of the dreaded slush pile.  Publishers trust the judgement of literary agents and will treat anything sent by them with special interest and care. In fact, many publishers won’t even accept a manuscript from an un-agented author. Read the rest of this entry »




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