“I wanted my submission materials to shine, to give them the best chance of catching interest. Aisha takes you there.”

Ian Johnson describes his experience of WriteMentor’s 6-week Preparing for Submission course with Aisha Bushby 

Tell us a bit about yourself as a writer

I have been writing seriously for four years and love the whole experience. The writing communities are so supportive, especially the WriteMentor Hub. My main focus has been on Middle Grade children’s books, but I have recently started writing picture books and an adult historical fiction novel. 

One of my main concentrations this year is on ‘Noodleboy and the Sticky Grenade’, my Middle Grade fantasy adventure which won an indie publisher’s Open Submissions competition in 2019 out of 150 entries, and was due to be published this year, until they unfortunately went bust due to the pandemic.  I want to take the opportunity to make it bigger and better before I put it out there again. 

Another focus is ‘Zach and the Last Elk’, my Middle Grade historical adventure which is set in both the U.K. and the U.S. and which I believe can appeal to both markets. I think it would make a great Disney film, in the vein of ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’! Oh, don’t get carried away, Ian! 

I am also presently writing a new Middle Grade eco-friendly fantasy adventure and feel very privileged to have author Aisha Bushby as my brilliant WriteMentor mentor on this. 

What made you decide to do WriteMentor’s Preparing for Submission course at this point in your writing journey?

Aisha Bushby’s Preparing for Submission course is perfect if you think you are nearly ready to submit to agents or publishers. I had a fully edited manuscript of ‘Zach and the Last Elk’, but I wanted my submission materials to shine, to give them the best chance of catching interest. Aisha takes you there.

In what way has the course helped shaped your writing and/or yourself as a writer?

The course taught me how to have opening chapters that sing, laying out the main character, setting and status quo, and hooking the reader. It sharpened my cover letter and gave me a synopsis to be proud of. It made me realise how getting even small details right is important and also gave me a group of new, talented, writing friends.

What was the best piece of writing advice you learned from the course?

Aisha gave me the best pieces of advice I’ve seen on how to construct a great synopsis. Agent Lucy Irvine also gave valuable insights into an agent’s perspective. ‘Zach and the Last Elk’ has had five full manuscript requests to date from agents, and I query in the knowledge and confidence that my initial submission materials are the best they can be.

Twitter: @IanJohnWrites

Want to submit to agents?

Take the right step towards publication with WriteMentor’s Preparing for Submission course – an essential course for anyone wanting to submit to agents. Led by Aisha Bushby, Aisha Bushby, author of A Pocketful of Stars.

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From that first spark of a story idea to submitting a polished manuscript to literary agents, WriteMentor’s online courses support children’s writers throughout their writing journey. Advance your craft and gain insights from published authors.

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