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This month find out how to impress competition judges straight from the horse’s mouth and learn to make your writing environment as productive as possible in Ten Top Tips, plus writing events you can attend and useful websites to help you on your way in competitions.


'I always enjoyed writing although I never thought I would ever really get anywhere with it. I always imagined that to have a writing career, first I’d be forced to sit in lecture theatres with tooth-picks holding my eyes open, while a professor droned on and on about dissecting books that bored me to tears. So I carried on with my life and fell into a career that simply paid the bills.

'It wasn’t until my attention landed on a Writers Bureau advertisement when my dreams all came flooding back. It seemed the ideal opportunity to discover if I really did have some talent and learn some useful techniques. The possibility of earning some money in the process was also a bonus.

'Right from the start of the course I was learning practical techniques that have even been useful in furthering my career. As I worked on my writing skills, I soon had confidence in my abilities and started to apply for work in the writing field. Even though my initial attempts weren’t successful, I didn’t feel disheartened because I knew I was only starting out and could use it as a learning experience.

'Eventually through some contacts who knew I was studying and keen to become a writer, I landed some freelance work. In the past 9 months I’ve written web content, small articles, letters, corporate brochures and done some editing work. Now I also write content for a monthly newsletter that is sent to around 100,000 clients. It’s not a regular income I can live off, but it gives me so much satisfaction to be finally doing what I love.

'I know I still have so much more to learn, but with everything I have achieved so far I’m confident I can succeed. My head is overflowing with so many ideas!'

Melissa Chappell, Spain


‘When I enrolled with The Writers Bureau my plan was to learn enough about publishing to get into print. But things don't always happen the way you plan them!

‘My lucky breaks started in February 2007, when I was looking through The Taxi Drivers' trade magazine as part of the WB course. It was full of well-written articles and reports, but it needed a humorous story to make easier reading. I outlined my idea of funny scenarios involving cab drivers and two days later I received a telephone call; "Sounds good to me. We particularly liked the cartoon idea. Please send us a few."

‘Maybe I inadvertently mentioned that a cartoon or funny story might ease the technical load. The problem was that I had never drawn a cartoon in my life. (Lesson: Be careful how you word letters.)

‘So I converted my short stories into cartoon strips, and 'Roadhogs' was born after a painful labour. (Lesson: Be adaptable.)

‘In April 2007 I was browsing FMN and saw a new Bourne Publishing title called 'Fieldsports'. I emailed them three drawings and received a call from the editor "We would like the 'Ducks' cartoon please.”

‘My third success was the best. I telephoned the 'Countryman's Weekly' and told them about my gamekeeping novel which I thought would be great in a weekly graphic form. I have just invoiced them for numbers 17 to 20 in the series. Through my work at the local hospital, I found myself a great regular spot in the international medical journal 'Coronary Heart'. (Lesson: Once you have established a niche, branch out fast.)

‘In March 2007 I had never drawn a cartoon, and now I have a monthly circulation of over 100,000! It's amazing! (Lesson: Move on relentlessly.) I also recently had a book cover design printed for Frank Chinn's 'Seriously Funny' - ISBN number 0-9622270-3-0.

‘I now have online cartoons hosted by the 'Tribaal' website. Other projects include an 'aliens' regular on my blogsite, which I may aim at my local paper, and a 'Poacher's Stories' for the National Gamekeepers' Organization (NGO).

‘My next targets are the diving magazines, as scuba is one of my real passions. After that, an orchestrated assault on the local and later national newspapers. Things are definitely moving up a notch, with serious deadlines and much more competition, but I plan to be running in the nationals by mid-2009.

‘The point is that if you do get a lucky break as I did, don't sit around feeling great about it for too long, because there is more to come.

‘So thanks WB. At the moment I don't have time to continue with the course, but I have arrived where I wanted for the present.

‘By the way my nom de plume is 'Ric', and I hope you see my cartoons one day!’

Richard Seaton, UK

Related Links


Main Website


Ric's Tips and Borderland Diary

Book Cover Designs

Thanks, as always, to Melissa and Richard for sharing their inspirational stories with us. If you would like a prospectus for our courses please email us here with your full name and postal address.

Or, to share your success stories with others, just send an email to with 'Success Story' in the subject line.