Food & Conversation at Northcote

13 Aug 2019

Friday 16th August, 2019

Mick Herron: An Evening of Espionage

4 Jun 2019

I’m pleased to say that on 27th June I get to ask Mick Herron, author of the bestselling Slough House spy series, about his writing habits, whether he and Jackson Lamb share many characteristics, and, perhaps most importantly, how much farting is too much. Mick & I have had many cups of coffee in Blackwell’s whilst trying not to meet our deadlines. He is obviously way worse at this than me since Joe Country is his 6th Slough House novel. Book a place here

Waterstones Oxford Crime & Wine Event

4 Jun 2019

On 13th June 2019 I’ll be talking to two excellent novelists in Oxford: Sadie Jones (The Snakes) and Kate Hamer (Crushed), about writing suspenseful fiction, and tackling dark, complex themes. Book tickets here

Pitching To An Agent – 20 Tips for Success

30 Oct 2018

From the ‘How to Get Your Book Published’ masterclass, by Lucy Atkins and Fanny Blake.

I’ve put together these tips because agents are busy and small (or big) mistakes can put them off reading your work. There is no ‘type’ of person who gets published, other than a person who can write well. Do not feel intimidated. Literary agents  – the people who will sell your book to a publisher – are just people, generally really nice people, who love books.

Pitching to a Literary Agent – 20 Tips for Success

1. Good writing grabs an agent’s attention and nothing else – don’t make your own book jacket or marketing material or perform any attention grabbing tricks or gimmicks eg. shiny wrapping, free gift enclosed.

2. Follow the instructions the agent gives on their website for submitting your work. ONLY do this. Nothing else.

3. Target ONE agent per agency (and not at random – select them carefully according to their list, their stated interests, whether they are taking clients). Try five at a time, from the The Writers & Artists Yearbook, which has a comprehensive list of agents. Keep a spreadsheet or up to date list so you don’t infuriate anyone with multiple submissions.

4.   Proof-read EVERYTHING – grammatical and spelling mistakes can get you on the ‘no’ pile even if you write well.

5.   Most agents want something like the first three chapters plus a synopsis. Make sure those first three chapters of your book are your absolute best work and that they plunge your reader right into your story.  Double space, justify, sensible font, 12 pt.

6. Write a snappy but sensible introductory email. Avoid adverbs, gushing, exclamation marks, emojis, showing off or modesty, false or otherwise. Simply state who you are, any relevant credentials, what your book is, and that you hope they will enjoy it.

7. A  synopsis is a summary of your book. It needs to be short and to the point – just a glimpse of your plot and characters – NOT a blurb (ie. lots of excitable language ‘selling’ the story). Usually 1-2 pages of double spaced 12 point type, max.

8. No silly fonts, coloured paper, visual aids, emojis or ANYTHING in your submission (unless it’s part of your experimental novel).

9. Target an agent according to who their authors are (authors who are writing similar books to you – their agent will be name-checked in their acknowledgements).

10. Show you are familiar with the agent’s existing list of authors (& spell their authors’ names correctly!).

11.  Look on Twitter/other social media/agent websites for agents who are actively requesting submissions. These may be young agents building a list. They tend to say what kind of books they want.

12. Your covering email shouldn’t be any longer than a paragraph or two. Make sure it highlights why your book is distinctive and interesting.

13.  Don’t pitch yourself as ‘the new…’ or ‘x meets x’ because that will probably irritate them.

14. Mention any writing credentials but only if they are solid and relevant. eg. if you’ve won a serious short story prize (the high school English prize isn’t going to swing it).

15. Mention any contact who has referred you – but don’t worry if you have no contacts. Agents don’t care! Plenty of writers with no contacts at all in the literary world get publishing deals.

16. Mention if you’ve previously submitted to them or being in touch with one of their other agents (ie with a previous book).

17. If your work is rejected don’t write back telling them why they’ve made the mistake of their lives.

18. If they want to see more, don’t gush or do ‘OMGs’,  just send them the book in the format they ask for, with a dignified ‘thank you for your interest’.

19. Accept that you will almost certainly get LOTS of rejections and that this does not mean you will never be published/have no talent/are wasting your time.

20. Keep trying. Don’t give up!

 

For more tips, see my other ‘How to Get Published’ blog posts here (some will repeat some of the info above though). 

Gibraltar Literary Festival November 2018

25 Oct 2018

Creepy Criminals:

How to write Suspense, Crime and Thrillers

With Peter Kemp

Nov 18th

John Mackintosh Hall

In this discussion-based session, Lucy Atkins offers techniques, tips and tactics for aspiring authors. Lucy talks about how she crafts her own ‘noir’ fiction, exploring her writing process – from plotting (or not) to researching beetles for The Night Visitor, and getting up at 5am to write. She will focus specifically on techniques for creating suspense and tension – and why every author needs them. The session will include information for aspiring authors on how to find a literary agent, and how to get a book published.

Tickets here 

 

Wantage Literary Festival – Saturday 27 October 2018

25 Oct 2018

 

 

 

 

 

Fiction Masterclass – How to get your Book Published

Lucy Atkins and Fanny Blake

Saturday 27th October 12.30pm @ The Beacon

Join this expert master class on how to get your novel published. Everything from editing, agents, publishing, will be discussed. Lucy and Fanny are two award-winning bestselling authors, one a Costa judge, the other an ex-Penguin editor. Come armed with your questions! £10

Buy tickets here 

 

Fiction Panel with Nicola Cornick, Lucy Atkins and Fanny Blake.

Saturday 27th October 2.15pm @ The Beacon

Too good an opportunity to miss! Thriller writer Lucy Atkins and romantic novelist Fanny Blake are joined by international historical bestselling author Nicola Cornick. They will be discussing their personal experiences and love of writing. This event will be compered by Vivien McCoubrey.

 

Buy tickets here

July Events: Blackwell’s Oxford Crime Writers Panel

9 Jul 2018

Blackwell’s new Westgate shop has a big tree in it (see pic). I am envisaged us gathered round it with ukeleles…Here’s the info:

 

Blackwell’s Westgate is thrilled to host a panel of fantastic crime writers to discuss their new books on 24th July 2018. The authors will introduce their books and writing, as well as discussing crime fiction.

Lucy Atkins – The Night Visitor

JP Delaney – Believe Me

Cara Hunter – In The Dark

Olivia Kiernan – Too Close To Breathe

Crime Fiction is booming in the UK and sales of crime writing and thrillers growing faster than other fiction genres. Much of this growth has been driven by psychological thrillers. We look forward to listening in on the authors’ conversations and hearing why they think British readers love crime so much!

The event will be chaired by Barry Forshaw.

At the end of the discussion there will be an opportunity for questions from the audience and the chance to have your books signed by Lucy, JP, Cara and Olivia. A free glass wine will be served to customers in the bookshop during this event.

Tickets are £5. You can purchase online but if you buy your ticket at Blackwell’s Westgate or by phone 01865 980380, you can save the online fee.

June Events: Kibworth Bookfest Killer Women

4 Jun 2018

Tuesday 12th June, Kibworth: Amanda Jennings & Lucy Atkins give tips for writing mysteries.  Tickets here

June Events: Fabulous Fiction in Harpenden

4 Jun 2018

Great co-authors & goody bags for all! Tickets here 

June Events: West End Lane Books

31 May 2018

Sarah Vaughan (Anatomy of a Scandal) & Lucy Atkins talk about Deadly Ambition in their latest novels.

Book tickets here

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