TLC July Newsletter
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Dear Friends of TLC,

A very warm welcome to TLC's July Newsletter, and if you're based in England it's likely that 'warm' is the operative word, as it's been a scorcher this past week. As always, we've got lots to catch you up on, not least a write-up from our recent big summer event: Writers' Day 2019. We are also delighted to offer an exclusive newsletter discount this month, as we revive our series of TLC Masterclasses with cherished tutor Shelley Weiner. We encourage you to book a place soon to make sure you can attend. We'll also be sharing some fascinating findings from the RSL's recent 'A Room of My Own' survey, which sought to investigate what writers need to work today, on which we were proud to be a consulting partner. I imagine some of their findings will resonate with you...

Our latest TLC Blog comes to you this month from writer and blogger Sarah Haselwood, who shares her story of coming to call herself a 'Writer', and the difficulties of adjusting to a new schedule. We also bring you our July Showcase, which this month is a TLC Pen Factor Special featuring this year's winner and snippets from our four terrific finalists. Finally, we round up with a collection of inspirational links and advice from around the web as always...

Don't forget, if you're looking for some direction on where to head on your writing journey next, do give our 'Writers' Wizard' a try, to see if any of our services might be of help to you!

As always, happy writing, and reading,


Earlybird Discount: TLC Fiction Masterclasses

We are thrilled to announce that we are reviving our popular TLC Masterclass series, and we're very happy to be able to offer an exclusive time-limited earlybird discount  to all of our newsletter subscribers. To re-launch the series, trusted TLC assessor, novelist and writers’ mentor Shelley Weiner has designed three individual one-day intensive workshops especially for us critically engaging with essential elements of fiction and working with Shelley’s patented model of teaching craft ‘from the inside out’.

We'll be running three different masterclasses, each with a unique theme, and you can either attend any one of them individually, or bundle all three together at a reduced rate. The first masterclass will run on October 26th 2019. Each day will run from 10am till 4pm at Free Word, in the heart of Clerkenwell. Teas and coffees are included in the price.

Book now to access savings of up to £110!

Finding Your Muse: Inspiration and Invention
Saturday 26th October 2019 10am-4pm

Finding Your Story: Plot, Setting and Structure
Saturday 25th January 2020 10am-4pm

Finding Your Voice: Putting Your Story On The Page, Sustaining Momentum
Saturday 26th April 2019 10am-4pm

To purchase Full Price Earlybird Tickets, use the code TLC2019FULL at checkout.

To purchase Concession Earlybird Tickets, use the code
TLC2019CONC at checkout

If you are booking all three Masterclasses, a series discount of 15% will be applied automatically. Don’t forget to add your promotional code for an additional 10% off!


TLC Writers' Day 2019 write-up

On Saturday June 22nd, we were delighted to welcome almost 100 guests at Free Word for our fourth annual Writers' Day event. It's always a day we look forward to in our calendar, as it affords us the chance to meet many of the writers we work with (as well as many new faces!) for a day of fun and informative talks and sessions. This year was no exception, as we were whisked through talks and readings from a wealth of talent including Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Sam Missingham and Leone Ross. For those of you who were unable to attend, TLC Editorial Services Manager Joe Sedgwick has produced a write-up of the day so you can re-live the action, or find out about it if you weren’t able to attend.  

Read the Writers' Day 2019 write-up here

We're working hard on our events programme for 2020 with announcements of new events imminent, so keep your eyes on future newsletters.

RSL Survey - 'A Room of My Own'

You may have noticed that we were recently a consulting partner on the Royal Society of Literature's 'A Room of My Own' survey in association with the ALCS, which set out to find 'what writers need to work today'. Their findings have been released recently in an this fascinating report, speaking to whether, as in Woolf’s seminal essay, it is still true that 'a [writer] must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction'. 

Some of the key findings shine an important light on what it means to be a writer in these competitive times. We found it interesting for example, that more writers found peer and emotional support (65% and 60% respectively) more significant than financial support (58%). Much of the survey is concerned with income, and it is still the case that the vast majority of writers do not earn the income that Virginia Woolf argued a writer needs – £500 a year, equivalent to just over £30,000 in 2019. If this is the case, what can we do to support and nourish writers, to ensure they can continue to write and be creative? We are using these findings to inform our programming and will be launching our new ‘Being A Writer’ programme accordingly, with an event in association with the RSL kicking off the programme in October, and further resources, toolkits and workshops in development.

Read the full survey here.

TLC Blog: Why I can finally say, ‘I’m a Writer'

"Now, after various writing courses, experience, paid and published work, I have the confidence I so desperately required. I have worked hard to retrain. The job is flexible, so I can work around the children. I often write in the evenings because I am passionate about writing and success. I have learned that you must take some risks and work hard because if you’re going to succeed in something, it doesn’t necessarily come easily."

Our July TLC Blog comes from freelance writer and blogger Sarah Haselwood, who has written a piece for us about her journey from HR professional and care-giver, to 'writer'. Sarah details
her doubts and difficulties, as she charts her course through the potential loneliness of being a writer, ultimately discussing the importance of hard work and the need to recognise value in yourself and not feel guilty for charging money for your writing. We hope you enjoy reading about Sarah's journey to call herself a 'Writer'

Do you have something on your mind, about books, literature and the value of literature, or publishing, that you'd like to blog about for us? We are actively seeking pitches to:

TLC Showcase: TLC Pen Factor special

This month is a very special edition of our monthly Showcase, as we feature not one, but FIVE writers who were recently shortlisted for our annual TLC Pen Factor writing competition. Our 2019 winner, Lizzie Damilola Blackburn is our main feature of the showcase, after she took home the main TLC Pen Factor prize of over £1,000 worth of writing development prizes. Lizzie’s work, which focuses on the life and struggles of a British Nigerian woman searching for love and validation in a society obsessed with marriage and success, went a storm with the assembled crowd and judges at the Writers' Day earlier in June, who crowned her the winner after energetic discussion over coffee together. 

We also feature our four talented finalists; Margot Shepherd, with her debut novel, ‘The Mother Signature’, Lucy Basey, with a YA romantic thriller ‘The Other Side of Darkness’, Meriel Beattie with an historical thriller 'Angora' set in neutral Turkey during the Second World War, and Pamela Banayoti with her novel in short stories, ‘Big Girl Blues’.

Read the extracts, and more about Lizzie and the four finalist's writing, in the July Showcase.

Writing Inspiration

Are you on Twitter? If so, make sure you're following our page @TLCUK for all the latest news, tips and inspiration, including our #TLCTips series of writing tips.

Remember to also follow us on Instagram.

Other things from around the web to inspire you this month...

* The Mslexia Fiction Competitions have launched and are open for submissions for Poetry, Flash Fiction, Adult Fiction and Short Stories.
* A helpful Masterclass from super-agent Juliet Mushens and The Guardian on finding an agent is now taking bookings.
* Top 24 Websites to submit your Flash Fiction to from BookFox.
* A bit of fun in the form of 'The Astrology Book Club': What to Read This Month, Based on Your Sign, from LitHub.
* A reminder that our handy TLC Press Craft and Creativity Mini Guides are on sale and cover such craft elements as 'Dialogue', 'Plot' and 'Voice'. Pick them up for £1 each (or the full bundle for £8) here.
Thank you for reading this newsletter. For further information on TLC's core services including manuscript assessment, mentoring, and other editing services including copy-editing and proofreading, do visit our website. All general enquiries and manuscript submissions should be sent to Editorial Services Assistant Nelima Begum at

We also have Facebook and Twitter pages where we share information and insights, articles on writing, editing and the publishing industry, as well as tips and recommendations. 

"The manuscript assessment through TLC was the best investment I could have made, and was worth every penny. My reader gave such an insightful report. Her comments made me look at my own work in a different, more objective way, and I've been able to use a lot of that advice to improve other work since. I genuinely believe the help from her and TLC played a crucial part in being picked up by an agent, and subsequently landing a two-book deal. I couldn't recommend them highly enough."

Robert Scragg, What Falls Between the Cracks (Allison & Busby)
Do I need a manuscript assessment?

Do I need a literary agent?

What should I send to agents?

Will I be considered for the TLC Talent Showcase?

How do I write a synopsis?

Where can I find a proofreader or copy-editor?

Ask TLC: See our FAQs

Writers' Corner: Click here
"My TLC reader read my novel and her feedback was excellent. She helped me see what didn't quite work with the pacing and storyline, and she helped me see that I was writing a thriller; I'd been unsure of the genre up to that point. She was also very encouraging, which is exactly what I needed. After working on my manuscript, TLC put me in touch with Sapere Books, who are publishing Running in Circles. I'm so grateful to everyone at TLC; I feel like they offer something very special, and they have kickstarted my career."

Claire Gray, Running in Circles.
"Since the day I mailed my manuscript to TLC, they would not stop until I was accepted by a top literary agent. The result: my novel, The Black Coat, being published by Penguin Books in India in 2013 and Periscope in the UK in 2015. Thank you to my TLC reader Kavita Bhanot, for her insightful report, and to Rebecca Swift for her personal encouragement. TLC has been with me at every step since 2011.

Neamat Imam, The Black Coat (Penguin India/ Periscope UK)
'Meet the Editor' - Part of TLC's Regional Ambassadors scheme, FREE, August 1st 2019

free session, held in association with Literature Works as part of Quay Words 2019, meet professional editor James Magniac.

James will be talking about the role of the editor, how critical feedback can help develop your writing, and will be workshopping key editing questions to help you get to grips with your book. 

Exeter Custom House, 46 The Quay, Exeter, EX2 4AN

Book Now

More ‘Meet the Editor’ events will be held in Bradford, Blackpool, Norwich and Birmingham. Keep an eye on the TLC Events page for updates

I feel the scheme has set me up for a writing life. In this sense, it really has been priceless.

Rachel Connor, Sisterwives (Crocus Books)

[Chapter and Verse's] combination of personal attention and truthful critical advice is ideal for anyone who is serious about their writing.

Joanna Briscoe, Sleep With Me (Bloomsbury)

In a nutshell, I now have a novel on its way to completion with the possibility of being read by someone. 

Jennifer Makumbi, Kintu (Oneworld)

It's been the best investment I have ever spent.

Liz Harris, author  

Find out more here
TLC Fiction Masterclasses, October 26th 2019 - April 26th 2020 (£125+VAT each or £315+VAT for all three)

x3 New Masterclasses with writer and mentor Shelley Weiner

Finding Your Muse: Inspiration and Invention
Saturday 26th October 2019 10am-4pm

Finding Your Story: Plot, Setting and Structure
Saturday 25th January 2020 10am-4pm

Finding Your Voice: Putting Your Story On The Page, Sustaining Momentum
Saturday 26th April 2019 10am-4pm

Book all three masterclasses for £315+VAT (£72 saving) standard rate

Book now
"Having my manuscript assessed by TLC was the best investment I've made in years." 

Kerry Young, Pao.

Published by Bloomsbury

Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and the Commonwealth Book Prize
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