Frequent Asked Questions
For Manuscript Appraisals and Mentoring Packages
I am thinking about getting professional input, but is now the right time?
The main issue to bear in mind is that an appraisal will contextualize your work within a professional framework, (that is within current publishing standards). Ideally, you need to feel ready for this and prepared for the challenge. Perhaps the best time to seek an appraisal is when you feel you have outgrown all the other available options and you don’t quite know how to push through to the next stage. If you are still in the early stages of your development as a writer, you may simply need the support and encouragement that a good creative writing group or class can offer you.
We are always pleased to hear about the successes of former clients because it confirms our conviction that writers with talent and determination will break through.
Why should I come to you?
We have a well-deserved reputation for excellence and integrity. We treat every writer who comes to us as an individual. All our appraisals are supervised. We only use experienced, mid career writers. We value them and pay them a decent fee. We also offer you unprecedented value for money, with the bulk of your fee directly invested in your manuscript. (Other consultancies spend up to two-thirds of your fee on expensive overheads.)
What happens if I am not happy with my appraisal?
There may be a number of reasons for this. It is never easy receiving input for the first time. Allow a little time for the information to sink in. If you are still not happy, it is worth discussing your concerns with us. Contact us by phone or email so that we can directly address the problem. If you are still dissatisfied, we will refer you to a second writer-mentor for an independent response and a possible solution.
Can you recommend any books on writing that might be useful?
- How to Write A Damn Good Novel. James N Frey
This is a good book to read if you want to develop an overview on plot and character development.
- How to Write A Novel. John Braine
This is a very reassuring book for writers who feel unable to plan ahead, but nonetheless would like a little guidance.
- The Art of Writing Fiction. Andrew Cowan
A creative writing programme packaged within a book. Gives a flavour of the academic context as well as plenty of useful exercises.
How do I know that my copyright will be safe?
We respect your copyright and can confirm that the copyright remains with you the author. For your piece of mind we recommend that you add your copyright to the title page of your manuscript as follows: Your Name©2012
What is the difference between Apprenticeships in Fiction and other options?
Apprenticeships in Fiction is a professional development programme. We will treat you like a serious aspiring writer from the outset, with the high level of expectations this implies. Our primary focus is on a close reading of your manuscript and its component parts. We aim to set out guidelines, to lead by example, to inspire and to mentor you into developing your own inner resources.
Are the Apprenticeships open to non-UK residents?
The sole criteria for application is that you must have completed or almost completed a first draft of a novel. Non-UK residents should bear in mind that the scheme is aimed at writers who will ultimately be seeking publication within the UK (and related) markets. One-to-ones are available in person (in the UK) and by phone or Skype. Previous apprentices have been based in the US, Germany and Thailand.
So presumably the scheme is open to writers based in Scotland/Northern Ireland/Wales?
It certainly is. We would positively encourage these writers to apply.
What about Ireland?
Ditto. We have strong links with Ireland and the Irish publishing industry.
Where do the apprenticeships take place?
Most of the time you will be working on your manuscript at home with email contact with your mentor. The format for consultations with mentors is negotiable, depending on where you and your mentor lives – and may take the form of meetings, phone or Skype one-to-ones.
I want to apply in the category for children’s fiction. Please could you offer some guidelines? Do you accept picture books for example?
We accept novels aimed at children and young people from aged nine to teenage. Writers who will most benefit are those working on longer manuscripts. (Over 100 pages or 30,000 words)
We do not accept picture books. (Though writers may submit illustrations to supplement their novel if they wish, the selection will primarily be made on the text.)
What level of time-commitment does the scheme require?
We treat apprentices as aspiring professionals who are prepared to make time to get their work to a publishable standard. As a guideline, you will need to be prepared to redraft your novel more than once.
In our experience writers who benefit most from the scheme are able to commit at least a few days a week to their writing. (Though periods of redrafting may vary throughout the year.) Apprentices always wish they had more time. Basically, the more time you put in, the more you’ll get out of it.
For prospective apprentices
Can I meet my proposed mentor first?
We do not meet clients or apprentices except as part of an ongoing programme. Any meetings we have with you will be informed by an initial reading of your work.
What happens if my application is unsuccessful?
We will suggest an alternative preliminary stage.
What happens if my application is successful?
1. We will choose a suitable prospective mentor. (Do let us know if you have a particular mentor in mind.) In some cases, this may mean taking on a new mentor. There are a number of factors involved here. Even within genre, there are significant variants.
2. We will contact you with our recommendation, explain our choice and discuss any concerns you may have. If you have any questions about the scheme, we will be happy to answer them.
3. We will send you a formal offer.
4. To secure your place send us a formal acceptance letter along with the full fee within three weeks of receipt of the offer letter.
5. We will then send you the full programme, agree a timetable with you and make arrangements for manuscript delivery. Once your mentor has read your full manuscript and made their initial appraisal, they will contact you to arrange the first meeting. This will normally take place about a month after you sign up.