Sarah Juckes | Head of Membership | Jericho Writers

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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!

Sarah Juckes | Head of Membership | Jericho Writers Discussions
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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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We have some exciting stuff going on for children’s writers this week, including a member event from…
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What are your favourite bookshops from around the world and why? Our favourite is the fantastic Fox …
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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:  


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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We’re living in a world that's unrecognisable from the one we lived in just a few short decades ago – especially in terms of technology. 

Do you have any social media tips for beginners? What would your suggestion be for a writer new to the world of Twitter, Instagram or Facebook? 

Share them (and your social handles) below!

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Hello Members of Jericho Writers!

Thanks to all of you who recently completed the Summer Member survey. It's been so delightful going through the responses - it all helps us make your membership more "genuinely useful" (which is a huge part of what we're all about). 

One of the patterns I’m seeing is that the Jericho Writers membership offers SO MUCH STUFF, that it can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming to know where to start. 

We’re working on some technical ways to help, but meanwhile, I wanted to do a series of weekly blogs introducing you to the various parts of your membership; how to navigate them and tips on how to make the most out of them. We’ll be posting these here every Wednesday for five weeks, but let’s kick things off with the thing that makes up the biggest part of your membership (at least in terms of money saved!) – the Video Courses.  

(Please note that most of the links in this article are only for those of you who are logged in!)

Jericho Writers Video Courses: what are they?  

Jericho Writers started life with these video courses. Our flagship ‘How to Write’; ‘Getting Published’ and ‘Self-Publishing’ courses were what gave us the idea to offer as much stuff as we could to writers, for one flat fee.  

Taught by resident expert Harry Bingham, these comprehensive courses take the topic of writing and publishing and walk you through it, step by step. I’ve taken these courses myself and learned things that honestly changed my career (especially the ‘Getting Published’ one!)  

Because they’re video courses and split into separate video modules, you can take these courses easily in your spare time. You can skip parts you’re less interested in; pause to write notes when you need to and download audio files to listen to whilst walking the dog, or download the slides to flick through without the chat.  

We know these courses are useful for members, so this year we’ve been investing in adding more to the line-up. We kicked things off with a course from Self-Publishing expert Nicholas Erik this year on Amazon Ads, which walks you through the process of setting ads up, step-by-step. We then added a course on Writing for Young People with the Godfather of Young Adult literature; Melvin Burgess, which covers everything from your idea, to live-editing.  

Coming soon, we have more on self-publishing for beginners, novel writing, and finding a literary agent. We’re also looking into how to make these more interactive and communal, which I am VERY EXCITED ABOUT.  

Where to find your Video Courses 

These are all 100% included in any Jericho Writers membership. You can find links to them by hovering over ‘My Jericho’ in the top menu, or under ‘Writing and Publishing Resources’ form your dashboard.  

All the video courses are listed on one page (direct link if you’re logged-in here!). Simply choose the one you want, and you’ll find all the videos in the course listed in chronological order. When you’re watching a video, you’ll even find the next one in the series queued-up waiting for you on the right-hand side. 

Tips on how to get started with Video Courses 

If you’ve just joined Jericho Writers, I recommend starting off by taking a video course. They offer a great deal of advice that lays a solid foundation of learning on which to build on with other masterclasses and advice.  

If you’re new to writing, or have joined because you’re battling with a book, try the ‘How to Write’ course. Take it from the beginning if you can, but skip through and focus in as needed – especially if there is a particular topic you’re struggling with. Those who are writing specifically for young people might also like to try the ‘Writing for Young People’ course alongside it, for genre-specific advice.  

If you’ve joined Jericho Writers looking for a publishing deal, then the ‘Getting Published’ course is an absolute must. Do watch the sessions on what happens after you get a deal too – those are super important whatever stage you’re at.  

If you are considering self-publishing, then try the ‘Self-Publishing’ course. Those who are already underway can also take the ‘Amazon Ads’ course.  

Whatever stage you’re at in your work, these video courses cover the fundamental need-to-know stuff that makes them an essential part of your membership. Next week, we’ll look at the other 400+ masterclass videos also included in your membership that you can use to advance your learning, covering just about every aspect of writing and publishing you can dream of!  

Until then, our friendly team are happy to help if you need any further help or advice. Happy writing!  

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Writing is a slow process – and traditional publishing isn’t much faster. Here's a sample four-year timeline for an author with an idea for a book, seeing it through to publication. NB: This is an example only – mine took much longer than this and for others it’s much shorter!  

January 2020: You have an idea for a novel and start writing it.  

July 2020: You finish the first draft and start self-editing.  

October 2020: You get feedback from beta readers and perhaps send it off for a Manuscript Assessment, to get an expert opinion, and then re-write again on feedback.  

January 2021: You start submitting to agents.  

July 2021: After a few rejections, you sign with a literary agent, who has some edits of her own.  

January 2022: Your agent is happy with the manuscript and starts submitting it to editors for publication.  

March 2022: You sign with a publisher, who sends you yet more edits to do! 

December 2022: Your structural edits are signed off by your publisher and you’re sent for even more edits – this time from a copyeditor and proofreader. You might see a cover at this point and can celebrate an official announcement.  

July 2023: Proof copies are printed and sent to reviewers.  

January 2024: Your debut book is officially published.  

Of course, this timeline can vary wildly, but the amount of edits you have to do is roughly always the same. What are your thoughts reading this schedule? Have you had experience of a different timeline? Share below!

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We have some exciting stuff going on for children’s writers this week, including a member event from Commissioning Editor, Ellie Brough at Hachette; a Summer Festival interview with middle grade hero, Onjali Q. Rauf; and our new Writing for Children tutored course starting in just one month (grab your place now!)  

But what are the rules for writing stories for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers? Although rules are always there to be broken, here are some common things you’ll find in books for young children: 

1: The ‘good’ guys always win  

Generally, books for this age group tend to live in a world where good guys prevail bag guys learn their lesson to be better, more accepting people / animals / monsters. What a lovely world that is.  

2: Your voice matters 

Be careful with language and choose words that are fun to say, whilst still being simple/clear enough for a young person to understand. This is why writing for this age group is harder than you think!  

3: Leave room for the illustrations 

The clue is in the name – picture books rely hugely on their illustrators to bring them to life. Ensure your text leaves room for exciting illustrations and isn’t too descriptive.  

4: Use all of your senses 

Be onomatopoeic in your description of the world, using sights, sounds, touch, taste and smell to describe a world a toddler can relate to. Rhythm, repetition and rhyme can be useful devices to help with this! 

What rules do you see being followed and broken in books for this age? Share your favourites below!

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What are your favourite bookshops from around the world and why? 

Our favourite is the fantastic Fox Lane Books who holds copies of all Summer Festival books (and is also just lovely!)

Share yours below!

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In a year where physical filming has been limited – what a joy it was to spend the day with the father of Young Adult literature, Melvin Burgess - famous for such works as ‘Junk’; ‘Doing It’ and the novel adaption of ‘Billy Elliot’. We filmed the new Writing For Young People video course in a beautiful stone cottage in Yorkshire this Spring, and have made it available in-full, exclusively to members of Jericho Writers. Even though I’ve had the opportunity to work with Melvin before (he was my own tutor back in 2014) there was still a huge amount to take away.  

Here are my top three takeaways from Melvin’s video course (available now, exclusively for members!)  

1) Draw inspiration from your own childhood. 

Like a lot of book-lovers, my teenage years were spent feeling like an outsider who didn’t belong. In the new course, Melvin looks closely at friendship dynamics and how to draw upon your own life as inspiration.  

2) Understanding basic story structure can help you build your own. 

Melvin illustrates this with fairytales in the course, but what’s really interesting is how once you break a story like “Little Red Riding Hood” down, you can use these same principles to create stories in any genre.  

3) Find your own editing style.  

In the course, Melvin live-edits a snippet from a classic work of literature to show how you can reduce wordiness, but maintain meaning. But does this lose something in the process? Experimenting with editing can help you decide what kind of editor you are – a hacker, or a trimmer.  

Have you taken any of the new course yet? Have you tried doing any of the worksheets? Once you have, share your thoughts and your own answers below.

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In this week's newsletter, I passed on some tips agents wish writers knew, including remembering that they're just people; one set of submission rules doesn't fit all agents; polite personality goes a long way and to pay attention to your file names. 

But what do you wish agents knew about writers? Share your thoughts below. 

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Make a list of all your favourite characters. Chances are, more than a few of them won’t take leading roles in the story, but exist to support action and add splashes of colour to the main arc. Here are some tips for creating secondary characters that are protagonists in their own right.  

1) Give them a want/need 

All good stories feature a protagonist who wants/needs something and must go on a physical or emotional journey to get it (or later decide that it’s not what they wanted/needed after all). Give your secondary characters this same arc – what’s important to them? Why are they acting like this? Make us believe they are the leading character in their own story.  

2) Give them a quirk 

Maybe they have a knack for nature (Dickon in The Secret Garden) or are part-giant (Hagrid in Harry Potter). Giving your character a physical or personality trait helps build them into memorable characters – especially if they’re only there for a few short paragraphs.  

3) Avoid cliché

If your automatic writer brain starts creating a character you’ve seen a million times before – stop it. Check yourself and turn that stereotype on its head. Your reader will notice and if not, you’re helping to make literature as diverse as real life.  

Do you have any tips to add to this list? Which secondary characters stay with you the most? Share below!

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Sarah Juckes | Head of Membership | Jericho Writers
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