TLC March Newsletter
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Dear Friends of TLC,

Welcome to our March newsletter. It's been a very busy month here at TLC Towers, as we processed our highest ever number of monthly manuscript assessments due to a healthy cohort of Free Reads and commercial reads - a massive 105! Thank you too, to all those writers who attended our recent Creativity & Wellbeing workshop, which was a big success! We have also filled all places on our annual Literary Adventure writing retreat (but do send us an email if you want to be added to the waiting list!). 

Additionally, we have sold out of our allocation of Early Bird places for our Writers' Day
this year's big summer event! Not to fear though, there are still plenty of full price tickets available, and you can find out more on how to secure your place below. 

We're very excited to be working with Free Word on their new events season which focusses on
'Finding Power', as we curate what promises to be a inspiring workshop with award-winning novelist Patrice Lawrence. Also another reminder that we still have a few places left for the final Fiction Masterclass in our successful series with experienced tutor Shelley Weiner. We've had some fantastic feedback on these so far, so don't miss out. 

We celebrate client success, with a lovely story of children's author Camilla Chester, who is reaching an audience with her writing via a clever online resource. Our monthly Showcase features a real talent and good friend of TLC, Maggie Humm, who is now looking forward to the publication of her novel Talland House later this year after undertaking TLC's mentoring scheme. And our Blog this month comes from our very own Editorial & Marketing Assistant Nelima Begum, who has written a fantastic review of her first year working for TLC. It's been a delight to have her with us, and we're thrilled to make her a permanent member of the team!

We finish this month with a reminder of our upcoming new programme,
Being a Writer, inspired and co-curated by writers, focussing on writers’ creativity and resilience. More details on how to sign up for updates at the bottom of the newsletter...

As always, happy writing, and reading. 


Writers' Day 2020: Booking Open

Booking is now live for Writers' Day 2020, with TLC Pen Factor Writing Competition prizes to be announced shortly. Early Bird tickets for this year's event sold out in 24 hours, and places are filling fast, so don't miss out.

TLC Writers' Day this year will be held on Saturday 20th June, and covers the power of the crowd in digital platforms, how the psychology of characters can inform your practice, and how to take inspiration from award-winning large scale publicity campaigns to create your own buzz. Featuring:

Joelle Owusu, Commissioning Editor at Unbound
Dr Kira-Anne Pelican, script consultant and author of The Science of Writing Characters
Maria Garbutt-Lucero, Senior Campaigns Manager at Penguin Random House
Stephanie Scott, author of What's Left of Me Is Yours

and TLC Pen Factor live pitch judges:

Ailah Ahmed, Virago
Hattie Grünewald, The Blair Partnership
Davinia Andrew-Lynch, Andlyn
Leslie Gardner, Artellus

Writers’ Day will also see the return of the popular
 TLC Pen Factor Writing CompetitionNow in its eighth year, selected finalists of the competition will live-pitch to an expert panel of agents and publishers at the event. The competition is open exclusively to ticket-holders and comes with a host of prizes from our literary partners.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Full day tickets just £60+VAT

Writers’ Day 2020 Full Programme can be found here


Finding Power: Finding Your Voice

How do writers find their creative voice, to become more purposeful storytellers?

In this inspiring and introspective workshop with award-winning novelist Patrice Lawrence, writers will be tasked with identifying their motivation for writing, so that they can connect with readers on a deeper, more powerful, level. Part of Free Word's new 'Finding Power' season.

Often, we become obsessed with ‘what’ is written, and neglect to connect with ‘why’ we write in the first place. By focusing on our personal experiences, we will try to re-connect with our reasons for writing, and what we want to achieve with our voice.

This workshop is open to everyone regardless of writing experience.

Bursary Places Available!

TLC is offering two free places to writers unable to afford the ticket fee for this workshop. To apply in confidence, please email with a brief note about why you would like a ticket. If you require travel or access assistance, please let us know in your email.

Tuesday 19th May 2020, 7pm-9pm


TLC Fiction Masterclasses with Shelley Weiner

We only have a handful tickets left for the final in our series of Masterclasses with the wonderful Shelley Weiner, so book your place now to avoid disappointment. 

Finding Your Voice: Putting Your Story On The Page, Sustaining Momentum
Saturday 26th April 2020 10am-4pm

Do you have a finished or almost finished manuscript, but no idea what should happen next? Find out how to sustain momentum in the tricky editing stage, and build the stamina to get it done

You have invented and constructed your story. Your living, breathing characters, meticulously created, are striving for their destiny in the setting you have devised. Your narrative structure feels solid and workable. And now there’s the writing: the quest to find the words, the techniques, to tell your story to best effect – to get started, to keep going, and find the stamina to finish. This workshop looks at openings and endings; it offers tips to sustain momentum, to keep you interested and committed when the fiction seems to flag. Through discussion and exercises we’ll locate the heart of this complex activity that is the creation of fiction – and look ahead at opportunities to keep going, now that you have embarked on the adventure that is the writing life. The Masterclass includes tea, coffee, and feedback on a 1,000 (maximum) word extract of your writing.


TLC Blog: My First Year at TLC

"It’s been a whole year since I started working at The Literary Consultancy and I’m in awe at just how quickly it’s gone. Time really does fly when you’re having fun – no, my manager is not looking over my shoulder and making me type this. When I applied for the role of Editorial & Marketing Assistant with TLC, it was a snap decision which brought something truly incredible my way and the last year has been one that shaped me, my career and my aspirations. Here are just a few thoughts on my time at TLC so far..."

We're thrilled this month to feature a lovely piece from our very own Nelima Begum. Nelima has been with us in-house for almost exactly a year now as our Editorial & Marketing Assistant, and here she shares some the things that have surprised her about working for TLC and some of the things she's enjoyed. We hope you enjoy reading it! 

Read the full blog here.

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 Client Finds Success

We are delighted to share the good news of Camilla Chester, Mslexia Children’s Prize finalist, and TLC Client, who has secured a commission with an online resource library for schools, called Serial Mash. After a manuscript assessment with TLC Reader Antonia Prescott, and further diligent editing on her children’s book-in-progress, Camilla decided to send her story ‘City Farm’ to Serial Mash. The story idea that Antonia critiqued for her has now been accepted as a potential new series.

Serial Mash offers children a library of online guided reading books, and provides teachers with a new chapter to read every week of term.More information about Serial Mash can be found here:

Read the full story here.

TLC Showcase: Maggie Humm

"The support and expert advice of the Literary Consultancy was outstanding and kept me writing and revising. The first stage was a report on my initial draft. This showed me I needed to take a Creative Writing Diploma which brought the novel to fruition. Without TLC Talland House would not be finished let alone published! For my second novel Rodin’s Mistress I am again drawing on TLC’s expertise, and again am so impressed by the reports and guidance. The TLC is a jewel in the literary landscape."

This month we're very pleased to feature a long-time client and friend of TLC, Maggie Humm as our Showcase writer. Maggie undertook our mentoring scheme with experienced editor Rose Gaete, and used the sessions to bring her novel Talland House to completion. The book is due out later this year, and she's already started work on the next one, with our assistance! Well done, Maggie!

You can read an extract from Talland House, and more about Maggie's writing, in the March Showcase.

Writing Inspiration

At the end of last year, we hosted a launch event for our new Being a Writer programme, with a website in development. A download of the event, which included an interactive digital forum with our audience and guests, can be found here - in this download you will find comments from our audience of writers, explaining what they need to thrive and be creative. We will be using this feedback to inform the programme directly, so do watch this space. If you'd like to sign up to hear more about the programme ahead of the official digital launch, please email with the subject header ‘BEING A WRITER’ and we'll add you to a special mail list for dedicated updates.

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

* A useful list of some New Writing competitions to enter this Spring from CompletelyNovel.
The RSL's V.S. Pritchett Prize 2020, for unpublished short stories of 2000-4000 words, is open for submissions.
* The Creative Future Writers' Award is open for submissions for under-represented writers.

* A very visually pleasing and incredibly informative guide on how to write poetry from The Creative Independent
* As always, 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 just £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. 
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Finding Your Voice: Putting Your Story On The Page, Sustaining Momentum with Shelley Weiner
Perfect for:
 Writers who are nearing completion of or have completed a first draft of a creative writing project.
Saturday 25th April 2020 10am-4pm


Finding Power: Finding Your Voice with Patrice Lawrence
Creative Writing workshop for writers of all levels: Part of Free Word's 'Finding Power' season
Tuesday 19th May 2020 7pm-9pm

"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.
TLC Writers' Day, June 20th 2020 9:30am-4pm (£60+VAT)


Joelle Owusu, Commissioning Editor at Unbound

Dr Kira-Anne Pelican, script consultant and author of The Science of Writing Characters

Maria Garbutt-Lucero, Senior Campaigns Manager at Penguin Random House

Stephanie Scott, author of What's Left of Me Is Yours

and TLC Pen Factor judges, literary agents

Ailah Ahmed
(Little, Brown) 

Hattie Grünewald (The Blair Partnership) 

Davinia Andrew-Lynch (ANDLYN)

Leslie Gardner

Book now here
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
"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
"My TLC editor made me see my book in a new light. It took a bit of hard work, but I am so pleased I followed TLC's excellent advice. Thank you so much for helping me discover the book I didn't know was there!" 

Andy Rumbold, The Last Fiesta (Red Door Publishing)
"The team at TLC were very helpful. I got a detailed report back on the manuscript which encouraged me to look at it through the editor's eyes. I used it to edit and hone the story. The novel read so much better afterwards. My experience with TLC was wonderful and I'm so glad I chose them."

Faiqa Mansab, This House of Clay and Water
"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)
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