WriteMentor Summer Mentoring Programme 2021
If you’re applying, watch/listen to this first:
Summer Programme Special – Hints/Tips and FAQs – WriteCast – Between the Pages
Then come along and ask our mentors anything (well, almost anything!):
MG: Monday 12th April 8-9pm
YA: Tuesday 13th April 7-8pm
CB: Wednesday 14th April 7-8pm
PB: Wednesday 14th April 8-9pm
Ask your potential mentor questions using the hashtag #WriteMentor (All times are in BST)
YES! It’s that time of year where we begin to build towards the summer mentoring programme, although in truth organisation for that started for me back in October!
We have some developments this year, and to acknowledge the vast growth of the mentoring programme, we’ve got a small group of volunteers to form a committee to help organise things this year.
One voice is unable to reflect the full diversity of our writing community and for that reason, while still being the primary weight-bearer of the programme, we have a great group of people to help out this time.
Please note, we are now accepting applications from those would like to mentor this summer (form at the bottom of this page).
If you are new to WriteMentor, our summer mentoring programme is an application-based mentorship that you can apply for if you have a completed PB, CB, MG or YA manuscript that you’d like to develop with the intention of improving craft. It takes place over 4 months in the summer, but applications are invited in April. See below for a full outline of the dates and timescale.
Please note, that if your goal is simply to ‘get into the programme’, so you can take part in our agent showcase, we very politely suggest that this is not the programme for you.
The aim is to develop the mentee’s work and helping them onto the next step of their career, and helping writers who wish to work very hard and elevate their craft. The hope is that this wonderful opportunity on offer from our brilliant volunteer mentors is fully embraced.
We want to help writers who have worked hard and developed their craft to the very best of their abilities, and feel like they are on the cusp, and just need that extra bit of help to get them onto the next step.
If that sounds like you, then please do apply.
Changes – for mentors and mentees to read and be fully aware of in advance
We discussed at length the issue of fulls and partials etc for the mentoring period. It can get confusing, and it can mean very different experiences for mentees over the 4 months. There were differing views on this.
But, we’ve decided on the following changes.
There will be the main, normal mentoring programme for those wanting to receive a full manuscript developmental edit. Mentors will read your full manuscript and give you a report on the relative areas of strength and areas for development (this is the minimum obligation and we will not ask mentors to re-read revised manuscripts, though they are welcome to). All mentees will be welcome to submit their manuscript for the agent showcase, if they feel they are ready – but as always, this is completely optional.
We have to balance the workload for our volunteer mentors with making sure mentees get similar (as possible) experiences.
Picture Book mentors will work with you on a minimum of 3 texts over the 4 months, to ensure you have 3 stories in very good shape for submitting to agents later.
Anything offered in addition to this, by the mentors is done so completely at their own will. Over the last few years we have found that most mentor/mentee relationships become long-lasting and extend beyond the period, even if just in a friend/shoulder to cry on capacity!
The partial/submission package option won’t be offered this year. We may offer a submission package draw at a later date, but we feel this brings greater clarity to what we are offering and simplifies the programme, which has become unwieldy and confusing, even for those involved.
We will also be formalising talks for the mentees in this years mentoring programme. Last year, the lovely Daphne Dador was very enthusiastic and kicked-off several chats for the mentees with various people, from myself to former mentees, and this worked very well – again a strength of the programme having multiple voices contributing. She and George will arrange a similar set of talks for the mentees on Slack this year. If selected, look out for these.
Mentor applications: 4th January – 14th February 2021 (see bottom of page)
Agent registration: open until Thursday 2nd September (please complete the quick form here to register).
Mentor chats on Twitter: 12-14th April 2021
Mentee application window open: 15-16th April 2021
Mentor-Mentee announcement: 30th April 2021
Mentoring programme period: 1st May-31st August 2021
Agent Showcase: Friday 3rd-10th September 2021
What do I need to apply to the summer mentoring programme?
Novelists (CB, MG, YA)
You will need to have a completed manuscript.
You will need to send us a query letter, 1st chapter (double-spaced, 12″ TNR), and 1-page synopsis (single-spaced) along with your application, so ensure these are as good as they can be. Please put those into one document to be uploaded with your application form. The first chapter should be no more than 3,000 words. If you’re first chapter exceeds 3,000 words, then stop at a suitable point before 3000.
Even if your 1st chapter is short, please only send this.
For Picture Books, please send 3 texts. Illustrations are not needed, but illustrator notes are fine.
(double-spaced, 12″ TNR)
Include a query letter (you can include a pitch for each of your 3 texts) and 3 texts in one document.
You can apply to 3 mentors. So be sure to research them thoroughly and chat to them during our Twitter Mentor chat week, starting 8th April.
It is 1 application per person.
I live in the US and I see you are based in the UK. Can I apply?
Yes, we are open internationally to any writer, who writes in English. Many of our mentors are from the US and around the world. Fortunately, I’m the only Scot involved!
How much does it cost to apply?
This is a voluntary programme, so there is no fee to apply or participate.
Can I apply to the summer mentoring programme if I am published or agented?
I’m afraid not. This is for unpublished and unagented writers only. Self-published authors may apply, but not with the self-published manuscript. You are still eligible if you contribute to an anthology, or have authored non-fiction/educational books (but you must still be unagented).
Which mentors can I apply to?
A full list of our mentors is here, with tabs below expanding upon what they are offering and looking for.
Can I apply to a mentor if I know them?
No, we have clear rules that the mentor should not be in a critique group, or edited for, or know the applicant and their work well, as this would be a continuation of a previous writing relationship. We want to form new ones. If you do apply to a mentor with whom you’ve worked before, or know well (Twitter following is fine, for example), then we’d expect the mentor to not consider your application. This is all done on a trust basis and we know that no-one in our community would take advantage.
How many mentors can I apply to?
3 – this is fixed, spreads the applications, and ensures that no single mentor is overwhelmed with the number of applications.
I am a former mentee – can I apply again?
You can, but not to the same mentor with the same manuscript that you were chosen for previously.
What do I need when I apply if I am a novelist?
– a query letter (no need for salutations, Dear Mentor will suffice)
– 1st chapter (double-spaced) (max 3000 words)
– synopsis (single-spaced, 1 page) in one document, 12″, plain font.
Plus the answer to this question: Why have you applied to WriteMentor?
If I am to apply for PB, should I send more than 1 text?
Yes, please send 3 texts as you will be working on 3 this summer with your mentor. A PB synopsis does not need to be a page, but a short summary.
Where will the form be?
On this page – we will also post it directly onto Twitter to save you visiting the website, however we suggest you research and look at the mentors over there, as well as the dates etc before applying.
Does my manuscript have to be complete?
Yes. This is non-negotiable – we want to spend the time mentoring you rather than waiting for you to finish a first draft. If it’s not perfect, that’s okay, but it must be complete.
What if I don’t get on with my mentor?
This would be very rare, but if it does happen, you can always email Stuart or the Mentee Care reps to discuss any issues, in confidence if you wish. We understand personalities and styles can clash. We will be as amicable about solving that as possible.
Do I have to take part in the agent showcase?
No, this is your choice at the end of the summer. Every year a couple of writers don’t feel ready and opt out. No pressure. This is about more than just the showcase, it’s about your long term development as a writer.
What happens if I have queried agents and have queries out?
If you get an offer of rep, email or DM us to let us know and we’ll remove your application. Otherwise, don’t worry. We do suggest putting a hold on querying if successful, but would never dictate.
I have already been rejected by most of the agents in the showcase – should I apply?
Our programme is about more than just signing with an agent and improving 1 ms. It’s about improving craft, developing a close writing relationship with someone who can trust going forward and being part of a wider community of like-minded people and writers. I hope that everyone who’s been in the programme feels like WM will always be there for them, whatever the result. We are looking at the long-term as well as the short-term for the writers we work with.
Can I enter other contests/awards?
Of course – however, we do ask if you are accepted that you focus on the programme over the summer and if you enter other awards please check their rules, which might be stricter than ours.
When will I find out if I am successful?
30th April, 5pm (BST) we will announce all the pairings on our website. We will post a link via this account.
What should I do after I apply, while I’m waiting?
Ideally not watch your inbox, if possible. Work on your ms, work on your next novel, work on something not writing-related. Whatever you can to switch off. Send and forget (until 30th).
Will mentors be in touch to request more material?
Possibly – especially those who are mentoring a full manuscript – they are likely to need more to decide. They may also ask you some further questions to determine compatability and if they can actually help.
What if I am unsuccessful?
Unfortunately, applicant numbers will exceed the numbers of writers we can mentor (about 50), so we can’t help everyone. But we are running a pitch event on 1st May to help with the disappointment/hangover.
What is #WMPitch?
It is a 1 day, Twitter pitch event (similar to the many out there) but focussed on children’s fiction, from PB to YA. Many of our showcase agents will come online and like pitches they’d like to read more from. They will pin a tweet with their instructions.
We will post more information about this event, after the application window closes. Hopefully this will give you a distraction during the 2 week wait and you can focus on your pitch (as well as other things).
The application form for applying to be a mentee will appear below once the application window opens on 15th April.
Our mentor list is here.
Agents: register for the showcase below: