John Donoghue: The great thing about Pulp Idol is that it can really get your work noticed. I found my agent and publisher as a direct result of taking part. My first novel was published all over the world. Amazing. I still have to pinch myself. On top of that, it's fun. Meeting other writers, seeing their work, having the opportunity to speak to established writers - what's not to like?
Clare Coombes: Pulp Idol is an essential competition, a bit like the X-Factor for writers. As well as bringing in London-based literary agents, it's complete with live studio readings and judges asking questions that challenge and improve your work. This might sound daunting, but it’s relaxed, supportive, inspiring and basically brilliant, and it got me published.
Debbie Morgan: Entering the Pulp Idol competition gave me an opportunity to gain more confidence as a writer. I was nervous about reading aloud, unsure that my work would be of interest to an audience. Without confidence and self-belief, it's tricky to move towards your dreams. Seeing my work published in the book of finalists gave me hope. There is no other competition that gives new writers a real chance at getting their work seen by people in the industry.
Andy Smith: I entered Pulp Idol thinking I had a good idea for a story, one that I’d written reasonably well, but I wasn’t really sure. After all, I haven’t done anything like a creative writing degree: when I was at university (a long time ago!) I studied maths. Reaching the final gave me huge encouragement and convinced me I did actually have some idea what I was doing. I found everyone involved in Writing On The Wall very supportive and helpful; the process wasn’t off-putting at all. You’ve got to believe in what you’re writing, and confidence helps immensely.
Michael Taylor: I found the whole experience of Pulp Idol invigorating. It was a massive thrill to get to the final and have my opening monologue edited by Mike Morris from Writing on the Wall for inclusion in the finalist's book. Not only did it give me a boost, it gave a publisher the confidence to publish my debut novel and for us to create a piece of theatre for the launch event. My book, 40 by 40, has sold well, received excellent reviews and was definitely sharpened as a result of Pulp Idol.
Matt Cook: I would never have applied for Pulp Idol if it hadn't been for a previous finalist talking me into it. I had no confidence in my idea but prepping for the heats and the final helped me to see it and myself in a new way. Just being in the competition raises the stakes and makes you more objective, analytical and realistic. Your work is alive, it matters. Being in Pulp Idol gives you a deadline and focus like nothing else.With Pulp Idol you get both a broad audience reaction, and the one-on-one input of a professional editor. The whole experience was fantastic, and the insights I gained from the writers I met have been invaluable.
Helen Dring: I entered Pulp Idol on a complete whim. Without exaggeration, winning Pulp Idol changed my life. Receiving recognition for my writing was a huge boost to my confidence, and I stayed in touch with several people from my final afterwards. I also signed with Laura Williams of PFD Agency shortly after the competition ended, and have been working on my novel with her ever since. Regardless of where you finish the competition, you'll be further along with your novel, and know it better, than when you started.