Monday, 30 September 2013

How to Meet an Agent and Impress Them

The SCBWI Agent’s Party is one of the events of the year… but whether you’ve got a coveted ticket or not, if an agent walks into a bar near you, it’s best to be prepared. After all, the SCBWI Annual Conference isn’t that far off! Michelle Newell, the Agent Party Co-ordinator gives us her list of tips, so that you can get set to meet your dream agent, whatever the occasion.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Results - 2nd Slush Pile Challenge

The winner of the second 2013 Slush Pile Challenge is Gill Hutchison.

Sarah Frost from Hodder Children's Books set the challenge in July 2013. The challenge was to send write a picture book (text or PB dummy) that celebrates the relationship of mother and child or a father and child - the perfect Mother's Day or Father's Day book. 

For the love of a good list

Plans to get on top of things were scuppered this week by a brain-numbing headache. Being more of an it'll be fine than a plan b sort of person, my worry cloud grew. However on Saturday during pain free moments amazingly induced by chocolate, I made a list. It runs to three pages but in spite of its length, it makes me feel better. Don't know why didn't I do it sooner.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Another UV success story - our very own Mel signs with an agent!

This week we’re extra-special thrilled to celebrate the good news from our lovely joint features editor, Mel Rogerson. Mel won a UV 2012 Honorary Mention with the opening of her novel Breakwater and she just signed with... drumroll please... Tom Witcomb of the Blake Friedmann Literary Agency!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Graphic Novel Publisher – Soaring Penguin Press

Amanda Lillywhite

When SCBWI member John Anderson set up a company to publish graphic novels and poetry he named it Soaring Penguin Press because he liked “the idea of a name that encompasses an oxymoron, and that suggests that dreams can come true”.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Network News - it's quiet in the networks - or is it?

The summer’s done – even though we’ve had good temperatures this week. The children are back at school. Some older siblings are leaving home to go to university for the first time. We’re all getting ready for the autumn and winter. The networks seem to have gone quiet. We’ve even had to cancel a critique group meeting in our area this week because not enough people could attend. A friend of mine who runs an editing / critiquing service reports a lack of work.
Has everyone lost interest? Actually, nothing could be further from the truth ….

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Ask an Agent - with Penny Holroyde from the Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency

This month, Penny Holroyde from the Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency has stepped in to answer our readers' questions and also has a few handy tips for those looking for an agent.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 24th September

It's been a bumper week for new blogs - whether you're published or unpublished, relaxed or overworked, I hope you'll take ten minutes out with our fantastic SCBWI bloggers.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Conference manuscript reviews – meet the gatekeepers!

How often can you look an editor or agent in the eye and talk seriously about how your work can be improved for a whole fifteen minutes?

How often do you get the chance do find out what's really needed to make your story marketable? How often does this happen? Hen's teeth! It's once a year – at SCBWI Winchester!

Let the editor speak!

Currently there’s an ‘Editorial’ theme to Words & Pictures. In journalism, an editorial means an opinion piece by an editor. I had the good fortune to be editorial assistant as part of my MA in Creative Writing – and I can’t resist the opportunity to voice my opinion. In common with my other inspiration pieces, there will be work for you to do, though.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Buns, Bags and Emergency Fabric

Nothing screams tourist like walking through Bath with a Sallly Lunn bag. But I did because OH said 'bring us back some buns' and I'm nothing if not obliging.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Hooray for Undiscovered Voices winner Sandra Greaves!


This week, we’re cracking open the champers for SCBWI debut author and Undiscovered Voices 2012 winner Sandra Greaves. Her novel, The Skull in the Wood, a contemporary ghost story for 10+ was published by Chicken House on 5th September. And being such lovely publishers they turned out in force to her launch in Totnes, together with a whole clutch of Scoobies....

Thursday, 19 September 2013

North West Scoobies Take a Pride in Their Appearance

George Kirk
Steve Hartley
I love to read Steve Hartley’s Danny Baker and Oliver Fibbs books, they’re full of characters that leap off the page and make you giggle. So I was really looking forward to Steve’s character workshop ‘Keeping Up Appearances’.

Network News – Your Network Group as a Social Network

Some members of the North-West Network met recently and discussed lots of exciting ideas for our events in the forthcoming year. I thought two in particular were worth a mention here and I would welcome your views and ideas for extending this even further: The Member Social and the New Member Evening.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Editorial and the Agent

Continuing our "Everything Editorial" theme for this month, Julia Churchill from A.M. Heath tells us how she works with her clients on an editorial level to get a book ready for submission.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 17th September

Welcome back to the Blog Break - there's no crochet this week, but I can promise you giant dinosaurs, Asian superheroes and a time-wasting new spin on an old story format...

Monday, 16 September 2013

Social Sheila Video: Pinterest at a glance

If Pinterest is still a mystery to you, please be assured that it's pretty simple, with an offline corollary everyone is familiar with. Pinterest is merely a virtual scrapbooking website, which allows you to discover, collect and share individual images or collections of images with other Pinterest users.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Where's your story?

One of my favourite things about the SCBWI BI conference in November is the badges. I love them so much, I have a complete set and was thrilled last year that my design, which was actually a bit of a cheat - I'll tell you why in mo - made it into badgedom too.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

A Reason To Eat Cake!

Hello everyone, I've just joined the Words & Pictures Team and I'm pleased to be kicking off my role as joint celebrations editor with a very exciting double post!

In fact it's so exciting that I've been forced to declare today officially a cake eating day!

I'm sure you will all agree that the excitement of not only our debut author Gill James publishing her first book but the ongoing success of Katie Dale merits some serious fork and cake action? Read on for more lovely info about our successful authors and please excuse me while I grab another slice... 

Friday, 13 September 2013

Featured Illustrator: Mike Brownlow

Mike Brownlow
This month's Featured Artist is Somerset based Mike Brownlow. From 'Lesser Known Deities' - check out Calvin, the Norse God of Underwear  -  to classic fairy tales, go to the  Featured Illustrator Gallery to see the full range of Mike's fun-filled graphic work!


This is a piece of artwork from an on-going project called ‘Colin the Caveman.’ Digital.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

The Picture Book Retreat

In July, SCBWI British Isles held its first Picture Book Retreat. It was an amazing weekend for the writers and illustrators who came along to Holland House in Worcester.

The Retreat’s organisers, Bridget Strevens-Marzo and Anne-Marie Perks had set one main criterion – a place to encourage creative exploration in the inspiring company of other writers and illustrators. Other criteria were a beautiful venue with plenty of space and great food. Holland House fulfilled them all.

Craft Book Review: Becoming a Successful Illustrator

Reviewed by Anne-Marie Perks

Becoming a Successful Illustrator, Bloomsbury, by Derek Brazell and Jo Davies, is a well designed, clearly laid out book on what it takes to become a working illustrator.

Derek and Jo have a long history working in illustration and met as board members of the Association of Illustrators (AOI), developing first the journal and then later launching the award-winning AOI magazine, Varoom in 2006. Jo Davies also holds the position of Associate Professor in Illustration at Plymouth University. This is not the first book on which the authors have collaborated, Making Great Illustration, A&C Black, came out a few years ago.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The Editorial Process

By Clare Whitston - Acting Commissioning Editor, OUP Children's Books

An editor’s job is to spot a good story when they see it, acquire that story for their list, and then help the writer to create the very best work they can. The end product is the culmination of hard work and dedication, from the author themselves of course, but also from the editor, designer, marketing, sales, and production teams. 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 10th September

Prepare yourself, because we're tackling the big questions on the Blog Break this week. What is the nature of time? Can authors ever be truly happy? How many adorable crocheted owls can you fit in a story sack?

Monday, 9 September 2013

Ask A Publisher - Q&A with Sara O'Connor, Editorial Director at Hot Key Books

Sara O'Connor, Editorial Director, Print and Digital at Hot Key Books, answers yet more of your publishing questions. This month she offers advice on how to choose a publisher, what to include in an author website and whether you need a platform before getting published.

But first, a message from Sara - 'I can’t believe that the summer is almost over! After six months of maternity leave, I’m back to work in two weeks. Your questions have reminded me how much I love my company and what I do, so thank you!'

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Better late than never...

Struggling for a way in to tell you about another splendid Words & Pictures week, I was tempted to embed the theme tune for Dogtanian. (Click on that link and you'll be singing one for all and all for one for the rest of the day.) Instead though, how about an adaptation of another classic text? Hampshire Youth Theatre's Tim Burtonesque production of Great Expectations was excellent. I've always found Dickens a slog - paper too thin and text too small - so to watch a concise dramatic retelling is as good as catching up with Brodie's Notes.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Who scored a Highly Commended and an agent this summer?

What a fabulous summer it's been for Scoobies.... This week, we're toasting the double achievement of Helen Dineen, who won a Highly Commended at the Winchester Writers' Conference and is now celebrating signing with the Anne Clark Literary Agency.

Summer Lovin’ - NW Speed Dating for Writers

At the beginning of our lovely summer the North West led the way with this great opportunity for northern writers. George Kirk reports.

On Saturday 13th of June it seemed like the whole of the North West region had turned out to meet at the ‘Speed Dating for Writers’ professional series event at City Library, Manchester.

Friday, 6 September 2013

SCBWI Member Juried Exhibition

It's exhibition time! As the call goes out for entries to this year's selection, Anne-Marie Perks, Illustration Coordinator for the SCBWI British Isles Chapter, presents a short history of our print showcase exhibition.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Summer Scrawling and Socialising in the South West

Lesley Moss
It was a scorching day in Exeter when a few of us met for a Scrawl Crawl and Summer Social, organised by Yona Wiseman. We were grateful to get out of the heat and into the cool, quiet Royal Albert Memorial Museum. New members Jennifer Moore and Clare Welsh joined us with Clare’s lovely plus-one and his pet snake!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Agent Confidential: Ben Illis

Name: Ben Illis 

AKA: Ben ‘Danger’ Illis or Ben X (Ben 10 being already taken) I am also, rather oddly, licensed to kill. Only lionfish and only in the Caribbean (they are an invasive species)

Agency: The BIA (needs no secret agent version, I’d like to think)

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 3rd September

This is Nick back from holiday (many thanks to Celia J. Anderson for her inspired deputising on the Blog Break last week). I always love it when a theme emerges from the SCBWI blogs, and (appropriately) this week is all about the benefits of taking a creative break.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Ten Proofreading Tips to Improve Your Submission

Manuscript by Seth Sawyers
A recent SCBWI Q&A session with professional editors confirmed a poorly presented manuscript was one of the biggest mistakes they see. To kick off our Everything Editorial month, professional proofreader Catriona Tippin shares her top tips for polishing your novel before submission.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Every picture...

Did I say last week that summer was exhausting? Well, it isn't over yet. Since I've been back from hols and festival frolicking I've been working with the wonderfully creative EU community in Southampton, mostly Polish but also Hungarian, English... and Geordie! They're all excellent photographers, taking part in the EU Welcome Photographic Exhibition in St. James' Park.