Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Industry Day

The Saturday before last was my Industry Day with The Literary Consultancy. This is part of the Chapter & Verse mentoring scheme which I began about a year ago.

The industry day gives mentees a chance to gain further insight into the publishing industry and getting published. It was the first one to be held at TLC’s new premises, the Free Word Centre; a gorgeous wordy, booky space – that’s the technical description. The day started with Becky and Caroline from TLC, talking about the scheme and the mentees introducing themselves and their writing.

The first outside visitor was Will Atkins from Macmillan New Writing. MNW was started to keep new fiction alive in a time when it was being strangled because of the heightened risk that new writers present to publishers. MNW take submissions direct from writers and Will talked about how to make an approach. He brought five or six books with him that they had published and the covering letter that each of those writers had sent with their original enquiry. I loved this. There’s information available about the theory of your covering letter but rarely do you have the chance to see the letter that scored the deal! (Coincidentally, if you’re searching for an example, Novel Racers, Fia and Cally, enable you to see just that as part of Cally’s blog tour for her new novel, Heaven Can Wait.)

One of Will Atkins’ authors said that he had spent about fifty hours on the putting together his covering letter. He said he had considered his novel for thousands of hours so it made sense to spend plenty of time on the letter that would go with the manuscript.

After lunch Becky chaired a conversation with Euan Thorneycroft, an agent from AM Heath Literary Agency; Ellah Allfrey, Deputy Editor of Granta Magazine, though recently a senior editor at Jonathan Cape; Will Atkins, see above and Caroline McCarthy, TLC Mentoring Co-ordinator and Literary Scout. After their discussion, it was opened up for questions. Imagine, all that expertise and we could ask anything.

Tomorrow I will condense roughly what was said.

8 comments:

Helen said...

Ooh you tease! That's a really impressive line-up. My breath is bated.

Fia said...

Did you make a list of questions to chose from JJ? I know I would have got tongue tied or asked where they bought their lipstick - even if if they were male.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I can definitely see where the 50 hours of thinking time came in!

A glimpse at a covering letter sounds just the ticket. I'm off...

CJ xx

liz fenwick said...

Sounds like a brilliant day - can't wit to hear more!
lx

Debs said...

It all sounds fascinating, I can't wait to hear more.

Karen said...

Sounds really interesting - I'm looking forward to more :o)

JJ Beattie said...

Helen, well it's mostly general and not personal so don't get too excited!

Fia, lol. As they talked, I did note down questions knowing full well I'd have forgotten them by the time it was question time.

CJ, you never get to see them do you? It's brilliant that Cally's is up there to show everyone. I can't really post the ones I was given...

Liz, I'd better write my post then...

Debs and Karen, oh dear, I hope it lives up to expectations!

Flowerpot said...

sounds brilliant - cant wait to hear about it!