WriteNow is our award-winning programme which aims to find, nurture and publish new writers from communities under-represented on the nation’s bookshelves.
After a record-breaking 3,700 entries this year, Saturday 11 July saw 300 talented new writers attending a free virtual workshop – getting advice and information on how to get published, ahead of gaining feedback on their work from a Penguin editor.
Hearing from authors, agents and editors, the new writers learnt about every step of publishing a book, from how to get a literary agent, to understanding production and editorial timescales. Sharing their new insight via the #WriteNow hashtag, authors from across the UK interacted and related to one another about their experiences, creating a brilliant network of support and motivation for their writing journey ahead.
WriteNow alumni and author Geraldine Quigley reminded the 300 writers that they had made it to the shortlist for a reason – their talent. 'You're not here by fluke!' was 'encouraging and affirming' to many, and author Dr Sarah Vohra shared the importance of looking after your mental wellbeing during the writing process.
Demystifying the publishing process, its jargon and different timelines is a massive part of WriteNow. One attendee said, 'There is so much advice for writers out there, so many versions of good practice. WriteNow's workshop demystified the process of acquiring an agent, the relationship between an author and their editor, and the timescales within which publication takes place in an honest, inclusive, and clear way.'
Over the next fortnight each writer will also have a call with one of our editors, who will give them personalised feedback on their work – 5000 words of the book they're working on. Based on feedback from editors, ten writers will then be taken forward into a year-long editorial programme, matching them with an editor that will help them form their book.