A bit of a different blog post today as I’m not reviewing a book. And Jericho Writers isn’t a group of authors living in the Palestinian Territories. Well, not this group anyway! Instead, Jericho Writers is the new name for The Writer’s Workshop and Agent Hunter. I’m going to state up front now that I’ve been offered free membership for a year in return for an unbiased review. Now you might be thinking that I’ll only offer a glowing report but highlighting little niggles actually helps Jericho Writers. If there are things not quite working then it allows them to improve their service.
So, let me tell you what I’ve found out so far. Firstly, there’s a lot on offer at Jericho Writers. They have created a whole package of things to help aspiring authors including online courses (paid), masterclasses (free to members), an Agent Match (free to members) which allows you to search for relevant agents and there’s a Library of articles all about how to get published. They also set up events including the Festival of Writing in York. There’s also a Cinema section where authors, agents and publishers have been interviewed as well as an online forum for members. Basically – there’s a LOT! As I only joined a couple of weeks ago, I’ve dipped my toes into various parts of the website rather than fully dived in.
In terms of Masterclasses, I’ve watched How to Get Published with Harry Bingham and started watching a couple of others. They seemed to have been filmed at the publishing days that Jericho Writers put on. I enjoyed Harry Bingham’s class, in particular his suggestion of how to write a synopsis including both the narrative and emotional arcs of the story. I’ll be rewriting my synopsis using that idea.
In the Cinema section I watched an interview with Kate Burke. It was quite long but it was good to see an in-depth conversation and hear about how Kate works and what she’s looking for in a manuscript.
Which brings me nicely to Agent Match. I suspect that this is one of the main reasons for people joining. You could argue there are books that have lists of agents but generally speaking, it’s normally the agencies that are listed rather than individuals. Agent Match allows you to search for individuals and narrow that search by looking in different genres (although I didn’t see Poetry and we all know it’s nearly impossible to find an agent if you’re a poet). You can then add other filters such as agents who are keen to build a list or open to submissions. Nothing worse than seeing your theoretical perfect agent is closed to submissions. You can save your search and in theory have particular favourites – I haven’t quite worked out how to do that yet! But I have found new agents to consider when I’m ready to submit.
The Library is free to all as far as I can tell. I’ve just read an article on Creating a Sense of Place. This is something I find difficult in my writing and Harry Bingham has provided some top tips and given examples.
There are also online courses which do have a fee. Members get 10% discount. I’ve only looked at what’s on offer and not, as yet, signed up. They’re not cheap but to be honest, it’s rare to find anything free or cheap in the book world. I think it all depends on where you are on your writing journey and whether you have access to a creative writing course near to you. If not, then these courses may be an option. If I was going to do any of them then it would probably be the Self-Editing Course with Debi Alper as I’ve heard really good feedback about her as an editor.
If though you’re at the stage where you want a more personal view on your book then Jericho Writers do have an editing service. Prices vary with the word length but you can get a quote online first.
In terms of niggles, there was one day when Agent Match wasn’t working. I contacted Jericho Writers and I’m pleased to say they responded fairly quickly to tell me there had been some updates to the website and that was the issue. Also, I really would like to have a favourites list on Agent Match so if someone can tell me how to do that, that would be great!
Now, clearly, membership is not going to be free. It’s £195 for a year and you’ll be pleased to know that they don’t automatically renew you and you can cancel. I can’t tell you whether you should join or not. It all depends on what it is you need right now in terms of help with your writing. If you think you might be interested then I suggest you have a good look at the website jerichowriters.com to see what they offer to members and if this is something that would work for you. *STOP THE PRESS! FOR BLACK FRIDAY, JERICHO WRITERS ARE OFFERING 100 MEMBERSHIPS WITH 33% DISCOUNT. OFFER EXPIRES ON THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT 25TH NOVEMBER. I HAVE NO IDEA HOW MANY ARE LEFT. THE DISCOUNT CODE IS jw-23nov-100. IF THE CODE DOESN’T WORK THEN ALL 100 MEMBERSHIPS HAVE BEEN TAKEN.*
As I said earlier, I’ve only just dipped my toes in and there’s far more Masterclasses to watch and articles to read and agents to search… I’m certainly going to be spending quite a lot of time on this site!