Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Chick-lit Authors at the Shooting Star


Writing bestselling fiction: meet the authors, an agent + Q&A  

·        Tuesday 11.6.2013 at The Shooting Star, Middlesex Street 

Join us for a evening all about writing and publishing where you'll hear from authors Katy Regan and Ali Harris on their experience of writing and getting published, also joining us for this special event will be literary agent, Kate Burke. 

Guests: Katy Regon author of How We Met

Ali Harris, author of The First Last Kiss

 Kate Burke, literary agent, Diane Banks Associates Literary &Talent Agency 

Kate Burke is a literary agent at Diane Banks Associates, a hugely successful agency which handles literary, TV and film rights for clients and negotiates deals for writers internationally. Before becoming an agent, Kate spent ten years as a fiction publisher at Penguin, HarperCollins and Random House, where she signed up many women’s fiction, historical and crime and thrillers writers and turned them into bestsellers.

We'll follow the talks with a Q&A session so do come along if you're writing, or thinking of, stories within this genre.

 A couple of years back  I found out about  a writing group that meets fortnightly  in the basement of  pub called The Shooting Star in a street opposite Liverpool Street Station. It has a mixed-age multicultural membership but most are in the mid-20s to mid 30s range, I'd say. Mainly business people, they take their writing seriously. It costs £5 to attend the normal sessions and the reading slots fill up quickly.

I don't go very often but  I'm on the meet-up list and I go to special events like the one above. There are bout 15-20 people at an ordinary session.

Also, it costs £5, although you don't have to buy a drink at the pub upstairs . I try to go when they have special events, such as the session on techniques of reading your work aloud that took place a couple of weeks back. Lisa the organiser is efficient and very welcoming.

At last night's event, chick-lit authors Ali Harris and Katy Regan told about their paths to publication. Both have backgrounds in upmarket magazine journalism  and described the transition to authorship as 'a roller-coaster ride.' 'I was on my knees with emotion,' said Harris. The rapid  delivery was hard to hear at times, although I was fairly near the front. 

Literary agent Kate Burke  was much calmer and described how she worked with writers. She handles 100 submissions a week from writers who have submitted the first three chapters of novels. I was surprised to hear that they often haven't written any more than this and it may take months or years before they are ready to be 'signed' to the agency.
Both authors  acknowledged the large amounts of editing input from agents as well as their support 'at the end of the telephone' through the traumas of the actual writing process. They authors recommended persistence.

Kate Burke, asked what stops her from taking on a writer, said she hated spelling mistakes and over-confidence, although she liked it if a writer mentioned authors who's had an influence. She hates writers who say, 'I don't read.'



Patsy said...

I can see why she wouldn't like authors who don't read. I'd be wary of them myself!

Sheila Cornelius said...

I suppose at least one wouldn't too overly influenced. I often think that a liking for literature doesn't really help me to get to grips with today's market.