Thursday, June 22, 2017

Poetry for Performance

I was lucky enough to be invited to submit some poems for a new innovative poetry anthology aimed at Speech and Drama teachers. it is called Poetry for Performance and published by The Playing Space.


The Playing Space is a drama company based in Southgate, North London. They teach speech and drama to children, young adults and adults. 

All the poems were selected because they are ideal for performance. The book has been conveniently divided into age groups:
  • poems for 6–10-year-olds
  • poems for 10–14-year-olds
  • poems for performers aged 14 and over·      


These poems are also perfect for speech and drama exams, verse speaking competitions, festivals and ideal for classroom study at both primary and secondary level. 


The book is available to buy from Amazon

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Graeme Simsion's Research Secrets

Australian romantic comedy author, Graeme Simsion, spoke to me about how you can't beat real-life experience as the best research resource.




His first two novels are, The Rosie Project and its sequel The Rosie Effect published by Penguin Books. His hero is forty-one-year-old geneticist, Don Tillman, has never been on a second date and then he meets Rosie, gets married and moves to New York.

His most recent novel is The Best of Adam Sharp also published by Penguin in the UK. This novel explores a re-kindled relationship and its consequences.

Graeme advocates that when doing research writers should talk to people and not for the facts but for the stories behind the facts. These snippets of information is what can make your writing great.

The feature on Graeme and his Research Secrets is out now in the latest issue of Writers Forum.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A visit to Random House


One of this year’s SCBWI Industry Insider Events was a visit to the Random House Publishing House where Editors Carmen McCullough and Naomi Colthurst talked us through their publishing process.

Carmen McCullough
Naomi Colthurst
Random House only take agented manuscripts, unless the author has forged a relationship with an editor.

When they receive a manuscript from an agent they talk as a team in an editorial meeting and then an acquisition meeting where everyone would have read the whole book. All reading is done in their own time. Carmen and Naomi will often read five to six titles a week.




It is unusual for something to go to acquisitions and not get through. Once acquired the book is scheduled and there is a structural edit. Structural edit deadlines vary. Some may tie in with specific events. Delivery dates will be specified in the contract. Naomi specifies a month in the first instance. Carmen often allows more than a month but if the edits drag on she will reduce to two weeks. These are additional edits that happen after a structural edit with an agent.

A structural edit can go 2 or 3 rounds before going to the Editorial Two Team for copy edits. Naomi has never taken on a book that does not need editing for at least two rounds. Copy edits are often with an out of house freelance editor. When it is approved it will then go to the Production Team. The whole editing schedule usually takes about a year.



Six months before the book is due to be launched Publicity will work on feature ideas, press and events. There are also rigorous cover meetings.


From start to finish the whole process may take two years with everyone working in unison.



…the book goes on and on as Random House continue to find ways in which they can keep marketing and publicity going.

Overall Random House aim to:
  •         Make the big brands bigger
  •         Reinvent the Classics with new cover looks and picking a hero title each year to pitch a high-level campaign that is often tied into events like Science Week.
  •         Push their dazzling debuts as tomorrow’s brands today.




Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Writing 4 Children - Dionne McCulloch

In my Writing 4 Children column in this months issue of Writers Forum, I interviewed for Dionne McCulloch.


She works as an editor for Cornerstones, is a judge for the Bath Novel Award and writes her own YA novels. How does she fit it all in? Dionne explains how it is a balancing act and talks us through her typical day. Dionne has previously written and edited scripts for TV and copy-edited speeches for US President, Bill Clinton.

In the feature, Dionne also gives us an insight on what she thinks makes a children's book great and gives readers expert tips to help develop their writing skills.

The Bath Children’s Novel Award 2017 is now open for unsigned novelists writing for children or young adults.