OPENING LINES January 2019

How can you ensure your ms makes it to the top of the slush pile? Natalie Yates brings you an opportunity to find out what Sallyanne Sweeney thinks of your opening lines.

OPENING LINES gives you a chance to get some professional feedback so you can fine tune your submissions. Three entries will be chosen at random for feedback. If yours is selected, it will be published anonymously here in March with Sallyanne's response.

Sallyanne Sweeney - an introduction

Meet Sallyanne Sweeney, a literary agent with MMBCreative. After graduating Queens’ College, Cambridge, with an MPhil in American Literature, Sallyanne joined Watson, Little Ltd, becoming a director of the company in 2011. In 2013, Sallyanne joined Mulcahy Associates in 2013. MMBcreative was founded in 2016, bringing together Milburn Browning Associates and Mulcahy Associates. Sallyanne is growing her list of authors and illustrators for children (picture books to Young Adult) and adults - many of these have gone onto to be shortlisted for and to win awards. Passionate about the editorial side of agenting, Sallyanne enjoys both working with debuts and helping established authors take their careers to the next level. Her fiction tastes are wide-ranging, from the literary to the very commercial, but she is always excited by a distinctive voice, strong storytelling and a fresh premise. She will fight to champion anything that makes her laugh or cry (preferably both).

So, has your writing got that distinctive voice that will excite Sallyanne?

How to submit your Opening Lines 

Please email and write OPENING LINES ENTRY in the subject line. Your email needs to contain:

• your full name
• title
• elevator pitch
• first few opening lines.

Make sure we receive it by 17th February 2019 for your chance to get your lines seen by Sallyanne. We’ll publish the results on 31st March 2019. Remember, OPENING LINES isn’t a competition, so you are free to submit your story elsewhere.


If you’ve received feedback from OPENING LINES, how did it help you?
If it led to you finding an agent or a publisher, we’d love to hear your story.


Natalie has been a SCBWI member since 2015 and is now a Networks Coordinator for the North East. When she is not working as a Teaching Assistant for a local secondary school, she writes for YA and is a member of the GEA North contingent. You can find her occasionally blogging and more often on Twitter.

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