At ‘The Big Honk’ with the Golden Egg Academy.

GEA 3rd birthdayA big thankyou to KL Kettle for her fantastic panoramic photo of the room!

My writer friends often ask me, “Is it worth joining Golden Egg Academy?”.

Of course, it depends what you’re looking for. But I thought I’d share my experience of GEA, so that the next time someone asks me, I can tell them to read this!

Before joining the Golden Egg Academy, I knew that I could knock out a reasonable first draft. But I had little idea about what to do with it next. I’d self published one Middle Grade book, so I was fairly confident about  proof reading and correcting the basic grammar and punctuation. However, I was stuck on how to improve the actual story. Once I’d joined Scbwi and critique groups, I realised that if I really wanted to transform my work into a publishable standard, I’d have to invest in some professional help (no not that!).

After some research and cluelessly gatecrashing #geaqa on Twitter, I discovered GEA. When I read about the fantastic editors they have on board, I was beside myself with excitement: I knew that their experience of fiction for children and the publishing world would be invaluable. So I decided to go for it.

When my submission was accepted, I was delighted. It was finally a stamp of validation that I could write to a certain standard, and was definitely a big confidence boost. I was shaking with emotion when I finally got to step inside the Scholastic offices near Euston station for the initial book mapping workshop, as it marked a very special moment in my writer’s journey.

I was thrilled to have Maurice Lyon assigned to me as an editor, and still thank my lucky stars that we have such a knowledgeable and kind mentor, with so much wisdom and perception. It’s always hard to redraft and rewrite and improve a big fat novel, so having someone to guide you (and that you trust 100%) gives you much more motivation.

In addition, the Golden Egg Academy gives you a ready made family to come home to. We all help each other through the lows, and celebrate the highs.

But be under no illusions: there are no shortcuts! Sorting out that manuscript still takes a lot of hard work and commitment. But having the other eggs behind you really makes a difference!

On Friday we all gathered at The Savile Club in London to celebrate the 3rd birthday of GEA. We were entertained by speeches from Lisa Williamson, Maya Gabrielle (MG Leonard) and James Nicol who have already succeeded in their book deals. I believe 13 eggs have achieved book deals, and even more are now represented by top notch agents such as Kate Shaw, Hannah Sheppard and Ben Illis. Eggs, editors and agents mingled in the dazzlingly ornate surroundings of this historic building, along with Barry Cunningham and Imogen Cooper, to celebrate the wonderful world of children’s literature. Kitty’s photo really sums up that effervescent atmosphere!

We’ve all found it extremely motivating, and a lot of fun, so getting back to reality is tricky. I suppose I’d better get back to editing after all that inspiration!

Happy writing!






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