Starts 18 September 2017. How do you find an agent? How do you write a synopsis? Where do you send your work?

Publishing 101 is now closed for booking. If you’d like to find out about the next time we run this course, please give us yer email address here:

You think you’ve done the hard part by writing a book, but getting your novel published is the next big slog to tackle. Writers’ HQ’s new online manuscript submission course will help you prepare for the big leap towards getting your work out into the world.


Select the synopsis critique option and enter code CRITMEBABY at the checkout

It’s time. You’ve spent hundreds of hours and writing and editing and polishing your story. It’s ready to become a Real Life Book Thing. So now what? Where do you start? How do you find the right agent? How do you package up your manuscript so it won’t end up at the bottom of the slush pile? What even IS a slush pile? Well, that’s what this course is for – duh.

Don’t jump the gun. Too many (ie: most) writers send off their manuscript far too early – before they’ve properly prepared, done their research, and put together a professional submission.

Spend six weeks learning how to write a killer query, a snappy synopsis and giving yourself the best chance of slapping your manuscript down onto the desk of your perfect agent.

Learn the ins and outs of prepping for submitting your manuscript, from finding the right agent to fine-tuning your cover letter.


A full submission package, including query cover letter, synopsis, first three chapters and an idea of who to send it all to.


Join our lovely little online community to support you through the submission process.

Course Curriculum

Week 0: Are you ready for submission?
Are you ready for this? Huh? Huh? 00:10:00
Don’t jump the gun and submit before you’re ready.
How do you know if your manuscript is ready for submission? 00:10:00
Have you double, triple, quadruple checked it for errors? Given it to a beta reader? Well??
Exercise: buckle up and pitch your story 00:20:00
Learn how to summarise your book and show your passion for your story.
VIDEO: When and how to submit your work 00:15:00
Words of wisdom from author Paul McVeigh and literary agent Samar Hammam on getting ready to submit
How do you muster up the gumption to submit your book? 00:10:00
GET READY, PEOPLE, shit’s about to get real.
Week 1: Where the heck do you start?
What’s this submission business all about then? 00:30:00
What you need, how to present it, and who to send it to.
How do I find the right agent for my book? Part 1 00:30:00
Let us introduce you to the internet. And the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook.
VIDEO: What do agents want? 00:15:00
Literary agent Samar Hammam and award-winning author Paul McVeigh tell you what to do.
How do I find the right agent for my book? Part 2 00:30:00
Where to look for agents. Under toadstools? At the end of a rainbow? In the nether realm betwixt sleep and waking? Read on to find out...
EXERCISE: Whassit about? Who you gonna send it to? 01:00:00
Take your 60 second pitch to the forums
Week 2: The query AKA why should an agent read your book?
What’s a query and what does it do? 01:00:00
Hello Agent Person, I’ve written a rather fantastic book. Would you like to make me famous? MARVELLOUS.
EXERCISE: Sum up your book in a paragraph 00:30:00
Simple, right? Gahhhhhhh. We’re here to help.
Resources & Research 01:00:00
Learn from the mistakes of others and the advice of experts.
DISCUSS: Your blurb 01:00:00
Crowdsource advice on your blurb from The Almighty Writers’ HQ Forum
What do agents want from a query? 02:00:00
How to deal with rejection and stay positive when things are crappy. And what to do if you receive interest from an agent and/or publisher! We hope it’s the latter…
Week 3: The synopsis AKA what the heck is your story about?
Oh synopsis, why art thou a pain in my arse? 00:40:00
Let’s be frank – synopses aren’t usually particularly pretty, but they’re a necessary evil, and there ARE ways to make them not suck.
What does a synopsis even look like? 00:30:00
Examples, resources and research for your synopsis-writing brain
EXERCISES: Pull out the bare bones of your story 01:00:00
Synopsis-writing via the dot-to-dot technique.
Stuck? A few notes on synopsis technique 00:40:00
Whaddaya do when your story is non-linear? Told in multiple narratives? Just not synopsis-friendly?
DISCUSS: Synops-YES or sy-NO-psis 01:00:00
Share a draft of your synop and let the forum hordes shower you with suggestions and praise.
Week 4: The sample pages AKA how does your story begin?
How much do I send? 00:20:00
What do agents want when it comes to sample pages?
Elements of a KICKASS opening chapter 00:40:00
What makes a great novel opening and how do you grab an agent's attention?
Beware the overused novel opening… 00:30:00
What cliches make agents go 'ughhhhh' when they read sample pages?
EXERCISE: The Checklist of Preparation 01:00:00
Print off your sample pages, grab a red pen and work through The Checklist of Preparation
DISCUSS: Is this any good? 01:00:00
Share the opening page of your book on the forums. Then pick someone else’s and give feedback.
Week 5: What to do; what not to do
Whadda do? 00:30:00
All the best tips and tricks on optimising your chance of getting past the slush pile.
Whadda don’t? 00:30:00
The first rule of getting published is don’t alienate the people who are there to help you…
EXERCISE: Stand up, stand out 00:45:00
How do you make your submission stand out from the others? What’s the one shiny thing UNIQUE to you and your book?
DISCUSS: The masterplan 00:30:00
How's your submissions package coming along? Need some extra help? We're here for you, dude.
Finding your own path 00:20:00
The route to publication can be dark and full of terrors...
Week 6: What happens next?
How to deal with rejection 00:45:00
Ok, ok, breathe. It’s gonna be ok. Every writer gets rejected. You can get through this – and keep going.
What to do if an agent wants to see more 00:45:00
OMG OMG OMG stop doing the happy dance for one second and let’s make a plan.
And then…? 00:30:00
DISCUSS: Other options 01:00:00
There is another way...
We’re not done here yet – keep on keeping on 00:30:00
Get ready for the road ahead, whatever it may bring.

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