Category Archives: writing

Festival of Writing, York, September 2013

The UK’s largest literary editorial company announces its fourth annual celebration of writing and publishing. One of the most popular events of the literary year, it unites aspiring authors with top agents, publishers, book doctors and best-selling authors for a weekend of workshops, panels, keynote speeches, one-to-ones and social events with an emphasis on development, networking and unrestricted access to top professionals. 

Festival Director, Laura Wilkins, comments “The Festival of Writing is unique within the literary festival circuit due to its focus on getting delegates published. At the core of the weekend are the one-to-one sessions in which delegates get to sit down individually with agents, publishers and book doctors who have read samples of their work in advance and candidly discuss their writing and career prospects. There has yet to be a Festival of Writing which hasn’t resulted in several delegates being signed by agents and subsequently published as a direct result of these encounters. The agents are there specifically to find the next publishing sensations.”

Throughout the whole weekend, the festival also offers a massive selection of mini courses and workshops lead by top industry professionals and squarely aimed at developing delegates’ writing craft and helping them get to grips with the demands and processes of the publishing industry. There is also an increasing focus on self-publishing and the world of e-books. This is all backed up by vibrant and animated industry panels and fantastic keynote speeches delivered by best-selling authors. This year’s keynotes will be presented by Adele Parks and S.J. Bolton. The festival is motivational, inspirational, beneficial and essential for anyone hoping to write or get published.

The Festival of Writing is a social and welcoming event which is defined as much by its joyful spirit as its focus and genuine usefulness. Each year, lasting friendships are forged and cemented with our communal meals, evening entertainment and competitions giving delegates a chance to relax and compare experiences.

This year’s industry experts include top agents and publishers from Random House, Troubadour, Matador, Blake Friedmann, The Agency Group, Picador, Hodder & Stoughton and A.M. Heath.

The Writers’ Workshop was established in 2005 to provide advice, support and literary services to first-time writers. It has grown into the UK’s largest literary consultancy service. The firm was set up by Harry Bingham, himself a bestselling author of both fiction and non-fiction. Harry’s work has been published in the UK, the US, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, China, Japan and numerous other territories besides. He has been short-and long-listed for major literary awards. His Getting Published is the standard work on the subject

For further information, contact Events Director Laura Wilkins at: The Writers’ Workshop, The Studio, Sheep St, Charlbury, United Kingdom, OX7 3RR/ 0845 459 9560/

Useful resources from Own-It for Creatives

In keeping with our New Year’s resolution in 2013, to organise more regular webinars and to give you access to IP training free of charge from the convenience of your computer we have an upcoming webinar today that aims to grapple with the issues to do with securing funding for your fashion business. If you can’t tune in, don’t worry, we will record all webinars and publish them in our know-how section. Listen to our latest podcasts on fashion contracts and fashion branding with our partner law firm, DLA Piper.

Having a strong online presence is crucial for any business, but even more so for anybody working in the creative industry, where your clients really want to see what you do. Therefore the upcoming Own-it workshop on legal issues to consider when planning your online marketing strategy should be high up on the agenda of all visual creators and designers.

We have just launched Own-it Direct an intellectual property advisory programme for University of the Arts London alumni, who want to start-up businesses or develop new products and services. They can apply for up to ten hours of IP advice from qualified solicitors. The scheme is open to SEED Fund and Start-Up loans applicants but the aim is to extend the programme to any start-up business or entrepreneur with a new product/service idea so if you’re not eligible this time stay tuned for future updates!

Own itI’ve been receiving information from Own-it right from when I started in business. It provides lots of useful help if you design, write or create on protecting your creations.


Here are a few of their latest resources:


Useful writing resources and newsletters

writing ticklistHere are 3 useful websites/newsletters/experts that I find useful and inspiring for my writing. I hope you find them useful too.

  1. Charlie at Urban Writers Retreats runs writing retreats to help you notch up some words in a environment with other writers with the added bonus of cake. I enjoy her well writing newsletters whic always have useful tips and cover relevant topics for writers. Catch up on her latest articles in the blog
  2. Jo Parfitt sends out her newsletter on the first of every month. I’ve included her because I always look forward to reading what she writes, and this month’s newsletter, all about ‘how to get that writing done‘ really resonated with me. Read the article on Jo’s site this month, and check out her workshop and publishing services too.
  3. Finally, I was recommended the Snowflake method of plotting this week. Read the article (which also leads into a fairly ignorable sales pitch!) as it had some useful ideas for breaking down plotting that I’m putting into practice right now.

Quick Tips for Freelancers: Dealing with Emergencies and Domestic Crises

One of the great upsides of freelancing is that you can drop everything if you need. Sick children, neighbours who have locked themselves out – everyone will think that you can drop what you are doing and help. Trouble is, you then end up working into the small hours to catch up. It can be hard to set aside time for holidays too, when a break from work equals no income. With practice you will work out a way to be around for the family without letting your work slip too far: after all, that is one of the benefits of freelancing.

Antonia Chitty is author of Family Friendly Working (, A guide to Promoting Your Business ( and a number of parenting and health books. She has a book on earning a living from writing, The Commercial Writing Guide coming out in July 2009. You can find out more about her own freelance writing career at and her PR business at

Quick Tips for Freelancers: Managing your Time and Money

It was all so different when you were employed. Now you’re master of your own time, time management is key. One of the big ups of freelancing in the chance to take time off during the week, to go for a swim when the pool is at its emptiest or meet a mate for a long lunch. However in order to do this AND have money to pay for the treats you need to plan ahead. Work out how much you need to earn each month to pay your bills and have spending money. Allow for tax and National Insurance too. You might wonder what this has to do with time management….but time is money. Your income will depend on the hours you put in. It may take a while to work out how much work you need to do to earn the amount you need to live, and it can take time to build up enough good contacts to have a ready flow of commissions too. You may spend more time pitching or generating business in the early stages so try to have some cash in reserve.

Antonia Chitty is author of Family Friendly Working (, A guide to Promoting Your Business ( and a number of parenting and health books. She has a book on earning a living from writing, The Commercial Writing Guide coming out in July 2009 . You can find out more about her own freelance writing career at and her PR business at

Contribute to a New Book on Pregnancy

Hollie Smith is looking for parents who are happy to share brief comments, tips and anecdotes via email for a pregnancy book, to provide real-life perspective on subjects such as stretchmarks, scans, and swollen ankles.

If you’re pregnant, or you’ve had a baby recently, she would love to hear from you. She says, “How it will work is this: I will compile a big email group, and send out fairly regular (but not an inundation, I promise) emails, posing questions such as, ‘How big did your boobs get?’ and ‘When did you first feel it kick?’ etc. Continue reading

Can you help: Survey on Insomnia

I an co-writing a book on insomnia and we want some real life experiences and tips from people with insomnia and those who have beaten it.
If you can help, would you mind filling in the survey (in two parts) at:
Part 1 and Part 2
If you have problems with the links, email me for a word doc!
Many thanks

Double book launch for Bexhill author

The Bexhill and Hastings Observer have been very nice about my new books:

THERE appears to be no stopping inspirational Bexhill author Antonia Chitty, who, following on from the Antonia Chittysuccess of her previous two books, ‘A Guide to Promoting Your Own Business’ and, ‘Family Friendly Working’, has just launched a further two books entitled, ‘What To do When Your Child Hates School’ and, ‘Special Educational Needs – A Parents Guide’; which she wrote in conjunction with Special Needs teacher Victoria Dawson.

Using a wealth of expert advice and the latest information, this book brings together the facts on Special Educational Needs, how parents and carers can cope in daily life, which professionals can help, how to handle behavioural difficulties at home and school, as well as dealing with practical issues such as housing and finance

Explaining how she and Victoria came to write the book, Antonia said: “This book arose because my friend Victoria – who is a Special Educational Needs Teacher in Rotherham – kept saying she had really good ideas for practical help books. For my part, I know of children who have special education needs, but also my original background was as an optometrist so I’ve worked with a lot of people with sight problems. I’ve spent time working for the Royal Institute for the Blind and in my incarnation as a health writer at Which? magazine I did a lot of work on hearing and deafness; so for this book I am contributing very much from the sensory impairment side of things, and Vicky is contributing from the teachers perspective. We then talked to a lot of people, and used our combined knowledge to write the book.”

The book contains invaluable information which parents of children with special educational needs, may not have realised was available to them.
For example it’s possible to get an appointment with an NHS Speech and Language therapist without a GP referral, a fact that many parents may not have considered possible.

Antonia said: “It’s so important to know things like that because so many parents are deeply frustrated at trogging through the system to get a GP’s appointment, then they don’t know where the referral letters gone, and have no way of chasing it up. But if a parent can get on the phone, call the local speech therapy department direct and say ‘I think my child’s got a problem’, how much more effective is that?”

Antonia said that between them she and Vicky wanted theirs to be a “realistic book”, adding: “Vicky and I are both Mum’s, and we know that you don’t get time to sit down and read things which are in depth and then go and look things up. If you find something you’re interested in, you want to be able to know what the telephone number is, what the web-site address is and who to talk to – now! For example say you want to find a speech therapist, then you need to know which organisation to contact that will help you to find a local one”

“For somebody who is sitting at home thinking, ‘is there a problem with my child?’ and can’t get the help that he or she needs, it’s really difficult. You have enough to cope with – you’ve already got a busy life with kids and work and everything, this book’s there to make things easier.”

Antonia doesn’t advise parents to rely on health care check-ups to detect a problem, and also believes that health assessments in schools are, “not all they could be”, saying: ” Some services are cut back.
Children don’t get their eyes checked in the same way as they used to do and health visitors are very variable – they are not specialists – so there are children slipping through the net with problems. It’s great to pick up a lot of these problems before a child starts school. Take your pre-schooler for a sight test, opticians will see children before they can read, early detection is really important.”

Summing up Antonia said: “I just want to reinforce that fact that the book is written in straight forward plain English, and if you only get to snatch five minutes to look something up then you will still be able to get something out of it. It’s really meant for parents who are, as most of us are, stretched.”

In addition Antonia and Victoria have had their book nominated for an award by the National Association of Special Educational Needs, which is being judged next April, something which Antonia is naturally delighted about.

She said: “Vicky and I are really very excited to have written a book that’s been nominated for an award.”

Antonia’s other latest book release, ‘What to do when your child hates school’, is aimed at helping children and their parents deal with any one of a variety of situations which are making their school lives miserable.

A quote from the book epitomizes up what thousands of parents have to deal with everyday and says: “There are few things more miserable than having a child who hates school, but it doesn’t have to be like that.”

From bullying to social or learning difficulties, struggling to keep up or boredom, Antonia said: “Whatever the reason a child’s not happy at school it makes everyone’s life hell, that’s why I’ve put together this guide to coping.”

She added: “I think there are so few children who go through school without having periods where they may be experiencing a problem, and the constant cry from parents is that the schools not dealing with it.”

Whatever kind of solution a parent or carer may be looking for the book is designed to help by advising on how to talk to the school to get a problem resolved, to change schools within the state system along with alternative schooling such as boarding school’s or home education and, importantly how to tackle a potential problem by talking it over with the child.

Antonia said the book simply, “does what it says on the tin; it rings a bell with the child, it rings a bell with the parent, people know when to buy this book.”

Published by White Ladder Press, ‘What to do When Your Child Hates School’ costs £9.99. For more information visit the web-site at:

‘Special Educational Needs’ is published by Forward Press Ltd priced £8.99 for further information visit:

Finding articles for your magazine

I edit a local NCT magazine, so often have to find interesting articles on a zero budget. I don’t find it too hard, though, so I thought I’d share some tips.

If you invite contributions from members (for a group magazine) or residents or businesses if you run a local magazine, be clear about what you want. Style Guidelines are a way of outlining how you want people to use grammar. You can dictate whether you want numbers written as figures or words. You might suggest whether you like people to use % or per cent. The guidelines can clarify spelling issues: do you prefer the British organisation or American organization? You should also tell your potential writers how long you would like the deature to be, to save them writing way over lenght and to cut your editing duties. I find that several single page articles will interest more people than one very long article.

But what if you don’t have people queuing up to write? Well, there are hundreds of article websites online. People write articles because they want a link back to their business. You can use the articles but must include the person’s name and business link. You often are not allowed to edit the article.

A more flexible way to get an article to meet your requirements is to ask someone with an interest in the area to wrote something for you. Think about what would interest your readers. If they might want to read about natural health, ask a local complementary therapist for an advice feature. If you write for a business magazine ask someone who advises businesses: I recently supplied a batch of articles to the Worthing editor of Mums in Control.

If these ideas don’t help, email me, I can usually find an article on most subjects or know someone who can offer you something relevant.