FAQs

Please note that we limit our work to creative writing. Our expertise and contacts are within this field. We aren’t in a position to give advice about writing for business, technology or commercial copywriting.


External links and advice mentioned here are used as examples of services available and not endorsed by us. We take no responsibility for the content of these sites.

I’m a children’s writer. Can I work for you?

Writing West Midlands does not currently run events for children however, as part of the Birmingham Literature Festival we sometimes run events suitable for children and families. We also recommend you look at library service’s websites for details of suitable activities. 

We do run workshops in and out of school for young writers aged 8 – 16 years. If you are a West Midlands writer with experience of working with young people, you are welcome to send us an introductory note. We have limited opportunities for which there is significant competition, so we can never guarantee offers of work.

 

Can you critique / edit / proofread my work?

Editing and proofreading are a vital part of the writing process. Writing West Midlands does not offer these services directly. Sometimes you can achieve these aims by sharing work with friends who are also writing, or by being part of a writing group. If you are in a position to employ an editor or proof reader, these can be found through online searches, or you could try asking fellow writers if they can recommend anyone. We work with a number of individuals and organisations who offer this service:

  • TLC – The Literary Consultancy
  • Alan Mahar – former Publishing Director for Tindal Street Press.  Contact us for more information.
  • Alex Davis – proofreading services. Contact us for more information.
  • Pow-Wow – based in Birmingham

 

I would like to join a writers’ group in my area. Can you help?

We hold a list of West Midlands writers’ groups that you might want to contact. You may also find that your local library holds a similar list. Many groups are also listed online.

 

I am trying to get my work published. Can you help?

Finding a publisher can be a long process. Some writers have more luck in approaching agents first, who can then submit work to publishers on your behalf. Like publishers, agents are hugely in demand and have limited spaces for new writers, but with time and care to identify those whose interests match your work best, you can make an informed approach. Lists of agents are found in The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, or online on sites like agenthunter. See ‘Can you help me find an agent?’ for more information.

Writing West Midlands does not publish work. On this website you can find a list of regional publishers. There are many national publishers you might want to submit to. We advise you to research publishers who are producing work similar or in sympathy with your own before approaching. Make sure your work is word perfect – they receive so many submissions, you don’t want to miss out due to grammar, spelling or typing mistakes. Don’t submit work on coloured paper or using fancy fonts or in bulky folders. Check the publisher’s website carefully to see if there are submission guidelines. If so, follow them carefully.

Talk to other writers working in similar genres, or go to events featuring such writers where you might learn how they achieved their publication aims. You may also benefit from seeing how your work compares in terms of style and content.

There are increasing numbers of online publishing opportunities. Researching writing blogs and magazines online can provide a clearer picture of what’s available currently so you can submit suitable work.

Self publishing is also a viable option for some writers. There are varying degrees of this – from ‘print on demand’, where your book is printed as it is ordered, to companies who can produce a small print run (you are usually responsible for the design and layout and editing in these cases).

LuLu (print on demand), CreateSpace and Smashwords (e-book sites) are all worth looking into. Costs vary.

Please note that we limit our work to creative writing. Our expertise and contacts are within this field. We aren’t in a position to give advice about writing for business, technology or commercial copywriting.

 

Do you offer funding to writers or groups?

We are not a funding agency. Occasionally, we are involved in projects that enable us to commission writers and we contract writers to lead some of our activities, for instance creative writing workshops. We put out calls for writers via our e-newsletter.

 

Can you help me get funding from other sources?

Yes, we can help in various ways. Our writer networking activities – for instance the National Writers’ Conference– typically include information on funding for writers. We are happy to give general and limited advice on applying to Arts Council England for funding, after writers have read the general guidance.

 

Can you give me advice about copyright?

Copyright is subject to regulations, although in our experience copyright disputes arise very rarely. For the latest on copyright law, as well as advice on protecting your work, the following site might be useful. www.copyrightservice.co.uk

 

I want to book a writer for an appearance at my school / group / workplace.

Contact us, we may be able to help. We have contacts with many emerging and established writers in the region and can often pass on requests. We are particularly keen to work with children & young people and schools through our Spark programme.

 

My child aged 8 – 16 is interested in creative writing.

Writing West Midlands runs a programme of activity for children and young people who are interested in creative writing. One of the biggest projects that we run is a series of creative writing groups called Spark Young Writers. There are currently 19 groups which meet all over the West Midlands at various locations, each led by a professional writer. Sessions cost £6 (bursaries are available). To see where your nearest group is and to join, please visit the Spark Young Writers group page.

To hear about competitions, events and other opportunities for children and young people, please join our Young Writers mailing list. To join, click here and tick the Young Writers mailing list box.

 

My child is under 8 years old and is interested in creative writing. Do you offer any activities for children of this age?

At the moment we don’t work with children under the age of 8 years old – our creative writing groups for children and young people start from the age of 8. However, we send out a newsletter every 3 months which contains information about upcoming opportunities, competitions and events for children and young people, some of which may be suitable for your child. To receive this newsletter, please click here and tick the Young Writers Mailing List.

 

I want to get my work performed. Can you help?

There are many performance opportunities around the region, and details of open calls or events of this type will be in our regular newsletter. If you are not already on our mailing list, you can join it here. You may also want to follow us on twitter (@writingwestmids) or Facebook (Writing West Midlands).

If you are interested in participating in the activities that Writing West Midlands already runs, or in proposing new ones, you are welcome to do so via the contact form on this site. Please bear in mind that we receive a considerable number of requests and have limited space within our programme. Please make sure you have looked carefully at our year round work and that any ideas you propose are appropriate for the work that we do, in order to save your time and ours.

The Birmingham Repertory Theatre is committed to commissioning and producing new work and typically produce between five and ten world premieres every year. To support this strand of The REP’s programme, they run a range of developmental writers’ programmes, designed to nurture new talent at the early stages of a writer’s career. They also provide a dedicated space to explore new ideas and different approaches to making theatre, to develop new plays and support emerging companies and artists. The REP offers a development opportunity called The Foundry annually. To find out more about creative development at The REP please click here.

If you are thinking of starting something yourself, you are welcome to get in touch about this – we may be able to include details of your event in our newsletter. See “Can you help me promote my event?”

 

Can you help me find an agent?

Whilst we can’t directly connect you with agents or pass work on to agents, we regularly include agents in the sessions that we run for writers. In particular the National Writers’ Conference (formerly The Writers’ Toolkit), our annual writer networking conference, typically includes agents and publishers as panellists and speakers. This can be a way to access advice and learn more about how agents work.  You may also find it useful to speak to other writers doing similar work – they may be able to offer advice if they have an agent or have begun to look for one.

Lists of literary agents can be found online and in publications such as the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook. This blog post from The Writers’ Workshop discusses searching for agents online. www.writersworkshop.co.uk/blog/how-to-find-a-literary-agent/. They recommend registering with www.agenthunter.com. Before signing up or paying for any services please make sure you have read the small print – we don’t have experience of using any of these services directly so can’t vouch for their relevance.

 

I am a young writer.

We run a programme of activity for children and young people aged 8 – 16+, this includes creative writing groups, an online magazine and work with writers in schools. We currently have 19 creative writing groups (Spark Young Writers) meeting across the West Midlands.  To see where your nearest group is, please visit the Spark Young Writers groups page. If you would like to join one of these groups, a parent or guardian will just need to fill in the Booking Form, or you can email joanne[at]writingwestmidlands.org to request a form to be emailed to you.

Write On! Magazine is published online every term and is edited by professional writer William Gallagher. If you are aged 8 – 16+, you can submit writing to be included in the Magazine at various points throughout the year. To read the magazine or to see the next submission deadline, please visit www.writeonmagazine.org.

If you are taking your Arts Award or looking at taking it soon, our Young Writers’ groups can count towards both Bronze and Silver Awards. We are also an Arts Award Supporter with Arts Award Advisors who could mentor you through the process of Arts Award. For more information about how we can help with Arts Award, please visit the Arts Award Supporter page.

We can also keep you up-to-date about events and opportunities for young writers if you join our Young Writers Mailing list. To join the mailing list, please click here and make sure you tick the Young Writers Mailing list button.

 

Can you help me promote my event?

We send out a monthly newsletter with details of events and activities happening across the West Midlands. You may submit your event for consideration by emailing olivia[at]writingwestmidlands.org with event details in a standard Word document in the following layout:

Title of event

Time of event (e.g. 7pm), Date of event (e.g. Saturday 4 May 2013)

Location of event

Price of event

Up to 100 words about event in third person

Booking/contact details

Link to web page

If you would like a picture included, please attach separately as a high resolution jpeg file.

Please note that we have limited space in this newsletter and therefore limit our inclusions to things that we think are most relevant and appropriate for our audience. We apologise for those occasions when we can’t include yours.

The deadline for submission is always in the previous newsletter.

Please note that anything other than the above format, including PDFs, will not be accepted.

We will do our best to tweet/Facebook anything that we think is relevant and appropriate to our audience. Please provide concise information and links.

 

Can you help me sell or promote my book?

We generally don’t promote books aside from those associated with our events and activities (for example, the work of writers involved in our festival). In certain circumstances we may be able to share information about your work via our newsletter. If you are a writer from the West Midlands and you would like to submit your new publication/book launch for consideration, please email the relevant details (title, author, date of release, web link, event details if necessary) in a standard Word document with no more than 100 words about the book/author to olivia[at]writingwestmidlands.org. If you would like a picture included, please attach as a high resolution jpeg file. Anything not submitted in these formats will not be accepted. Please note that due to a high volume of submissions we may not be able to respond to each one.

Please do not send your writing for inclusion in this way. We are not able to publish writing.

Please note that we limit our work to creative writing. If you are writing for business, technology or commercial copywriting, we are unlikely to be able to work with you.

 

I’m a writer. Will you book me for your events/activities? 

Writing West Midlands works with hundreds of writers across the entire West Midlands region every year. The majority of these writers live in or have strong connections with the region.

If you would like to be considered by us for any of the work that we do, please send us a brief email outlining your writing experience and the kind of work you would like to be considered for. When doing this it helps us if you have a good understanding of the projects we currently run.  Details of all our work can be found on this site.  If you are interested in the Birmingham Literature Festival , more information about applying to be part of that project can be found at www.birminghamliteraturefestival.org

Please note that we limit our work to creative writing. If you are writing for business, technology or commercial copywriting, we are unlikely to be able to work with you.

If we require any further information, such as a CV or references, we will contact you to ask for it. We do ask you to be understanding of the sheer volume of such requests that we receive. Whilst we are grateful for the interest in our work and love to know about writers in our region, we are a very small team!

 

I want to develop my writing through courses and workshops.

We run half-day and day creative writing workshops as part of the Birmingham Literature Festival and occasionally around the year. We also run short courses – a series of six weekly evening sessions for instance – across the year, currently from our base in Birmingham. We also run literature development workshops, for instance on working in schools or on being a writer in residence. We run some of these with the National Association for Writers In Education. Our e-newsletter has details.

 

I’m not based in the West Midlands. Can you still help me?

That’s a shame, but never mind. There are excellent organisations working nationally – for instance Arvon and The Poetry Society and regionally, the closest to us being Writing East Midlands, New Writing South and Literature Works (South West). See our list of useful organisations.

 

I’d like to start creative writing.

If you are interested in creative writing but don’t know where to start, or are new to it, you will find lots of events and activities to sample and advice to read to help you.

Our advice is to attend literature events that interest you, meet others who are writing, listen to writers talking about their craft and how they became interested in writing themselves. Most writers have a story to tell and these can be both quirky and inspiring! Birmingham Literature Festival in October (and other literature festivals in the region) can be a good place to access these writing histories.  The West Midlands Readers’ Network run regular readers days and author events in libraries – these can be great ways to meet writers, readers groups and others interested in writing and reading.

In addition to this, we recommend reading widely, and not just in the genre you enjoy most or hope to write in. A wide knowledge of existing work will both inspire and inform you about good writing practice.

You might want to join a readers or writers group, either face to face or online. These can be collegiate places to share your ideas and share work. Some will cater for beginners – a quick chat with the organiser can usually ascertain this.

There are often workshop opportunities for beginners, run at festivals and by literature organisations. A workshop is useful for accessing writing exercises and meeting other writers. Some workshops are run online. A google search would yield current opportunities of this kind.

 

I’d like to meet other writers.

We hold six Writer Networking Meetings across the West Midlands a year. These give emerging and established writers the opportunity to meet each other and to network with industry professionals. For details of our upcoming meetings, check our calendar which is visible on the left hand side of each page on our website.

We also hold an annual writer conference, the National Writers’ Conference (formerly The Writers’ Toolkit) which takes place in the summer. The day is aimed at emerging and established writers and is an excellent opportunity to network with the writing industry. For details of the previous and upcoming events, please visit the National Writers’ Conference page.

We also hold other writer events throughout the year, where writers are encouraged to network with each other. Visit our Writers page to find out more. You can also join our Mailing List to be kept up to date with these events.