what agents are looking for


I’ll be running a weekend course for anyone interested in writing for children very soon with Grainne Clear, who is a Senior Editor at Walker Books, London.

There are only 15 places so if you are interested email or text me quick!

Grainne Clear and Sarah Webb (with Lucky)

Writing for Children Weekend with Grainne Clear (Editor) and Sarah Webb (Writer)

Focus on Fiction

Sat 31st August and Sun 1st September 

 Everything you need to know about writing for children and getting published!

 Grainne Clear is a Senior Editor with Walker Books and Sarah Webb is an award-winning children's writer

 (look out for our picturebook day in early 2020)

During the weekend they will cover:

Age groups and genres

Creating compelling characters

Plotting and the story arc

Creating authentic dialogue

Rewriting and editing 

The world of agents, editors and children's publishing 

and much more! 

 The weekend will also feature a guest author of MG or YA fiction to speak about the day-to-day of being an Irish writer and share their writing tips

 Before the course begins, Grainne or Sarah will critique your work (or book idea if you are just starting out) so you can concentrate on the areas that need attention over the two days

Max 15 people to guarantee plenty of individual attention 

 Cost - including 1 page manuscript critique and notes, lunch on Saturday and coffee/tea both days: e250 

 Venue: Royal St George Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire (e5 parking per day to the right of the club on the pier, e6 per day in dlr Lexicon Library car park), 2 mins walk from 46A bus stop and Dun Laoghaire DART station 

Times: Sat 10am to 5pm (coffee/tea and light lunch provided)

Sun 11am to 4pm (coffee/tea provided) 

Booking - sarahsamwebb@gmail.com or text 0866086110

What Agents are Looking For + How to Write a Killer Pitch

Last week I gave a workshop on writing popular fiction and I asked a highly respected literary agent for some information. What are you looking for at the moment? I asked her. 'There's no definitive answer,' she said. 'But I am looking for something that stands out from the crowd, and the writing must be exceptional.' She explained that although her agency works with writers on their proposals/books, it is an expensive process if you can't be sure of a good outcome. So good writing is more important than ever. 'The writing has to be fresh, individual and clever,' she added. 'They must own their book and write with conviction.' 

She does not follow trends as they change so quickly. She also said 'What every writer must remember is that the agent has to sell it on to a editor, and the editor has to sell it on to sales and marketing. So if there isn't a 1 or 2 sentence pitch, it probably isn't going to work.'

Interesting, I thought. Very interesting.

I went away and thought long and hard about this. It's a difficult thing to do. I tried describing some of my own books in 1 or 2 lines:

Ask Amy Green: Dancing Daze (out in Sept) is about a talented young Irish dancer who moves to Budapest at fifteen to study ballet at the famous Budapest Ballet Academy. When her dreams turn sour, can Amy and Clover help save her ballet career?

Ask Amy Green (the series) is about a thirteen year old agony aunt, Amy Green, and her crazy seventeen year old aunt, Clover. Together they right all kinds of teenage wrongs, but when to comes to solving their own problems things aren't quite as simple.

When the Boys are Away (one of my books for adults) is about a young mum, Meg and what she gets up to when her partner, a professional sailor is away. The pitch is also in the title pretty much - it's one of my best titles, it says exactly what the book is about, which is really important. But that's a blog for another day.

Can you describe your book in 1 or 2 sentences? It's not easy but it's worth spending time on a killer 1 or 2 line pitch if you want to catch an agent or publisher's eye.

Yours in writing,

Sarah XXX

(With sincere thanks to the agent who so kindly gave me her time!)