Dear Claire,

I first got to know about the services you offer through one of your ‘writers’ pitching workshops’ that I found quite by chance, advertised on-line. Timidly I brought along a very early draft of my first book to a local library where twelve hopefuls sat around a large table. At the time, of course, I thought my manuscript was perfect, but the journey was just beginning. Starting out on a new career “as a writer” can be daunting, and writing is often a lonely business. I quickly discovered that reasons to write are as varied and interesting as writers themselves. I left your workshop inspired, motivated to continue writing and brimming with ideas. Thank you.

Your editorial services have also been central to my success. You provided two edits, the first a comprehensive overview of an early draft. The second edit called for attention to detail, while at the same time you gave me the courage to restructure the narrative for a more exciting read, especially those crucial first three chapters. In large part because of your assistance with the manuscript, I have found an agent and a mainstream publisher, both of whom liked my first book enough to take it on.

I found my agent – or perhaps I might say she found me – by a rather thorough online search. Following a hunch, I knew I would be looking for a small agency. I refined my search until I had a shortlist of agents who were: in small agencies, looking for my kind of book, currently accepting submissions and interested in “emerging” writers. When I checked out Isabel’s agency online, it looked like an excellent fit for my book, so I sent off a standard submission, which, by then, I had been working on over many months. Having sent off about fifty submissions by then, I was delighted when only a few days later Isabel emailed requesting more material. I emailed her the full manuscript by return and within four days, she offered to represent me. We negotiated on-line and it was all concluded so quickly, I was breathless. After years of waiting and hoping, I had a contract. Isabel has regular dealings with the commissioning editor who commissioned my book. She is always on the lookout for titles that will fit that publisher’s list, and pitched my book to them when she was last in New York. 'Trapped: My Life With Cerebral Palsy', is followed by my second book, ‘Happiness Matters’, currently on option to Skyhorse.
Fran Macilvey, author of 'Trapped: My Life With Cerebral Palsy’, to be published 4th March 2014 (Skyhorse Publishing).