Success stories


We work with all writers, from total beginners to seriously talented pros. Inevitably, outcomes vary widely and though everyone will benefit, not all writers will gain the same level of success.

But be encouraged. Good things certainly can happen - and our success rate is vastly higher than the slushpile average.

Most of the writers mentioned on this page came to us for an editorial critique, but some came to the Festival, or signed up for mentoring, or came on one of our self-editing courses. But, however you arrive at our doors, we'll do what we can to make you succeed.

 

 

 

 

Bestsellers, Prize-winners, film deals, & megastars

Felicia Yap and the Festival 'effect'
We are thrilled to announce that yet again we have wonderful news about one of our Festival Friday Night Live shortlisted authors for 2015; Felicia Yap has been snapped up by Jonny Geller, Curtis Brown and her fab book, a high concept thriller, 'The Day After Yesterday' has been bought by Headline's Alex Clarke for a six figure sum. The book has already been optioned for film. Felicia attended our Festival of Writing 2015 and in her words 'it made a huge difference'!

Rachel Abbott & the 'shock' of feedback
Rachel Abbott came to us for her first ever editorial feedback and found it a 'shock' - a good one. Scroll on a few years, and she's one of the UK's biggest selling authors with millions of books sold. She's self-published as well as published via Thomas & Mercer, but either way, she's become one of the essential crime writers of her generation.

Just another Booker Longlist, with Eve Harris
Eve's first book, The Marrying of Chani Kaufmann was longlisted for the 2013 Man Booker prize. Eve found her writing mentor Daren King through our complete novel course. We anticipate great things from this wonderful writer.

Joanna Cannon: six figures and a TV deal
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep was published by The Borough Press (HarperCollins) in spring 16. Joanna won Friday Night Live at our 2014 Festival of Writing. She walked away with seven offers from literary agents. That novel was published to huge acclaim; got a TV deal . . . and her follow-up sold for a massive £300,000.

John Fenton’s Please Don’t Make Me Go was a misery memoir: tough, funny and honest. We helped John hone his opening – then placed his work with a leading agent. That agent sold his work in a contested auction and the book spent weeks on the bestseller lists.

A.L. Berridge’s wonderful Honour and the Sword was too long when it came to us. After a detailed editorial interchange, we placed that MS with an agent – with the same result: a contested auction and a place on the bestseller lists.

Barbara Tate’s extraordinary memoir, West End Girls, offered us a different sort of challenge. The author was elderly, so we took on a hands on editorial role, then sold the book ourselves. Orion won the auction and the book became one of the hits of the summer.

Dania el-Kadi's Summer Blast (think Sex in the City meets John Le Carre) was a number one bestseller in Dania's native Lebanon. The book wasn't just entertaining, it was an important and influential read too.

Tim O'Rourke has self-published his Keira Hudson YA vampire series to the Amazon Kindle store, where it has been the #1 ranked bestseller in its category - and he's shifted over 500,000 books to date and going strong for the million. Tim has also been agented by Peter Buckman at Ampersand, a connection we were delighted to help forge.

Ian Thornton whose The Great and Calamitous Tale of Johan Thoms has been bought by Simon & Schuster in Toronto and is now being marketed worldwide. The book has also been optioned for film.

Catherine Cooper won the inaugural £10,000 BWA Award for her Golden Acorn, and has gone on to publish three further books and hook herself a film deal.

Louise Soraya Black won the Virginia Prize - and a book deal with her lovely novel, Pomegranate Sky.

Susan Imgrund who won the EarlyWorks Prize for her The Bother in Burmeon and a book deal with quality indie, Circaidy Greogry.

Pip Jones, who won the inaugural Greenhouse Funny Prize for her funny and delightful Squishy McFluff, and who is now well on her way to being a well-established children's author.

Margaret Skea, who won the Beryl Bainbridge Award for Best First Time Author, at the People's Book Prize, for her historical novel, Turn of the Tide. At time of writing, the book has an average 4.9 star rating on Amazon, with more than 35 reviews posted.

 

The Big Hitters

We've also seen some wonderful clients secure really good book deals and create a powerful foundation for a career in writing. People such as:

Tor Udall - A THOUSAND PAPER BIRDS will be published by Bloomsbury in June 2017. It also sold to Garzanti (Italy), Xander (The Netherlands), Jacaranda (Portugal), Eksmo (Russia) and BTB/Random (Germany) who offered a substantial 2-book deal.

James Law - a big scary submariner whose big scary submarine thriller, Tenacity, was published by Headline.

Guillermo Erades, whose superb and challenging literary novel, Back to Moscow, was eagerly seized by Simon & Schuster. (Publication scheduled for 10 March 2016.)

Roz Watkins who was 'found' by Claire McGowan at the Festival of Writing. Claire recommended Roz to her agent . . . and the result was a three-book deal with lots of lovely foreign sales to boot.

Geraldine Hogan's My Husband's Wives is being published by Anthony Cheetham's very exciting and successful Head of Zeus company. We didn't actually help on that manuscript, but did a lot to help Geraldine at the start of her journey. We're thrilled she made it all the way.

Gabrielle Kent (who, two years ago, won Friday Night Live at our York Festival of Writing). In June 2014 Gabrielle and Ben signed a 3 book world rights deal with Scholastic and Gabrielle's first title, Alfie Bloom And the Secrets of Hexbridge Castle, was published in June 2015.

Mitch Feierstein, with his explosive Planet Ponzi, a book that sold internationally and launched a vibant media career.

Shelley Harris, came to our inaugural Festival of Writing, where she found an agent for her beautiful Jubilee.

Kerry Fisher, whose The School Gate Survival Guide is out now with Avon (HarperCollins).

Deborah Install, who followed up a massive German deal with a wonderful UK deal with Doubleday for her deliciously good A Robot in the Garden.

Victoria Whitworth, who put her expert knowledge of Anglo-Saxon England to good use in The Bone-Thief.

Louisa Larkin with her tough and scary thriller, The Genesis Flaw.

Caroline Corby with her six-volume Before They Were Famous children's series.

Hilton Pashley, whose first children’s fantasy novel, Gabriel’s Clock is out with Random House from agent David Headley.

Valerie Mendes, whose Larkswood has been bought in a two-book deal by Orion.

Dr Robin Brooke-Smith, whose Storm Warning a first-hand account of the Afghan-Pakistan Borderlands, is being published in London and New York by I B Tauris, with endorsements by Michael Palin and others.

Mark Hill - In June 2015 Mark signed a two book deal with Sphere. His first novel The Two O’Clock Boy will be published in autumn 2016.

Steph Broadribb, whose success started with Deep Down Dead, but is only going from strength to strength as her career blossoms.

 

And congratulations to ...

JA Corrigan whose journey to publication started with the Festival of Writing and ended up with Falling Suns being published in July 2016.

CJ Browne - Revenge Ritual is available now on Amazon UK and USA. Published by Endeavour Press.

Lochlan Bloom - ‘The Wave’ will be published by Dead Ink on 29 January 2016 as  part of their New Voices list and is now available for pre-order.

Amanda Saint - As If I Were A River, will be published in Spring 2016 by Urbane Publications.

Mari Griffith - Root of the Tudor Rose was published by Accent Press in July 2015.

Susan Imgrund aka S.P.Moss is the author of "The Bother in Burmeon" and "Trouble in Teutonia." ‘Trouble in Teutonia’ was short-listed in the children’s category of the 2015 Rubery Book Award.

Paul Hardisty - Abrupt Physics of Dying was published by Acadia Books in March 2015. It went on to be shortlisted for the CWA JOHN CREASEY (New Blood) DAGGER award.

Rosalie Osmond whose Waldenstein was released by Seraphim ... then promptly shortlisted for a major prize.

Helen Brandom with her great Writing in the Sand. Soon to be out with Usborne Books

Merryn Fergusson and her fascinating What is Wrong with ME.

Martyn Murray with his evocative and strongly argued The Storm Leopard.

Tony Bayliss and his mind-bendingly imaginative Past Continuous.

Barry Kirwan and his excellent Eden Trilogy.

Ruth Mazet and her My Horse Rears.

Patty Tashiro and her lovely An Angel Whispered.

Jane Yeadon and her evocative It Won't Hurt a Bit & the heartwarming & entertaining sequel It Shouldn't Happen to a Midwife

Richard Malim and his thoughtful The Earl of Oxford and the Making of Shakespeare.

Mary Welstead and her sadly useful Divorce and Separation.

Sally Nilsson and her (timely!) The Man who Sank Titanic.

Marion Leigh and The Politician's Daughter.

Phil Harwood and his astonishing Canoeing the Congo. (A self-published book that got a huge amount of exposure in the Guardian print and online versions, and is selling really well.)

Chitra Sankharan with her Void of Reason (forthcoming).

JC Martin and her terrific, gritty Oracle.

Sumangali Morhall and her inspirational Auspicious Good Fortune.

Stephen O'Donnell with his terrific Paradise Road.

Beverley Jones and her fantastic debut, Telling Stories.

Gordon Gray and his Passing Ships ... a book so good, there's another on its way.

Faith Anstey and her perfectly judged Flowers in the Field.

Daniel Ingram-Brown and his amazingly exciting new Rise of the Shadow Stealers

William Mortimer Moore whose Free France's Lion represents the definitive English language biography of General Leclerc.

Joyce Van Der Merwe whose huge saga of the Anglo-Boer War, The Runaway Horses, got snapped up by Jonathan Ball, the biggest publishing firm in South Africa and is due for release in 2015.

... and so many more we can't name them all.

 

The newcomers

And of course these lists are hopelessly out of date. Because it can take a year or two to bring a book to publication, there's a whole generation of Writers' Workshop clients currently proceeding towards their first book deal - often in the company of a literary agent that we've helped procure.

So congratulations too are due to those WW clients now with agents or publishers: people like,
Claire Evans
 - Represented by Johnny Geller - Curtis Brown
Simon Green
- Represented by Jo Moult - Skylark Agency,

Kirsty Kitchen, Mark Hill, Lucy Beresford, Charlotte Philipps, Maria Cross, Roy Carter, Chris Vanier, Mike Taylor, Katherine Hetzel, Silvia Rossi, Sean Walsh, Roger Hardy, Lata Pattni, Mark Roberts, Mark Radcliffe, Paul Ryan, Alan Chance, Suzanne Covitch, Kathy Bagley, Poppy Wellby, Cicely Havely, Gerard Macdonald, Ian Critchley, Gideon Roberton, Lexie Elliott, Geoff Gudgion, Delia O'Callaghan, Sumangali Morhall, Jenny Meszaros, Michelle MacNamara, John Taylor, Richard Marshall, Cath Bore, Roy Walker ... and too many others to mention.

Everyone a winner

But we don’t count as successes only those books which achieve publication.

We're here because we believe in writers and writing. If we can help you express yourself better - and if you get joy and satisfaction from the book you've created, then we're thrilled to have played our part.

Writing is a tough old game – and we admire everyone who writes something that they’re proud to have written. Congratulations to you too.