Wise Heads

Writers have lots of questions. Is the writing you do in your dressing gown worse or better than the writing you do when you have hauled yourself into clothes? How many biscuits is too many? What can you do to get rid of that ache in your neck from hunching over the keyboard?

While I can’t provide you with answers to any of the above – not even the biscuits one as I think that’s something best sorted out between you and your conscience – I can point you in the right direction for help and advice concerning the other knotty issues writers tussle with.

Such as, how to write a synopsis. Where to find an agent. What you should look for in a publishing contract. How you can access professional editing and critiquing services. Things writers should know about tax, VAT and insurance.

I think of these as the nuts and bolts, or if you prefer, needles and thread, that hold a writing career together. Knowing the answers to the questions I might be faced with – or being able to contact someone who does – will make it easier for me to get my work out there, be happy with my writing lot and make the most, creatively and financially, from my labours.

Another plus – the resources you find here can also be your gateway to a community of writers who will make you feel less like you are sitting alone writing in isolation. They may also help you with that biscuit-eating habit  …




Wise Heads - books and magazines

Writers' & Artists' Yearbook - Bloomsbury Publishing

The Writers' & Artists' Yearbook, up-dated and produced every year, is an indispensable guide to the media and publishing world. The guidance and advice is highly practical and knowledgeable and ranges from writing for online and print, to the latest on copyright law, tax and e-publishing. There are also over 4,000 listings entries on who to contact and how, across the media and publishing worlds. Bloomsbury also publish the Children's Writers & Artists' Yearbook and you will often find one or both of these Yearbooks stocked in libraries. You can of course buy them via the Bloomsbury Publishing site, or in the shop section of Bloomsbury's The Writers' & Artists' Website - another fantastic resource and well worth checking out. It includes articles, blogs, an editorial service and a community page.

From Pitch to Publication - Everything You Need to Know to Get Your Novel Published - Carole Blake

Carole Blake, the highly successful literary agent, unfortunately died in 2016, but the wisdom and experience she gained over many years in the industry can be found in 'From Pitch to Publication'. As publisher Pan Macmillan says 'it is the complete guide to presenting yourself effectively to publishers, and navigating the periods before and after publication for continuing success.'

Write a Great Synopsis - An Expert Guide by Nicola Morgan

Nicola Morgan understands that 'Most writers hate writing synopses. They need dread them no more.'
You'll find great, practical advice here on everything including the function of a synopsis, finding the heart of your book, and how to tackle non-linear plots, multiple themes, sub-plots and long novels. For a fuller tour round the book, please click on the link below.
While you're there, you might also like to take a look at her book 'Dear Agent' which tells you all you need to know to write a covering letter to accompany that synopsis.

Wise Heads - organisations

The Society of Authors

The Society of Authors describes itself as ‘a trade union for all types of writers, illustrators and literary translators, at all stages of their career. Members receive unlimited, free advice on all aspect of the profession, including confidential clause-by-clause contract vetting and a wide range of exclusive offers.’

The Society also holds events across the UK – including workshops, talks and socials – and campaigns and lobbies on issues affecting authors, indeed, it has been advising individuals and speaking out for the profession since 1884. For a full list of their fantastic work, please see the website.

Before I joined the Society, I had a narrow idea of who might be a member, but as they say, it ranges ‘from journalists to webcomic artists, scriptwriters to bloggers, novelists to games writers, and translators to performance poets, our members work in a wide range of disciplines.’

Now, it is also possible to join the Society as an Associate and it is well worth checking out the eligibility criteria on the website.

Here are their Twitter and Facebook links too.



New Writing North

The UK’s first regional writing development agency, New Writing North (NWN) is now part of a national network of new writing agencies. It operates throughout the whole of the North of England and its aim has evolved to encompass a wide range of help and support. I can only give you a taste of this, but here goes.

Talent development This includes the Northern Writers’ Awards, supporting new work in progress

Reader Development The Read Regional programme is a part of this. This large scale library partnership aims to engage with local authors and promote new writers. I was a participant a couple of years ago and it was a fantastic opportunity to visit libraries across the region and talk to readers.

Engaging People with Books  Includes Durham Book Festival on behalf of Durham County Council.

Supporting Reading and Culture  Think book clubs, an annual children’s theatre production and more.

Working with Young People The Cuckoo young writers’ programme is a great example of this.

Awards and Prizes The fantastic Julia Darling Travel Fellowship is just one of these.

New Writing North is a real mover and shaker in the North and has encouraged and helped many. Please take a look at their website and see how much they offer.

And here are their Twitter and Facebook links too.



The Literary Consultancy

The Literary Consultancy describes itself as ‘the first editorial consultancy for writers set up in the UK, in 1996. Its aim was to provide honest, professional feedback to writers to give them a better sense of whether and where their work might fit into the ever-changing market. Previous TLC clients include Kerry Young, Winnie M. Li, Sarah Butler, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, and Jenny Downham. TLC also runs a popular mentoring scheme, Chapter and Verse, a series of literary events including its regularly sold-out Writers’ Day, and offers bursaries to low-income writers thanks to funding from Arts Council England. Each year, TLC runs an overseas writing retreat, Literary Adventures.’

The website is packed with information and you can find it here.

And here are their Twitter and Facebook links too.