Network News: North-west – iconic buildings, critiques and self-publishing

Iconic buildings

We do get around in the north-west. This time we were in Salford at the Imperial War Museum North. We were given the red room, and we could easily see where it got its name from. The walls and the chairs were bright red.  
We were really well looked after by the museum staff. It was an interesting place to be, anyway, for children’s writers as there was a Horrible Histories exhibition on - the Blitzed Brits.
This building can be a little overwhelming but it was built deliberately to make you feel a little uncomfortable. Some of the light and sound shows can be very powerful. Well worth a visit.

 Salford specials

We were allowed the room for free as long as we bought lunch and so we gave them some good trade. The meal deal included a beaker of Vimto. Did you know Vimto was invented in Salford?  Well, there you are then.

Rationalising the critiques 

Our rota
 The first half of our day was taken up with critiques. There are so many of us now in the young adult group that we had to limit ourselves to critiquing just four each. We limit contributions to 2000 words anyway. We mainly all read all of the submissions but only commented on our four and tried not to repeat what others had said. We learn so much each time! Sure, you get some helpful tips about your own work but the whole process seems to fine-tune your critical faculties and increases your ability to edit your own.   
Marion cleverly worked out our rota so that a different four people  looked at each submission. It all worked very well, though we were still pushed for time.


After a companionable lunch, Anna Mainwaring gave us a really fascinating talk about self-publishing her novel. It’s hard work and it’s certainly not easy to break even, but she did and she would take this route again. There are certain services it’s wise to buy in – cover design and editing, for example. She’s also invented herself as a publisher, and that seems very wise. See her book for yourself: The Lives and Loves of Jesabel Jones.        
We had an interesting discussion about self-publishing then. It’s clear, we decided, that it is becoming more respected. Yet it’s still difficult for readers to find good self-published books as there are still so many that are not very good at all. Another good reason, perhaps, for creating yourself as a publisher.
So, another great meet-up for the SCBWI-BI north west group. Thanks to Marion and Catherine for organising it, thanks to the Imperial War Museum North for having us and thanks to Anna for a fabulous talk.      

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