Not only was this weekend the celebration of Guy Fawkes Night, but it was also the third edition of the LennoxLove Book Festival in Haddington. Since 2009, the sumptuous Lennoxlove House has opened its doors to the public for a three-day literary event. Surrounded by a wonderful setting, the festival offers a range of adult events hosted by inspiring authors and artists, as well as fun activities for children.

This year, our class was kindly offered free tickets to some of the events, and on a chilly but sunny Sunday afternoon I thus had the chance to attend a talk by Nicola Morgan called How to Make a Publisher Say Yes! Nicola delighted the audience with an hour and a half of good sound advice about what makes publishers invest – or not – in a book. Nicola is herself an award-winning author but, as she mentioned at the beginning of her talk, she went through many rejections by publishers and suffered from a lack of information and advice before finding success. Fortunately for today’s authors, she has decided to share her tips and tricks on how to write for publication. In addition to providing a one-to-one writing consultancy, she also regularly posts articles on her blog, Help! I need a Publisher! and more support can be found in her book, Write to be Published.

It was very interesting for me to be in the shoes of a writer and, for short time, forget that I might later become one of these frightening and feared publishers whom Nicola Morgan was talking about. Among many topics, Nicola stressed the fact that a published book is not necessarily better than a book which has been rejected by a publishing house, and that the current economic situation is having a serious impact on publishers’ choices. She also pointed out the importance of the manuscript’s submission, providing tips on how to write an effective covering letter and a 25 words pitch on the book, something that I will definitely use when producing copyright content.

I have to say that once the talk was over, I was happy to be on the publishers’ side. However, Nicola’s talk was very optimistic and full of very good advice for writers, and I truly recommend anyone interested in getting published to have a look at her blog on a regular basis. To finish, I would also recommend that anyone interested in books attend next year’s LennoxLove Book Festival and enjoy quality talks and a wonderful venue.