Answering all your frequently asked questions about receiving a letter from Young Writers.
Your child has come home from school, excitedly waving a letter and a certificate (or, if they’re like my child, you have to dig the letter out of their school bag from underneath a crumpled jumper). The certificate is for writing, and the letter says they’ve been chosen to be published by Young Writers. But who are we, what does the letter mean, and what do you need to do?
What is Young Writers?
We are a company based in Peterborough, created to inspire a love of creative writing in children and young adults, by allowing them to see their work published in real books. We do this by running national writing competitions for schools with engaging themes and amazing prizes. We also create outstanding resources to support teachers with creative writing lessons.
What does this letter mean?
Your child’s school has entered one of our creative writing competitions, and your child’s piece of work meets the publication criteria for that competition. They have been selected to be published in a book alongside their classmates and other children from across the country.
Does this letter mean my child has won?
No. But that doesn’t mean it’s not an achievement! This letter means that their piece of work has met the competition criteria and is eligible for publication. We aim to publish as many children as possible as we know it’s the best way to inspire their love of writing; as long as their work meets the competition criteria, they will be selected for publication.
The winners of the competition will then be chosen at a later date from published entries only.
How did my child enter the competition?
Your child’s school has entered their pupils into one of our competitions, and your child was included in the entries they sent in.
How did you get my child’s name?
Their school has entered a piece of work into one of our competitions. We only ask for the child’s name and age, and if necessary can accept a piece of work with only initials or anonymously if requested by the teacher for protection purposes.
If you wish for your child’s piece of work to be published but without their full name, or without the school details, we can absolutely do this, just let us know.
How many of my child’s classmates will be in the book?
That depends on how many were entered, how many of those entries met the competition criteria, and how many give permission to be published.
Do you select everyone who enters?
No. Entries have to meet the criteria for each competition to be selected. Our aim is to encourage creativity and create confident writers, and we know the best way to achieve this is for children to see their work in print. Therefore we will select all entries that meet the criteria and won’t reject entries just to meet a quota, as we believe this will have a negative effect on children’s confidence and self-belief. This does mean that often a whole class or large percentage of the class will be selected for publication, but that’s the whole point! It’s a celebration of their effort in writing! If a whole class is selected for publication then that’s a fantastic achievement!
Did the school pay to enter?
No. There is no charge to enter. Every single one of our competitions is absolutely free, including the supporting resources that are available to download.
Do you give the school anything for entering?
We provide free creative writing resources which are available for download from our website. This can include lesson plans, PowerPoints, idea generation activities and examples, just to name a few. Every school that enters will receive a copy of the book for every 30 entries they submit. There are also school prizes to be won for the best set of entries submitted for each competition.
Do I have to pay for my child to appear in the book?
No. All we require is your permission to publish their work.
Do I have to buy a copy of the book?
No. Every school will receive a copy of the book their pupils feature in, so every child can see their work in print at no cost. We simply ask for preorders where possible so we can better estimate the size of the print run.
How will you use my child’s details?
Details are required for competition purposes only. We absolutely do not, and will never, pass on any details to third parties.
If you give permission for your child’s work to appear in the book, their name and school name will appear under the work and in the contents. If you wish for their work to be published without their full name or school details we can do this, just let us know.
Does my child keep the copyright to their work?
Yes. We ask for your permission to use their work in the published book and on our website or in publicity materials if they are selected as a winner, but that does not mean the ownership or copyright of that piece of work passes to Young Writers. Copyright remains with the author.
What if my child didn’t get a certificate?
First check with their teacher – the certificates are separate in the parcel so they may be holding on to them to give out in a celebration assembly. If not, get in touch with us and we can send out a new one.
What do I have to do next?
If you wish to give permission for your child’s work to be published, you can do so online here. All the details on how to access this are in your letter. Alternatively you can email us at [email protected] stating your child’s customer number, or by posting back the Copyright/Permission form.
If I have given permission online, do I also need to send back the copyright form?
No, if you have given permission online then that is sufficient.
You have spelt my child’s name wrong!
Sorry! Our typists do their absolute best but sometimes hard-to-read handwriting or a simple mistype can result in a misspelt name. You can correct this in your online account and we will send out a new certificate with the correct spelling.
What is the typeset for?
Two reasons: firstly so you can see what your child has written and be proud! And secondly so you can read through and check there are no errors in the work or your child’s name. Please check this carefully as this is how the work will appear in the book.
How do I make changes to my child’s work?
If there is a typo (because they do happen despite our best efforts) then you can make amendments to the work in your online account. Alternatively you can email us at [email protected] stating your child’s customer number, or by posting back the typeset with the changes clearly marked.
How do I order the book?
You can order copies via your online account, by filling in the order section on the copyright form and sending it back to us, or by giving us a call on 01733 890066.
Books cost £17.99 and before publication we have a 3for2 offer.
How much is postage?
Delivery to the school is free of charge. If you wish to have your books delivered to your home address, there is a delivery fee of £3.99.
Why do the books cost £17.99?
The print runs are small and therefore more expensive to produce than mass-market books. There are also a lot of costs that go into creating the books including: designing, printing and sending out competition resources; editorial time to read, type and edit entries; customer service time to deal with queries and ensure you get the best experience; design time for the book cover and insides; ink, paper and machine costs to print the books; packaging and postage costs. (Not to mention the coffee and tea supplies to keep all the teams going!)
This doesn’t include the increase in costs across the board that everyone in the country has been experiencing. We increased the price of books by £1 in January 2023, but before that had taken off postage costs when delivering to schools, so the net price of ordering a book is still lower despite rising production costs. We’re proud that we’ve been able to avoid passing on these costs to our customers.
If my child is in the book, why don’t they get a free copy?
We would LOVE to be able to give every published child a free copy of the book they appear in. Unfortunately it’s just not viable at this time. The print runs are small and the market for selling them doesn’t go much beyond the friends and family of the writers. The money generated from sales goes back into the next competition, allowing us to continue providing free resources to teachers to help them inspire a love of creating writing in their students.
When and how do you pick the winners?
Winners will be chosen once all the books in the series have been published. Editors mark any good entries as they read, type and edit work, and these go into a longlist. From that longlist a shortlist of the best pieces is created, which is then passed to an independent judge to pick the winners. For more detail on the selection process and timeline, please read our Winners FAQs blog.
I hope that has answered any questions you have, but if not please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Customer Care team who are available Monday – Friday 9-5 and are ready and waiting to help! You can email [email protected] or call 01733 890066.
We hope that your child enjoys their experience entering our competition and that it inspires them to keep writing!