Archive for September, 2010
How is the revolution in new technology changing the commercial publishing industry?
TLC’s final event for the Flow Festival on 28th September was a cutting-edge publishing debate, chaired by Robert McCrum, associate editor of The Observer. We engaged Santiago de la Mora, Head of Print Partnerships for Europe Google, alongside Dan Franklin, Head of Digital at Canongate Publishers and Bill Thompson, technology writer and digital guru.
In this urgent debate, the panel attempted to demystify the relationship between the internet and publishing, and asked if the brave new world of free content would decimate print industries and threaten the livelihoods of emerging and established writers. The audience was full of well informed writers and agents, such as Claire Alexander and Caroline Dawnay, who helped to create a lively and fascinting Q & A at the end.
The Literary Consultancy hosted a cutting-edge publishing debate last night, with Google, Canongate, Faber, Robert McCrum and digital expert Bill Thompson. In the audience were key agents such as Claire Alexander and Caroline Dawnay, journalists and writers of different kinds. Click here to read the Bookseller review of the event. Check out TLC events for more, as we believe in keeping people writing informed about how the publishing industry works, and finding out what is in it for them.
Taz Shakir who attended the Literary Adventures in March 2010, at Casa Ana in Andalucia, has found time during his busy life as an anesthetist, to make a book out of contributions from those on the adventure writing holiday. Below is a quote from Taz to his fellow holiday-makers. We think this gives a flavour of how things went, and hope you will join us soon. Click here to see a short video clip.
Dear Literary Co-adventurers,
The making of this book had been an absolutely marvellous experience. For the past many years I have lived a life where if something needs be done it should have been done yesterday! There are always so many different things going on, that even looking for downtime has long been given up as an crazy idea. Perhaps many of you live similar lives too.
And then there was the making of Literary Adventures 1! The relaxed to and froing of e-mails- submissions, corrections, questions and their answers was superb. Nothing was harried, there were dead-lines, no expectations or demands. Our exchanges were always supportive, non-confrontational, polite and happiness-generating! Gandhi would have been proud of all of us! In fact, the longer I took the more compliments I got from all of you!!
PS The book is very sweet and has taken pride of place on my bookshelf.
TLC hosted a fabulous event last night on 22nd September, in which Fiona Mountain, historical novelist and author of Rebel Heiress, (previously published under the title Lady of the Butterflies) and Chair Paul Blezard, writer and presenter of One Word digital radio station, discussed her route to publication, and how two TLC reports helped her as part of a long journey into print. Paul Blezard teased out her story, from struggling writer to one who has just made it onto the bookshelves of Sainsbury’s.
During the second half of the event, Fiona and Paul were joined by literary agent Broo Doherty, creative writing tutor Greg Mosse, Professor Brenda Cooper and TLC’s Director Rebecca Swift. The panel discussed how to attract the attention of literary agents and the inner workings of the publishing industry. The Q & As went on into the night, focusing on very real questions such as whether writers can write what they really want to write anymore. After the interval, we had an energetic rapid-fire round of practice pitches of novels from members of the audience and the panel responded. It was inspiring, albeit rather terrifying, no doubt.
As part of the Flow Festival at Free Word, the Literary Consultancy offered an exploration of what great writing means and what kinds of challenges writers face when constructing their stories.
Professor Brenda Cooper, editor, writer and mentor, along with Rebecca Swift, the director of TLC, offered a unique class, designed for those who want to set themselves some serious challenges as writers. This three-hour workshop offered the chance to explore the principles behind the writing of figures such as Orhan Pamuk, Doris Lessing, Jeanette Winterson and Margaret Atwood and gave the participants the chance to apply those principles to their own writing. Tea and cakes baked by the TLC Administrative team were provided to aid inspiration.
The Literary Consultancy was involved in the founding of The Free Word Centre in London. As one of the Arts Council’s regularly funded organisations, it was given the chance to take part in a series of conversations about what it would mean to have a national and international centre for literature, literacy and free expression in the UK.
Find out more about TLC at Free Word Centre on the Location page.
Part of the FLOW festival at the Free Word Centre with The Literary Consultancy & English PEN
As part of the FLOW festival at the Free Word Centre, The Literary Consultancy and English PEN presented Go With The Flow – A Lunchtime Literary Walk.
A walk around literary Clerkenwell that started and ended at Free Word. Writers Jake Arnott, Monique Roffey and Shazea Quraishi and the philosopher Robert Rowland Smith read from their books en route, and encouraged participants to do their own writing –and, of course, to bring an umbrella too!
Free tickets up for grabs for the FLOW festival!
Rebecca Swift is co-founder of The Literary Consultancy (TLC), which offers help to writers in the form of manuscript assessment, mentoring and agent placement. She’s offering you the chance to win a free ticket to an evening event at the FLOW literary festival!
The Literary Consultancy is now firmly established at the Free Word centre, a hub which celebrated its first birthday on 15 September. To mark the occasion, Free Word is launching its second annual literary festival, and this year the main theme and title is FLOW.
We are offering Writers’ & Artists’ website users a chance of winning two free tickets to TLC’s evening events on 22 and 28 September (worth £10 each) open to those who ring first. Call 020 7324 2563 and leave your details quoting ‘Free Word Flow/W&A’.
These days, the task of first sifter generally goes to agents – but even they are feeling overwhelmed. Curtis Brown proclaims on its website, as a point of difference: “We are one of the few agencies who do accept unsolicited manuscripts.” Anyone who begins to feel this publishing business is a closed shop has good reason.
But there are other ways to get a hearing. There is The Literary Consultancy, for example, established by Hannah Griffiths and Rebecca Swift in 1996, at a time when many independent publishers were being gobbled up by conglomerates. They began to see, as Swift puts it, that “bottom lines had become all-important, meaning that writers who were perhaps too literary or too experimental are judged with extreme caution by anyone interested in profits first.”
In the slush pile Swift saw not guilt-inducing dross, but “a great big neglected pile of people’s efforts. Everybody needed and deserved attention.” But at the same time, “what they needed to understand was that that was very highly skilled attention, and that to get a really good response should cost money.” They charge £75 to read stories of up to 3,000 words; £250 for a one-or two-page synopsis up to 100 double-spaced pages; £1.50 per double-spaced page for the first 300 pages of a longer manuscript, and £1 per page thereafter, providing for that a detailed, thoughtful critique of the entire submission. If they consider a work exceptional, they will recommend it to an agent. They are doing well.
During the weeks of 14th Sept – 5th Oct, the Free Word Centre in Farringdon presents their second annual festival. The Free Word Centre is England’s first centre for literature, literary and free expression. Shreela Ghosh, the director of Free Word, outlines ten snazzy points about the growing need and desire for literary festivals in the UK. Click here to read the entire article in the Bookseller.