Thursday, May 19, 2016

Self-edit course Hall of Fame

NB: this post has been updated regularly. 

Writing a novel is hard. Getting said novel published is even harder. Authors need to do everything they can to polish and perfect their story until it leaps off the page. Of course, you can pay for a professional critique, but it's also possible to learn how to edit your own novel.

That's where the 6-week online Self-Edit Your Novel course comes in. Emma Darwin and I designed the course for Jericho Writers (previously The Writers' Workshop) and wrote the tutorials together, though I now do all the detailed feedback, with Emma coming in at the end of the week with an invaluable round-up of the topic.

But does the course make a real difference, in practical ways? Can it increase your chances? Is there any way of proving that it does?

This should convince you: the self-edit course in numbers.

The first course was in April 2011, and it runs 4 times a year.

As at April 2016, we have had 19 courses and a total of 215 participants. (See updated figures below at the bottom of the post.)

I recently asked around on social networks to see how many of our alumni now have books 'out there'. Most of these come from our early courses, the authors having had the time to edit their drafts and go through the next steps towards being published. I'm sure there are many more in the pipeline and probably several I've missed.

So how does that figure compare to the industry average?

A top agent will receive about 2,000 submissions a year, of whom they will sign maybe 2 authors - a hit rate of 0.1%.

The hit rate for our alumni is 58 out of 215 = 26.97% = (approx) 1 in 4. (This figure refers to the first five years of the course. I will be editing the figures as new deals are announced.) Some of these have self-published but I know from the signed books on my shelf that they are as professionally presented, and as well-written, as the trade published novels they sit next to. In one particular course, back in March 2013, 6 out of 11 participants are now published, or about to be.

In case you don't believe me, here's our Self-Editing alumni Hall of Fame, with links to their Amazon pages, announcements by agents or publishers, or in The Bookseller and other sites in cases where the novels are forthcoming.

In no particular order, hearty congrats to:

Cathy Bramley (over a million copies sold)
Clare Flynn
Jody Klaire
Katherine Hetzel
G D Harper
Louise Walters
Susan Murray
Jules Ironside
Claire Evans
Sonja Price
Amanda Saint
Jackie Buxton
Claire Waller
Matt Willis
Mari Griffith
Chrissie Bradshaw
Sandra Davies
Kat Mountfort
Bernie Steadman
Isabel Rogers
Shauna Bickley
Sally Miller (writing as Sara Bailey)
Voula Grand
Aneeta Sundararaj
Susie Campbell
Barb Ettridge
E S Rollett
Sophie Cayeux
Laxmi Hariharan
Marjorie Lazoro
Sophie Wellstood
Vicky Newham 
Mandy Berriman
Maddie Please
Sophie Jonas-Hill 
Fiona Erskine
Britta Jensen
Ruth Heald 
Moushmi Biswas 
Alice Spigelman
Clare Wade 
F J Campbell
May Woodward
Angela King 
Philippa East

Christina Pishiris

Susan Allott

Nell Pattison

Karen Ginnane  

Sylvia Petter   

Eleni Kyriacou

Kirsten Hesketh  

Julie Cordiner (writing as Juliette Lawson)  

Sally Zigmond    

Maybelle Wallis 

Lorraine Wilson

Jane Shufflebotham (writing as Jane Jesmond) 

Hilary Taylor




A few of the novels published by our alumni

If you know of anyone I've missed, please shout in the comments and I'll add them to the list.

People who have attended more recent courses:

Steffanie Edward (winner of the first bursary, Jan 2019) 
Wiz Wharton (winner of bursary, Oct 2020) 
Elliot Sweeney (winner of bursary, Jan 2021) 
Aisha Hassan  (winner of bursary, Jan 2020) 
Marve Michael Anson  (winner of bursary, Jan 2023)

To see details of forthcoming courses, click HERE.
As at March 2024, we have 621 alumni. The above percentages refer to people who had taken the course in the first five years, at the time of the original post.  

There is one free place on each course for an author from an under-represented group. Please see here for details of how to apply for the bursary.  NB: In 2024, there are two additional bursary places.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

On this day ...

It's Mayday 2016. 

To pagans, this is Beltane.

 To lefties, it's International Workers' Day

And, to me,  it's LAUNCH DAY for De Nada Nirvana

No party, no booze and nibbles and signings, no cards and flowers, but this one is just as meaningful as the previous ones. So here's a photo of me and my dad at the launch of Trading Tatiana in Jan 2005. Dad was 90 in this pic, and had crossed London on public transport from Edgware to Crystal Palace to be there. (Londoners will get the enormity of going from NW of the city to SE.)


Massive thanks to all those people who have encouraged me to make this happen. You know who you are.