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Professional Development – How to Submit a Manuscript to an Agent or a Publisher

20 July @ 11:00 - 12:30 BST

Virtual Event Virtual Event
Free – £10.00

Learn how to polish your manuscript in preparation for submission to an agent or publisher. Louise Harnby will explore the 11 changes you can make – from filtering words to problematic speech tags – so you can deliver the best manuscript possible. Each of these actionable takeaways is a line-level revision that can make a big impact on how the reader, agent and publisher experience your story.

We will run through the different levels of editing and order of play, including the role of sensitivity readers in the publishing process. There will also be a list of recommended craft books for those who want to dig deeper into line craft and story structure.

This session will end with a Q&A. If you would like to send a question in advance, sjackson@societyofauthors.org  with ‘Manuscript’ in the subject header.

This session is ideal for any commercial fiction author who wants to develop their self-editing skills, particularly those at the beginning of their writing journey.

What will this workshop cover?

  • Why ‘suddenly’ interferes with immediacy?
  • When action is intention?
  • Filter words
  • Uninspiring chapter endings
  • Problematic speech tags
  • Double tells in dialogue.
  • Head-hopping
  • Why overuse of adverbs can be cluttering?
  • How to remove mundanity from dialogue
  • Identifying expository character description
  • Removing inconsistency by creating a style sheet

SoA @ Home Fundraising Bookshop

Browse our virtual Bookshop.org and Blackwell’s stores 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

Louise Harnby – Fiction editor and proofreader

Louise Harnby is a fiction editor, author and trainer who specialises in line-editing for independent crime, thriller and mystery writers. She is an Advanced Professional Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP), a Partner Member of ALLi and a co-host of The Editing Podcast.


Book your place using the registration form below.

All SoA Awards @ Home events are free for members 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

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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.


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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.




20 July
11:00 - 12:30 BST
Free – £10.00
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Sophia A Jackson