Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The Literary Agent

Elizabeth Cochrane talked to a packed house around 60 people, hosted by ourselves and Leicester Writers Club earlier this month. She works for Greene & Heaton literary agents and was giving tips on how to submit fiction writing to an agent (or publisher). Here are a few:
  1. Buy the Writers & artists yearbook for a full list of agents and contacts
  2. Target agents who deal with writers with a similar genre/style to your own (see acknowledgements pages of relevant books).
  3. A submission for a novel will include: letter, synopsis & sample:
    □ The Letter: give some background info on yourself; genre of the book (eg psychological thriller); why it should be published; why you have chosen this agency. Be business-like. Don’t mention the ‘slush pile’ or copyright issues. Do mention other writers who might be in a similar market.
    □ Synopsis: Maximum 2 pages. Make the font and spacing easy to read. Do give the whole plot.
    □ Sample: Send the first 50 pages (setting up the plot). Realistically maximum 3 pages will be read - about the same amount as a customer in a book shop.
  4. When writing you need to be clear about the market for your book. It is best to fall into a defined genre (eg romance). Most books lose money and don’t ‘earn out’ their advance (ie make any further royalties than that given as an advance).
  5. It may take months to get a response. Receiving a standard rejection letter doesn’t mean to say that the work hasn’t been read or discussed.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Loughborough Creatives Night Out

Our first ever meeting in the Orange Tree pub in Loughborough with a few creatives went well last night. About 13 of us were there in all including Chloe (, Ian ( and David ( . Hoping to repeat the event in the new year.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Performing Arts Leicester news

Great news that the Performing Arts Leicester group of venues, promoters and dance/music/theatre companies has got £40,000 from the Cultural Leadership programme. This will go on a programme of leadership training, group discussions, Go & See visits and an annual programming meeting. Most importantly the PAL Christmas drinks are on Tuesday 15 Dec from 5.30pm at the Quarter restaurant near Curve/LCB Depot in Leicester.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Creative Freelancer Guide

We're launching our new Freelancer Guide at the LCB Depot tonight with a panel discussion featuring a number of freelancers from different creative backgrounds (dancer, sound engineer, textile designer/maker, writer). The event has a waiting list so we'll be repeating it in Loughborough after Christmas. The guide is a 30 minute read on all the basics of effective freelancing. If you'd like a hard copy please email us, or pick one up at the LCB Depot (31 Rutland St, Leicester LE1 1RE) or you can read it online on the Information page of

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Shauna could be an Artist Taking the Lead

Shauna Richardson, one of this year's CL bursary winners, is on a shortlist of 5 to create a Cultural Olympiad artwork for the East Midlands for 2012. Her plan is one of huge rampaging crocheted lions. Here is her life-sized crotched bear! See more at

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

And the Winners Are ...

This year we have awarded over £47,000 to 27 organisations/individuals from Leicester(shire) & Rutland:
Chorus Theatre - Theatre Company from Loughborough

Andrew Scattergood – Musician & Comedian from Broughton Astley

Faya Wurks Records - Record Label from Leicester

Andfold Design – Design & Illustration from Leicester

Catharine Ashdown - Script Editor from Bottesford

From Dusk to Dawn - Culture & Arts Magazine and Website from Leicester

Donald Edwards - Freelance Choreographer from Leicester

Blue Butterfly Glass – Stained Glass Business from Lutterworth

Helen Rhodes - Visual Artist from Loughborough

Virtual Motion Dance Co - Participatory Dance Company from Leicester

Jo Cope - Fashion & Accessory Conceptual Designer from Glenfield

Shot for Meat – Illustration Company from Leicester

Kajal Nisha Patel – Photographer from Leicester

Point Blank Photography – Photography Business from Melton Mowbray

Linda Marie Young – Textile designer specialising in handmade boxes from Braunstone

Foxtail Lily Designs - Wedding & Event Dressings designer from Farm Town

Jenny Clarke Design – Creates and supplies tattoo designs from Loughborough

Hive Films - Film production company from Leicester

Rosetha Claxton - Freelance Choreographer & Dance Teacher from Leicester

Ruth Wood - Jewellery Designer from Kibworth Beauchamp

Sally Renner - Visual Artist from Oakham

Archives Crafts – Jewellery Designer and Silversmith from Eaton

Shauna Richardson – Sculptor creating life size animals using crochet from Stoughton

Talking Rhythms – Holds rhythm and music workshops from Countesthorpe

Art Cell – Participatory Visual Artist from Hinckley

2 Funky Arts Ltd - Urban Arts Company from Leicester, headed up by Vijay Mistry

Ekit - Web Design from Goadby Marwood
Image by Paul Hurst Photography -

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Loughborough Uni graduate winners

As part of the Student Business Plan Competition we have awarded graduate bursaries of £1k plus business support to:

Chloe Hampson, Barn Door Theatre Company (a participatory artist running projects with older people in care homes to youth theatre workshops)

Jonathan Fenton, Biopod (an industrial designer whose Biopod stores kitchen waste ensuring it is sealed in and doesn't have to be emptied on a daily basis

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

At The Mela

We are having a stall at the Mela Bazaar at Leicester Market as part of Leicester Mela on Sunday (12th July). Lucia or I will be on the stall from 11am giving out Made in Leicestershire directories and any other info and advice about Creative Leicestershire. Do come and see us.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Bursary applications

We've received 48 applications for our bursary scheme this year. I'm in the middle of doing an assessment of each application and then they go to our bursary panel for a final decision. We have a total of £47,500 to allocate from those lovely people at the east midlands development agency.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

De Montfort Uni graduate winners

We awarded graduate start up bursaries of £1k plus business support to 2 wonderful start up businesses last night as part of De Montfort University's Business Venture Competition awards.

And the winners were:

Illustrator Rachael Smith (see the wonderful life of Flimsy)

Lingerie designer Emma Amies (fun 1950s-inspired lingerie range)

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Ghosts of Eden novel published

Andrew Sharp's book The Ghosts of Eden has just been published by Picnic Publishing. Andrew is a doctor based in Leicestershire who has lived and worked in sub-Saharan Africa. The story of cross-cultural love and redemption is set in East Africa and available from amazon and The book is launched in Leicester on 28 May with a talk from Corinne de Souza of Picnic Publishing. More info from Andrew on

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Tom Hare at Kew Gardens

Tom - the fantastic willow weaver from Stoke Golding in Leics - has been commissioned to do 10 commissions at Kew Gardens for their 250th anniversary. Here are a few pictures. For more on Tom see

Friday, 24 April 2009

Are you a diagonal thinker?

Heard yesterday about a new tool developed by the IPA (trade association for advertising) which helps you to discover whether you are a diagonal thinker. That means that you have good lateral thinking skills (creative) as well as good linear thinking skills (logical). The advertising industry is looking for people who have both and are therefore diagonal thinkers. Apparently the online test takes about 75 minutes. See

Thursday, 16 April 2009

We're Moving

Well the boxes arrive on Monday, and we're doing some serious recycling to avoid having to pack 4 years worth of stuff. With some trepidation we are moving to County Hall in Glenfield from our country house retreat in Birstall. We'll be at Room 500, County Hall, Glenfield LE3 8RA from 24 April and should find out our new phone numbers shortly. Emails will remain the same. Will the county hall canteen live up to its reputation?

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Big Difference Company

Leicester Comedy Festival Ltd changed its name yesterday (on April Fool's Day) to Big Difference Company Ltd. Nothing else changes - BDC will continue to deliver the Festival, Make me Happy programme and all their other work contracts (including the Athletes Village for the Special Olympics) . For more and some bad jokes see

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Online contracts and selling

Jill Wells has been running seminars about Basic Contracts for us. There is some key legislation around contracting and selling online. When forming contracts online you must provide your customers with information about:
• all technical steps required to conclude the contract, eg "click this box"
• whether the concluded contract will be filed by you and whether it will be accessible
• the languages offered for the conclusion of the contract
• any relevant codes of conduct to which you subscribe, and information on how these can be consulted electronically
• You must make sure that your website allows customers to go back and correct any mistakes made in their order before the order is placed.
• Once a customer has placed an order electronically, you must acknowledge receipt without undue delay. For more on ecommerce regulations

Monday, 23 March 2009

Creative Women of Achievement

The creative sector had various successes at the Leicestershire Women of Achievement Awards which took place on Friday night (20 March) at the Walkers Stadium: Ellen Bianchini, founder & Director of The Spark Children’s Arts Festival, won overall Woman of the Year. Sarah Cressall won Business Woman of the Year. Sarah set up The Creation Station . The business runs creative sessions for parents and their children in community centres, village halls and the like. It now has franchises around the country as well as in Leicester/shire. Julia Damassa, founder of Storyshapes Ltd was a finalist for Rural Business Woman of the Year. Storyshapes are a resource which help children to tell and record their own stories. . Pleased to add that Sarah and Julia were nominated by Creative Leicestershire and are past Bursary winners.

Totem gets pole position at iconic library

The University of Manchester’s world-famous John Rylands Library has commissioned a £40,000 piece of public art from Leicestershire Artist Derek Hunt. His 11 metre high “Totem” was the top choice from more than one hundred applications from across Britain, Europe and the United States.
Funded by the Oglesby Charitable Trust, the glass and steel sculpture will be installed in the Library’s new entrance wing close to the original 1890s building famed for its gothic architecture.
Derek’s design referred to the original Victorian colour scheme of John Ryland’s architect Basil Champneys, as well as iconic images from the library’s archive. The commission is a coup for the artist whose work is seen around the UK in mosques, churches, public buildings, theatres, schools and shopping centres.
He said: “I wanted to create a glass installation which would embody the spirit of the John Rylands Library, reflect and celebrate its many collections of rare books, manuscripts and archives, and help to create a sense of place.
For more information on Derek’s work, go to

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Low Cost Marketing Ideas

Alastair Campbell (no, not that one) of the Ideal Marketing company lead a seminar for us yesterday in Coalville on 12 ideas for small creative businesses. Lots of practical, no-nonsense stuff. More on Alastair and his seminars at . He'll be repeating the seminar in Hinckley on 17 September 09.

One thing I've found very useful re. website optimisation is google's free tool to find out what keywords people are typing into google and therefore what you should use to optimise your website. Go to google and type in keyword tool external.