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The Writers Bureau Writer Of The Year 2012

We were bowled over by the huge number and high quality of entries we received for our Writer of The Year Competition 2012. We had stories of success from a wide variety of students from all over the globe and we’d like to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to enter. It really makes us feel special knowing that we’ve helped so many of you achieve your dreams of becoming published writers.

We really struggled to choose a winner this year. But, after much deliberation, we decided that Eugene Yiga deserved first place. We hope, after reading about his success, you think so too. He’s progressed from writing a blog to having features published on a regular basis and now works full-time as a writer. We are proud to have helped Eugene achieve his success and hope it continues for many years to come. Congratulations Eugene!

[Read Eugene's Story]

Eugene Yiga

Previous Years:

2011

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 2013 please click here.

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

...and the runners-up are:

 

Cynthia Kingston

Cynthia John, India

Cynthia wanted to build on her skills as a children’s writer so enrolled on our Writing For Children course. With our help she’s had 60 books published, with three more due to be released and a further three commissioned. She’s also been published in periodicals, has been an executive editor and started her own business providing content and design solutions for children’s publications.  

[Read Cynthia's Story]

Mike RobinsonMike Robinson, UK

Mike wanted to find a way to make a living from writing - our Complete Copywriter course showed him the way. Now he runs a successful copywriting business, writing copy for blue-chip clients such as MSN, providing not only a full-time wage but enough to save too!

[Read Mike's Story]

Simon Platt

Simon Platt, UK

With the help of our Comprehensive Creative Writing course Simon combined his two biggest passions to create a niche writing career in mixed martial arts. Now he’s had 15 features published, regularly contributes to one of the biggest mixed martial arts magazines and has had over 50 features, interviews and reviews published on the ‘Fighters Only’ website.

[Read Simon's Story]

Trina Beckett

Trina Beckett, UK

Trina wanted to explore different genres of writing and maximise her chances of publication so she enrolled on our Comprehensive Creative Writing course. Soon her work was being accepted by publications such as ‘Wanderlust’, ‘Prima’ and ‘The Guardian’; her fiction work was winning prizes and she’d won a book contract. 

[Read Trina's Story]

Eugene YigaEugene took his childhood passion and tried to turn it into a full-time career. After suffering constant rejection, he enrolled on our Comprehensive Creative Writing course and soon discovered what he was doing wrong. With our help he rectified the problem and now writes regularly for blogs and magazines. He says “I’m really excited about my life as a writer.”

“My passion for writing began in the first grade. I loved writing short stories and poems for my friends at school. I enjoyed the idea of inspiring and entertaining other people as much as I felt inspired and entertained by the books I read with my Dad every night.

“As I grew up, this love continued. I started a journal when I was fourteen and published a short book in 2007. This also marked the start of my blog, ‘Varsity Blah’, which has been read in almost 130 countries around the world. An article about the importance of independent thinking won a national radio contest. This earned me over £150 in cash and a night out partying in a limousine!

“But then my writing reached a plateau. For some reason, I just wasn’t getting published as much as before. Despite the fact that I had a lot to say, nobody would listen. I had to figure out why. That’s where the Writers Bureau helped. As I diligently worked through the course, my tutor had plenty of praise. “Another excellent assignment!” Andy would say. And yet nothing was getting published. What was I doing wrong?

“It turns out I wasn’t doing proper research. I never took the time to understand who I was writing for so could not tailor the material accordingly. Instead, I wrote what I wanted and hoped publishers would take the material as it was. This obviously didn’t work.

“I changed my approach, bought several magazines and studied them in depth. But even that didn’t work. My submissions were still being ignored and I was getting angrier every day.

“Eventually, I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I wrote an open letter to editors venting about how badly they treat freelance writers. Some might have considered it career suicide to publically bite the hand that feeds you. I didn’t care. I just had to get my feelings out.

“It’s a good thing I did! On the day of publication, I received several emails from fellow writers who appreciated my honesty and humour. And it wasn’t just other writers who supported what I had to say. Even some editors had positive feedback. I also received an email from a journalist at ‘Finweek’. He wanted me to contribute so I wrote two articles, each earning me £100. ‘Personal Finance Magazine’ published the story of my disastrous 21st birthday and paid me £150. I was also contacted by publications I’d never even heard of, including a magazine in Kenya who commissioned me to write an article on the Mona Lisa for which I was paid £115. A start-up men’s magazine published an old article about the benefits of capitalism (Assignment 2), which earned me £100.

“Strangest of all was the reader’s letter I wrote to GQ (Assignment 5). I never realised that reader’s letters were a viable way to earn money and prizes, let alone a task I would enjoy. But then I won a Jack Daniels hamper containing a bottle of Gentleman Jack premium whiskey as well as a crystal decanter and glasses set worth over £300!

“All in all, after earning nothing from my writing for close to a year, I’d now earned almost £900 in prizes and cash in just four months. Not bad for someone who’d committed career suicide!

“It’s more important to write what interests you. Yes, you must still tailor your content for the publication, but it has to be content that excites you in the first place. The best writing really does come from the heart. This newfound confidence in my writing ability gave me the courage to turn freelance after quitting my full-time job.

“I’m really excited about my life as a writer. This is who I am and who I’ll be for the rest of my life. And it’s all thanks to the Writers Bureau.”

[more student stories]

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Cynthia Kingston

Cynthia wanted to build on her skills as a children’s writer so enrolled on our Writing For Children course. With our help she’s had 60 books published, with three more due to be released and a further three commissioned. She’s also been published in periodicals, has been an executive editor and started her own business providing content and design solutions for children’s publications.

“I wanted to build my skill as a children’s writer – writing stories that made a greater impact. I wanted to be published by bigger publishers. Though I have been in the field of writing for a while, I felt that I wanted to write better and focus on creative writing for children.

“I joined the ‘Writing for Children’ course and it stimulated my imagination and motivated me to write as creatively as possible, to make my work more effective. I wrote for David C. Cook, one of the biggest publishers of Bible-based children’s materials in the U.S and CEEFI gave me a whole series of Vacation Bible School-style books to write – 11 of them – because they found my writing creative and my work reliable.

“My future goals are to be published by the major children’s book publishers and write winning fiction. I also hope my organisation, Art Corner, which provides content and design solutions for children’s publications, will grow to work on large volumes of quality children’s content in India.

“My 60th book has just been printed, and three more will be printed in the next three months. I have also been commissioned to write three more books in the next two months.

“I have been published by periodicals like ‘Child’, ‘Deccan Herald’, ‘The Hindu’, ‘MSN India’ (portal) and ‘The New Indian Express’. My books have been published by ‘Good Housekeeping’, ‘Royal Star Books’, ‘India Bible Literature’, ‘Toy Association of India’ ‘Education World’, ‘Educomp’ and ‘OM Books’.

“I have been Executive Editor for the newsletter of ‘Toy Association of India’ and Editor for ‘Parenting Education’.

“I think The Writer’s Bureau helped me write more creatively, giving my clients more confidence in my work and encouraging them to give me more and more work. I have several clients who take work from me throughout the year.

“With a three and a half year old and a two month old baby, I feared I might not be able to do enough writing. The Writer’s Bureau provided the motivation through assignments that demanded research and creative writing. The feedback on assignments was right on, and helped me spot my mistakes and improve my writing.”

[more student stories] 

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Mike wanted to find a way to make a living from writing - our Complete Copywriter course showed him the way. Now he runs a successful copywriting business, writing copy for blue-chip clients such as MSN, providing not only a full-time wage but enough to save too!Mike-Robinson100.jpg

“When I started The Complete Copywriter Course I wanted to be able to find a way to write for a living. In truth it was more in hope than expectation that I would be able to do so. With the help of The Writers Bureau that hope has become a reality.

“I was pretty confident in my ability with the pen when I started the course, however, The Writers Bureau gave me a framework which I could use to write press releases, sales letters and websites as well as many other copywriting elements. Crucially, the course also told me how to make a living from copywriting.

“My future goal is to continue the career I very much enjoy. I write full time, run my own business and earn enough to save! In the medium term I want to work with larger clients and add another couple of retainers to my work.

"My biggest client is MSN but I also regularly write for three other companies and top up my earnings with individual projects such as website content, brochures and sales letters."

[more student stories]

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SimonPlatt100.jpgWith the help of our Comprehensive Creative Writing course Simon combined his two biggest passions to create a niche writing career in mixed martial arts. Now he’s had 15 features published, regularly contributes to one of the biggest mixed martial arts magazines and has had over 50 features, interviews and reviews published on the ‘Fighters Only’ website.

“When I first signed up for The Writers Bureau course it was more about rekindling a childhood passion for creative writing than it was about achieving any notable professional success. Whilst the thought of seeing my words in print was undoubtedly an appealing one, it was something I considered a pipe-dream that only ‘better’ writers could achieve. That was until I began the ‘Writing for Magazines’ modules. Combining my two biggest passions – Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and creative writing – I began submitting readers’ letters and mini-features to a number of well-respected MMA publications.

“Despite writing about a niche sport, my tutor’s feedback was always constructive and helped instil a belief in my ability and my subject matter. Perhaps most importantly, however, the course showed me how best to present my work to prospective publishers in a professional format; something I had previously struggled to achieve.

“The rest, as they say, is history, as I have had over 15 features published and I am now a regular contributor to ‘Fighters Only – The World’s Biggest Mixed Martial Arts and Lifestyle Magazine’ and its sister magazine ‘Train Hard, Fight Easy’. I have also had over 50 (non-paying) features, interviews and reviews published on the ‘Fighters Only’ website.

“However, perhaps the biggest success for me has been that I have been blessed with the opportunity to meet and interview some of the biggest names in the sport. This included some personal heroes of mine that, as a fan first and writer second, is something very special to me. This has only been possible by hard work and the initial support and guidance of the Writers Bureau.”

[more stories]

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Trina wanted to explore different genres of writing and maximise her chances of publication so she enrolled on our Comprehensive Creative Writing course. Soon her work was being accepted by publications such as ‘Wanderlust’, ‘Prima’ and ‘The Guardian’; her fiction work was winning prizes and she’d won a book contract.TrinaBeckett100.jpg

“My ambitions when I started the course were to explore writing genres other than fiction and to learn how to maximise my chances of publication. I was keen, although nervous, to receive feedback from professionals. I knew that I was too close to my own writing to understand how to view it objectively and needed to develop skills in editing and assessing its suitability for different markets.

“The Writers Bureau has pretty well ticked all those boxes. I now thoroughly research any publication I feel may be a suitable outlet for a piece of writing. This not only helps to focus my thoughts, but also opens my mind to other ideas for future submissions to the publication.

“Feedback has been invaluable, encouraging and given me many constructive ideas for improvement. It has been a real eye-opener. I also have a better idea of how to pitch ideas to publishers in a variety of markets.

“Putting The Writers Bureau advice into practice soon had a dramatic effect on the results of my writing submissions. Early this year, I was awarded Star Letter in ‘Wanderlust Magazine’. This led to their asking me to do an online interview for their next issue and they also published a travel piece on Seville in their ‘On the Road’ slot. A letter was published in ‘Writers Forum’ and I was sent a Moleskin Notebook. Mid-year, I was runner up in ‘Prima’ magazine’s Readers’ Stories and given a year’s subscription. I was shortlisted and published on the British Heritage website for a short piece on Iona. In November I had a piece in the Saturday Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/) and was paid the princely sum of £25.

“On the fiction front, a short story of mine won £100 first prize in a Writers News competition, which had me dancing round the room with jubilation. I have had short stories published in anthologies including Unbound Press, Creative Non-Fiction, Life Writing Leaf Memoir and a poem published by United Press.

“My favourite was a short story for an anthology of stories set during the battle of Waterloo, which required a degree of accuracy sufficient to lend authenticity to the fictional events. It was the research for this which led me on to the most spectacular offshoot of my Writers Bureau course – a non-fiction book. The tutor feedback was very positive, so I took the plunge and submitted my idea to ‘Pen and Sword’ publishers who came back within two weeks and offered me a contract and a £600 advance. I had to keep re-reading the email to make sure it was true. If I’d not had to complete the non-fiction book assignment I would not have thought about writing a non-fiction book, nor have had the first idea how to pitch it to a publisher.

“For me, a valuable lesson has been to read widely in my chosen markets. I have been surprised that doing this across the board, including novels, has made reading much more gratifying, despite the analytical approach. Hopefully, my own attempts at writing will hit a few more targets. Thank you Writers Bureau.”

[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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