Frequently Asked Questions
Is it free to take part?
Yes. Both the insight days and mentoring programme are free for writers taking part.
Will you cover my travel expenses to the insight days?
We’re not able to offer travel expenses to our insight days, but we will cover all related travel to our London offices for the writers who join our mentoring programme. You can read full details of the expenses we're able to offer in our terms and conditions.
Do I need to be a UK resident to apply?
Yes. As WriteNow is being run by Penguin Random House UK our programme is only open to UK residents. You don't need to have permanent citizenship - just a current UK address.
Does my story have to focus on 'issues' based narratives?
No, not unless you want it to. We want to hear your perspective, in your own words, whether you’re writing serious non-fiction about personal development or if you're the next Sophie Kinsella.
Can I apply if I’m already supported by Spread the Word, New Writing North or Literature Works?
Absolutely. We would love to work with writers supported by our three partners.
How will you decide who gets through to attend the WriteNow insight days and who doesn’t?
We will assess applications based on two factors:
Quality of writing and originality: assessed by a Penguin Random House editor.
Meeting our desired criteria: as part of your application we'll ask you to tell us, in your own words, why you feel your voice is under-represented in books and publishing. Your answer will be assessed by our partner Spread the Word, a writer development charity, together with members of our Human Resources team.
What if I’m self-published, published in another format or genre, or published as part of an anthology?
We'd be happy to receive applications from writers who have self-published, been published as part of an anthology, in a digital or e-book format only, or published in an entirely different genre (e.g. a non-fiction writer who has previously published fiction, or a children’s writer who has previously published adult fiction). We would also be happy to receive applications from writers who have been published in another format altogether such as a magazine or newspaper.
Is a publishing contract guaranteed if I’m one of the 10 writers on the mentoring programme?
We would love to have the chance to publish the writers we work with as part of our mentoring programme, but there are no guarantees.
If I join the mentoring programme, will I have to publish my book with Penguin Random House?
We're investing time and resource in the 10 writers we'll be supporting through our year-long mentoring programme, and so we will ask you to give us the first option (i.e first refusal) of publishing your book.
Can I apply with more than one manuscript?
Yes, we will accept multiple submissions from the same writer so long as they are in different genres - for example if you have both a fiction and non-fiction manuscript. You won't be able to submit multiple manuscripts in the same genre.
Can I apply to more than one insight day?
When you apply for WriteNow we will ask you to list our three locations in order of preference. We'll assess all of the applications we receive together, and the top 150 writers will then be allocated to one of our three insight days. We will do our best to make sure you are invited to attend your preferred location. If you are unable to make a particular date or location, please just list one or two preferred option(s) when you apply. Please be assured that your choice of location will have no impact on the success of your application.
If I applied last year, can I apply to WriteNow again?
We aren’t accepting applications from writers who have previously successfully applied and attended a WriteNow day, to make sure that as many writers as possible have the opportunity to take part. If you have previously applied but didn't get through, you are welcome to apply again.
Can I still apply for the mentoring programme if I can’t attend a WriteNow event?
We will only accept applications to our mentoring programme from writers who have attended a WriteNow event, and had the opportunity to discuss their work with one of our editors. If you are not able to access any of the events, for example because of a physical disability, we will consider your application on a case by case basis.
Are the venues accessible?
Yes, all our venues are wheelchair accessible. Please just let us know if you have any additional needs or need us to make any adjustments for the day. If you need to bring a personal assistant with you, that's absolutely fine.
How do I know if I’m from an under-represented community?
If you feel that your community, or your background, needs a stronger voice and a platform in publishing we would love to hear from you.
This could include:
- If you identify as LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer)
- If you identify as BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic)
- If you have a disability - you’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a “physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities”
- If you come from a socio-economically marginalised background, for example if you ever received free school meals or if you or your family have ever been on income support, homeless or at risk of homelessness
- If you have or have ever had refugee status
- If you have ever spent time in prison.
Will I get any feedback on my application?
After applications have closed, we will publish a blog post giving an overview of common themes and general feedback from the editors involved in the assessment process. We aren't able to give individual feedback to every applicant due to the volume of applications received. However, if you are successful in your application and attend a WriteNow day, you will receive personalised feedback on your work from one of our editors. Writers shortlisted for the mentoring programme will receive further feedback on their full manuscript.
Are you looking for illustrators?
Through WriteNow we are focusing on finding writers rather than illustrators or graphic novelists. That said, we do want to publish more diverse voices, themes and characters in our children’s picture books. If you are an aspiring picture book illustrator, we would be delighted to hear from you.
Can I submit samples of accompanying illustrations for my children's picture book?
Of course! Please email samples of accompanying illustrations to WriteNow@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk and we’ll add these to your application. When you submit a sample of the text for your picture book as part of the online application (we only require up to 800 words for children’s picture books), please also include a note in this section that you have provided samples of accompanying illustrations via email. As the writer, you don't need to illustrate a children's picture book story yourself or have found an illustrator already to apply to WriteNow. We'll consider accompanying illustrations if you, as the writer, choose to submit these - but we'll only be assessing the story itself and illustrations will have no impact on the success of your application.
Can I submit poetry?
We're not looking for submissions in poetry, cookery or graphic novels this time around. We’re happy to receive applications for short story collections and verse novels.
Questions? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.