Sarah Juckes

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Hello!

My name is Sarah (Ann) Juckes. I work on the team at Jericho Writers as a Content Creator, which means you'll see emails in your inbox from me from time to time, as well as my face in various Feature films, Conversations and other films on Jericho Writers. I look after new exciting stuff for members too, 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?!

I love writing for Young People, dark stories and quirky voices. I want to learn more about how to plot a book, because I do tend to make things difficult for myself. 

Looking forward to getting to know you!

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If you get a ‘yes’ from an agent, send an urgent email to all other agents you are querying, letting…
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One of the biggest mistakes I see first-time life-writers make is not having a set theme.  Theme (as…
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What happens after you get an agent?

Submitting to agents can be a long, slow process. But once that ‘yes’ comes – things can turn super-sonic. This newsletter prepares you for what to do when the ‘yes’ does come and what to expect an agent to do for you once you’ve signed with them. 

 

EVENT: The Getting Published week - digital edition! 

STARTS THIS WEEKEND. After making the decision not to go ahead with the physical Getting Published Day event due to health concerns – we are pleased to be one of the first companies offering an entirely digital alternative! Ticket sales are now open once again for this new-look event, featuring one-of-a-kind webinars with agents, publishers and tutors that you won’t find anywhere else.  

FIND OUT MORE


The Jericho Open Doors Event  

It’s been a rollercoaster start to the year for us all. Here at Jericho, we believe that we’re all better off together (even when we’re not in the same room!) That’s why we’re throwing our doors open to new members for two weeks, absolutely free. No small print.  

FIND OUT MORE AND JOIN US FREE


Spotlight 

 

FEATURE: Interview with literary agent Diana Beaumont  

What does a literary agent do? Learn this and more in this in-depth feature interview with Marjacq Scripts agent, Diana Beaumont.  

LOGGED-IN MEMBER'S LINK

NON-MEMBER'S LINK

 

BLOG: What I learned about publishing as a debut author 

Tor Udall’s A Thousand Paper Birds was published by Bloomsbury last June. Here are some of the things she learned in her first year of publishing. 

READ NOW 

 

Content corner: What happens after you get an agent? 

  1. If you get a ‘yes’ from an agent, send an urgent email to all other agents you are querying, letting them know that you’ve had an offer. This should catapult you to the very top of their to-read lists, and (hopefully) you’ll end up having multiple offers that you can choose between. It sounds crazy – but it really happens! 

  1. Choose the agent you like the best. This could be the one who represents your favourite authors. It could be someone you can go in and meet. For me, I chose the agent who was most passionate about my writing and really seemed to understand my style.  

  1. Sign a contract with them. These are all pretty standard, but never, ever give money upfront to a literary agent. That’s not what they do.  

  1. Work with them editorially to whip your book into shape. Some agents love this part and will spend years working with a writer. Other times, they will hire an editor on their behalf. In either case, expect some editing!  

  1. Now comes submission. Your agent will take your manuscript and send it to multiple publishers. You probably won’t hear very much from anyone at this stage and I can tell you, it is one-hundred times worse than even submitting to agents(!) was. Your agent will know this and will hopefully do all they can to help you through it. 

  1. When you get interest from a publisher, they might organise a meeting with you and them. They will also try to get other interest to use in an auction. They will try everything to get the offer to the best it possibly can be by raising the advance, negotiating the rights and questioning the royalties.  

  1. Once you’ve signed with a publisher, an agent will act as a go-between for any awkward conversations. They will always be on your side and they will be with you for the duration – not just that first book. 

Want to know more? Our own Holly Seddon will be speaking about getting her agent during a webinar as part of the new Getting Published Day. Hope to see you there! 

Meanwhile – what happened when you got your agent? Or what are your biggest questions on how agents work? Share them in the townhouse here.  

 

Plus, don’t miss: 

Complete Novel Mentoring (Discounts available for members) 

Work with one of four of our expert mentors when writing or editing your book – each with decades of experience (and prize-winning books!) 

Manuscript Assessment  (Discounts available for members) 

 Our most popular editorial service matches you to your dream editor and gives you tailored feedback on your work. It doesn’t get better than that. 

Community Writing book club (Open to all) 

Join the Townhouse community for the first writing book club! We’ll all be reading 'Into The Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them' by John Yorke by the end of March.  


JOIN JERICHO WRITERS

  1. If you get a ‘yes’ from an agent, send an urgent email to all other agents you are querying, letting them know that you’ve had an offer. This should catapult you to the very top of their to-read lists, and (hopefully) you’ll end up having multiple offers that you can choose between. It sounds crazy – but it really happens! 

  1. Choose the agent you like the best. This could be the one who represents your favourite authors. It could be someone you can go in and meet. For me, I chose the agent who was most passionate about my writing and really seemed to understand my style.  

  1. Sign a contract with them. These are all pretty standard, but never, ever give money upfront to a literary agent. That’s not what they do.  

  1. Work with them editorially to whip your book into shape. Some agents love this part and will spend years working with a writer. Other times, they will hire an editor on their behalf. In either case, expect some editing!  

  1. Now comes submission. Your agent will take your manuscript and send it to multiple publishers. You probably won’t hear very much from anyone at this stage and I can tell you, it is one-hundred times worse than even submitting to agents(!) was. Your agent will know this and will hopefully do all they can to help you through it. 

  1. When you get interest from a publisher, they might organise a meeting with you and them. They will also try to get other interest to use in an auction. They will try everything to get the offer to the best it possibly can be by raising the advance, negotiating the rights and questioning the royalties.  

  1. Once you’ve signed with a publisher, an agent will act as a go-between for any awkward conversations. They will always be on your side and they will be with you for the duration – not just that first book. 

Want to know more? Our own Holly Seddon will be speaking about getting her agent during a webinar as part of the new Getting Published Day. Hope to see you there! 

Meanwhile – what happened when you got your agent? Or what are your biggest questions on how agents work? Share them below! 

How to write real lives

Real life doesn’t always fall neatly into classic story arcs. So, how do you go about transferring real life to the page in a way that is realistic, but also keeps the reader gripped?  


UPDATE: Jericho events in light of Coronavirus

Real life is throwing us all some curve-balls right now. We’ve been monitoring the situation closely and although we had a spectacular Self-Publishing Day this weekend, we are now looking to move some of our larger physical events to a digital space – including the upcoming Getting Published Day.  

We’ll soon be sharing more details on how you can get involved in that, and we hope that these events will provide some welcome respite for you all. Until then – stay safe and keep an eye on your emails for more soon.  


NEW on Jericho Writers 

 

MASTERCLASS: Life Writing, Memoir and Biographical Fiction (FREE) 

Join writer and tutor Emma Darwin as she looks at the fundamentals of transferring real lives to the page – and what techniques you can steal from fiction.  

LOGGED-IN MEMBER LINK

NON-MEMBER LINK

 

BLOG: Developmental editing  

What is developmental editing? And do you need it? This new blog aims to clarify a muddy term, and tells you where to go to find help.  

READ NOW 

 

WEBINAR: Slushpile LIVE with the Soho agency  

Unfortunately, we have had to cancel this webinar on Wednesday and will be rescheduling for a later date. Sorry for any inconvenience caused by this – we're working hard behind the scenes to bring you more meanwhile.  


Content corner: How to use theme in memoir 

One of the biggest mistakes I see first-time life-writers make is not having a set theme.  

Theme (as well as character) is often the component that ties a story together. When you’re writing real lives, it’s easy to get distracted with all the wonderful things that go into making someone human. But all of those things don’t always combine well on the page.  

When you look at other trailblazing memoirs, they all excel at theme. Adam Kay’s ‘This is Going to Hurt’ is based on real diaries, but all around the topic of being a junior doctor. Helen Macdonald’s ‘H is for Hawk' masterfully combines falconry and grief.  

So, when you sit down to turn your real life into a story, try focusing on what it is that you’re trying to say through the medium of your character (or in the case of memoir – yourself!) 

So – memoir and life writers – how do you use theme when writing your true stories? And what is the central theme or topic you explore in yours? Sign up to the Townhouse and share your thoughts here.

Sarah J 


Plus, don’t miss:

 

Complete Novel Mentoring (Discounts available for members)

Work with an expert tutor as you write or edit your book. We have three world-leading authors at your disposal covering everything from children’s books to sci-fi.  

Manuscript Assessment  (Discounts available for members)

 Our most popular editorial service matches you to your dream editor and gives you tailored feedback on your work. It doesn’t get better than that. 

Community Writing book club (Open to all)

Join the Townhouse community for the first writing book club! We’ll all be reading 'Into The Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them' by John Yorke by the end of March. 


JOIN JERICHO WRITERS

One of the biggest mistakes I see first-time life-writers make is not having a set theme.  

Theme (as well as character) is often the component that ties a story together. When you’re writing real lives, it’s easy to get distracted with all the wonderful things that go into making someone human. But all of those things don’t always combine well on the page.  

When you look at other trailblazing memoirs, they all excel at theme. Adam Kay’s ‘This is Going to Hurt’ is based on real diaries, but all around the topic of being a junior doctor. Helen Macdonald’s ‘H is for Hawk masterfully combines falconry and grief.  

So – memoir and life writers – how do you use theme when writing your true stories? And what is the central theme or topic you explore in yours?Share below!

How to price your own books 

Do you sell your eBook at 99p and (hopefully) entice the masses? Or do you set the price higher and reap the rewards? This newsletter looks at the tricky questions asked by indie authors ahead of our Self-Publishing Day this weekend. We look forward to seeing some of you there!  


EVENT: The Self-Publishing Day events (10% discount for members) 

Final call! Join indie experts at London’s Regent’s University this Saturday for a jam-packed day for anyone wanting to take charge of their publishing.  

LAST FEW TICKETS REMAINING!

 

JOIN JERICHO WRITERS


Spotlight 


COURSE: All about pricing (FREE for members) 

This module plucked from the Self-Publishing video course is all about pricing. From the costs associated with launching your book – all the way to what to charge for people to read it.  

LOGGED-IN MEMBER LINK

NON-MEMBER LINK

 

BLOG: What does it cost to self-publish a book?  

Editing, cover design, advertising... it all adds up. This short, honest blog contains a breakdown of what you might expect to pay upfront when self-publishing.  

READ NOW

 

MASTERCLASS: Auditing your sales pathway (FREE for members) 

Join Dave Gaughran and Harry Bingham at the Self-Publishing Day last year, as they go into detail about the things you can do to convince readers to buy your book. 

LOGGED-IN MEMBER LINK

NON-MEMBER LINK


Content corner: What a trad author can learn at a Self-Publishing Day 

One of the highlights of working at Jericho Writers, is that I get to sit in on world-leading workshops on things I might never otherwise go to. The Self-Publishing Day being one of those. 

I’m a trad writer. But I’ve probably learned more about the nuts-and-bolts of being an “author” at the Self-Publishing Day, than I have at any other event.  

For example: marketing. This isn’t something that’s taught by a publisher. In fact, if it weren’t for the Self-Publishing Day, I wouldn’t know about the importance of having reader’s magnets to build a dedicated list of readers. I’d have missed out on the opportunity to build relationships with my readers, and ultimately – I'd have missed out on sales.  

They key takeaway from The Self-Publishing Day for me though is the feeling of control. As a trad author – there's so much that’s out of my hands. From the cover design, all the way to the book’s title. But the Self-Publishing Day shows writers how to put themselves back in control of their careers. It tells us that with hard-work and a whole lot of learning, we can all take a proactive approach to publishing and get our words out there.  

So – over to you. What key takeaways have you spotted in the self-publishing world? Share your views in the Townhouse, here.  

Sarah J 


Plus, don’t miss: 

Complete Novel Mentoring (Discounts available for members) 

Work with one of four of our expert mentors when writing or editing your book – each with decades of experience (and prize-winning books!) 

Manuscript Assessment  (Discounts available for members) 

 Our most popular editorial service matches you to your dream editor and gives you tailored feedback on your work. It doesn’t get better than that. 

Community Writing book club (Open to all) 

Join the Townhouse community for the first writing book club! We’ll all be reading 'Into The Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them' by John Yorke by the end of March.  

 

JOIN JERICHO WRITERS 

What are the most interesting things you've learned from successful self-publishers? 

And - indie authors among us - what are your top tips for writers, when it comes to selling books? 

In my experience, some of the most interesting advice comes from the indie sector, so I'm really interested to hear your responses to this one! Remember, Jericho Writers are also running a Self-Publishing Day in London THIS SATURDAY 14 March. Hope to see you there! 

How to tame a reluctant protagonist 

 

Keeping your main character on track 

All good protagonists drive their plot... so what happens when yours drives into a brick wall? This newsletter looks at tricky characters and how to keep your arcs bending in the right direction.  


EVENT: The Self-Publishing Day (10% discount for members) 

Learn how to kick-start your indie career at the upcoming Self-Publishing Day. Warning – the Getting Published Day has now SOLD OUT, so get your tickets booked fast for this one! 

The Self-Publishing Day (Regent’s College London – 14 March 2020)


JOIN JERICHO WRITERS 

NEW on Jericho Writers 

 

MASTERCLASS: Taming your reluctant protagonist (FREE) 

Join editor Rebecca Horsfall for this masterclass on characterisation, and how to get your protagonist moving in the right direction.     

LOGGED-IN MEMBER LINK

NON-MEMBER LINK

 

BLOG: The ultimate guide to using verbs 

The road to hell might be paved with adverbs, but a strong verb can kick a sentence out of the mundane. This blog looks at how to use verbs the right way.  

READ NOW 

 

WEBINAR: Slushpile LIVE with The Soho Agency (FREE) 

18 March 2020. Join three literary agents as they give feedback on query letters and opening pages live, in this webinar exclusively for members.  

LOGGED-IN MEMBER LINK

NON-MEMBER LINK

 

Content corner: How to fix unruly character mistakes 

Some writers spend weeks, months or even years plotting the best route for their characters from beginning to end. But somehow, characters still seem to find themselves in unplanned situations. Here’s how to go about fixing them:  

  • Find the moment it all started going wrong. Perhaps it was a look another character gave them that caused them to kiss the antagonist, rather than kill them? 

  • Don’t be afraid to delete. If your scenes aren’t working, then they have no place being there – however long they took to write (*sob*). To make myself feel better in this situation, I copy/paste them into a separate document “to use later”. Or “never”, as the case often is.  

  • Try going with it. If you – like me – are writing character-driven fiction, then your plot should be coming from your character. If they’ve gone off plan, it could be that they have come to life and are driving the action to a conclusion that makes better sense for them.  

How do you fix plot issues caused by your character? And have you ever experienced that feeling of a character coming to life on the page and writing their own story? Sign up to the Townhouse and share your thoughts here.  

Sarah J 


Plus, don’t miss: 

 

Complete Novel Mentoring (Discounts available for members) 

Work with an expert tutor as you write or edit your book. We have three world-leading authors at your disposal covering everything from children’s books to sci-fi.  

Manuscript Assessment  (Discounts available for members) 

Our most popular editorial service matches you to your dream editor and gives you tailored feedback on your work. It doesn’t get better than that. 

Community Writing book club (Open to all) 

Join the Townhouse community for the first writing book club! We’ll all be reading 'Into The Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them' by John Yorke by the end of March. 

 

 JOIN JERICHO WRITERS

Have you ever had a character come to life on the page and make some poor choices that RUINS your carefully put-together plot? 

How do you go about fixing that? Do you let your characters go wherever the mood takes them - or do you give them a stern talking to? 

Share below!

How to see the positive in a ‘no’

Here’s a fact. Every single writer in the world gets rejected. If you’ve got a ‘no’ recently – then all that really means is that you are officially a real-life writer... but why doesn’t knowing that stop it from hurting? And how do you keep going when that one ‘no’ turns into a hundred?  

 

EVENTS: The Self-Publishing and Getting Published Day events (10% discount for members) 

Which route to publication will you choose? Pick yours from our information-packed day events in London this March. I’ll see you there! 


Spotlight 


SNAPSHOT: What to do when you’re facing rejection (FREE for members) 

A six-minute film that outlines the positive steps you can take when faced with multiple rejections from literary agents.  

LOGGED-IN MEMBER'S LINK

NON-MEMBER'S LINK

 

BLOG: What are the odds on getting a book deal? 

This blog looks at the numbers behind getting an agent and getting a book deal, with tips on how to go your own way if those numbers aren’t working to your favour.  

READ NOW 

 

BURSARY: Two, free places on our Self-Edit your Novel course  

LAST CHANCE! Thanks to a self-edit alumni who wishes to remain anonymous, we have TWO free places on this life-changing course to give away to under-represented / low-income writers. Deadline 1 March.  

SUBMIT YOUR WORK


Content corner: One trick to making rejection hurt less 

It’s fair to say that I’ve had more rejections than most published writers. Hundreds, in fact. But as I said at the start of this newsletter – rejection is an inevitable part of being a writer. Getting lots of rejections is good, because it means you are putting yourself out there. For every 10-20 rejections I got, I also got one competition win, or one writing job, or even – eventually – one literary agent.  

Knowing this doesn’t stop it from hurting. But you can try to trick your brain into seeing rejection as something positive. One way I’ve done this is to create a scrap book called ‘How I made it as a writer’. It contains every single rejection I’ve ever received – from the “we didn’t really read this” from publishers in 2006, all the way to the “sorry, but this is way too dark” from publishers in 2018. 

When printing off my rejections and sticking them in, I tried to think about them as beats in a story. Things were looking almost impossible after twelve years and four different books. But as with every good story, things are darkest before the dawn. And eventually, all those ‘nos’ became steppingstones to that ‘yes’.  

How do you deal with rejection? Sign up to the Townhouse community, and share here.  

Sarah J 

 

Plus, don’t miss: 

Complete Novel Mentoring (Discounts available for members) 

NEW MENTOR: Work alongside author, editor and mentor Philip Womack, who specialises in Children’s books, YA, literary fiction, fantasy, and literary biography. 

Manuscript Assessment  (Discounts available for members) 

 Our most popular editorial service matches you to your dream editor and gives you tailored feedback on your work. It doesn’t get better than that. 

Community Writing book club (Open to all) 

Join the Townhouse community for the first writing book club! We’ll all be reading 'Into The Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them' by John Yorke by the end of March.  

 

JOIN JERICHO WRITERS

 

Rejection is an inevitable part of being a writer. Getting lots of rejections is good, because it means you are putting yourself out there. 

...But knowing this doesn’t stop it from hurting! 

What are your tips for making rejection hurt less? Share them below! 

Have limited time to write?

As I write this JW newsletter, I have two books nagging at me that need to be edited and sent before the end of February. But with what time(?!) when there’s a full-time job / life to think about? This newsletter looks at how to turbo-charge limited writing time and make the most of a free afternoon.  

 

EVENTS: The Self-Publishing and Getting Published Day events (10% discount for members) 

Talking about turbo-charging time... Learn how to kick-start your indie career at the upcoming Self-Publishing Day, and connect with top literary agents at the Getting Published Day. One day – a whole lot of knowledge.  

The Self-Publishing Day (Regent’s College London – 14 March 2020) 

The Getting Published Day – Special Edition (Regent’s College London – 28 March 2020) 

 

 

MASTERCLASS: How to write a novel in an afternoon – part one (FREE) 

In the first of three parts of this masterclass, join a group of writers as they go from initial idea to full novel outline in just an afternoon. Easy to replicate (and a lot of fun!) 

LOGGED-IN MEMBER'S LINK

NON-MEMBER LINK

 

BURSARY: Two, free places on our Self-Edit your Novel course  

Thanks to a self-edit alumni who wishes to remain anonymous, we have TWO free places on this life-changing course to give away to under-represented / low-income writers. Deadline 1 March.  

SUBMIT YOUR WORK 

 

COMMUNITY: Writing book club (FREE) 

Join the Townhouse community for the first writing book club! We’ll all be reading 'Into The Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them' by John Yorke by the end of March. Read, learn and discuss.  

JOIN THE BOOK CLUB 

 

Content corner: How to stay motivated to write for an entire day 

Writing time is precious. So why are we filled with the sudden urge to tidy the kitchen as soon as we clear a day to write? 

Well – because writing is hard. Sometimes almost impossibly so. And forcing our brains to work creatively in ringfenced time can feel unnatural. But – if you’re like me and juggling a day job alongside caring commitments – you don’t have much choice. It’s write now, or never.  

If you’re struggling to start, try doing some access exercises. I like to stand up, pace the room and talk to myself about what I’m stuck on. I also like writing down the questions I’m finding difficult to answer, or plotting something on a whiteboard. Some people even find writing 100 words on something completely different helps. (If so, prompt: a frozen lake. Go.) 

One you start, keep yourself in that chair by any means necessary. Hide your phone. Disconnect the internet. Take regular breaks, but keep them short, and keep your head in the game. Record how many words you’ve written, or tick off your edits on a list. Tell yourself you’re awesome, because you are.  

And at the end of the day, when you’re feeling tired and worn and wondering if it’s possible to have another weekend where you actually rest – reward yourself. Because, friend – you bloody deserve it.  

How do you keep yourself motivated to write for a long stretch of time? Share in the Townhouse here.  

Sarah J 

  

Plus, don’t miss: 

 

Complete Novel Mentoring (Discounts available for members) 

Work with an expert tutor as you write or edit your book. We have three world-leading authors at your disposal covering everything from children’s books to sci-fi.  

The Getting Published Day – Special Edition (Discounts available for members) 

28 March 2020, London. Join agents, editors and publishers as this special extended edition of the Getting Published day event.  

Manuscript Assessment  (Discounts available for members) 

 Our most popular editorial service matches you to your dream editor and gives you tailored feedback on your work. It doesn’t get better than that. 

 

 JOIN JERICHO WRITERS

Writing time is precious. So why are we filled with the sudden urge to tidy the kitchen as soon as we clear a day to write? 

Well – because writing is hard. Sometimes almost impossibly so. And forcing our brains to work creatively in ringfenced time can feel unnatural. But – if you’re like me and juggling a day job alongside caring commitments – you don’t have much choice. It’s write now, or never.  

If you’re struggling to start, try doing some access exercises. I like to stand up, pace the room and talk to myself about what I’m stuck on. I also like writing down the questions I’m finding difficult to answer, or plotting something on a whiteboard. Some people even find writing 100 words on something completely different helps. (If so, prompt: a frozen lake. Go.) 

One you start, keep yourself in that chair by any means necessary. Hide your phone. Disconnect the internet. Take regular breaks, but keep them short, and keep your head in the game. Record how many words you’ve written, or tick off your edits on a list. Tell yourself you’re awesome, because you are.  

And at the end of the day, when you’re feeling tired and worn and wondering if it’s possible to have another weekend where you actually rest – reward yourself. Because, friend – you bloody deserve it.  

How do you keep yourself motivated to write for a long stretch of time? Share your tips below!

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