Before You Click Submit, Part 5 – A Book by Any Other Name

As we get closer to the opening of UV submissions, we’re posting tips to make sure your submission stands the best chance of making it into the anthology.

In our final post, we make a final plea to consider your title and its impact on the reader.  

 

Don’t Take Your Title for Granted.

Mumnesia by Katie Dale

Your title is part of your writing. It’s your representative during the judging process, selling your story and ideas as much as the text does. Once you’ve proofread and polished, scrutinise your title.

UV Founder and Author, Sara Grant, says, “Great titles are memorable, distinctive, intriguing, easy to say and clearly indicate the story you will tell. Endeavour to use concrete nouns and active verbs in your title.”

Test your title using the following criteria:

  • Does it match the content of the book? You might like it because it’s quirky or fresh or poetic, but if it doesn’t match the story, don’t use it. You are setting up an expectation about the type and style of the story. Your title should attract the right reader. If there’s a disconnect, you may only disappoint readers. Does it capture the drama, humour, or romance of your work?
  • Is it memorable? Does it sound too much any other book? Will it be confused with too many other titles?
  • Can it capture the reader’s imagination or curiosity?
  • Is it as short or long as it needs to be?
  • Say it out loud again and again – because if it gets published you will be saying it a lot! Is it easy to say with words that won’t be confused at a glance?

You might like a title because it’s quirky or fresh or poetic, but if it doesn’t match the story, don’t use it.

It’s worth taking a look at the titles of books for the age group you are writing for inspiration. Test run your new titles past friends, critique partners, librarians or children and ask them what they think the title suggests about the book. Look for that magic combination that spark interest, prepares the reader for what’s come and arouses unquenchable thirst to find out more.

 

And, finally.

Good luck to everyone who enters from the whole UV team!

 

Submissions for UV2018 will open tomorrow (1st July 2017) and will close 15th August 2017. Why not sign up here for submission reminders?

 

Undiscovered Voices 2016 Featured Writers and Illustrators Announced

SCBWI Announces Writers and Illustrators to Be Featured in Undiscovered Voices 2016. 

Anthology has proven a successful path to publication for many writers and illustrators

UV2016_front coverTwelve promising writers and nine aspiring illustrators – all unagented and unpublished – were selected from hundreds of submissions to be included in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) anthology, titled Undiscovered Voices 2016. The anthology is available to download for free at www.undiscoveredvoices.com.

“We are thrilled to once again showcase so many new voices from amongst SCBWI British Isles and Europe,” said Natascha Biebow, Regional Advisor (Chair) of the SCBWI in the British Isles. “We are confident that they won’t stay undiscovered for very long!”

The anthology features twelve 4,000-word extracts of novels written for children alongside nine black and white illustrations. SCBWI congratulates the following authors and illustrators whose work will be included in the 2016 anthology:

Relly Annett-Baker The Unwilling Goddess London
Georgia Bowers Clopwyck River Bedford
Anna Bowles Steel Tanya London
Susan Brownrigg Girl Churns Up Trouble Skelmersdale
Patti Buff Requiem Germany
Sophie Cameron Out of the Blue Edinburgh
Kerry Cassidy Secret Magic: The Thread Fairy Adventures Malvern
Rose Margaret Deniz The Evolution of You and Me Turkey
Emma Dowson The Chinatown Cat New Malden
Lucy Farfort Illustrator Newcastle
Esther Garcia Peces Illustrator Spain
Simon James Green Nuts London
Mary Hays Illustrator Cambridge
Andrea Ipaktchi Illustrator France
Catherine Miller The Hunt Is On London
John Morgan Illustrator Winchester
Heather Newton Spyders: Flash & the Cagey Bees London
Deborah Partington Illustrator Runcorn
Portia Rosenberg Illustrator Cambridge
Bing Wang Illustrator Netherlands
Katie Weymouth Illustrator Liverpool

From the four previous anthologies, published in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, 32 of the selected authors and illustrators have received publishing contracts for more than 120 books. These authors have been nominated for and won an amazing array of literary prizes: including the Blue Peter Awards, the Carnegie Medal, the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize, the Branford Boase Award and regional awards such as the Bedfordshire Children’s Book of the Year.

“The success of the first four anthologies is a testament to the high calibre of author and illustrator members in SCBWI,” Biebow said. “It’s really exciting to have works featured in previous anthologies snap up publishing deals and win major prizes. We hope that both the writers and illustrators in Undiscovered Voices 2016 will have similar success.”

The Undiscovered Voices anthology will be distributed to editors, literary agents, art directors and illustration agents focusing on children’s literature. The anthology includes an introduction from the honorary chair, award-winning children’s author and illustrator Sally Gardner.

“This anthology shines a spotlight on writers and illustrators with the potential to create books that will excite young readers everywhere,” said Tioka Tokedira, UV coordinator for SCBWI in the EU.

The stories and illustrations were submitted anonymously and selected by a distinguished panel of industry experts:

  • Jon Appleton, Hodder
  • Ali Ardington, Stripes Publishing
  • Ed Burns, Advocate Art Agency
  • Barry Cunningham, Chicken House
  • Sheri Gee, Folio Society
  • Jodie Hodges, United Agents
  • Rachel Mann, Simon and Schuster
  • Polly Nolan, The Greenhouse Literary Agency
  • Anna Power, Johnson & Alcock
  • Kate Shaw, The Viney Agency
  • Will Steele, Faber and Faber
  • Caroline Walsh, David Higham Associates

Because the anthology is also designed to be a learning tool for up-and-coming children’s writers and artists, quotes from the judges – discussing the merits of each piece – are included at the end of each illustration and extract.

Working Partners Ltd, a London-based company that creates series fiction for children and teens, provided the financial support to make this and the previous four anthologies possible.

“Working Partners is delighted to sponsor this wonderful project which helps writers and illustrators seeking to grow,” said Chris Snowdon, Managing Director, Working Partners Ltd.

 

About SCBWI

The SCBWI is a network for the exchange of knowledge among writers, illustrators, editors, publishers, agents, librarians, educators, booksellers and others involved with literature for young people. SCBWI boasts more than 22,000 members worldwide in more than seventy regions, making it the largest children’s writing organization in the world. Through our events and resources, the SCBWI British Isles region aims to help writers and illustrators develop their craft. Find out more about SCBWI at www.britishisles.scbwi.org. To find out more about Undiscovered Voices visit: www.undiscoveredvoices.com.

Undiscovered Voices 2016 Long List Announcement

UV10We are pleased to announce the longlist of writers and illustrators who will be considered for the Undiscovered Voices 2016 anthology. These talented writers and illustrators were selected from more than 250 submissions from SCBWI members in Europe.

  • Relly Annett-Baker
  • Sheila Averbuch
  • Monika Baum
  • Emma Bayley
  • Georgia Bowers
  • Anna Bowles
  • Susan Brownrigg
  • Patti Buff
  • Sophie Cameron
  • Kerry Cassidy
  • Leah Davis
  • Rose Margaret Deniz
  • Anne Derenne
  • Suzanne Dore
  • Emma Dowson
  • Gary Fabbri
  • Lucy Farfort
  • Esther Garcia Peces
  • Julian Margaret Gibbs
  • Simon James Green
  • Jak Harrison
  • Mary Hays
  • Kim A Howard
  • Andrea Ipaktchi
  • Jeannine Johnson Maia
  • Elizabeth Joseph-Brahy
  • Nicola Keller
  • Georgina Kirk
  • Katherine Lynas
  • Dr Dale Mathers
  • Catherine Miller
  • Aurelie Monsaingeon
  • Andrew Moore
  • John Morgan
  • Lesley Moss
  • Lorna Murphy
  • Nab NAB
  • Heather Newton
  • Deborah Partington
  • Claire Frances Rollinson
  • Portia Rosenberg
  • India Smith
  • Clare Thomas
  • Nicki Thornton
  • Cam Tu Nguyen
  • Melissa Valente
  • Bing Wang
  • Calum Watson
  • Claire Watts
  • Katie Weymouth

The twelve novel extracts and nine illustrations that will be featured in the 2016 Undiscovered Voices anthology will be announced in early January.

The quality of submissions was extremely high this year and the judges had a very difficult time deciding on a longlist. The Undiscovered Voices team endeavours to create an anthology that showcases the variety of writing and illustration available from SCBWI members in the British Isles and the European Union.

The goal of the anthology is not only to help the selected authors and illustrators to find agents and editors, but also to promote the quality of work abounding in SCBWI in Europe.

The stories and illustrations were submitted anonymously and selected by a distinguished panel of industry experts:

  • Jon Appleton, Hodder
  • Ali Ardington, Stripes Publishing
  • Ed Burns, Advocate Art Agency
  • Barry Cunningham, Chicken House
  • Sheri Gee, Folio Society
  • Jodie Hodges, United Agents
  • Rachel Mann, Simon and Schuster
  • Polly Nolan, The Greenhouse Literary Agency
  • Anna Power, Johnson & Alcock
  • Kate Shaw, The Viney Agency
  • Will Steele, Faber and Faber
  • Caroline Walsh, David Higham Associates

Congratulations to these talented writers and illustrators!

All the best,

The Undiscovered Voices Team

On behalf of the Undiscovered Voices Team – Catherine Coe, Jenny Glencross, Sara Grant, Anne-Marie Perks, Loretta Schauer, Benjamin Scott and Tioka Tokedira

 

Tweet Advice for UV Submitters – #AskSwanwick Chat Write Up

One Undiscovered Voices area that’s usually under-represented by good quality submissions is for the youngest (5-8) age group. “We’d loved to see more of those,” Catherine told us. “Funny is often the key – and something obvious, like a timeless theme that works, such as fairies, witches, dragons, beasts, princesses, and animals.”

Undiscovered Voices committee members, Rosie Best and Catherine Coe, participated in a twitter chat for #AskSwanwick on Wednesday, 3rd June 2015. They discussed a range of issues about editing, book packaging and, of course, dispense some sage advice on Undiscovered Voices.

You can read a write up of the chat here at http://www.swanwickwritersschool.org.uk. Look out for some great advice on how to edit and proofread your own work before submitting!

Press Release: Submissions open 1st July for Fifth SCBWI Undiscovered Voices

Anthology has proven a successful path to publication for many UK writers and illustrators

UV10The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) British Isles will once again help fresh, new voices in children’s literature – both writers and illustrators – find agents, publishers and ultimately readers through its Undiscovered Voices project.

Undiscovered Voices has launched the careers of the writers and illustrators, who have gone on to publish more than 120 books. These authors have been nominated for and won an amazing array of literary prizes: including the Carnegie Medal, Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize, Branford Boase Award, Blue Peter Award, the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, and nearly 30 regional awards.

Submissions will be accepted online at www.undiscoveredvoice.com between 1st July to 16th August 2015. There is no submissions’ fee, but only un-agented and unpublished members of SCBWI living in the UK and Europe (writing in the English language) are eligible.

3 scbwi_logo_31kb“The SCBWI British Isles region is thrilled to once again support this innovative project that brings unpublished writers and illustrators into the limelight,” said Natascha Biebow, Regional Advisor for the SCBWI British Isles. “Over the past eight years, we have helped nearly 30 authors and illustrators to get discovered by publishers. We wish all contestants the best of luck!”

The Undiscovered Voices anthology will include twelve fiction extracts – from early readers up through young adult novels – and twelve black-and-white illustrations. The anthology will be published in February 2016 and sent free of charge to editors, art directors and agents whose focus is children’s literature. The book will be produced by volunteers, with the financial support of Working Partners Ltd, a London-based company that creates series fiction.

Working Partners Logo“Working Partners is very proud to continue to support Undiscovered Voices,” said Chris Snowdon, Managing Director of Working Partners. “It is hard to believe this will be the fifth edition of this wonderful vehicle for new authors! Undiscovered Voices is now an established and high profile launch pad for new writing and we can’t wait to see what talent is discovered and published this time around.”

Sally Gardner 2015Multi-award-winning author and illustrator Sally Gardner will serve as the honorary chair for this anthology. Gardner has a long and distinguished career writing and illustrating books for young children and teens alike. Her work has been translated into more than twenty-two languages. Her novel MAGGOT MOON (Hot Key Books) won both the Costa Children’s Book Prize and the Carnegie Medal 2013. Gardner’s genre-defying novel THE DOUBLE SHADOW (Orion) received great critical acclaim and was also longlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2013. Sally also won the 2005 Nestle Children’s Book Prize for her debut novel I, CORIANDER.

The following judges will select the stories and illustrations to be included in the anthology:

  • Jon Appleton, Hodder
  • Ali Ardington, Stripes Publishing
  • Ed Burns, Advocate Art Agency
  • Barry Cunningham, Chicken House
  • Sheri Gee, Folio Society
  • Jodie Hodges, United Agents
  • Rachel Mann, Simon and Schuster
  • Polly Nolan, The Greenhouse Literary Agency
  • Anna Power, Johnson & Alcock
  • Kate Shaw, The Viney Agency
  • Will Steele, Random House
  • Caroline Walsh, David Higham Associates

 

For more details or to submit your novel extract or illustrations, visit www.undiscoveredvoices.com.

 

For More Information ContactSara Grant, uv@britishscbwi.org

About SCBWI

The SCBWI is a network for the exchange of knowledge among writers, illustrators, editors, publishers, agents, librarians, educators, booksellers and others involved with literature for young people. SCBWI boasts more than 22,000 members worldwide in more than 70 regions, making it the largest children’s writing organization in the world. SCBWI British Isles is a dynamic and friendly chapter, which aims to support aspiring and published writers and illustrators, providing opportunities for professional development, networking, and craft development. This anthology presents a unique means of networking with the publishing industry. Join and find out more about SCBWI British Isles at www.britishisles.scbwi.org

 

About Working Partners

From young chapter books to thrilling adult novels, Working Partners’ books are published all over the globe. Since 1994, it has created some of the most recognised series in children’s fiction, including Animal Ark, Heartland and, more recently, Rainbow Magic, Warriors, Beast Quest and Magic Animal Friends. Working Partners has about 100 published projects, consisting of over 1,000 books. It has sold its books in 40 languages. Ten of its series have sold more than a million copies. Four have sold more than 10 million.

Tips and Advice for Illustrators: Find Your illustration ‘Super Power’

We’re proud to share an edited video of the best bits from our illustrator panel during the Undiscovered Voices 2016 competition launch on May 14th 2015.

The illustration judges talk about the Story Prompts and what they are expecting from our entrants. There’s plenty of suggestions of how you might tackle one of the prompts and what sort of moments or scenes you might imagine for your characters and your illustration.
Keep an eye out for some great suggestions from Ed Burns, including how to find your illustration ‘Super Power!”.

We’d like to thank Mike Perks for recording and editing this video and thanks Foyles for hosting the event!

 

Guest Blog: Matt Ralphs – Everything to Gain, Almost Nothing to Lose

Matt Ralphs 2015It was August 2013. I had a nearly finished manuscript, and a plan.

I was aiming to submit my children’s novel, Fire Girl, to literary agents after Christmas and then cross my fingers. I was braced for the wait. The rejections. The Battle Scars. It’s what all writers go though, right?

And then a friend – who I am now forever indebted to – suggested I enter my novel to Undiscovered Voices. She said this unique competition was an opportunity not to pass up. After all, many previous Undiscovered finalists had been well and truly discovered.

Discovered meaning that magical word: published.

What the hell, I asked myself, did I have to lose? He who dares wins. Fortune favours the brave. Carpe diem. And other clichés.

So began a feverish two weeks cutting, polishing and shining my words to within an inch of their lives. Then I sent it off and promised myself I’d forget about it and get on with my life.

At this last point, I failed miserably. The more I looked into UV, the more I realised what an incredible boost it could be to an unpublished writer. If I was selected as a finalist, it could be life-changing.

I waited…

And waited…

Until I received the best email ever. I’d been chosen for the longlist.

More waiting until I got the best phone call ever. I, along with eleven others, had been chosen as a finalist.

Undiscovered Voices 2014

Things happened very quickly after that. The UV14 anthology was published. It was sent out into the world. Agents got in touch with me (I repeat: agents got in touch WITH ME) to ask if I was going to the anthology launch party.

At the party we chatted and they asked to see the whole book. The very next day I sent it out. Most got back to me and suggested we meet over lunch to discuss representation.

Which landed me with a rather surreal conundrum. Which of these industry experts was I going to pick? In the end I made my difficult choice and after some tweaks to the manuscript, my new agent submitted the book to publishers.

To my astonished delight my book found a happy home at Macmillan Children’s Books. (Who are publishing Fire Girl on August 13th 2015. Thanks for asking!)

It sounds like I’m showing off, doesn’t it? Well, I suppose I am.

My point is, Undiscovered Voices and the amazing team of volunteers who work their selfless socks off made all this possible for me. And they can make it possible for you too. So go on. Cut, polish and shine your entry, take a deep breath, and send it in.

What have you got to lose?
Fire Girl by Matt Ralphs 2015Matt Ralphs’ first novel, Fire Girl, featured in the 2014 Undiscovered Voices Anthology. Soon afterwards he signed with the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency. Two months later Macmillan Children’s Books bought Fire Girl (pub Aug 2015) and a sequel, Fire Witch (pub June 2016).

You can comment on this blog post at Matt Ralph’s own website here.

Captured by a First Line: Sara Grant on Reading Submissions

Sara Grant

Sara Grant got her agent and ultimately her first book deal through Undiscovered Voices. Now she’s on the other side of the submissions process and part of the team of editors who do the initial read through of all the submissions before the illustrious judging panel get to read them.

As she writes: “I love quiet novels and action-packed thrillers. I adore literary novels as much as high concept stories. No matter the story you want to tell – you still have to hook me, entice me to read more from those first lines. I should be desperate to know what happens next. Each year there are those extracts that linger and sparkle and surprise. Even after eight years, I still remember the opening lines from the first Undiscovered Voices extracts:”

Visit Sara’s BookBound Blog for more of her words of wisdom here.

 

Sara Grant

Sara Grant worked on twelve different series and edited nearly 100 books when she worked as a senior commissioning editor for Working Partners. She writes edgy teen fiction (Half Lives being her latest) and a funny, magical series for young readers (Magic Trix). Sara is the co-creator and co-editor of Undiscovered Voices. Her YA novel Dark Parties won the SCBWI Crystal Award for Europe.

Guest Blog: Jane McLoughlin – UV’s “Awesomeness”

Jane McLoughlin 2015Last month I was delighted (and proud) to be attending SCBWI’s Undiscovered Voices launch at Foyles Books in London.

This competition (open to SCBWI members only—so join, why don’t you?) for unagented and unpublished children’s writers, seems to have more buzz about it every year. The number of authors who mention SCBWI and the UV editorial team in their acknowledgements is growing and growing, too.

At this year’s launch, the events room at Foyles was standing room only, and those in attendance got a mini-masterclass in how to enter the competition and how to submit to agents and picture editors and publishers in general. The event (free) was almost worth the price of the competition entry (oops, sorry…free again, as long as you are a member of SCBWI!)

So, what did winning UV 2010 do for me?

The Crowham Martyrs by Jane McLoughlinWell, I met my wonderful editors for my first book, At Yellow Lake, which was featured in the 2010 anthology, at the launch party.  And, I met my lovely agent (who has worked tirelessly to find my second novel The Crowham Martyrs a home) through Undiscovered Voices, though (typical for me) after I got the first book deal. I can’t say for certain that these books wouldn’t have been published without Undiscovered Voices, but, being included in the anthology has made a huge difference to me.

What else has winning UV 2010 done?

It’s made me feel part of a pretty cool group of children’s writers and illustrators.  There’s a camaraderie and closeness, and this support network has helped me cope with the ups and downs of trying to get published, and trying to stay published.  I am also proud vicariously, when another “Undiscovered Voice” gets an agent or a publishing deal. It’s wonderful to be able to share in the success of others who have been on a similar path.

Here’s an recent example of the awesomeness of UV winners…

As the UV 2016 launch was winding up, I was chatting to previous winners, Jane Hardstaff, Katie Dale and Sarwat Chadda.  A writer who was planning to enter the competition joined us, and asked a few questions. Jane, Katie and Sarwat were so encouraging and enthusiastic; all were happy to share their experiences and offer support. I know they would have been kind and helpful in any situation (like all SCBWI members, I hasten to add), but there is something about winning Undiscovered Voices that makes a writer doubly happy to support those who are at the beginning of the journey to publication. We are all so grateful to have been given this wonderful start.

So:

  • Join SCBWI, if you aren’t already a member
  • Finish the book, hone your illustrations, give it your all!
  • Enter the competition

And finally…

Remember that even if you don’t win, even if you aren’t on the longlist (a fantastic achievement in itself), membership in SCBWI will be the best thing you can do for yourself as a children’s writer or illustrator.

Undiscovered Voices happens every two years, but SCBWI membership gives rewards every day of the year.

When it comes to SCBWI,  everybody wins!

 

At Yellow Lake by Jane McLoughlinJane is originally from Minnesota, in the USA, but has lived in the UK for over 25 years. At Yellow Lake was her first novel for young adults. It has been published in the UK, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and will be out soon in Brazil. It has also been nominated for the Carnegie Award 2013 and Branford Boase Award 2013. Her second novel, The Crowham Martyrs, will be published by Catnip Publishing this month!

UV2016 – Blog Round Up.

UV10A superb summary of the launch event by our friends at the SCBWI British Isles webzine Words and Pictures has appeared, with lots of advice from judging panels. Feast on these selected tips at Words and Pictures and you can look for more posts about UV on Words and Pictures on their special Undiscovered Voices feed.

We recently found Sarah Broadley blogging about attending the Undiscovered Voices launch earlier this month. She shared her thoughts on writing and what advice she took away from our panel. Check it out at the Great Big Jar blog.

Coming soon: Watch out for videos from the launch event featuring the best advice from our two judging panels.