Today was the day that we at Curtis Brown and Curtis Brown Creative joined with ITV’s This Morning to launch the ‘Be a Best Seller’ novel-writing competition live on air. You may have seen the show – on which our judging panel of bestselling author Marian Keyes, actress and former Costa Book Awards judge Caroline Quentin and literary agent Jonny Geller talked submissions and synopses with presenters Phillip Schofield and Amanda Holden – or read some of the stories that appeared in the press in the run-up to launch. You may even have seen the tweets that have been buzzing around in the aftermath of the show, highlighting everything from our writing tips posted online for potential entrants to the glory of Marian Keyes’s kingfisher-blue shoes (below).
What can’t come across in any five-minute TV segment, article or 140-character tweet, though, is the sheer excitement of the three judges to be involved in such a process. Unearthing new writing talent may be Jonny Geller’s day job, but as we all sat in the ITV green room before and after filming, he was every bit as enthusiastic about the impending search for literary gems as Marian Keyes and Caroline Quentin – both of whom couldn’t wait to start reading the 3,000-word extracts and one-page synopses we’ve asked contestants to send in.
Being in the green room was a lot of fun. In between eating complementary mini-Bounty bars and drinking cups of coffee, we were visited by show host Amanda Holden and resident fashion guru Gok Wan, as well as by a flustered make-up lady looking for actor James Nesbitt. Walking around in search of the loo, I bumped into various celebrities in fluffy, white dressing gowns and with half-made-up faces. The whole experience was a little like being in a virtual edition of Heat magazine. But with free chocolate and pastries.
The Be A Best Seller novel-writing competition is open for entries from now till midday on Friday 14 November. Entrants should send in the first 3,000 words of their novel, plus a one-page synopsis, clearly marked with their name and contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org. The judges will narrow these submissions down to five talented writers, who will be invited to the live final on 27 November, where two runners-up and a winner will be announced. The winner will win a place on one of our six-month creative writing courses, as well as representation for their novel from a literary agent at Curtis Brown.
For full entry details and all terms and conditions, please visit the ITV This Morning website.
As well as expert teaching from published authors, all our selective three- and six-month novel-writing courses offer dedicated modules on submitting your novel to literary agents – and include sessions on writing a synopsis and preparing a covering letter. Click for more information or to apply for our creative writing courses.