This month Natalie Yates brings you the opportunity for feedback on your Opening Lines from Bella Pearson, publisher from Guppy Books

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

Bella Pearson - An Introduction

Bella has worked in children’s publishing for over twenty years, seventeen of those spent in a variety of guises at David Fickling Books in Oxford. DFB was started from David’s kitchen table in 2001 – and Bella is thrilled to be at her own kitchen table building up an eclectic and entertaining list of books for children.

She has won the Branford Boase Award once and been shortlisted five times, and spent three years working as a mentor at The Golden Egg Academy, as well as editing for many children’s publishers, including Puffin, Chicken House and Oxford University Press. 

Guppy Books is on the regional shortlist for the Small Press Award at the British Book Awards, and many of their titles have recently been listed for several prizes.

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 – i.e. the first paragraph or up to the first 100 words only!

Make sure we receive your submission by March 31st 2022 for your chance to get your lines seen by Bella. 

We’ll publish the results on April 24th 2022

Remember, OPENING LINES isn’t a competition, so you are free to submit your story elsewhere.



You need to be an un-agented, current SCBWI member, and resident in either the UK or Europe.

To join SCBWI and take advantage of the many opportunities to: raise your profile, market your work, meet fellow writers, artists and the gatekeepers to publication, while being supported in the development and pursuit of your craft, visit


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. When she is not working as a Teaching Assistant for a local secondary school, she writes for the YA audience. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram. 

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