Scottish Book Trust New Writers Awards: Advice for Applying
16th Jul 2012 in Writing
Thinking of applying for the 2012 New Writers Awards from the Scottish Book Trust? BLOODY GREAT.
Not only will you get a grant of £2,000, training in press, PR and performance, and a mentorship with an experienced person in the literary world, you will also get a week-long writing retreat at Cove Park. The only way it could be better is if the award could make you coffee every morning too.
I honestly can’t recommend this award enough: I won in 2009 and I continue to be amazed by the support and enthusiasm of everyone at the Scottish Book Trust. They’re a fabulous lot of folk and, as a new writer, you definitely want them in your corner.
Caitrin Armstrong, Writer Development Manager for the Scottish Book Trust, offers these wise words for applicants:
Don’t: Tell us this is the best book that has ever been written and nobody has ever written anything like it. It isn’t (at least not yet) and they have.
Don’t: Include the line ‘I was born to write’. This is a cliché, and I was born to dislike clichés. Getting the tone of a letter right is tough, but a simple rule of thumb is to aim for enthusiastic rather than arrogant.
Don’t: Try to sneak in more. It is late at night, I have been reading applications every spare minute of the day, and I need to read just one more to stay on track. I pick up your application: it exceeds the word-limit, it is single spaced and in a tiny font which means it will take me twice as long to read it. The fact that the extra material rounds up the story nicely does not add to your chances of success.
Don’t: Include links to your blog, ebook etc. I will not read these. Ever.
Do: Read and follow the guidelines and meet the deadline. It may not be very exciting, but it is important.
Do: Be clear and concise in your statement and writing achievements. There should never be any danger of a panel member missing vital information about you. Short sentences are your friends.
Do: Give it a shot! Most participants are genuinely surprised that they have been selected, and several have tried quite a few times before making it on to the awards. We change our panel members every year so there’s always a chance that someone will appreciate your work. And the odds are much, much better than the Lottery.
Reckon you’re ready to apply? Go for it! And if you need to ask anything about the awards, get in touch with the Scottish Book Trust or leave your question here as a comment.