Spread the Word is delighted to be partnering with Mushens Entertainment for our latest 1-2-1 feedback opportunity – offering the chance to have an extract from your project read and given feedback by a literary agent.
From Wednesday 1 March, we’ll be accepting submissions of reading group fiction, historical fiction, grounded fantasy and crime and thriller for a maximum of 6 short feedback sessions from Rachel Neely and Liza DeBlock, agents at Mushens Entertainment.
Rachel Neely and Liza DeBlock are offering to provide short feedback sessions by phone or video call on up to 6 submissions from writers from underrepresented backgrounds based in the UK.
Rachel is looking for novels that match an intriguing plot with complex characters and effortlessly brilliant writing. Generally speaking, she is drawn to darker stories, which centre characters with tragic fates, dark pasts or buried trauma. She would particularly like to read historical fiction, crime, thrillers and reading-group fiction. Her most recent signings have been a historical novel about two sisters who perform (fake) séances in 19th century Paris, with an LGBTQIA+ love story at its heart, and a reading-group thriller about a girl who uncovers a teacher abusing pupils at the elite private school she has just joined, only to end up implicated in the teacher’s murder.
You can visit Rachel’s agent page here.
Liza is looking for novels with a good hook and a fast moving plot that whisk readers away. She loves books across multiple genres and is looking for grounded fantasy with hints of romantasy, thrillers with exotic locations that place characters in impossible situations, and historical fiction based on often overlooked figures in the past, or those who we need to rethink. She loves experiencing the full spectrum of emotions while reading, and often equates her taste to movies made by A24 productions. She has recently sold a novel about witches during the English Civil War, an intergenerational story exploring the relationships between members of a time-travelling British-Chinese family, and a futuristic story about what happens to society after a plague of moths wipe out nearly all of the men on earth.
You can visit Liza’s agent page here.
We define writers from backgrounds under-represented in publishing as those who:
From a lower socio-economic background as defined by the Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion guidance
Have experienced a lack of academic and/or vocational training opportunities – i.e. have not been able to study/train to their full potential due to low income, ill health, being a carer etc.
Are or have been a carer
Have experienced homelessness
Are a single parent
Have a disability
Are a writer of colour (Black, Asian, and Global Majority ethnicity)
Are a member of the LGBTQIA+ community
The purpose of the feedback session is to receive advice and support on the documents you have submitted. At the discretion of the agents participating, it may lead to further discussion of your work or requests as per standard agenting processes.
How to apply
Please note this opportunity is only open to unpublished and un-agented writers based in the UK. Apply via Submittable. Only one entry per applicant will be accepted.
The link to apply is here. We will be open to submissions at midday on Wednesday 1 March.
To apply, you will need to upload 3 documents:
A covering letter of 1-2 pages that includes: A little information about yourself and your motivations for your project, how you meet the criteria for this opportunity and a summary of your writing endeavours to date (e.g. Have you taken part in writing development opportunities? Have you mainly been writing on your own at home?)
A one-page synopsis
An extract from your project (3,000 words maximum)
If you are a disabled writer, there is the option to submit visual or audio submissions. Please get in touch with [email protected] if you need any support with this.
Liza and Rachel will be giving feedback solely on the documents that you submit.
Submissions will open at midday on Wednesday 1 March
The deadline for submissions is 10am on Monday 3 April
Applicants will know the outcome of their submission by 30 June and successful applicants will receive their feedback before the end of July 2023.
If you have any queries about your application or this opportunity, please get in touch with [email protected]
About Rachel Neely
Rachel Neely began her publishing career in 2016 at HarperCollins, before moving to Hachette where she worked for the next six years, progressing from Editorial Assistant to Commissioning Editor, specialising in reading group novels along with crime and thrillers. Rachel joined Mushens Entertainment in early 2022 as an Associate Agent, working across Juliet Mushens’ client list and starting to build her own list of authors. She has since sold rights to the debut novels of Fiona McPhillips, Carmella Lowkis, Elle Machray and Emily Slapper, which will be publishing in 2024. You can follow her on twitter at @Rachel_Neely_.
About Liza DeBlock
Liza DeBlock is the Foreign Rights Executive and works to promote and sell the agency’s books internationally. She started in publishing at the literary scouting agency, Eccles Fisher Associates before moving to work as an assistant to Juliet Mushens, working alongside her as she developed multiple Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling authors. In 2022 Liza was chosen as one of The Bookseller’s Rising Stars in the publishing industry. Liza also works with Black Girl Writers, and Jericho Writers, assessing submissions and mentoring authors, and has started developing her own list of authors including Natalie Chandler, Pim Wangtechawat, and Stacey Thomas. You can follow her on twitter as @lizadeblock.
Thinking about, or in the process of, querying literary agents? Rachel and Liza will be talking about how to write a successful cover letter for querying agents – with the chance to workshop your own – at the Pitch Perfect: How To Write The Perfect Cover Letter with Mushens Entertainment on Tuesday 21 February at Deptford Lounge. The event will also be livestreamed.
For more details and to book your ticket (free for London Writers Network members) check out the event page on our website: www.spreadtheword.org.uk/events/london-writers-network-pitch-perfect-how-to-write-the-perfect-cover-letter-with-mushens-entertainment-2
For a livestream ticket to this event, book here: www.spreadtheword.org.uk/events/london-writers-network-pitch-perfect-how-to-write-the-perfect-cover-letter-with-mushens-entertainment-livestream-ticket
Updated: Monday 27 February 2023