YES! It’s that time of year where we begin to build towards the summer 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 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 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.
We are interested in developing 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. We want the wonderful opportunity that is on offer from our brilliant volunteer mentors to be 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 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. We have found over the last few years that most mentor/mentee relationships become long-lasting and extend beyond the period, even if just in a friend/shoulder to cry on capacity!
We have concluded that 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 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 period: 1st May-31st August 2021
Agent Showcase: Friday 3rd-10th September 2021
What do I need to apply?
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.
Even if your 1st chapter is short, please only send this.
For Picture Books, please send the full text. Illustrations are not needed, but illustrator notes are fine.
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 (1 novel or text) per person.
You may apply to any 3 mentors.
Which mentors can I apply to?
A full list of our mentors is here, with hyperlinks (click on their name) to their blog post, expanding upon what they are offering and looking for.
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?
– a query letter (no need for salutations, Dear Mentor will suffice)
– 1st chapter (double-spaced)
– 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?
1 is fine. We have high application numbers and few PB mentors, so they will request more if they see promise in that first one, so send your best. 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 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 new 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).
Apply to be a mentor (closing date February 14th, 11.59pm):
Agents: register for the showcase below: