6-week Preparing for Submission course with Aisha Bushby

Take the right step towards publication with WriteMentor’s Preparing for Submission – an essential course for anyone wanting to submit their novel to literary agents.

Aisha Bushby, author of A Pocketful of Stars and former reader for Eve White Literary Agency, will take you from pitch to (potentially) publication.

What to expect when submitting

Learn everything about finding the perfect agent for your children’s book, from searching for the right literary agent to editing your opening page and query package (cover letter and synopsis). Find out what to expect when you submit to a literary agent and how to respond when you receive interest. Most of all, Aisha’s writing course aims to bridge the gap between authors and agents. As a published author with experience working at literary agencies, Aisha can share insights from both sides of the table, helping to demystify the world of publishing.

Meet a literary agent

In the final week, Aisha will be joined by literary agent Lucy Irvine of Peters Fraser + Dunlop (PFD), to discuss the whole submission package – letter, synopsis and first three chapters to ensure it’s in the best possible shape before being sent out to agents/publishers. Lucy will also give you all feedback on your 1st page, synopsis and query letter. 

Receive tutor and peer review

The writing course outline is below, and each week will focus on a different aspect of preparing to submit to a literary agent. Aisha will provide notes on these areas at the start of each week to give you an opportunity to fine tune your own work, then you’ll post it up for tutor and peer review.

This is a natural continuation for writers who have taken part in our craft courses and, especially those new to WriteMentor, a valuable way to cultivate friendships with fellow writers who offer you support during one of hardest, but most exciting parts, of becoming a children’s author.

Course summary

Time: 8pm to 9pm (GMT)

Date: See courses page

Frequency: Once a week

Platform: Slack

Meet the tutor

“I am so pleased to be able to offer you a 6-week writing course all about finding an agent. I will cover everything from searching for the right literary agent, to editing your first page and query package. I’ll do my best to cater the course to your individual needs, and help you navigate your query from what to expect when you submit, through to how to respond when you receive interest. But, more than that, I want to bridge the gap between authors and agents.I’m a published author, with over a year of experience working at two different literary agencies.”

“I am also currently a freelance children’s reader. I have experience reading manuscripts and writing reports, chatting to editors and other industry professionals, and attending industry events. This has given me a real insight into what is is publishers want from authors, and has shown me that rejection is a huge part of the industry, no matter what side of the table you are on. Ultimately, we’re all trying to achieve the same goal: to publish great books, but it can sometimes feel like we’re fighting different corners. This course hopes to get us all on the same page, and help authors find their place in the often scary, but ultimately exciting, world of publishing.”

Aisha Bushby

Course outline

WEEK 1: Pitch and premise

Often overlooked until later in the process, make your premise hooky, engaging, emotionally laced and jam-packed with conflicts. Practice and get feedback on your premise and pitches.

WEEK 2: First three chapters

How to hook your reader from the first line. Workshop on first three chapters, plus receive 300 words of feedback from Aisha.

WEEK 3: Query letters

Write the perfect query letter and hook the agent from the outset. Includes a workshop on query letters and feedback from Aisha.

WEEK 4: Synopsis

Write a synopsis with a workshop and feedback from Aisha.

WEEK 5: Conclusion

Aisha welcomes general discussion and questions. Participants send work to the literary agent for feedback.

WEEK 6: Submission packages

A live workshop on Slack with Aisha and Lucy Irvine of PFD, focussing on the synopsis, letter and first page. Aisha and Lucy welcome further questions, and will give tips, advice on querying and what to do once you hit send.

Sign up here:

About the guest agent

Lucy Irvine, Associate Agent at PFD and guest agent on WriteMentor's Preparing for Submission writing course

Lucy Irvine is an Associate Agent, working with Silvia Molteni on PFD’s children’s list. After graduating from University College London with an MA in Issues in Modern Culture in 2017, she interned at Agora Books, PFD’s publishing arm. She then became assistant to CEO Caroline Michel and began building her own list in the summer of 2019. Alongside building her own list of clients, Lucy sells foreign rights in our children’s and YA titles in Eastern Europe and Russia, and handles audio narration rights for the agency.

She is actively building her list, and is looking particularly for commercial Middle Grade and YA – both fiction and non-fiction. Lucy is also looking for picture books, illustrated fiction for younger readers, and graphic novels.

She is drawn to narratives driven by world building; quick-paced, addictive, and adventurous, with returnable series potential. She loves stories set in worlds that pull you in and stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. She is particularly keen on fantasy, sci-fi, and speculative fiction, and in these genres will read submissions aimed at all ages. Genre aside, her taste is incredibly varied, so if you have a fresh voice and a strong narrative then she would love to read it.

Hear from past students

I started this course feeling like my submission package was in fairly good shape, but following Aisha’s feedback I was able to make some changes which have really brought my novel to life in my cover letter and synopsis. It is such a useful course and I’d recommend it to anyone who thinks they are ready to submit. “

Louise Cook

The most worthwhile course I have ever been on! It thoroughly prepares you for submitting your work to agents and the information is current and from the experiences of someone who has seen querying from an author and agent’s perspective. The sessions are well organised and Aisha is an amazing tutor who gives back detailed and helpful feedback to help you edit your submission package so that it is fully ready for querying!

Daisy Jervis

“The content and the help was just what I needed. The advice was transferable for my other manuscripts, so for me, this was excellent value. Aisha gave sound advice and great with constructive feedback. Lucy was also very generous with her time and advice. I would highly recommend and will look forward to doing more courses through WriteMentor.”

Michelle Richardson

“This course offered so much insight – not just from a published writer’s perspective but, crucially, from that of an agency reader. I feel so much better-placed to submit having really honed my package. And, on top of all that, it was great fun too.”

Andy McFarlane

“‘Preparing For Submission’ was such a good course! It was a supportive environment in which to get practical advice about how to ready my work to go out into the world. Aisha is absolutely brilliant and offers thoughtful and considered feedback. I’m really glad I did it and would highly recommend it to anyone with a manuscript they want to get out there!”

Becci Fearnley

“Without a doubt the best value course I’ve taken. Not only did we get walked step by step through preparing our subission packet, but we also got detailed personal feedback at every stage. The instructor was amazing and the course was very well organized. Highly recommended!”

Deborah Bailey

“Sometimes it’s easy to feel very alone when preparing to submit to agents. This course gave me so much more confidence and many opportunities over several weeks to ask as many questions as I needed to. The feedback was invaluable and I’m excited about submitting now! Thank you so much to all involved in designing an excellent course. Highly recommended.”

Tricia Gilbey

“This was one one of the best courses I’ve done. Not only did I improve my pitch, synopsis and cover letter but it really made me think about my story as a whole and pick up on some weak elements that I’ve now worked on in my current redraft. Aisha was a fantastic tutor: full of enthusiasm for her subject and also clearly wanting to help us improve too. Can’t recommend it enough.”

Fran Benson

“For anyone about to submit their work, this course is invaluable. Aisha offers so much insight and guidance on how to make your submission package really strong. The individual feedback she gives on each step of the process is also so detailed and constructive. Having the opportunity to submit to Lucy Irvine at PFD really is the icing on the cake. I wish I had done this course years ago. Thank you WriteMentor.”

Alison Padley-woods

“Aisha Bushby’s WriteMentor Preparing for Submission course is outstanding. If you are a writer with a finished manuscript, wanting to query agents, this is the perfect one for you. Author Aisha is knowledgeable, friendly and generous with her time and feedback. Agent Lucy Irvine adds insight about the market and an agent’s perspective. This course will make your cover letter, first three chapters and synopsis shine as brightly as they can. This is, quite simply, the best writing course I have ever been on!”

Ian Johnson

“This whole course was totally amazing from start to finish. Aisha is very knowledgeable and so helpful. She conveyed what she needed to in clear ways. She was lovely and positive whilst also sorting out our mistakes. Her feedback on the work we submitted was awesome and got directly to the bits we needed to improve with ideas on exactly how to make those improvements. And having Lucy in the lesson session and giving us feedback on our total package was invaluable. Excellent course.”

Alison Bater

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