Is Writers Bureau worth time and money

Hi all

Has anyone had any dealings with

I’d have liked to go to College or Uni but work makes it awkward so I was looking at Open University courses when a friend showed me an advert for The Writers Bureau in TV Times.

I just like to find out if they are genuine or a bit of a scam before parting with cash.



I enrolled with them two years ago, in an attempt at kick starting my ME addled brain into action. It failed. But, that was the fault of the disease, not the course. My instincts tell me, that whilst it`ll never be a UEA ( … ing_Course ), it is a legit enterprise.

My tutor is an established writer herself, as are all the tutors that work for TWB. Id give it a go if I was you. Theres a 15 day free trial…and…a money back guarantee, if you don`t earn the cost of the course, from your writing.

TWB has been established for well over 20yrs. They also make a, claim, to refund the cost of the course, if they feel the student hasn`t got what it takes, to become a writer.

Take the 15 day trial, Andy, see what you think.

Good Luck

My experience is different. I enrolled with one of these schools - I can’t remember if it was the Writer’s Bureau or the other one that looks exactly the same and also used to be advertised on the back of the Guardian Guide, just like TWB - and I really didn’t rate it. The exercises were the sort of thing you would find in any creative writing book and covered a range of writing genres, many of which I wasn’t really interested in - autobiography, article writing (including tasks such as writing an article about gardening - brilliant). I got so bored by the tasks that I left it for a couple of months then wrote to them asking if I could change the order of the tasks and change it to work on the sort of writing that interested in me, and I never heard back.

They are a legitimate enterprise, and you will get all the books they promise and a tutor who will mark and comment on your work, so it’s certainly not a scam and you may find it useful - but I didn’t think it was worth my money at all, and there was nothing in the books you couldn’t get anywhere else. I found an evening writing class over the course of a few weeks much more useful, as the fear of turning up with no work meant that you had to write something, and it had to be good enough so that you wouldn’t be embarrassed reading it out.

Also, TWB’s adverts annoy me - the large-type “Why not be a Writer?” Just like that. What about, “Why not be a classical pianist?” or “Why not be a brain surgeon?” or anything else that takes years of practise and training? The implication is that just because most people can write, anyone can be a “writer”. But maybe I’m just bitter about my own failures. :slight_smile:

All the best,


Cheers guys - appreciate the advice and it also made me laugh.


I appreciate that I am waaaay out of date with this thread but I just wondered if anyone has enrolled in the Bureau since. It was interesting to see what others thought of it, because I agree. I am doing it still and trying to get my moneys worth! I really don’t like the way these distance learning courses make themselves out to be amazing and I found that they have milked quite a lot of what they promised to bring you. For example I was told that you can ask your tutor anything, and that “most students gain friendships from their tutors even after the course is over”. Well I have asked my tutors questions which were left unanswered. Also, when they mark your work, it is very difficult to know how to correct it. I get told that my stories feel too rushed, and I agree with that. BUT they never give you advice to how you can solve this problem. Sooo most of the time, after I have written an essay and had it marked by a tutor, I am left with a lot of question marks. Like “OK… but what can I do about that?” It would be good if you could DISCUSS it with your tutor. But its not really open to discussion. They mark it, and thats that.
I wouldn’t rate it much. That being said, it is not a scam. They do what they promise but to be honest, as someone said before me, you could get their help and advice from a regular writing guide book

I have to give this a :slight_smile:

Eddy (I used to be a concert pianist, really!)

When I was starting out I got everything I needed from a 5-day Arvon Foundation course. I was lucky in having Michele Roberts as my tutor and in getting great encouragement to start a professional career at the end of the five days. Arvon are long-established and their residential courses cater for 16 students, with 2 tutors and plenty of one-to-one tuition. You can pick up a copy of their current programme in your local (UK) public library.


If you can commit and get it done then I suppose it is. Very helpful generally. But if you don’t complete the course within two years due to circumstances, then the guarantee of a refund isn’t honoured and you won’t get your money back if you don’t achieve anything.
It looks like you’ve got to get everything done within two years to get a refund.
If you are no good just submit everything within two years and you should get your refund - don’t leave it any later.