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Virtual Talks from the I AM Writing Festival

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THE I AM WRITING FESTIVAL VIRTUAL REPLAYS ARE STILL AVAILABLE!

With the I AM Writing Festival now a (hopefully!) happy memory for those who attended in person or online, here is the chance to feel the festival fever again and again! Access plenty of advice and resources to help your writing along through the 11 talks which made up the very important virtual element, accessible for writers living anywhere.

Learn how to tighten your editing, build upon your characterisation, self-publish, self-promote, overcome shyness when chatting about your book to a room FULL of people, and how to pitch to an agent! All these topics and more are part of the I AM Writing Festival learning experience and all 11 Virtual Talks can be accessed online for just £37. The replays have been converted into videos with Start/Stop functionality so you can press pause to collect the children, answer the door, chop your vegetables, pay heed to a creative urge that must be acknowledged… all without having to miss a thing!

All talks were presented live in front of a global virtual audience with the exception of Talk 2 which was pre-recorded. The deadline for watching all replays is 31 August 2022.

The Virtual Festival Ticket includes the following 11 online replays

MARKETING YOUR WAY TO A BESTSELLER

NICOLA MAY | TALK (REF:V01)

The fabulous Nicola May kicked off our festival in style with her positive energy and vast experience as she explained how taking the decision to self-publish her standalone and series romcoms turned her into a no.1 eBook bestselling author. Nicola chatted through various self-publishing options available in the digital world today and what marketing strategies work for her, and what simply do not. Expect plenty of tips and most importantly, a whole shelf load of inspiration.

More about Nicola May

Nicola May is a rom-com superstar. She is the author of fifteen romantic comedies, all of which have appeared in the Kindle bestseller charts. Two of them won awards at the Festival of Romance, and another was named ebook of the week in The Sun. The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay became the best-selling Kindle book in the UK, across all genres, in January 2019, and was Amazon’s third-bestselling novel in that year. Described by Winifred Robinson of BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours as ‘the invisible bestselling author’, Nicola campaigned successfully for the introduction of ebook charts in the publishing trade press.

She lives near Ascot racecourse with her black-and-white rescue cat, Stan.

Nicola May - I AM Writing Festival

THE DEBUT AUTHOR, THE IMPOSTER-SYNDROME-SUFFERER AND THE PUBLISHER

ZOE ANTONIADES | TALK (REF:V02)

Even when you can finally say you’re a published author there are still plenty of challenges ahead that perhaps no one has warned you about. What’s it like working with a real publishing house? And when do you start celebrating your right to be there and stop feeling like the newbie? Hear a fresh, honest account from Zoe Antoniades’ experience of working with publishing house Andersen Press on her own children’s series, Cally and Jimmy, and find out how a team of people bring your book to life through editing, art direction, illustration and marketing.
(This event was pre-recorded and not presented in front of a live audience).

More about Zoe Antoniades

Zoe Antoniades was born in West London of Greek Cypriot parents. She graduated from the University of Hull with a degree in English and Drama and later trained as a teacher at the Institute of Education (UCL).

Zoe writes collaboratively with young people and has published four anthologies of short stories: Invincible Voices – Long Shorts, Medium Shorts and Short Shorts which were launched at Waterstones, Chiswick in 2017. The fourth book in the series, Invincible Voices – Winter Shorts, was published in September 2018. Zoe has also written a memoir, Tea and Baklavas which won the Winchester Writers’ Festival Memoir Prize, 2015.

Now signed with Andersen Press, Zoe has written the hilarious and heartwarming series about London-Cypriot twins, Cally & Jimmy. The first title, Twins in Trouble was published in September 2020 the second book, Twintastic, in April 2021 and the third, Twins Together in
February 2022.

Zoe also works as a creative writing workshop leader providing interactive classes and author talks online as well as visiting schools and appearing at libraries, bookshops, festivals and events nationwide and even in Cyprus.

Zoe Antoniades - I AM Writing Festival - Winchester

PICTURE BOOKS: BEYOND THE FIRST DRAFT

EMILY ANN DAVISON | TALK (REF:V03)

So, you have the first draft of a picture book? Congratulations! But now what do you do? In this session, the brilliant Emily Ann Davison uses examples of her own successful picture book Yoga Bunnies to demonstrate how editing your picture book text can make it stronger and take it from that daunting first draft to a perfectly polished picture book text. Emily explains formats and narratives in simple terms which are useful for beginners and authors some way along their writing path.

More about Emily Ann Davison

Emily Ann Davison is a picture book author whose passion for picture books knows no bounds! She trained as an Early Years teacher, which is where her love for children’s books grew and grew and GREW. One day, a story idea POPPED into her head and now the ideas won’t stop popping!

When she isn’t writing, she can be found tinkling on the piano, having adventures with her family or daydreaming about what stories she can write next.

Emily’s debut picture book ‘Every Bunny is a Yoga Bunny’ published this year with Nosy Crow, and her second picture book publishes early next year with Andersen Press.

She is never seen without a cup of tea.

Emily Davison - I AM Writing Festival - Winchester

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSIVITY IN PUBLISHING

ZOE ANTONIADES, NEEMA SHAH AND ALEXANDRA SHEPPARD | TALK (REF:V04)

Three authors with different cultural backgrounds and readership audiences take to the stage to chat about the levels of diversity and inclusivity within the world of publishing. Middle grade author Zoe Antoniades, adult fiction author Neema Shah and YA and soon to be Middle Grade author Alexandra Sheppard chat with Elane from I AM in print about their own experiences of becoming published authors and how barriers may or may not be shifting in respect of writers from different cultures and races, disabilities, LGBTQ+ communities, societal class and more.

Zoe Antoniades - I AM Writing Festival
More about Zoe Antoniades

Zoe Antoniades was born in West London of Greek Cypriot parents. She graduated from the University of Hull with a degree in English and Drama and later trained as a teacher at the Institute of Education (UCL).

Zoe writes collaboratively with young people and has published four anthologies of short stories: Invincible Voices – Long Shorts, Medium Shorts and Short Shorts which were launched at Waterstones, Chiswick in 2017. The fourth book in the series, Invincible Voices – Winter Shorts, was published in September 2018. Zoe has also written a memoir, Tea and Baklavas which won the Winchester Writers’ Festival Memoir Prize, 2015.

Now signed with Andersen Press, Zoe has written the hilarious and heartwarming series about London-Cypriot twins, Cally & Jimmy. The first title, Twins in Trouble was published in September 2020 the second book, Twintastic, in April 2021 and the third, Twins Together in
February 2022.

Zoe also works as a creative writing workshop leader providing interactive classes and author talks online as well as visiting schools and appearing at libraries, bookshops, festivals and events nationwide and even in Cyprus.

Neema Shah - I AM Writing Festival
More about Neema Shah

Neema Shah is an author and marketer. Her debut novel Kololo Hill (Picador) is now out in paperback. It won The Literary Consultancy Pen Factor Live, and was shortlisted for the Bath Novel Award and DGA First Novel Prize.

Alexandra Sheppard - I AM Writing Festival
More about Alexandra Sheppard

Alexandra Sheppard is a children’s author from London, UK. Her debut novel ‘Oh My Gods’ was published by Scholastic and featured in Buzzfeed, Refinery29 and The Guardian’s Summer Reading List. It was also shortlisted for the Bristol Teen Book Award 2019.

Her short story was featured in the Knights Of anthology ‘Happy Here’ and her debut middle-grade novel is coming soon. She loves to write funny, fantastical stories about quirky families with a twist of magic.

HOW TO SELF-PUBLISH YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON

SCOTT PACK | TALK (REF:V05)

If you’re toying with the idea of self-publishing but aren’t sure you’ll master the technology side of things without paying an extortionate amount of money for someone’s help, sit back and see how simple and cost effective it can really be. In just one hour, in front of a live audience, writer and publisher, Scott Pack, publishes a book in both digital and print editions on the Amazon website! Pause your screen at any point to make notes as Scott takes you through the process step by step, taking questions as he goes. Watch as he first formats the document into an Amazon compatible style, then navigate the KDP platform before sending your finished book off into the world. You’ll thank yourself one hour after watching when you too can say “I’m a published author!”

More about Scott Pack

Scott Pack is now in his third decade working in the book world. During that time he has been head of buying at Waterstones, worked for publishers big and small – including a lengthy spell at HarperCollins – and taught numerous workshops on classes on all aspects of writing. These days he splits his time between writing his own books, editing other people’s, teaching the editors of tomorrow as part of the Oxford Brookes University MA in Publishing, and he is one of the question setters for BBC’s Mastermind. His latest book, Tips from a Publisher, is out now.

Scott Pack - I AM Writing Festival

CHASING DOWN THE ANTAGONIST

NEIL LANCASTER AND MARION TODD | TALK (REF:V06)

We knew we could rely on the amazing Neil Lancaster and Marion Todd to chat live from their homes in Scotland about their favourite thing – how to create and catch a villain! Marion is well-known for the careful planning of her pacy police detective series See Them Run while Neil openly admits he never uses a plan, but the ideas just whisk him away for his two gripping series Going Dark and Dead Man’s Grave. So how can two entirely different approaches result in some of crime thriller’s most convincing criminals coming to life with protagonists we really root for to chase them down? If you want to create tension and that all important page-turning quality in your novel, listen as Marion and Neil bring an antagonist to life and discuss examples of well-written bad guys in thrilling literature.

Neil Lancaster - I AM Writing Festival - Winchester
More about Neil Lancaster

Neil Lancaster‘s 30+ year law enforcement experience ranges from specialist surveillance in the Forces to Metropolitan Police detective. He now lives in the Scottish Highlands, a well-established author with his first series Going Dark about agent Tom Novak a No.1 digital bestseller, and the first book in his second series Dead Man’s Grave, longlisted for the 2021 William McIlvanney Prize for Best Scottish Crime Book of the Year. His fifth novel, The Blood Tide is out now. As a covert policing specialist, he used a variety of tactics to obtain evidence against murderers, human traffickers, drug dealers and fraudsters and his crime and thriller novels draw upon that experience. He is a key expert on two Sky Crime TV series, Meet, Marry, Murder and Made for Murder. Neil is represented by Robbie Guillory at Underline Literary Agency. Find Neil (and his delightful dog Peggy!) on Twitter @neillancaster66, Facebook www.facebook.com/@NeilLancasterCrime and visit his website: www.neillancastercrime.co.uk.

Marion Todd - I AM Writing Festival - Winchester
More about Marion Todd

Before becoming a full-time writer, Marion Todd worked as a lecturer, candle-maker and hotel lounge pianist, a job which provided rich material for her novels. In 2018 Marion was long-listed for the Sunstory Award and the Scottish Arts Council Short Story Award and in 2019 was short-listed for Dundee Rep’s Stripped programme. More recently, Marion has turned her hand to crime fiction and found representation with Hannah Weatherill at Northbank Talent. In 2020 Marion was shortlisted for the prestigious Bloody Scotland Scottish Crime Debut of the Year award with her novel See Them Run, the first in the DI Clare Mackay crime series. Published by Canelo, the series has gone on to achieve critical acclaim with thousands of 4-5 star Amazon reviews and can now be enjoyed in paperback too.

Follow Marion on Twitter @MarionETodd, Instagram @mariontoddwriter or visit her website: www.mariontodd.com/.

THE EDITOR’S TOOLKIT

HELEN CORNER-BRYANT | TALK (REF:V07)

With over 20 years of launching writing careers, founder of editing house Cornerstones Helen Corner-Bryant is very well-placed to help with something ALL writers need to know about – how to tighten up your editing skills. She thoroughly explains the three act structure of novel writing and the three different types of editing your book will go through with an editor. With Helen’s help, take a look at how characters and plot sit inside setting, and how changing a tense can have a remarkable effect. From adding apostrophes to deleting a whole chapter, this detailed hour covers everything you need to know about how editing really does transform your story for the better.

More about Helen Corner-Bryant

Helen Corner-Bryant spent a number of years in editorial at Penguin before setting up Cornerstones Literary Consultancy in 1998. In 2016, she opened Cornerstones US, creating the world’s first transatlantic literary consultancy. Cornerstones is known for teaching self-editing techniques, providing feedback on all types of genres, scouting for agents, and launching many writers such as: Ayisha Malik, Sarwat Chadda, Ava McCarthy, Kate Glanville, Victoria Selman and Emily Gunnis. Helen is a guest lecturer at writer conferences and leading universities including UCL Centre for Publishing and the Columbia Publishing Course at Oxford University. She is co-author of On Editing: How to Edit Your Novel the Professional Way (John Murray, 2018) and director of the Edit Your Novel online course.

Helen Corner-Bryant - I AM Writing Festival

DEMYSTIFYING BOOK PUBLICITY

ANA MCLAUGHLIN | TALK (REF:V08)

With her vast experience in the world of book publicity and promoting herself as a published author Ana McLaughlin’s workshop will share insight into how publicity works within trade publishing. Ana turns your desire to become published on its head by inviting you to ask how to present yourself to agents and editors as someone whose work is promotable. What, in a publisher’s view, makes you promotable? And once you have your book deal how will your publicist support you? If you are self-publishing, querying or seeking to gain a wider readership outside the traditional publishing model, pick up Ana’s tips on how can you become your own publicist too.

More about Ana McLaughlin

Ana McLaughlin has worked in book publicity for over twenty years and currently job shares the role of Deputy Publicity Director at Quercus. She has worked in both independent and corporate publishers and as a freelancer on literary and commercial fiction, memoirs, serious non-fiction, poetry, children’s books, gardening, cookery and lifestyle titles, business books, celebrity books, activity and humour titles. Her campaigns have included Storyland: A New Mythology of Britain (shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year), The Final Revival of Opal & Nev (longlisted for the Women’s Prize), the Christmas Number One bestseller Where’s the Meerkat?, The Wagamama Cookbook and autobiographies by Succession star Brian Cox and Sir Roger Moore. In the course of her career she has carried a cargo of slowly defrosting grouse carcasses to Crewe, toasted pine nuts in John Lewis, dressed her colleagues up as zombies, built a snowcastle, run events for 500 schoolchildren, read her teenage diary on the One Show and analysed people’s doodles for Take A Break magazine. She moonlights as a poetry anthologist, under the name Ana Sampson.

Ana Sampson - I AM Writing Festival

HELPING SHY WRITERS TO SHINE

NADIA FINER | TALK (REF:V09)

When it comes to the writing, you’re a pro! But, when it comes to actually talking about your work, and “putting it out there” you feel all kinds of resistance. Nadia Finer is an expert on shyness, having been told since childhood to “speak up”, “don’t be shy” and all manner of quotes that to a child could only be damaging. This hour is a fascinating account of how being shy is acceptable and actually an important part of making our society diverse. If you’re dreading having to present in front a room full of school children, or take part in a book shop panel or an online event, this hour with Nadia is truly empowering as she teaches how to turn shyness into a strength so that opportunities, recognition and success can be owned, even when we’re quiet. 

More about Nadia Finer

Nadia Finer is the host of the Shy and Mighty podcast and a coach specializing in shyness. People call her the Shycologist. Nadia has spent the last thirteen years helping people of all ages overcome their fears and insecurities so that they can step out of the shadows and achieve big things, without changing who they really are.

She’s travelled the world, speaking at international conferences, and has appeared in the Guardian, Telegraph, Independent and on Radio 4 and BBC Radio London.

Nadia Finer - I AM Writing Festival

TEN THINGS TO THINK ABOUT BEFORE YOUR SIGN YOUR FIRST

(OR NEXT) CONTRACT

RHODA BAXTER | TALK (REF:V10)

When you sit down each day to write, you are probably a million thoughts away from knowing that being a published author involves more than just writing; understanding the business side of today’s publishing world is all important too. Fortunately, the brilliant Rhoda Baxter understands Intellectual Property (IP) as much as she knows how to write bestselling novels and is here to encourage you to think of your novel as your own IP, and consider publishers and agents to be your business partners. As a writer Rhoda has been tempted to sign contracts in the past without being fully prepared and, now armed with lots of experience working with IP, she is here to help you ask the right questions before you sign that contract of your own.

More about Rhoda Baxter

Rhoda Baxter writes romantic comfort reads with a dash of fun.She also writes multicultural women’s fiction under the name Jeevani Charika. Her books have been shortlisted for various awards. Through her day job in IP and technology transfer, she has two decades of experience reading IP licensing contracts. One of her skills is explaining stuff in an easy to understand manner.

Leisa Stewart-Sharpe - I AM Writing Festival - Winchester

ASK THE AGENT

JADE KAVANAGH AND TANERA SIMONS |
TALK (REF:V11)

Writers often tell us that the submission process is a long and painful one. “Slush pile”, “dreaded synopsis” and “another rejection” are familiar phrases among the writing community. Why is it that you send out your book baby to an agent only to hear absolutely nothing in response? What appeals to an agent and makes them ask to see your full manuscript? And how do you know if your story is even marketable? Jade Kavanagh and Tanera Simons, literary agents at Darley Anderson offer advice to help writers understand how to give a literary agent (as Tanera describes it) “that tingly feeling” when they read a submission they fall in love with straight away. What should your cover letter sound like? How can you keep your synopsis succinct and on one page without narrowing the font to size 4? And what does commercial appeal look like in just 5,000 words? A fantastic hour of learning to close our virtual festival sessions.

Nicola May - I AM Writing Festival
More about Jade Kavanagh

Jade is a Junior Agent at Darley Anderson Literary Agency. She has a degree in English Literature from the University of Westminster then went on to achieve her Masters in Modern and Contemporary Fictions. Alongside assisting Camilla Bolton on her list of clients Jade is starting to build her own list of crime, thriller, and suspense authors. Jade is particularly interested in gripping psychological suspense, commercial thrillers, and escapist stories with a vivid sense of place.

Kim Nash - I AM Writing Festival - Winchester
More about Tanera Simons

Tanera Simons joined Darley Anderson in 2017 with a view to building their women’s fiction list. She is actively looking for standout stories and compelling voices in all areas of the genre, but particularly enjoys contemporary rom-coms, uplifting love stories, and sweeping historical romances. Tanera currently represents authors Beth O’Leary, Sandie Jones, Mandy Baggot, Claire Frost, Lauren North, Nicola Gill, and Mary Hargreaves, to name a few. Collectively, her authors have Sunday Times top 5 bestselling status, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick, and WH Smiths’ Fiction Book of the Year.

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Virtual Talks from the I AM Writing Festival

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