Sarah Juckes | Head of Membership | Jericho Writers

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Hello!

My name is Sarah (Ann) Juckes. I work on the team at Jericho Writers as the Head of membership, and you'll see emails in your inbox from me from time to time. I look after new exciting stuff for members, so let me know if there's something you'd like to see in the membership, and I'll do my best to make it happen. 

I was writing for 12 years before I stumbled across Jericho Writers. They introduced me to an agent at their Getting Published day, and that agent ended up securing me a publishing deal for my debut novel 'Outside' with Penguin. What?! Since then, Outside has found its way onto a few prize lists and my second YA novel 'The World Between Us' will soon be published in five languages and counting. 

Looking forward to getting to know you!

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Sarah Juckes | Head of Membership | Jericho Writers Discussions
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Just created an account and not sure where to start? This post is designed to give you a quick-fire …
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Hello and welcome to the new Community! This forum is free to writers all over the world and is…
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Flash Fiction (or stories under 1,000 words) need to be concise and exciting, with a beginning, midd…
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  •  · I entered three flash fiction/microfiction contests with NYC Midnight this year. https://www.nycmidn…
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Anyone can write a book, but it takes skill, dedication and tenacity to write a book that readers ou…
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We’re living in a world that's unrecognisable from the one we lived in just a few short decades ago …
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  •  · Looks really interesting, Sophie, but I can't find it anywhere. Do you have a link?
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Writing is a slow process – and traditional publishing isn’t much faster. Here's a sample four-year …
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  •  · I know how you feel Kate, my idea to draft which I felt was ready for someone to read took ages, and…
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Flash Fiction (or stories under 1,000 words) need to be concise and exciting, with a beginning, middle and end. 

Have you written any flash fiction before and submitted it to competitions? What are your tips for packing a punch in such a short word count? 

Hi Paul, so glad you're finding it helpful! Videos 2 and 8 didn't really have any slides, so that's why they're not up there. Good luck! 

This is so lovely to read, thanks for sharing, Keith! I'll pass these comments to Gwyn GB.

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Welcome to the 'Introduction to Self-Publishing' video course community feedback group!

This group is specifically for members of Jericho Writers who are taking the 'Introduction to Self-Publishing' video course. Post your completed exercises here for peer feedback - remembering the Community rules: 

  • Be kind and considerate to others. 
  • Be constructive with any feedback you give. 
  • Be generous with your time.

Not a member of Jericho Writers yet? Join us here to take this course and join the conversation! 

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In the final blog of this series, we're looking at how our brilliant Writer Support team is here to support members of Jericho Writers. This is one of the most overlooked elements of the membership, but one of the most useful for anyone needing a bit of advice and feedback (which we all do, sometimes!) 

As with the others in this series, the links here will only work if you're a logged in member of Jericho Writers. Remember you can also catch up on the other posts in the series on Video Courses, Writing and Publishing Resources, Online Events and AgentMatch.

This week's post has been written by Writer Support Team Assistant, Kaile Kilner. Take it away, Kaile!


Expert Member Advice walkthrough, By Kaile Kilner

Have you ever had a specific question about writing or publishing your novel but you weren’t sure who to ask? Ever needed guidance on what direction to take your novel or how to write a pitch for an agent query letter? Expert Member Advice is your go-to service for tailored advice about all your burning writing or publishing questions and we’re here just to answer these for you.


How to find Expert Member Advice

Members can access this section of the website via their dashboard, or by clicking on ‘My Jericho’ and selecting ‘Expert Member Advice.’ 

We have two services here for members: 

Find out more about what these involve below!


Member Advisory Service 

This service is designed to answer your questions as specifically as possible and you’re encouraged to attach any documents that might help explain your problem or question. Members have used this service for questions like:

•    Selecting a genre for their novel and positioning it within the market

•    Advice on how to write an attention grabbing query letter

•    General questions regarding what to include in a synopsis

•    Advice and information about different publishers or agents

•    General questions about agent or publisher contracts

•    And much more!

The Writer Support team will look at your query and attached material and respond to you with thoughtful, expert advice. We have spent lots of time researching publishing issues and questions for many authors, so we’re well equipped to assist you with any questions you might have. We understand that sometimes it’s difficult to find advice about writing or publishing, so the next time you have a question, be sure to head to the Member Advisory Service and submit us a question – don’t worry about being too specific either, we’re happy to take a look at and learn more about your writing! 


Query Letter Review

Expert Member Advice also includes our query letter review service that’s available on a yearly basis for members. Members are invited to submit drafts of their agent query letters for review by members of the Writer Support team. We’ll give your letter a look, paying close attention to your book pitch and summary, and return a marked up copy of your letter with an email detailing what you did well and what you can change. 

The service is free for members and is designed to ensure that you send out the best query letter possible – after all, the query letter is your first impression to agents, so it’s important that you nail it! 

Before you do send in your letter, we recommend that you have a look at our article on writing queries. That way. we’ll be able to give you more specific advice that’s unique to your novel, rather than pointing out common query letter mistakes. 


So next time you do have a specific writing or publishing question, you now know where to turn! The Writer Support team has a great deal of experience, we’re writers ourselves and many of us have even studied publishing. As active members of the industry who are passionate about supporting authors we look forward to hearing your questions and getting them answered in order to move you along in your writing journey.


We hope you've enjoyed this series and found it a useful way to explore all the things you get in your membership. Remember, if you ever need help, you can contact us at any time. We're here to help!


Question: What are your tips for distinguishing settings in descriptions when hopping countries? 

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If you're a member of Jericho Writers, I hope you're finding this series useful! In our fourth week, we're going to be chatting about AgentMatch - an unmissable part of the membership for anyone querying agents. 

Remember you can catch up on our other posts in the series on Video Courses, Writing and Publishing Resources, and Online Events at any time.

This week's post has been co-written by Head of AgentMatch Rachael Cooper and our Head of Marketing, Sophie Flynn. As usual with this series, the links will only work if you are logged in at the time. 


AgentMatch: Making Querying More Bearable - By Rachael Cooper and Sophie Flynn 

If you’re a member of Jericho Writers, you get unlimited access to our unique agent search database: AgentMatch. Think of it like Tinder, but for agents. 


What is AgentMatch?

On AgentMatch, you’ll find all the information you need to find your dream agent. Just like a dating app, you can search by whatever is most important to you in your perfect partner. Start with the obvious, like: Do they want books in your genre? Are they open to new clients? Are they based in your location? Then, you can refine your search further with things like ‘show me agents with 5+ years’ experience’ and ‘show me agents with less than 30 clients’, until you end up with your perfect list of potential agents. 

But, it’s not just about cold hard facts on AgentMatch. 

Each agent profile has been thoughtfully put together by one of our team. To get a true picture of every agent, we phone them up and have a proper chat to find out not just what they’re looking for, but what sort of person they are. We then turn these into handy typed up interviews for you to read. We share shorter, highlight versions on Community too. Here’s two of our most recent interviews with US agent Quressa Robinson and new UK agent Hannah Todd. 

This is where you can find information on agents that no one else has access to. Sure, on an agent’s website you’ll probably find that they love thrillers, but only on AgentMatch will you find that they love thrillers AND have three sisters who they’ve always had an intense rivalry with. You might be thinking; well how will that help with my query? But it will, I promise! If you happen to have written a thriller that involves the complex relationship between three sisters, I bet you’d have more luck with that agent above anyone else. 

Even if you can’t find anything quite that perfectly specific, the more info you can gather on agents the better because the key to writing a great query letters is to make it unique to each agent. You can use AgentMatch to quickly find out information about an agent that is not readily available elsewhere and use that to tailor your letters. By tailoring your letter, you’re showing the agent you’re a serious writer who has spent time and effort ensuring your work is the perfect match for them. 

While we can’t guarantee that every agent that you find on AgentMatch will love your work, we can promise you you’ll find the whole querying process a lot less painful if you start by using a well-researched list of agents that a) want your type of work b) are actually open to queries, and c) sound like the sort of person you want representing you. 


How to find AgentMatch 

Just head to your Membership Dashboard and click the AgentMatch link. You can also find it by hovering over 'My Jericho' in the top navigation menu.

When you arrive onto the main search page, you’ll see all of the agent listings we have, with a panel down the left hand side offering ways to narrow this search down.  


These include: Genre; Agent Name; Country; Experience; Status; Number of Clients; Size of Agency; Who they represent and keyword – as well as Twitter and blog use, accepting email submissions and AAA members.  


Simply use these filters to apply the things that matter most to you and your book (see tips below!) and press ‘search’. You an even save this search for later, as you make your way through the list, submitting to the ones you like the most.  


If you need more information on how to use this, our team created a helpful How to Use AgentMatch masterclass earlier this year.


Tips on making the most of AgentMatch 

Choosing your genre/s. Be selective and keep it simple when choosing your genre. If your novel crosses over between genres, then search your main genre first. Then review each agent profile: do they express an interest in your second genre? Have they listed a book they love that’s a similar genre to yours? 

Double check submission requirements. The main grumble we hear from agents, is that an author hasn’t followed their submission guidelines. We try to keep AgentMatch as up to date as possible, but with over 1000 agents on the system and knowing how quickly things can change, we advise everyone to double check submission requirements on the agency’s website before submitting. That way you can make sure you’re giving yourself the best chance at success! 

What makes a good match? This is one of the most important relationships for any author. You need to find someone you can work with and feel comfortable exchanging ideas with. So, do your research: 

  • Read the profiles carefully 
  • Explore the interesting links 
  • Read the exclusive interviews 
  • Find them on social media 
  • Look at their interests and the books/genres they represent. 
  • Do they represent books and authors you look up to? 
  • Do they have a good reputation? 

The list goes on, but most of all, you’re looking for an agent that you can see yourself working alongside, someone who can support you when you need reassurance and challenge you when they think your work needs changes. 

Sometimes things just don’t work out, and that’s ok. Over the few years I’ve worked with authors, I’ve heard many stories of authors and agents parting ways. Although, I’m sure it’s disheartening, a little confusing, and just downright disappointing, but it’s important for everyone to know that a) this happens, and it happens more than you know, and b) it’s ok, we’re all humans and sometimes things just don’t work out. 


As with anything with your membership, if you need a hand finding anything, or further tips on how to make the most out of it, our brilliant Writer Support team are on hand, by email or phone. 

Weill be back next week with more from our Writer Support Team on how you can get Expert Member Advice as part of your membership, including feedback on your query letter. 

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Welcome to the 'Write a Novel in Six Weeks' community feedback group!

This group is specifically for members of Jericho Writers who are taking the 'Write a Novel in Six Weeks' video course. Post your completed exercises here for peer feedback - remembering the Community rules: 

  • Be kind and considerate to others. 
  • Be constructive with any feedback you give. 
  • Be generous with your time.

Not a member of Jericho Writers yet? Join us here to take this course and join the conversation! 

Added a forum 

Anyone can write a book, but it takes skill, dedication and tenacity to write a book that readers outside your immediate family circle will think is brilliant.  

How do you take a wisp of an idea and turn it into something deserving of a place on a shelf in stranger’s homes? What are the skills you need to write a brilliant book?


Here are some to start us off:

  1. Hone your idea into a killer pitch. What about your story is different enough to stand out, but similar enough to other books to be recognisable? Skills needed: market knowledge; elevator pitch; research. 
  2. Plot to build suspense. This is the part I always find the hardest! Keep readers turning pages by studying the key elements of storytelling. Skills needed: Plot structure; character arcs; tension-building; avoiding a soggy-middle; beginnings and endings. 
  3. Create characters readers will love. Creating believable characters readers will want to spend time with is a difficult feat. Skills needed: Empathy; character questionnaires (or other tools to help you know your characters inside-out); Protagonists; Antagonists; Realistic secondary characters; voice; point-of-view and psychic distance. 
  4. Nail your voice. Perhaps related to character-building – pick a narrative style for your book that will set it apart from the rest. Skills needed: point-of-view; multiple perspectives; first/second/third person; psychic distance. 
  5. Create a memorable setting. Think about the space (indoor/outdoor/location) as well as the time (day/night/season/historical/contemporary/futuristic) your book is set in. Skills needed: description; lyrical vs sparse prose; historical accuracy; pathetic fallacy. 
  6. Hone your prose. What kind of words are you going to employ to tell your story? Skills needed: show don’t tell; literary prose; sentence structure; poetry; tension; clarity; line-editing; grammar and punctuation. 
  7. Edit, edit, edit. Books really are made in the editing. Learn how to finesse all of the above after you’ve got the initial words down. Skills needed: Structural editing; line-editing; proofreading.

Are there any skills you've found useful that aren't on this list? Share them below!

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Welcome back to the third edition of the Membership Walkthrough!  

Last week, we looked at Masterclasses and how to make the most of them. This week, we’ll be looking at the live and interactive part of your membership – our events programme. These sessions are designed to excite and inspire, to educate and empower. So who better to tell us about them than Events Manager, Anna Burtt!

 
Below, Anna looks in detail at what’s included, where to find upcoming events and how to get started. As with the previous week, the links in this post will only work if you’re a logged-in member of Jericho Writers.  


Let’s get started!  

 


Live Events: what are they?  - By Anna Burtt


If you are a member of Jericho Writers, you have the opportunity to tune in to our live online events and also to watch them on replay at your leisure. Lucky you!  


Myself and my events team programme over one hundred live events a year, with extra-special events for Getting Published Month in March; Self Publishing Month in April; the Summer Festival of Writing from June through August; and October’s Build Your Book month. The other six months include weekly events focused on themes such as Platform Building, Writing New Genres and Finishing Your Book. And they’re all 100% included in your membership.


You can tune in on any device. You may want to tune in from your phone on a walk or a car journey, or you can set us up your computer or iPad. Unlike Zoom, you can’t see participants’ faces, but you can interact via a live chat box, although it’s worth noting that these aren’t available to see on replay. So you can get as involved as much or as little as you’d like. 


The format of our live events varies from interactive writing workshops, to ‘in conversation’ events, to panels, to ‘ask us anything’s’ and more. My overall aim when planning and programming is to empower authors, to demystify this strange and often non-sensical industry, to help you get closer to ‘success’ – whatever that looks like – and also to bring new ways of thinking about writing and publishing to the table. 


If you’ve read this far, and thank you if you have, then I think it’d be remiss of me not to give you a preview of a few events we have coming up. You’ll hopefully have seen Build Your Book Month on your Member Events page. My aim with this was to really get stuck into the craft of writing with a focus on character dialogue, world building and plotting. Now, here is some EXCLUSIVE information about events in November and December. In November, we’re getting into the nitty gritty parts of writing with events on crafting sentences and tidying up your prose. I’m also so excited to tell you that we have the iconic Lynne Truss joining me for Eats, Shoots and Leaves LIVE. Remember that book? Well, come armed with questions for the queen of grammar. We’re also so excited to have the king of copy; Benjamin Dreyer – author of the iconic Dreyer’s English. There’s going to be so much to learn from those ones! 


We’ve had feedback from you (which is always appreciated and taken on board) asking for more in terms of writing romance, so in December the wonderful Elsie has secured Lia Louis to run a workshop on romance writing. Moreover, Drew has booked T.L. Huchu to run a session on Sci-Fi and Fantasy. There are more to be announced on Flash Fiction, Screenwriting and Horror. We’ll be kicking of our 2022 programme with a month of Generating Ideas in January and in February learning about community and outreach; from podcasting to literary festivals. I cannot wait to get stuck in and try out some new genres and hope this whets your appetite for what’s to come. 


As I’m sure you can all imagine, it’s been very hard to book in person events with the current uncertain climate. I’d like to reassure you all that any in-person events will also be filmed and available for members to watch if they can’t make live events for any reason. It’s been a funny time, but one thing I’ve learned is that accessibility needs to be at the forefront of what we do and to keep events hybrid, so no one misses out. When these are signed and sealed, you’ll be the first to know. 


Myself and my team are always open to ideas, although it’s worth noting that we book guests months in advance as a lot of preparation goes on behind the scenes and we need a good lead-time to tell you about them.  


How and where to register for events 


Our monthly member events are all listed on your Online Event page.  When you click to register, you’ll be brought to the event’s Webinarjam sign-up page. Simply pop your details in and you’ll receive a confirmation email. You’ll also be sent a reminder fifteen minutes before the event starts so you can put the kettle on and get settled in. Due to security, you’re only be able to register for one event at a time, so make sure you register for all the ones you're interested in seeing live!



Catch up on replay  


We aim to get our replays up within a day or so of the live event. If we have permission, we’ll also include the slides for you to download. Sometimes, we only have permission to keep replays up for a certain amount of time. We’ll always give you a heads up so you can fill your boots before they disappear. You can find replays on your Online Event page too. When they’re ready the link will change from ‘register’ to ‘watch replay’ 



Tips on making the most of Online Events


  • Engage. If you see an event with an agent who is looking for a book like yours and you want to send them your work, mention that you saw them do an event. This shows that you’ve done your research and put the time in. 
  • Thank speakers. If you’re on social media, pop on to say thank you to the speaker. We share their contact details in the sticky notes at the end of sessions. If you’re watching on replay, just click on their profile where we include links. Publishing people are human too and love to hear that you’ve enjoyed their work.
  • Don’t worry if you can’t watch every event. It can be really overwhelming, especially for new members with lots to catch up on. If you’re interested in a certain aspect of publishing then use the search tool on the website to find relevant replays. You can also send me an email via Writers Support and I can point you in the right direction of useful videos. 
  • Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions during an event. We can’t always get to all of them but if you don’t ask, you don’t get. If you have a burning question that hasn’t been answered then contact Writers Support and we’ll do our best to help.



Remember that publishing isn’t always a one-answer straightforward industry. Some advice may conflict, some might not be what you want to hear. Don’t feel demoralised. We have a whole section of events on motivation. Pop one on and feel reassured. 


As with anything with your membership, if you need a hand finding anything, or further tips on how to make the most out of it, our brilliant Writer Support team are on hand, by email or phone.   


Thanks, Anna! Next week, we’ll be hearing from our own Rachael Cooper on how to make the most out of AgentMatch. We hope to see you at an upcoming live event soon!


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Welcome back to the second edition of the Membership Walkthrough! 


Last week, we looked at Video Courses and how to make the most of them. This week, we’ll be looking at the biggest part of your membership in terms of sheer size – our masterclass videos.  


This forms a HUGE part of your membership, so we’ll look into detail at what’s included, where to find them and how to get started. As with the previous week, the links in this post will only work if you’re a logged-in member of Jericho Writers.  


Let’s get started! 


Writing and Publishing resources: what are they?   


Your membership contains over 400 video masterclasses on just about every part of writing and publishing – and we add new ones every week. These are all 100% included in your membership and available to you anytime, anywhere.  


The reason we pack in so much stuff is that no two writers are the same. Not even the same writer is the same from day to day! One minute we’ll need advice on plot – next minute we’ve hit a wall with a secondary character – and meanwhile in the back of our head, we’re worrying about publishing.  


Whatever you need advice on, there’s probably a video for that! And when there isn’t, you can just let us know and we’ll add one as soon as we can (or point you in the right direction to an existing one).  


These video masterclasses take the form of recorded live workshops delivered in-person, or via a webinar. We also have specifically-created short films and interviews with interesting people, on topics previous members told us they’d like to know more about – such as How to Win a Writing Competition, or Behind the Scenes at a Publisher. Some are ten-minute quick tips and some are three-hour mini-courses. With all of them, you can pause and skip through the content as needed.  


Where to find your Writing and Publishing resources 


There are a few ways to find the right video you need. The first is to simply use the search bar at the top of every page. Try searching for ‘plot’ and see videos and articles explaining how to plot. You can also use this to find specific videos with a tutor you like, or a replay of a past webinar you missed (just make sure you're logged in when you search!)


My favourite way though is to browse. At the time of writing (September 2021) all content is neatly filed in the category that best suits the topic. On your Member Dashboard, you’ll find a map of different categories to make browsing easier:  


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Under ‘Writing Resources’ you’ll find videos on Motivation (including success stories and keynotes); Story Idea (including writing exercises); Character (including protagonists, antagonists and secondary characters); Self-Editing (including advice from our own Debi Alper) and Plot (including how to fix a broken one!). You’ll also find specifics on Writing Techniques, such as Tools (such as Scrivener); Theme; Setting; Dialogue; Voice and Prose. And if that’s not enough, you can explore advice relating to your genre too – just choose the topic most relating to your story.  


Under ‘Publishing Resources’, you’ll find advice on Agents (and how to get one); Publishers (and what they do); and Publishing Options (including help deciding what route is best for you). You’ll find advice on self-publishing split into handy sub-topics, including Book Creation, Marketing and Success Stories.  


Each of these pages links to masterclass videos as well as useful modules from video courses too.  


Tips on how to get started with Writing and Publishing Resources 


400 videos is a lot of videos, and we’ve not had a member ‘complete’ the membership yet! 


Thankfully, you don’t need to. The biggest tip I can give you for making full use of this content is to use it as your personal tutor as-and-when you need it. Coming to the end of your manuscript with no idea how to end it? We have a masterclass for that. Thinking about submitting to the S&S Open Submission Day with Jericho Writers, but not sure what digital-first publishing means? We have a masterclass for that, too.  



As with anything with your membership, if you need a hand finding anything, or further tips on how to make the most out of it, our brilliant Writer Support team are on hand, by email or phone.  


We created the membership as a way to give writers access to a library of expert information and advice on all aspects of writing and publishing, and this forms a huge part of that. New skills are at your fingertips – I hope you enjoy exploring and learning at your own pace!  


Next week, we’ll be hearing from our own Anna Burtt on the LIVE part of your membership, with Member Events. See you then! 



 


I'm replying to you, does this make me a supportive friend? :) 

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