Thursday, 23 July 2015

Skylarks and Storyslingers

One of the main disadvantages for a writer of living in a remote corner of rural England, is the fact that the publishing industry tends to be very London orientated. As a result opportunities to network with agents and publishers are few and far between.

But one such opportunity did arise recently when the relatively new Skylark Literary Agency decided to venture out from the city and visit writers around the country. One of their visits on this tour was to the Storyslingers writers group in Shaftesbury.

I felt particularly honoured because the Storyslingers invited me along to give an author’s perspective on the industry, so I packed up my bag of books and hit the road north.

The drive to Shaftesbury is, for me, a long and winding one, not helped by the fact that Friday is changeover day and the roads are clogged with holidaymakers. Or that this particular Friday every tractor in Dorset seemed to be on the same road as me!

The venue for the talk was in Gold Hill museum, at the top of that pretty hill, immortalised by the Hovis advert of the 1970s. The Room we were in looked out across the fields and hills and the view was stunning.

Amber and Jo spoke to us about the agenting business, what they provide for their authors and what they are looking for in clients. The Q&A which followed covered all aspects from negotiation of contracts to the agent author relationship and the use of pen names.

It was a lovely evening, interesting and insightful, wonderful to see the Storyslingers again and to chat with Amber and Jo. So thank you to the Storyslingers for organising such a useful and informative event, and to Skylark for coming all that way to talk to us. It was really nice to meet Amber and Jo in person –it’s always good meeting an online acquaintance in the real world!

Here’s a picture of us at the top of Gold Hill. We’re standing on a slope though so I’m not as tall as I appear.

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