Monthly Archives: June 2011

MA Degrees in Creative Writing: waste of time or wonderful opportunity?

I recently posted a set of concerns about MA creative writing courses . In particular, I argued that they had far too little connection with the publishing market as it is today. Since writing that I’ve taken a look at … Continue reading

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University courses in creative writing

University courses in creative writing have become ever more common, in both the US and the UK. But are they worth it? Personally, I’m sceptical. I think most people who do such courses are let down by them. I think … Continue reading

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Literary agents for non-fiction

What non-fiction literary agents are looking for – where to find them – and how to give them what they want. 1. What are non-fiction agents looking for? All agents are looking for the same thing: saleable manuscripts – of … Continue reading

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Tips for writing crime fiction and thrillers

This post is sweet and simple. Here are my top ten tips for writing crime fiction and thrillers that will please the reader and make publishers start groping for their chequebooks. Know the market. Read very widely. As many authors … Continue reading

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Literary agents for crime fiction and thrillers

It’s easy to think that because you’re writing a crime novel or thriller, you need an agent who represents crime thrillers. And that’s logical enough … except that isn’t, as it happens, how the industry really works. I write crime … Continue reading

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Editing your book

As a rough guide, once you reach the final fullstop of your manuscript, you’ve reached – at the very best – your halfway point. I’d say that by now (I’m on my seventh novel and fourth non-fiction book), my time … Continue reading

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How do you find a literary agent?

First, a confession. In a sense I’m not exactly the right person to ask. Yes, I’m a professional author with a stack of books under my belt. Yes, some of those books have done well. Yes, I work extensively with … Continue reading

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Critique Services

Good critique services are hugely valuable. Bad ones can be worse than useless. Bear in mind two things. First, professional authors all have their own ‘in-house’ critique service, via their literary agents and publishers (plus, quite likely, their own professional … Continue reading

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Getting a Novel Assessment

Getting a novel assessment can be a scary business. You can find out what an assessment involves here. And if you want to know where to get your novel assessed, you’ll find the answer right here. But this post looks … Continue reading

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Manuscript Evaluation – what to expect

Manuscript evaluation is the art and science of giving tough, constructive advice on a draft manuscript (typically, but not always, a novel). What you should expect is: an expert reviewer. In our view the only reviewers worth their salt are … Continue reading

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Do I need a literary agent?

A common question for all new writers – and the answer, almost always, is yes. But let’s start by reviewing what agents are there to do. They have several main roles: selecting saleable manuscripts from all those submitted. Bear in … Continue reading

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How to choose a Literary Consultant

Literary consultants are a fairly new phenomenon – they first came onto the scene about fifteen years ago – but they’ve radically altered the landscape for new writers. You certainly don’t need to use one … but at the same … Continue reading

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Sample Literary Agent Query Letter

You want to know what a query letter should look like? Well, here’s an sample one below. Just before we look at it, I should say that I am a real author describing a real book – and I already … Continue reading

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The Perfect Literary Agent Query Letter

Query letters matter massively. A typical literary agent in New York or London will see approximately 2000 manuscripts a year, and may take on just 1-2 new authors. Of the 2000 manuscripts submitted, the majority – let’s say at least … Continue reading

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Literary Agent Fees

Literary agents are salesmen and saleswomen – there to sell your manuscript to publishers. And, as with any sales driven game, you pay them on commission. Good literary agents are massively helpful to new authors, so you shouldn’t resent paying … Continue reading

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