2022 WriteMentor Summer Mentoring Programme
A four-month free summer mentoring programme that matches published authors with children’s fiction writers, accumulating in an agent showcase
If you are new to WriteMentor, our summer mentoring programme is an application-based mentorship scheme for children’s writers that takes place over 4 months of summer, accumulating in an agent showcase. Our mentors are authors who volunteer their time to give back to the writing community.
Improve writing craft via mentoring
Applications are open in April to writers who have a completed a Picture Book, Chapter Book, Middle Grade or Young Adult manuscript that you’d like to develop with the intention of improving craft.
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 so they can reach the next step of their writing career. 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.
Receive a full manuscript edit
There will be the main 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!
Mentor applications: 10th January – 14th February 2022
Agent registration: open until Thursday 1st September (please complete the quick form here to register).
Mentor chats on Twitter: 4-6th April 2022
Mentee application window open: 7th-8th April 2022
Mentor-Mentee announcement: 28th April 2022
Mentoring programme period: 1st May-31st August 2022
Agent Showcase: Friday 2nd-9th September 2022
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, manuscript (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.
Picture Book writers
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 4th April.
- It is 1 application per person.
- The single document you upload can be in Word or PDF format.
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 will be posted once they are selected, 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)
– complete manuscript (double-spaced, plain font, 12″)
– synopsis (single-spaced, 1 page) in one document, 12″, plain font.
Plus the answer to this question: Why have you applied to WriteMentor? There is no word limit to the answer, but be sensible – if this answer exceeds the length of your manuscript, it’s probably too long! 🙂
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?
28th 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?
Assume you have been unsuccessful and behave as though you need to take the next step, whatever that is for you. Work on your ms, work on your next novel, work on something not writing-related. Whatever you can to switch off. Send and forget.
Will mentors be in touch to request more material?
We are asking for the full manuscript up front this year. This will mean there is no need to wait for an email to request more. We know this will help reduce anxiety for everyone involved as you can simply forget about the application until the announcement.
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 after the announcements 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).
Stuart also did a podcast/video last year to do over the main elements involved in the programme – you can listen to that below.
Hear from past mentees…
“Having seasoned writers generously offering their time and expertise to unknown and struggling writers from anywhere in the world is such a gift to the writing community.”
Lynn Grace Wong
“One day, I hope to pass along the wisdom that I have learned from this stellar program to somebody else. Paying it forward is very important to me as a human being.”
Richard B. Knight
“Mentoring also teaches you how to accept criticism about your work, which is crucial if you want to progress to working with agents or editors.”
“Maybe I would have been published eventually, but I really believe working with KC through the WriteMentor experience sped the process along by literal years.“
“By the end, not only was I a stronger writer, but a more keen editor, which is probably more important when it comes to polishing my work.”
“The honesty with which the mentors and other mentees shared their experiences of signing with agents and/or publishers gave me the resilience to dust myself off and write something new.”
“I’d never worked with someone so closely on my writing before and I loved receiving feedback at every stage of the process.”
“Mentors are best placed to help you with your writing journey – they’ve been there and are still working at it too. To have a professional writer cheering on your manuscript, believing you have an important story to tell…well, in those early drafts that means EVERYTHING. It might even be the genuine crock of gold.”
“My advice to future mentees would be to go into the process with an open mind. Expect to make big changes. Don’t be too defensive or protective of your book – you can’t break it, and there’s nothing to stop you changing things back if they don’t work. That doesn’t mean you have to take every suggestion – just really consider everything thoroughly.”
“I’ve also become part of a brilliant online community and found some good friends and trusted critique partners because of this process.”