I was browsing the website of the British Library when I saw an advertised event titled ‘Meet the Publishers’. The brief description was:
Are you a writer looking to be published? Do you want an insight into how editors identify new talent and the best way to present your work? Join our panel as they discuss what they look for when considering new writing, reflect on the best way to pitch your ideas and share other insider tips.
I was actually going to be in London at the right time but the description sounded a little vague – was it an opportunity to actually pitch or a talk giving tips or both? So I rang the box office and asked. I spoke to a lovely lady but she couldn’t really help me as all she knew was what was on the website. However she said she had an idea and could she put me on hold? A couple of minutes later she came back on the phone with a list of the people booked to be at the event. I had half an hour spare so I tried ringing the ones I could find online.
Eventually I made contact with Rebecca Swift at The Literary Consultancy who I’d been told was chairing the event. She was obviously very busy but she said she would get some information emailed to me. As promised, I was copied in on an email she sent to the organisers, who despite being busy emailed me full details. The format was a general panel discussion for the first 30 minutes or so. Then 5 people (selected at random from names put into a draw as people entered the session) would have a chance to pitch for 3 minutes and get feedback from the panel. The remaining time would be for broader audience questions.
It sounded great. Unfortunately, her email address and the link she sent me revealed that the event was part of ‘Africa Writes’, the Royal African Society’s annual literature festival. I don’t think my granddad being born in Kenya really qualifies me as African! So I reluctantly decided not to go. Hopefully those that did attend had a great time. You never know, next time I’m in London there might be a similar event. I’m certainly going to keep an eye on the event’s page just in case!