Virtual Winter Retreat: Developing your brand as a writer

Tue 24 November 2020 - Thu 26 November 2020
Tutor / Anna Caig
Guest Readers / Clare Mackintosh & Ros Ellis
Course Fee / From £150 per person
Language / English

For 2020, we are moving some of our courses and retreats online.

For our Winter Retreat, communications expert Anna Caig will run three virtual workshops on developing your brand as a writer. She will also be available for a short one-to-one tutorial with each writer to discuss your work and your journey as a writer. We will also enjoy two evening events – one with the Sunday Times best-selling writer, Clare Mackintosh, and another with Head of Publicity, Fiction at Bloomsbury Publishing – Ros Ellis.


Course introduction

Writers write. That is what you do. But what happens when your creation is complete and you’re ready to share it with the world? How can you ensure it reaches as many potential readers as possible?

​What is a personal brand? How can you create one and use it to find more readers? Do you need your own website? How do you choose the right social media channels for you and what content should you be sharing?

There can be a lot of anxiety around publicising writing, and many creative people see their work and the marketing of their work as two separate things. Anna’s workshops will get to the heart of why you create and use this to build an effective marketing strategy.


Tŷ Newydd Virtual Retreats: How do they work?

Our new virtual programme will offer writers in Wales and the rest of the world the opportunity to take part in one of Tŷ Newydd’s famous creative writing courses from the comfort of their own home. Launched in 2020 during the lockdown, these virtual courses offer writers who can’t travel to Tŷ Newydd the opportunity to be tutored by renowned writers in a format that mirrors a real residential course.

Workshops will be delivered via the video conferencing platform, Zoom. You will need good internet access to take part, and we advise you to try Zoom out before booking onto the course to make sure that everything works. Literature Wales staff will be on hand to facilitate the retreat and to offer assistance.


Winter Retreat Timetable

Tuesday 24 November

10.00 am – 11.30 am: Workshop on building your author brand

“Personal branding is the story people tell about you when you’re not in the room.” Aaron Orendorff.

This session will support you to build your author brand, and understand how this process can work in harmony with your creativity. ​Many writers see their work and the marketing of their work as two separate things, but getting to the heart of why you create and telling this story from a different perspective can be a great way to start an effective marketing strategy.


2.00 pm – 5.00 pm: One-to-one tutorials
During the retreat you will receive one 30-minute tutorial with Anna. You will be invited to send ahead an introduction and an excerpt of work.


Wednesday 25 November

10.00 am – 11.30 am: Workshop on creating and delivering your marketing strategy – including digital and social media

Using your personal brand, we will look at the elements of an effective marketing strategy, from identifying target audiences, to how you can reach them and the types of engaging content you can use to do this. Crucially, we will also clarify how much time you’re happy to spend on your marketing and what the most effective and efficient use of this time will be.

This session will also support you to think about the best social and digital platforms for you, and how to use them effectively.


2.00 pm – 5.00 pm: One-to-one tutorials
During the retreat you will receive one 30-minute tutorial with Anna. You will be invited to send ahead an introduction and an excerpt of work.


8.00 pm – 9.00 pm: An evening with Clare Mackintosh
Join us on Zoom for an evening with Clare Mackintosh, who will talk about her journey to being a Sunday Times bestselling writer. The talk will be followed by a Q&A session.


Thursday 26 November

10.00 am – 11.30 am: Workshop on media training and interview skills

Good media training is all about understanding the rules of engagement when you work with the media, and this session will support you to feel more confident in an interview setting. It’s not just about the traditional media these days, though. Writers are now faced with a wide range of opportunities to communicate with potential readers. Whether this is the creation of some simple video content for your own website or taking a guest slot on a podcast, this session will help you stay focused, convey your most important messages and, most importantly, feel as relaxed as possible doing so.

8.00 pm – 9.00 pm: An evening with Ros Ellis
Join us on Zoom for an evening with Ros Ellis, who will talk about her work as the Head of Publicity, Fiction at Bloomsbury Publishing.The talk will be followed by a Q&A session.


Additional Activity

  • During Tuesday evening between 8.00 pm – 9.00 pm, a Zoom room – or a virtual Tŷ Newydd library – will be open for the group to drop in and out to socialise and network.
  • Former Tŷ Newydd participants might remember our resident chef, Tony’s delicious food. Some of his recipes are available on our blog for you to prepare during the week.



Anna Caig

Anna Caig has worked in communications for 16 years, specialising in media relations and strategic marketing campaigns. By day she is Head of Communications at Sheffield City Council and MA Journalism tutor at The University of Sheffield. By night she writes crime and historical fiction, and reviews books for the Sheffield Telegraph and on her blog Murder Underground Broke The Camel’s Back.

Anna has trained media spokespeople to deliver information in the most challenging and high pressure situations. She began her training business to support writers to build their brand and reach more readers. She now works with traditionally, indie and self-published writers, as well as helping creatives in any discipline find a wider audience. She helps people spread the word about their work in a way that is authentic to why they create in the first place.

Guest Readers

Clare Mackintosh

Clare Mackintosh is a Sunday Times bestselling author. Clare spent twelve years in the police force, including time on CID, and as a public order commander. She left the police in 2011 and now writes full time. Clare’s debut psychological thriller, I Let You Go, was the fastest selling title by a new crime writer in 2015, winning the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award, and the Cognac Prix du Polar for International Novel of the Year. Her second novel, I See You, was a number one Sunday Times bestseller and remained in the charts for thirteen weeks. Both I Let You Go and I See You were Richard & Judy book club picks, winning the readers’ vote on both occasions. In 2017 Clare published her third novel, Let Me Lie, which also hit the number one slot, spending several weeks in the top ten. Her fourth novel will be published in the summer of 2019.

Ros Ellis

Ros Ellis is Head of Publicity, Fiction at Bloomsbury Publishing.  With over 25 years’ experience as a book publicist, she has worked both in house and out of house, setting up and running her own freelance book PR business.  Working across a variety of fiction, non-fiction and cookery to deliver campaigns which drive word of mouth and sales, throughout the course of her career she has nurtured and launched new talent, most recently the Sunday Times top ten bestselling and Booker longlisted writer Kiley Reid, as well as creating and implementing publicity campaigns for established, acclaimed and prize-winning novelists including Man Booker prize-winner George Saunders, and Women’s Prize-winners Kamila Shamsie and Madeline Miller.

Online Booking

Paying by Cheque?

If you wish to pay by cheque, simply use the online booking form above and select ‘Pay by Cheque’ in the payment options.

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+44 (0) 1766 522 811