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Industry Insider – Debut Authors

10 October @ 14:00 - 15:30 BST

Virtual Event Virtual Event

Join authors Lizzie Pook, Julie Owen Moylan, Lizzie Damilola Blackburn, and chair Margaret Skea, as they share their different experiences of the ‘long road to publication’: the positives and negatives they have experienced along the way, where they are now in their journeys as authors, along with any top tips for others hoping to follow in their footsteps.




  • Welcome, introductions and housekeeping from Margaret Skea (2 mins)
  • Panel Discussion with Lizzie Pook, Julie Owen Moylan and Lizzie Damilola Blackburn (60 mins)
  • Q&A with audience (25 mins)
  • Summary and closing comments (3 mins)




What will this session cover? 

This session will cover the steps to becoming a traditionally published debut author, from finding an agent to the experience of being published.

  • How to choose the agents to approach.
  • The process of submissions, responses, the time scale involved.
  • The process of submission to publishers once being signed with an agent
  • Experiences of working with a publisher with respect to editing, cover design, the sale of foreign rights and marketing.



Who is this session for? 

This session will be of interest to anyone considering seeking publication via the traditional route, or who wishes to compare it with self-publishing. 



Send us your questions in advance 

If you would like to send questions in advance, email with lbrendfish@societyofauthors.org with ‘Debut Authors’ in the subject header. We will prioritise questions sent in advance and answer as many as we can from the audience on the day.


SoA @ Home fundraising bookshop

Browse our virtual Bookshop.org store featuring books by authors and speakers taking part in the SoA @ Home Festival. When you make a purchase using our affiliate links a percentage will go to the Authors’ Contingency Fund, providing hardship grants to authors in financial difficulty.



The line-up 


Margaret Skea

Margaret Skea is an award-winning novelist and short story writer of five historical novels and one published collection of short stories, and a member of the Management Committee of the Society of Authors.  She is currently both traditionally published and self-published, so has an interest in and understanding of the pros and cons of each route.

Twitter: @margaretskea1 | Website: https://margaretskea.com/



Lizzie Damilola Blackburn 

Lizzie Damilola Blackburn is a British-Nigerian writer and bestselling author of Yinka, Where is your Huzband? which has been compared to Bridget Jones and is a Times bestseller and Marie Claire book of 22. In 2019, Lizzie won the Literary Consultancy Pen Factor Writing Competition with the early draft of her debut. She has also written columns for The Bookseller documenting her journey to publication.

Instagram: @lizziedamiblackburn |Twitter: @DamilolaLizzie  | Website: www.lizziedamilolablackburn.com



Julie Owen Moylan

Julie Owen Moylan was born in Cardiff and has worked in a variety of jobs, from trainee hairdresser and chip shop attendant at sixteen, to business management consultant and college lecturer in her thirties. She then returned to education to complete her Master’s degree in Film before going on to complete a further Master’s degree in Creative Writing. Julie is an alumna of the Faber Academy’s Writing a Novel course. She lives in Cardiff with her husband and two cats.

 Twitter: @JulieOwenMoylan | Website: www.JulieOwenMoylan.com



Lizzie Pook

Lizzie is an author and award-winning travel journalist, reporting for publications such as Condé Nast Traveller, Rough Guides, Lonely Planet and The Sunday Times. Her assignments have taken her to some of the most remote parts of the world, from the uninhabited east coast of Greenland in search of roaming polar bears, to the mountains of the trans-Himalayas to track rare snow leopards.

Her debut novel, Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter, was published in the UK, Australia, US and Canada earlier this year and has been shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize.

Website: www.lizziepook.com




Need to know 

Before the event

  • Once registered, you will be sent a confirmation email with the Zoom link
  • If the confirmation email doesn’t arrive in your inbox, please check your junk /spam email folder.
  • Please add events@societyofauthors.org to your Safe Senders list so you receive our confirmation, and reminder emails

During the event

  • This online event will take place on Zoom Webinar; you will not be visible on screen but will be able ask questions via the Q&A function or interact via the chat box
  • This event will be recorded but you won’t be on screen
  • Attendees have the option to turn on the live transcript option
  • This event is 90 minutes.

After the event

  • Hashtag for this event: #SoAatHome
  • You’ll be able to catch the recording on our Vimeo channel



Book your place using the registration form below.

All SoA @ Home industry insider events are free but, if you can afford it, we recommend a minimum £5 donation to the Authors’ Contingency Fund to help us support authors facing financial hardship during the health crisis. DONATE HERE

If you are unable to book using the registration box below, please email events@societyofauthors.org with the name and date of the event you’d like to register for and we’ll confirm your place.


Accordion Content

Financial support for authors in need through the health crisis and beyond

Since March 2020, the Authors’ Contingency Fund has distributed over £1 million in small grants to authors facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

With at least 57% of authors facing financial losses during the pandemic, we have helped people struggling financially due to contractual, employment and event cancellations, others who have lost income due to illness, and others prevented from working because of caring responsibilities.

As the health crisis continues, applications for grants continue to come in, and our emergency funds are running low.

So, if you are in a position to help, please donate via the link below. If you are an author facing financial hardship, please click here to see if we can help.



Accordion Content

20% off your first year with discount code SOAFESTIVAL20

The Society of Authors is the UK’s biggest trade union for authors – representing more than 11,300 writers, illustrators, translators and other creative practitioners.

Our standard subscription rate is just £26.25 per quarter (£18.50 for students).

As an SoA member, you’ll get:

  • Access to all our SoA @ Home Festival events for free
  • Unlimited one-to-one professional advice
  • Membership of our online and real-world professional networks
  • A range of member-only discounts, including books, insurance and travel
  • And much more.




We'll send you the Zoom joining details via email.

11 Going


10 October
14:00 - 15:30 BST
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Lilly Brend-Fish