The Book Bound 2016 residential retreat will take place 17 – 19 June at the stunning Oxon Hoath manor house in Kent. Those few accepted will enjoy a weekend of workshops, one-on-one assessments, professional guidance, development tips and a network of fellow writers. The weekend will culminate in the opportunity to meet influential children’s literary agents including Jenny Savill and Amber Caraveo.
I attended this event two years ago and I have to say, it was the best money I ever spent. I learned so much in a short space of time and came away with not only an invaluable set of writing tools, but also a wonderful set of friends who have remained supportive two years on.
The course is run by SCBWI members, Sara Grant, Sara O Conner, Karen Ball and Jasmine Richards, who are all highly regarded within the publishing industry.
I asked the Book Bound team to answer a few questions, so that you could get a better idea of what the course is about.
|Karen Ball, Sara O Conner, Sara Grant & Jasmine Richards.|
What made you set up Book Bound in the first place?Book Bound grew out of the writing weekends that the four of us used to go on (Bath, Cornwall, Cotswolds...). For us, writing was so productive and so enjoyable when we knew we were writing with the support of like minded people. Also, our involvement with running Undiscovered Voices. We saw such potential in so many of the writers submitting; we wanted a way to help them get to the next level with their writing, to help even more effectively with getting them discovered. It's basically combining our favourite things: beautiful places to go to focus on writing and talented children's book writers that deserve to be discovered.
|Photo by Harry Ballweber|
What can writers expect to gain from the weekend?I'm going to pick three things:
1. Community: We deliberately choose writers at a certain similar level, writers with clear potential and demonstrated passion /commitment to children's books (like SCBWI members, of course!) who we think will be able to support each other throughout this journey to and beyond publication. We pick writers that the four of us want to invest our time and energy into because we are still supporting and meeting up with our first crop of writers, almost two years on.
2. Tools for revision: The retreat is designed to help writers look critically at their own work, to inspire and enable them to put in the hard work and time to make it better. There are three major sessions on big picture editing, micro editing and plotting. We also have an ideas session, character exercises, a pitching session,one-to-ones and our now famous mock acquisition meeting.
3. Insider knowledge: There are a lot of places you can get advice about writing and publishing, but the four of us are uniquely placed with lots of experience as both published children's writers and commissioners of children's fiction. We've written over 40 published books and published over 1000 from other writers. Two of us co-founded Undiscovered Voices, and two of us are actually current commissioning editors.
|The Book Bound team of 2014 - Photo credit to Harry Ballweber|
Why do you have agents attending the event and who will they be?Mostly to reinforce the idea that children's book agents are not scary or mean, to get people used to talking about their books in a professional capacity, to help attendees get answers about agenting direct from the source. Not everyone attending the retreat is unagented, but everyone can benefit from honest answers to industry questions. The list of agents is here and has recently been described as someone's dream list.
|Photo Credit - Harry Ballweber|
Have any of your previous attendees gone on to get agents and book deals?
Yes! We have a page dedicated to the success of our writers and have seen two traditional book deals, two self publishing successes and writers getting agents. And we look forward to many more in the future!
What do applicants need to do if they are interested in taking part?It is an invitation only event, so people should read all the information on our website download the form and email it completed with all the requested materials to firstname.lastname@example.org. There are still places available - we will post on the website when we are sold out.
|Photo Credit - Harry Ballweber|
Still not convinced Book Bound is for you? Perhaps the following three quotes from previous SCBWI attendees may help. Each author has since been published or are about to be published this year.
"An excellent weekend - informative, focused and great fun. I still regularly refer to my notes. Highly recommended."
Rowena House, War Girls
"I can't recommend this course enough. I learned essential editing tools and met a fantastic bunch of writers. If you get the chance, go!"
Sarah Baker, Through The Mirror Door
I didn't realise how much I'd learned until after the weekend was over and my brain decompressed. It was exciting to be around so much enthusiasm and knowledge. And the food was amazing (the fruit and veg is grown in the beautiful walled garden)!
Sue Wallman, Lying About Last Summer
I'm hoping you come away from this post eager to apply. Please check out the Book Bound website to find out more.