Crimefest 2017!! | Guest Bloggers | Crime Scene

Louise Phillips

It’s coming up to that time of the year again, and booking for this crime fiction festival is best done well in advance, especially if you’re travelling some distance, as accommodation gets swallowed up fast.

For full programme you can visit HERE 

But here are some of the things happening over the course of the festival….

On Friday, 19 May, CRIMEFEST presents a CRIME WRITING DAY that will help aspiring crime authors to write a manuscript, find an agent and, hopefully, get published.
How To Self Publish In eBook And Print with Joanna Penn
Agents And Editors: Who Does What For Authors? (Agents and editors to be announced.)
Constructing Character and Plot presented by the Professional Writing Academy, with Tom Bromley and a surprise novelist to be announced soon.

10:30 – 11:30: How To Self Publish In eBook And Print
with Joanna Penn
Publishing houses are increasingly turning to new media for fresh talent, but is the traditional route the best way to go? This session will cover how self-publishing fits into the current publishing eco-system, how to publish your book in ebook and print and some tips for self-publishing success.
J.F. Penn is the bestselling author of Desecration and the ARKANE thriller series. Joanna was voted one the Guardian’s Top 100 creative professionals 2013, and her blog,, offers advice on writing and creative entrepreneurship.

11:45 – 12:45: Agents And Editors — Who Does What For Authors?
(Agents and editors to be announced.)
Do you need an agent to get published? And, if you do, how do the services of agents differ from those of an editor at a publishing company? How do you go get representation from an agent? What are agents and editors looking for in a manuscript, and what do they expect from authors? These and many more questions will be answered by two agents and two editors during a presentation that includes time for questions from the participants.

1:00 – 1:30: Light lunch (included as part of the crime writing day)

1:30 – 5:00: Secrets of Writing Successful Crime Fiction
Presented by the Professional Writing Academy, with Tom Bromley and and a surprise novelist to be announced soon.
This practical workshop is for aspiring crime writers seeking to unlock the secrets of successful crime fiction and start developing original ideas. Through close readings of key texts and writers, practical writing exercises and guided discussion with the tutor guest author, this course will give you a grounding in some of the core elements that make crime fiction work. It will also discuss the process of getting published and how to take your work forwards once completed. Topics discussed in this workshop will include:

  • Approaches to plotting
  • Strategies for creating compelling characters
  • Creating a strong atmosphere and sense of place
  • Taking your writing forwards and routes into publishing.

The workshop is led by author, editor, ghostwriter and writing tutor Tom Bromley, Course Director of Professional Writing Academy’s Introduction to Writing Crime Fiction online course. Tom has published ten works of fiction and non-fiction, has ghostwritten ten books and teaches novel writing for Faber Academy. Tom has worked as a commissioning editor and publisher and writes crime fiction under the pseudonym Thomas Black.

The CRIME WRITING DAY registration fee is £99. Delegates signing up for both the Crime Writing Day and a full CRIMEFEST pass will receive a £24 rebate. BUY TICKETS to register.

For those who are looking for feedback on a finished (or almost completed) manuscript, CRIMEFEST is hosting a ONE-ON-ONE MANUSCRIPT ASSESSMENT SERVICE with Janet Laurence. Based on submitted sample writing, Janet will provide constructive comments on how to improve characterisation, dialogue and/or plot, allowing manuscripts to be submitted in the best possible format to agents and/or editors. These assessments—to be conducted on Friday and Saturday, 19 and 20 May—will be based on a 1,500 word synopsis and the first 3,000 words of the manuscript. There are only a limited number of places—which have previously sold out—and the registration fee for a place is £40. One-On-One Manuscript Assessment slots are only open to delegates who are not commercially published, are without an agent and who have registered for a Day or Full CRIMEFEST Pass. (Unless the buyer also signs up for a Day or Full CRIMEFEST Pass, a £10 refund fee will be charged for incorrect bookings.). BUY TICKETS to register.

Janet Laurence is best known for her Darina Lisle culinary mysteries and trio of Canaletto crime novels. She is also the author of Writing Crime Fiction—Making Crime Pay and has run writing workshops for the Arvon Foundation and the Cheltenham Spring Festival among others.

Are you an aspiring author looking for an agent? If so, CRIMEFEST is pleased to announce that it will once again be hosting the PITCH AN AGENT strand on Friday and Saturday, 19 and 20 May. Top agents will be at CRIMEFEST and aspiring crime writers will have fourteen minutes to pitch their manuscripts to each of them simultaneously in a private session. Consider it speed dating for an agent meets BBC’s Dragon’s Den (aka Shark Tank in the USA). Authors represented by these agencies include Lee Child, Martina Cole, John Connolly, Tana French, Paul Johnston, Stuart Macbride, and L.C. Tyler. There are only a limited number of places—which have previously sold out—and the registration fee for a place is £50. PITCH AN AGENT is only open to delegates who have not previously participated, are not commercially published, are without an agent and who have registered for a Friday and/or Saturday Day or Full CRIMEFEST Pass. (Unless the buyer also signs up for a Day or Full CRIMEFEST Pass, a £10 refund fee will be charged for incorrect bookings.)

Participants will be required to submit the first 3,000 words of their manuscript, together with a brief synopsis (of up to 1,500 words) by 30 April 2017. All the PITCH AN AGENT slots have previously sold out, so BUY TICKETS early to avoid disappointment.

Camilla Wray, originator of PITCH AN AGENT, is the Crime & Thriller agent at the Darley Anderson Literary TV & Film Agency. She studied English Literature and Psychology at Cardiff University, specialising in novel writing and abnormal psychology. In 2003 she co-founded a successful business and worked on this until 2005, when she decided to follow her love of stories. After gaining a distinction from the University of the Arts, she worked for a national newspaper until she joined the Darley Anderson Agency in 2007. The Darley Anderson Agency is an international market leader for commercial crime and thrillers, and represents No.1 bestselling authors such as Lee Child, John Connolly, Martina Cole, Tana French and Tim Weaver.

There are agents. There are good agents. There are super agents. And then there’s Darley Anderson.
—Lee Child

Broo Doherty, formerly with the Wade & Doherty Literary Agency, is a partner at the DHH Literary Agency. She has worked in publishing for the last twenty years and has had a variety of different roles throughout the industry. She started as a production assistant at Victor Gollancz and moved to Hodder & Stoughton for a brief period before joining Transworld as an editor for the Bantam Press imprint. Broo handles all genres, excluding children’s books and science fiction, but focuses her attention on crime, women’s commercial fiction, literary fiction and quirky non-fiction. Authors represented by DHH Literary Agency include Alison Bruce, Paul Johnston, Adrian Magson, Eve Seymour and L.C. Tyler.

Philip Patterson heads up the book department at Marjacq Scripts. He has loved all things crime and thriller, ever since being allowed to stay up and watch The Sweeney with his dad. He studied English & American Literature at University of Manchester, and has been in publishing for over 20 years, starting at HarperCollins Publishers, a film agent at Curtis Brown, before joining Marjacq in 2003. Authors represented by Marjacq include Helen FitzGerald, Howard Linskey, Stuart Macbride, Luca Veste and the R.D. Wingfield Estate.

Crime scene photosThursday, 18 May, 09:30 – 12:30
Have you always wanted to get your hands dirty at a crime scene? Maybe that’s not the best way of putting it, but with CRIMEFEST’s special tour on offer, that’s what you’ll be able to do. The University of the West of England are offering delegates special access to their Crime Scene House, which is used for training Forensic Science students and police. Each room in the house is set up to show specific aspects of a crime scene (minus the dead body).

Delegates will be briefed on the scene and will walk through the house identifying clues and getting hands-on experience of searching for evidence, testing for fingerprints, identifying blood and other substances and getting to use mysterious pieces of forensic kit. Forensics experts will also be on hand to guide you through and answer specific questions.

You even get to keep your outfit—beautifully modelled here by CRIMEFEST’s resident CSI co-host, Donna, who had a (blue) whale of a time. We will be visiting the house on Thursday, 18 May. The trip costs £29.95, including transport to UWE’s campus which is about half an hour away. A minibus will pick us up at 9.30am outside the Marriott Hotel and deliver us back at 12.30, in plenty of time for the first panel. Spaces are limited, in order to ensure a great experience for all participants. All delegates who have registered for a Full CrimeFest Pass by 31 March, and who are interested in attending, should contact us at by 31 March. All those applying will be entered into a draw and will be contacted by 7 April with a payment link for the excursion. Please note that the house contains stairs.

Increasingly authors are going it alone and self-publishing their books because the financial rewards can be significantly greater than the traditional path. Also, publishing houses are now using the sales figures of self-published authors as a tool to seek out new talent. Recognising this development, CRIMEFEST organises a panel to give four independently published authors a chance to discuss their work. Helping us organise the panel is Joanna Penn, an independent author herself, writing fiction under J.F. Penn, as well as a contributor on the subject of self-(e)publishing to national publications such as the Bookseller and the Guardian. If you are a self-published crime writer and are interested in participating on this panel then visit the EMERGING INDIE VOICES page for more information or to sign up.

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