Writing and Publishing Weekend

Following the success of the 2018 Publishing Weekend, BookFest once again presents a weekend of talks for writers looking to take the next step. Whether you are hoping to get your work published through the traditional route or via self-publishing, the Publishing Weekend will equip you with the skills and knowledge to make informed decisions. The weekend also includes a networking lunch each day.

Saturday 2nd March/Sunday 3rd March, 10am-4.30pm, White Swan Building (Behind Brewhouse Pub in Guildhall Walk). Parking is at Eldon car park (meter) Bedford Street

£30 per day- includes lunch each day- special offer whole weekend ticket £50 https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/portsmouth-bookfest-2019-tickets-53690758504#tickets

Leisure Card holders: £25 per day or £40 whole weekend ticket- please show your Leisure Card with your ticket on arrival.

Please note: There are a limited number of places to pitch your work to the agent on Saturday afternoon. You should book a slot separately in advance if you would like to pitch your work – each 15 minute slot is £25 (charged extra and paid on the day)


10am: Welcome and introductions

10.15am: Christine Hammacott: Your book as a product mindset

11.15am: Tea/coffee

11.30am: Helen Garvey: The editing process

12.30pm: Laura Williams: Getting an agent

1.30pm: Lunch and networking

2.30pm: Panel: self-published authors discuss their publishing decisions led by Debbie Young from Alliance of Independent authors

2.00 – 4.30 Agent pitching – separate booking for this as 9 x 15 minute slots

3.30pm: Self-Publishing with Ingram Sparks

4.30pm: Close


10am: Welcome and introductions

10:15am: Suzie Wilde: Researching your book

11:15am: Tea/Coffee

11:30am: Unbound: The crowdfunding option

12.30pm: Wendy Metcalfe: Weathering the publication storm

1.20pm: Lunch and networking

2.20pm: Scott Pack – Masterclass: Perfecting your submission

4.20pm: Questions and feedback

4.30 close


Patsy Collins spends her time making things up and writing them down from her home in Lee-on-the-Solent or whilst traveling in a campervan. She is the author of five novels, twelve themed collections of short stories and half of From Story Idea to Reader – an accessible guide to writing fiction. Hundreds of her short stories have been published in women’s magazines worldwide. Learn more at patsycollins.uk Patsy runs two blogs for writers. Patsy-Collins.blogspot.co.uk regularly features free to enter writing competitions, and Womagwriter.blogspot.co.uk contains all the guidelines and information needed to submit fiction to woman’s magazines in the UK and abroad.

Helen Garvey is a published author, intermediate SfEP member, and freelance editor under the pen name Victoria Milne. She has had two books published – ‘The Strawberry Farm’ and ‘Writer’s Lock’ – and her third is being published later this year. In 2016 Love Unlocked (the anthology in which ‘Writer’s Lock’ was published) was a Rainbow Award finalist. Her involvement with the anthology cemented her passion for the mechanics of the craft and, to her surprise, for grammar! Helen’s lifelong fascination with books shows no sign of slowing down, and she loves being able to help other authors perfect their manuscripts. Visit her website at www.victoriamilne.com

Christine Hammacott is a graphic designer who runs her own design consultancy and works with businesses and individuals to create brands Her debut novel The Taste of Ash, exploring the aftermath of a fire and stalking, is set in Portsmouth. www.artofcomms.co.uk

Wendy Metcalfe is a science fiction writer.  Her stories explore feminism, sentient artificial intelligences, and environmental issues.  She has an MA (Merit) in Creative Writing from the University of Portsmouth, and has taught creative writing for over a decade.  She is currently Chairwoman of Havant and District Writers’ Circle.  She is a member of Portsmouth Writers’ Hub, and regularly performs with spoken word group T’Articulation.

Scott Pack has spent the best part of two decades in the book world. He has worked as buying manager for the Waterstones book chain and publisher at HarperCollins, Unbound, Eye & Lightning Books and others. He is also a freelance editor and public speaker. His regular Guardian Masterclass, How to Perfect Your Submission, is now into its fourth year and spawned a book of the same name.

Unbound, the online trading name of United Authors Publishing Ltd, is a privately held international crowdfunded publishing company. It is based in London, UK.

Suzie Wilde was born a Shackleton in Portsmouth, the year rationing ended. Her parents met in the jig-and-tool shop at De Havilland. She is the sixth child of eight but the only girl and only survivor. Her first book dates from before infant school and involves a lonely girl befriending wolves. So does her latest. Suzie has been a postie, shop assistant, lab rat, teacher and maritime researcher. She gained an MA with Distinction in Creative Writing in 2011, now writes full time and runs writing workshops. The Book of Bera: Sea Paths, published by Unbound, was one of the Guardian’s top five SFF books last year. The second book of the trilogy, Obsidian, will be published in 2019.

Laura Williams- Literary Agent – Greene and Heaton: Laura Williams joined Greene & Heaton as an agent in 2018. She worked at Peters Fraser and Dunlop from 2011, after completing a degree in Classics at Oxford. She is actively building a fiction list and a small non-fiction list. She is currently looking for literary fiction, edgy commercial fiction, psychological thrillers and high-concept contemporary young adult, as well as narrative non-fiction of all types. Her taste is quite dark, and she loves gothic, ghost stories, horror and anything sinister. She also loves books that make her cry, from big love stories to intense family dramas.

Debbie Young – Indie author Debbie Young is the Author Advice Center Manager for the Alliance of Independent Authors, the global nonprofit organisation for self-publishing authors. She is Commissioning Editor of its daily blog covering all aspects of writing and self-publishing,  co-author of its series of Successful Self-publishing books for authors, including How to Get Your Self-published Book into Bookstores and Opening Up to Indie Authors, and frequent speaker at writing events and literature festivals. As the author of a growing series of Cotswold cosy mystery novels, her current work-in-progress is a murder mystery set at a writers’ retreat. She runs writers’ groups in Cheltenham and Bristol, founded and directs the free Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival in her home village, is a regular panelist on BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s Book Club, and is an ambassador for the children’s reading charity Read for Good.