This was a first for me, I’d never been to a literary festival before so decided to attend this year to see what it was all about and bought a ticket for a Masterclass: The Modern Publishing Landscape with Rebecca Swift, co-founder of The Literary Consultancy, the UK’s longest-established editorial assessment service & Debbie Young, author of Sell Your Books! and co-author of the forthcoming ALLi handbooks Open Up to Indies and The Author’s Guide to Blogging.

 The Divinity School

Divinity School

It all went very well once I’d passed a couple of hurdles. Firstly the parking, now I don’t know Cambridge at all well so I’d pre-checked out the car park I needed to head for only to find on entering the city it was already full so ended up at the Grafton Centre and had to hike across town.

Which leads me to my second issue, now more than a little pressed for time and unable to find Divinity I grabbed a passing steward and explained that I was due in the Lightfoot Room in 2 minutes for a Masterclass. She couldn’t have been more helpful and escorted me there herself, however something must have got lost in translation as when I arrived at Divinity my excellent guide passed me over to the stewards there introducing me as being the speaker due to give the Masterclass in the Lightfoot Room – never have I felt less prepared to do anything! Fortunately for those who had bought tickets Rebecca and Debbie had already arrived so they didn’t get me foisted upon them!

 Lightfoot Room

The Lightfoot Room

There is a huge amount of support out there from companies, such as Rebecca’s, who provide a wide range of services to Indie Authors to help them get their books into as good a shape as possible before they are launched onto whatever selling platform you opt for.  As the publishing world changes, and it is in a huge state of flux at the moment with everyone trying to see how things work with the rise in self-publishing, Rebecca very much sees her type of company as the ‘gatekeepers of quality’ something that used to be done by publishers when the traditional route was all that was on offer.

The companies that offer these editorial assessment services offer a huge range of differing levels of support and you can pick and choose what you need, obviously cost comes into it but having spent so long writing I feel very strongly you should launch your book out in the big wide world looking as good as you can make it.

Debbie is also advice blog editor for ALLi who again are there to guide and support Indie Authors in becoming as professional as they can be. I am pleased to say I already have Debbie’s book, we follow each other on Twitter and managed to meet and exchange a few words at the end of the talk.

I came away from the afternoon feeling that as an Indie Author anything is possible nowadays, with a little bit of work, maybe a lot of work – it was very positive!


Currently reading ‘The Reluctant Jesus’ by Duncan Whitehead

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8 Responses to Cambridge Literary Festival
  1. I’m glad you found Cambridge Literary Festival a good experience Georgia. I wish we had one in Manchester but sadly we don’t. I think I may have to push the boat out and make the trip to the London one at some point in the future. It sounds like a great experience especially now independent authors have a presence there. 🙂

    • Well I am planning on going to the London Book Fair next year, I was really envious seeing the photos and feedback of the great time everyone had there this time. Probably just for one day but if you can make it as well we can meet up!

  2. That sounds like a great idea Georgia. It would be lovely to meet you. I hope it doesn’t coincide with my holidays next year so that I can make it. 🙂

    • We’ll have to see if we can organise it nearer the time then. It’s good to see you back. I hope you’ve had a restful holiday and are fit and ready to finish off your novel.

  3. We definitely will. I’m feeling more refreshed and positive but I’ve come back to lots of client work. However, at least the house renovations are only a couple of weeks off completion so it should give me more time once that’s done. 🙂

    • That is the problem with holidays, they are great whilst you are on them but unless you are careful you can get weighed down again with what’s waiting for you on your return! It sounds like you are coming to the end of your really busy time anyway so hopefully you will then still be strong with the holiday spirit and ready to write! I wish you all the best with the book and look forward to hearing all about it.

  4. Thanks for sharing your take on the talk, Georgia – those festival stewards were lovely, weren’t they? – and such a beautiful venue! It was great to meet so many authors, and to be able to meet you in person and have a quick chat afterwards too. I hope you enjoy my “Sell Your Books!” and best of luck with your books too. I agree with you that, as an indie author, anything is possible! I think this is a golden age in which to be an author – not necessarily in terms of revenue, but definitely in terms of potential to publish books and reach readers.

    • Thank you for your comment and for ‘Liking’ this – my first since I revamped my website and blog! I think at your talk I was the only one left with my hand in the air when asked who had self published and was happy with it! It’s early days but so far so good! I just wish there were more hours in the day….


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