What's on offer?

Everyone who applies to WriteNow in 2021 will be invited to join a free online workshop on ‘how to get published’, with a specific focus on children’s books.

Held online on Saturday 4 September, this workshop will give you the tools, information and inspiration you need to become a published children’s author.

Applying to the WriteNow workshop is also an opportunity to be considered for our year-long editorial programme, which will match a handful of exceptionally talented writers with a Puffin or Ladybird editor to help work on your manuscript.

“When I applied for WriteNow, I was having an interesting time of things. I was going through a bereavement, and also coming out as trans non-binary. I felt like my whole life should have a sign on it saying. So sending in my application form felt like another kind of coming-out. I identify as: writer.”

roo, WriteNow alumnus

WriteNow Liverpool attendees laughing
Writer receiving feedback from a Penguin editor during their 1-1

WriteNow 2021 timeline

  • Applications open at 9am on Wednesday 2 June
  • Applications close at 11.59pm on Sunday 11 July
  • Shortlisted writers will be contacted by Friday 13 August, and asked to send everything they've written so far by Sunday 5 September
  • The online workshop will take place on Saturday 4 September
  • One-to-one sessions with editors will take place across September for all shortlisted writers
  • The five writers invited to join the 2021 editorial programme will be contacted by Friday 15 October

What to expect from the WriteNow workshop

Held online, the WriteNow workshop will be made up of a number of interactive and practical panel discussions, including:

  • An overview of the publishing process from start to finish, including a published author, literary agent, editor, publicist and designer.
  • Published children' s book authors talking about how they write - including balancing writing alongside life/ family/ work commitments, how they self-edit and improve their writing, and their own journeys to getting published. In previous years, authors attending WriteNow workshops have included Malorie Blackman, Nadia Shireen, Susie Day and Nathan Bryon.
  • Literary agents sharing their top tips on how to pitch your book, and how to write an effective covering letter.
  • Hearing from a WriteNow alumnus who has been part of our year-long programme.
  • Breakout sessions based on the the type of book you're writing.
  • The chance to ask questions throughout the day.

“I feel empowered to continue to rewriting the novel I submitted but also to continue sharing my own authentic experiences and worldview. I feel like so many doors are open to me in the literary world where I wouldn’t see them before.”

Writer attending Bristol workshop

What to expect from being shortlisted

Based on their initial application, 50 writers will be shortlisted for the WriteNow 2021 editorial programme.

Each shortlisted writer will have one-to-one time with a Ladybird or Puffin editor (part of Penguin Random House UK) with expertise in their genre, to get feedback and tailored advice on their writing.

These one-to-ones will be held over the phone or via Zoom and will take place in the fortnight following the Saturday 4 September workshop, at a time that suits both the writer and editor. 

What to expect from the editorial programme

One-to-one support from an editor

Each writer selected to join the year-long programme will be matched with a Ladybird or Puffin editor with expertise and experience in the genre they are writing.

You will meet with your editor at least six times over the year. Depending on Covid-19 restrictions, and only if you are comfortable and able to travel, at least three of the meetings with your editor will take place in person at one of our London offices (don't worry, we'll cover travel costs from anywhere in the UK and Ireland). The other three meetings might be held over the phone. We expect that each meeting will last for about an hour.

Together you and your editor will:

  • Shape and develop your manuscript to make it as strong as it can be. This will include giving you constructive feedback on what's working and where you could improve - on anything from character development, to plot, to pace, to length.
  • Support you to get a publishing deal – either by publishing your book themselves (we’ve bought or ‘acquired’ books from 14 writers so far through WriteNow), or helping you submit your manuscript to literary agents.
  • Giving you confidence in your own voice.
  • Thinking about how your book might sit alongside other published books in the market and recommending other books to read.
  • Sharing insights on your book’s target audience and how to reach them.
  • Giving you experience of writing to deadlines and writing with direction over an extended time period.

Introducing you to the WriteNow community

We'll give you the chance to connect with other writers who have been part of the programme in previous years, including those writing book of the same genre as you.

Hear from some of the previous writers who have experienced our year-long programme:

Membership to the Society of Authors

Every writer on the year-long programme will have access to free membership of the Society of Authors, the UK trade union for writers at every stage of their career, who can offer you impartial advice and support.

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