Writing Tips - Chapter 6 - Editorial Agencies, Conferences and Courses

Writing Tips - Chapter 6 - Editorial Agencies, Conferences and Courses

Sending work off to an agent or publisher can be quite disheartening. Rejection slips are often just that - a slip of paper with a short message of rejection. Sometimes it feels like they haven't even read your work. And once this has happened thirty or forty times, it's only natural to wonder if there is some way you can improve your book. That's when writers turn look for other ways to improve their book, or themselves as writers.

Editorial Agency

An Editorial Agency is a place you can send your manuscript for advice on the content and structure - for a fee! If you work with them over multiple edits, (ie, pay them more money) they might send your manuscript to an agent. Big deal - you can do that yourself for nothing.

Editorial Agencies are expensive. One agency charges £450 for up to 25,000 words (most adult novels are 70,000 words minimum). Wowzers!

I know of a writer who spent around £5000 to get a novel up to standard. The book eventually got a two-book deal, but the publisher rejected the second book because without the editorial agency's help, it wasn't written to the same standard. Makes you wonder who the author of the first book really was.

Personally, I'd never waste money on such things. An Editorial Agency does not know what an agent or publisher is looking for - possibly because most of the time, the editors and agents don't know what they are looking for until it lands on their desk. Besides, there is nothing they can teach you that you can't learn for free from either a library, a school writing group or online writing communities (Note: if you're a young writer, get an adult to check the communities first, use an avatar and nickname and keep personal information private - online communities, even writing ones, always have a troll or two).


A course with a good tutor can really help you develop as a writer, and so can mixing with other writers. You'll come away inspired and buzzing and ready to hit the laptop at 100 miles an hour.

Writing courses come in all shapes and sizes, so whether you're a new writer just wanting to learn the basics, an intermediate wanting to focus on advanced Point of View, or even a professional writer wanting to learn how to ghost-write a novel in 7 days, there is a course out there for you. But do your research - if you're new to writing, don't pay for a course that will expect you to write 40,000 words in a week!

For those who can't do courses, consider writing groups and online communities, where people who have done those courses return and share what they've learned. Not as good as being there, but if you've got no money to spend, it's a pretty good alternative.


A great way to meet other writers and listen to lectures by successful authors, illustrators, agents and editors. Just like a good course, you'll come away fired up, or even with a new perspective on a genre or approach you'd never considered. And who knows, you might bump into an agent or editor over lunch and get a taste of the industry from the inside. 

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