LBF: How to get published masterclass

lbf08_header_rightI had the great pleasure of attending the London Book Fair ‘How to get published masterclass’ on Saturday at Earls Court.

The LBF assembled a stellar panel skillfully chaired by Danuta Kean. From the world of publishing, Bill Swainson from Bloomsbury and Simon Trewin from United Artists gave up their Saturday mornings –  as did authors Kate Mosse, Lola Jaye & Gareth Sibson.

The messages that came across were pretty consistent. From a publisher’s perspective they were these:

  • Even in the current economic climate, there is cautious optimism about the future (for publishers, agents & authors)
  • Both Bill and Simon are passionate about what they do & excited what each daily round of new submissions might bring
  • That publishers and agents are human beings too – and very approachable (if done correctly)

Their top tips were:

  • Do your research into which publishers & agents take your type of work
  • Unsolicited submissions to publishers have less chance than those via agents
  • Keep submissions short but show passion, influences and professionalism
  • Be patient – the time constant for a publishing deal is 12 to 24 months
  • Do’nt approach them if you are not 100% happy with your work and don’t approach too early
  • Don’t be arrogant &, as Simon said, “Don’t imply that you are a genius & I am a moron.”

From an author’s perspective, here’s the best tips from Kate, Gaye and Gareth:

  • “Don’t give up your day job” – Lola
  • “Writing a book is like training for a marathon” – Kate – i.e.  a little exercise each day helps
  • “I will be a brand” – Gareth – getting the back story about your book in front of a features editors can be much more useful than getting a literary review
  • Be prepared for the long haul & hard work
  • Make writing part of your day & your life
  • Read as well as write
  • Self publishing is a viable route forward for new authors

Even as an already self-published author with two more books on the way, I found the masterclass really useful.  I can also confirm that, if you send a submission to Simon and his team, they do actually read it and reply to you within the time they state on their web site. The feedback is really useful too.

Did I learn anything new?  If I am completely honest, not really but it was really encouraging to hear these consistent messages from such industry luminaries.  I left in the knowledge I was doing all the right things and it’s just a question of application, dedication and being in the right place at the right time and doing the right thing. This alone made it well worth attending.

Would I recommend it to aspiring authors for 2010? Definitely.

If you are serious about getting published what better way than to hear directly from people who have been there and done it – and done it successfully – and a visit to the Book Fair itself to better understand the industry is well worthwhile.

Thanks again to the panel for giving up their Saturday morning.

Some suggestions for the organisers for 2010:

  • Kinder lighting for the panellists’ eyes
  • Perhaps 5-10 minutes from sponsor Authorhouse to explain the excellent service I know they provide to new authors
  • A representative from world of epublishing

Useful links …

London Book Fair

Danuta Kean

Bloomsbury Publishing

Simon Trewin Literary Agent Submissions

Kate Mosse

Lola Jaye

Gareth Sibson – Chasing Bridgit

Gareth Sibson – Single White Failure

How I became an author … Wendy Salter

The pleasures to be enjoyed from reading books are innumerable.

The path to writing your own book is tortuous and lengthy … or is it?

You either like writing or you don’t, which immediately isolates a relatively small portion of the population
who are likely to write a book, and that was a revelation that came to me this year – the year I produced my own first book.
It is not a competition between writers; it is what writers do, naturally – produce books; like cooks produce food.
I realised that because some are doing it successfully, it doesn’t have to inhibit first-timers. Yes, some become famous and prolific in their creations, like pop stars, but, again, that doesn’t make them the best for everyone. I see now that that is more about marketing than writing good books.
Writing, and having something to write about, has never been a problem for me, but becoming a published author certainly was, before now.
I love a good book and am probably quite critical in how I choose an author and reading subject; for example,
I have read only five chapters of the Harry Potter polylogy and I have only read two books more than once.
They were ‘Tess of the Durbervilles’ by Thomas Hardy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tess_of_the_Durbervilles.
and Homer’s ‘Oddysey’ . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odyssey
Starting the book that I have just self-published was also alot easier than I could ever have imagined. It was as easy as 1, 2, 3…go!
A few words came into my head one night, just before going to sleep and instead of dismissing them as unimportant
I wrote them down the next day. A few hours later I had the first five chapters of a short story.
These words were very far away from being a book, and I had no thoughts around what I would do with them, until the story unfolded before my eyes and became a revelation in itself. One story led to another until, five months after starting, I had a potential book. The seed of thought of it being a book one day was germinated by several elements.
  1. There was at least one person, I knew, who would read my book, and, as it has turned out, many, many more.
  2. There was so much excitement for me in writing the book that I felt  there would be excitement, and therefore enjoyment, for the person reading it.
  3. The finished book seemed to offer something valid and enlightening to anyone who read it, beyond just enjoyment.
  4. I knew Tom Evans.
Tom, the Bookwright, www.thebookwright.com has been a master key to turning my story into a book. Tom’s support, encouragement, knowledge and expertise, especially about self-publishing, has made the process extremely easy.
I wondered if I should use a pen and paper at one point, because it felt like such a rich experience, but I found my lap-top and
‘Word’ so useful for correcting and editing later. Sending the complete manuscript as a document via the Internet, to your chosen publisher, is so easy, too.
I can now see that once you recognise that you are a writer, everything else can follow on smoothly.
I have self-published on www.lulu.com just to get a book in my hand and see what it looks like and to give the unabridged first edition to my family.
It is easy and cheap. Your book arrives within five days!

Having held my book in my hands – a real book called ‘Herstoria’ – and seen my words on the pages therein, I am now going to walk fearlessly along the path of authorship and urge you to do so too. http://wendysalter.wordpress.com/2008/05/01/herstoria-first-installmentherstoria-first-installment/

Tom encouraged me to start my own Blog. www.wendysalter.com I have found that not only could I start serialising my first story on the Blog, but I could overcome my nerves about being exposed, criticised or even ignored. I also enjoyed posting short articles and poems. The feedback I have received by doing this has been very positive. It is great fun and very rewarding as well as a useful practice for being a published writer.
Tom is like a writer’s guardian angel. He will be there to help you overcome any self-doubt, writers’ block, loss of direction or lack of information and will be the first to celebrate your success with you.
Wendy Salter

Most thoughts aren’t your own …

Find out and experience the difference between internal and external thought by getting one of the last three places at the next Unleash the Book Inside workshop on the 20th & 21st of October – near Guildford, Surrey – UK

You will experience at least three different modes of consciousness and thinking that will transform your world forever … as well as …

… experiencing what happens when you integrate mind maps directly into your neurology

… experiencing the difference between internal and external thought and how to channel

… finding out how you can access all past emotions with detachment and disassociation

… learning how to become inextricably entangled with the future version of yourself who has achieved success as a published author

If you can’t make it, your second best option is to download the home study course

Details on both here – http://thebookwright.com/workshops/

A Creative Writing course like no other …

The Unleash the Book Inside Home-Study On-line Course is now available.

If you are an aspiring author, this will blow you away and give you the boost you need to get writing and in print.It is the online version of the successful workshop that we’ve been running since February this year to rave reviews.

There is no other creative writing course like it as it deals with the art and science of how to tap into your creativity and how banish writers’ blocks forever.

By the end the exercises, we guarantee at least one book will be unleashed from inside you.

You can get it today at the pre-launch price of the course of only £69. The course also includes four amazing MP3 guided visualisations.

Get your copy today and take the next step towards being a published author