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How to build a bestselling book

Build your book month starts this Friday! 

I’m not sure how we’re into October already, but thankfully this spells an amazing time for members! In this newsletter, we look at the good things coming your way this week and learn how to build a brilliant bestselling book.  

MEMBER EVENTS: Build Your Book Month starts 1 October (Member exclusive) 

We have fourteen (14!) events coming your way this month, all curated to give you the specific tools you need to build your book in any genre. Join Jack Jordan on 1 October for Plotting and Planning to Build Suspense and Elly Griffiths and William Shaw on 4 October for Developing a Character Through a Series, to kick things off. 



This week at Jericho Writers: 

OPPORTUNITY: Barbellion Prize Submissions Open  

If you are writer with a chronic illness or disability with a work published between Nov 2020 – Oct 2021, it’s worth checking out this prize. The prize aims to platform works giving greater visibility for, and a genuine illustration of, life with illness, disease, impairment, or disability. 

Submissions for the 2021 prize are now open.  


MEMBER EVENT: Ask Us Anything – Member ZOOM Beta Test (Member exclusive) 

You asked – we delivered. Join us for a Beta test Zoom event on 7 October, where you’ll be able to ask your burning membership questions and enjoy the chaos of having 100 members in a virtual room! If it works, we’ll be making these a regular feature of your membership. If it doesn’t - well – it'll be lovely to see you anyway.  


BOOK CLUB: Meeting next week with guest author Elaine Chiew

Here's a little reminder to join us for our next book club on Tuesday 5 October where we'll be chatting with Elaine Chiew about her book The Heartsick Diaspora. The club is completely free - follow the link below for the zoom link, a discount on the book from Fox Lane Books, and to vote on the next genre!


SPOTLIGHT ON: Hannah Todd 

We’re delighted that ex-Jericho Writers employee and all-round fabulous human Hannah Todd has now joined Madeleine Milburn as a literary agent. This week, we asked her what she’s looking for and how you can submit your work to her.  


SUCCESS STORY: Charlotte Owen snapped up by The Bent Agency 

This week we’re feeling proud of Charlotte Owen, who has secured representation with The Bent Agency and is currently working on her debut novel. She said the MS Assessment she received through Jericho Writers was ‘instrumental’ in her offer of representation. Congratulations Charlotte – we can’t wait to see your debut on the shelves!  


The skills you need to build a brilliant book 

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.  

So, how do you take a wisp of an idea and turn it into something deserving of a place on a shelf in strangers' homes?  

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.  

There are plenty more skills to be learned to write a book. Share the ones you think most important to your work in the Townhouse, here.   

Sarah J 

Plus, don’t miss: 

One-to-ones - new sessions available soon  

Keep your eyes peeled if you have a manuscript ready, as we’ll be releasing brand new sessions with new agents to give feedback directly on your work.  

Manuscript Assessment Service (10% discount available)  

A more in-depth way to give your manuscript that extra sparkle is to have it professionally assessed by an editor. They’ll give you a full report – a detailed roadmap to success. Prices vary based on word count.  

Mentoring (10% discount available)  

Get expert one-to-one help as you write and edit your manuscript with your choice of award-winning mentors. 

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