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The Writers Bureau Writer Of The Year 2011

This year we had a crop of really interesting stories to choose from for The Writer of the Year Award. We have such a wonderful mix of students from different backgrounds and countries. We’d like to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone who sent in an entry. We enjoyed reading them all.

Picking a winner was tough but we hope you’ll agree that Anne Perdeaux justly deserves the top prize. She has worked hard, taken the brave step of following her dream and laid down a strong foundation on which to build her future writing career. Congratulations Anne!

[read Anne Perdeaux's Story]

Anne Perdeaux

Previous Years:

2010

2009

                 

To celebrate the success and achievements of our students we are pleased to run our annual Writer of the Year Award. First prize is £250 and there are four equal runners-up prizes of £50 each.

We hope you enjoy reading about all of this year's winners. They each have a unique experience of developing their writing through the course, proving that The Writers Bureau home-study methods really are tailor-made to meet each individual's own ambitions.


If you are a student of The Writers Bureau and would like to enter this competition for 2012 please click here.

You could walk away with the first prize of
£250!

...and the runners-up are:

 

LucyCostigan200.jpg

Lucy Costigan, Ireland

Lucy enrolled on her course to find out how to get her articles published. As well as having four articles published she has written and produced a film documentary and co-authored a book which has been shortlisted for the Irish Book of the Year Awards.

[read Lucy's story]

Priya Fonseca, India

Not wanting to return to work after becoming a Mum, Priya used her course to find a way of satisfying her creative side while earning some money at the same time.

[read Priya's story]

Priya Fonseca
Daniel Sitole

Daniel Sitole, Kenya

Daniel has worked really hard and has found markets for his writing in Kenya and around the world.

 [read Daniel's story]

Lynette Williams, UK

Lynette wasn’t ready to retire. So she took The Writers Bureau course, discovered the joy of seeing her name in print and found she has a talent in an unexpected genre!

[read Lynette's story]

Lynette Williams

Anne-Perdeaux300.jpgAfter working for 40 years Anne has now found a job she really loves – writing! Read on to find out how The Writers Bureau has helped her lay the foundations for her new career.

When I enrolled I hoped the course would give me the opportunity and encouragement to fulfil a lifelong dream – of becoming a professional writer. Within a few months, I had gained enough confidence to give up an unsatisfactory part-time job, and concentrate on writing. On my last day at work, I was proudly showing off a magazine which had published my first paid article!

How the Creative Writing course has helped
The structure of the course has helped me to become organised and focus on writing. The modules and assignments are enjoyable and stimulating, and it suits me to be able to work through them methodically at my own pace, whilst regularly submitting work to editors. I believe that I’ve now laid some good foundations on which to continue to build my new career.

The course has shown me how to target my writing to stand the best chance of being accepted for publication. The world of publishing was completely new to me, and my tutor has been wonderfully supportive throughout all my ups and downs. I’ve become more assured in my approach to editors, and in trying out different markets. Seeing my acceptances increase has been really encouraging, and a rejection has become a challenge to improve the piece and try another publication.

Writing Success
Following a suggestion in the module on writing humour, I sent a humorous quiz to Country Smallholding. Although it wasn’t suitable, the editor liked the idea and asked me to come up with a quiz offering practical advice. It took a great deal of research, but he was delighted with the results (it’s still on the magazine’s website). He then asked me to do a similar quiz for a sample issue of a new magazine (Your Chickens). It was fantastic to actually be requested to write something, and I was especially pleased to be included in the first issue of a new magazine.

Just before Christmas, I discovered I’d won the monthly prize offered by How To Books for on-line articles. This was an enormous boost – the perfect finale to a very happy year.

The Rewards
This has been my first full year as a writer, and I am thrilled with my earnings at this stage – £1589.80 for 2010 – especially as I’m still only half-way through the course. Although it may not yet be a large income, seeing steady improvement and achievement is far more important to me than overnight success. Working at a new career I enjoy so much is almost reward enough, and it’s so exciting when one of my pieces appears in a national publication. Being paid is a great encouragement, of course, and I love being able to tell people that I’m a ‘freelance writer’. After 40 years of working I’ve finally found a job I love!

[more student stories]

 

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Lucy CostiganLucy enrolled on her course to find out how to get her articles published. As well as having four articles published she has written and produced a film documentary and co-authored a book which has been shortlisted for the Irish Book of the Year Awards.

Lucy Costigan - Ireland

This course has so far been simply amazing and has given me the confidence to send in my work to several leading, glossy magazines. My tutor has given me fantastic support and brilliant feedback on every one of my assignments. I find it hard to believe that I have already had four articles published.

Writing and Producing a Film
This year I have also written and produced a film documentary on the stained-glass artist, Harry Clarke called, ‘A Revel in Blue: The Life and Work of Harry Clarke’. It’s available to buy online at our website www.harryclarke.net. The reviews of the film have been very positive. Royalties for this have begun to come in and at present amount to £322.

Co-authoring a Book
The most exciting publication for me this year was my book: ‘Strangest Genius: the stained glass of Harry Clarke’ that was published by The History Press Ireland. The book was co-authored with photographer, Michael Cullen. It received great reviews throughout the year and was short listed for the Irish Book of the Year Awards in the ‘Best Irish-published Book’ category. I’m so thrilled to have been short listed for a national award. So far I’ve been paid an advance of £847 with royalties to come. There were initially 1,500 full-colour, hard-backed books published but these have sold out and the book is now in its second print run.

A Great Year
So far I have earned approximately £1,314 from writing in 2010. I am so delighted that I took the plunge and signed up for this writing course. This has been a fantastic year and has inspired me to keep on writing and seeking publication.

[more student stories] 

 

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Priya-Fonseca120.jpgNot wanting to return to work after becoming a Mum, Priya used her course to find a way of satisfying her creative side while earning some money at the same time.

Priya Fonseca - India

I started The Writers Bureau course a year after the birth of my baby boy. I knew I didn’t want to go back to a full time work schedule that would keep me away from my child. But, I also knew that I needed to look for a creative option that would allow me to be happy and earn what I call ‘mad money’ to do what I please with.

Learning the Basics
The course has given me direction. It is very difficult for a rookie to start out not knowing how to go about approaching editors, what formats to use, how to write a query letter, how much to charge or even conduct market research.

Building Confidence
The first few books of the course have been my guides and continue to be a reference for many queries. I am confident about sending my work out. When my assignments come back promptly from my tutor with notes, suggestions and encouragement to ‘send it off to the editor’, I don’t waste time. I make the changes and send it off.

Writing Achievements
Now that I’ve been published and know that I can make a mark as a freelance writer I hope to market myself better in the future.

Earnings for 2010 are over £1,000 from Mother and Baby Magazine, Top Gear Magazine, www.mummyknowsbest.com, www.greenu.org, mirellajewellery.com, storybookhouse.wordpress.com and www.sopiez.in.

[more student stories]

 

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DANIEL-SITOLE150.jpgDaniel has worked really hard and has found markets for his writing in Kenya and around the world.

Daniel Sitole - Kenya

My ambitions were to acquire skills of writing journalistically, objectively, and to be the preferred writer by editors. The course is good and it has helped me to be part of the writing profession. It has met more than my expectations. The course materials are simple to understand. My tutor has been very resourceful and without him, I would be nowhere in writing.

For every 20 pitches I send, I get one assignment. That is 5% success, for a student this is not bad, considering that God’s blessings come in small parcels. In 2009, when working for my fourth assignment, I earned about £708.

Canada
Canadian Bike published my feature, “The Kenya’s Rider of Death”, in September. I earned £348. The editor requested me to write another feature on motor sports at the same payment. I wrote and submitted, “Riders Face Tough Weather Condition”. It was on cross-country competition in Loldiaga Hills, Nanyuki, Kenya. The feature will be published in March 2011 and payment by the end of March.

USA
I sent a pitch to the editor of Velonews in the USA. He commissioned me to write, “Cycling with the Rhino 2010”. The feature was about an annual cycling event to raise money for conservation of rhinos, in Nakuru National Park.

The Women’s International Perspective (WIP) editor, on the basis of a pitch, requested that I be a regular contributor to the magazine, Talk page. I have already submitted three features: “Re-branding Microfinance for the Poor”, “A Castle Turns a Symbol of Love Where the Owner Found None” and “Kenyan Women’s Response to Millennium Development Goals”. The first feature has been published.

The Globalpost, Boston, USA, has also requested me to be sending features and news on spec; they will pay me £160 per piece. This was in response to my application for a Kenyan stringer’s position. So far, I have sent two features, a week before Christmas.

Total earnings for 2010 are £348 with another £1000 to come when published.

[more stories]

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Lynette-Williams150.jpgLynette wasn’t ready to retire. So she took The Writers Bureau course, discovered the joy of seeing her name in print and found she has a talent in an unexpected genre!

Lynette Williams - UK

For seventeen years I had held the position of Director of Finance for a group of eight companies. Unfortunately, due to the recession the company was sold and for the first time in my life I was out of work.

You might think that at 60 years old it didn’t really matter. I should be glad to rest and enjoy the freedom of retirement, and for the first two months I tried very hard to do just that. However after a very busy and structured working life I found myself at a loose end, desperately looking for another challenge and it was during a particularly tedious day that I discovered The Writers Bureau.

It’s now November 2010, I’m on my last assignment and I’m finding myself reluctant to complete this final project and finally finish the course.

First Piece to be Published
It was as a result of assignment N8 that I had my first piece published. I was to interview a person who was making a difference in the community. At the time my sister was one of the first nurses in Wales to become a nurse practitioner.

So I wrote a profile of “Sister Jackie Haines” and forwarded it to the editor of Practice Nursing. He immediately accepted the piece for publication in the January 2010 edition of the journal and has since encouraged me to write other profiles. I have had three published so far, a fourth is ready for publication and two further profile interviews are arranged for this month.

Talent in a Surprising Genre!
I really surprised myself getting enormous enjoyment out of writing two pieces of erotica for assignment 16 (F8). Very naughty pieces, but great fun to write. Add to that the pleasure of my tutor’s comments, “You clearly have a talent in this genre” and I was floating on cloud nine. I approached an editor who encouraged me to develop the pieces into full-blown stories, a work in progress at present and certainly an area to develop for the future.

New Horizons
Just recently I used my previous experience in business to write a play for radio based around the effect of redundancy on relationships. I have forwarded it to the BBC Writersroom and look forward with trepidation to any response.

My grandson is in his final year of A-levels and is currently applying for a place in university. I was very proud when he asked for my help when writing his personal statement. His pleasure at the end result was very rewarding.

To summarise: The Comprehensive Creative Writing Course gave back a structure to my life that was badly needed when redundancy tore it apart. The small amount of success I have had to date is proof that I can still do something worthwhile. Being published has given me back my pride and although I haven’t as yet made a huge amount of money out of my writing the enjoyment gained and the thrill of being published far outweighs any monitory gain.

[more student stories]

 

 
 

Sarah Plater Writers Bureau's Writer of the Year 2017

“I’m currently working on my fourth book, have been paid for my writing by at least 15 different magazines, and now earn half my income from writing – all thanks to The Writers Bureau’s course."

Sarah Plater - Writers Bureau Writer of the Year 2017

Read Sarah's full story.

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