So, You Want to Enter a Mentorship Program, Part 1: The Programs

As a 2021 Pitch Wars (PW) mentee, and a mentee hopeful in multiple programs over the past two years, I have some thoughts I want to share with other mentorship hopefuls. Especially now that I’m on the side of the application process and currently being mentored.

But first, a gentle reminder: There are many paths to publishing. A mentorship might be yours. It might not. But that’s okay. I promise, it’s okay. There are plenty of writers who applied to programs and were rejected only to get their agent and publishing deal through cold querying (including my PW mentor!). And just because you get into one of the programs, does not guarantee you an agent or publishing deal.

Again, being in a mentorship program DOES NOT GUARANTEE agent and a publishing deal. This is something that I’m constantly reminding myself on my PW journey. There are PW mentees from past years that get agents and deals. But there’s also plenty who don’t get agents. Or if they do, it’s with their next project. Or they get agented, but their PW manuscript (MS) has no luck on subs, but their next project does. And there are some mentees who never get an agent, but decide to self-publish. There are many paths to publishing and a mentorship program is one of the many. It’s less of the Fast Pass (RIP) at Disney World, and more of the single-rider line. It might get you on the publishing ride sooner than waiting in the regular line, but does not guarantee you a faster wait time.

Finally, please remember that this is just MY journey, and other mentee experiences may vary. I do not speak for every mentee, mentor, Pitch Wars, or their board. Also, please do your research and vet ANY opportunity you think about applying to, to ensure they’re legit.

Why Should You Consider A Mentorship Program?

If you haven’t given thought to applying for a writing mentorship program, there’s a few reasons why you should. If you’re new to the writing community and querying process, a mentorship program might be just the thing you need. If you’ve had no luck querying and have gone through several rounds already with a beta reader or Critique Partner (CP) an agented/published author/editor might see something new and give helpful advice. If you’re afraid that your MS isn’t quite ready for the query trenches but don’t know where to start, a program might be for you.

Reasons to apply for a mentorship programs are numerous and varied. It can also be nerve-wracking to send your MS off to somebody else, especially a program you’ve never heard of before. All the ones I’m including here are either ones I’ve applied to in the past or would apply to if I met their requirements, but always research before submitting. All information was taken from information available their websites or Twitter. Below is a Google spreadsheet which contains a list of all the programs.

Link to Unagented Mentorship Programs Google Doc

The Programs (as of January 2022):

Pitch Wars (PW)

Program Date: usually opens in Fall/September

Open to: Middle Grade (MG), Young Adult (YA), Adult (A)

Timeline: 3 months

Mentors: Agented/Published Authors, Industry Professionals

Site: http://pitchwars.org/new-start-here/

Provides: Two passes at MS and query letter, agent showcase

Location: United States of America (USA), Central timezone, open to international writers

Details: The granddaddy and perhaps the most well-known of all mentorship programs as it was first started in 2012. They’re also the ones who started the #PitMad contests on Twitter. Once a year agented/published authors apply to be authors. IF approved, they post their wishlists, mentor style, etc. When the submission window opens up (usually in September) aspiring authors with COMPLETE MSs submit their query, synopsis and first 10 pages/chapter to four possible mentors. The mentors then have about a month to go through subs, request more (usually fulls) before deciding on a mentee. Then there’s roughly a three month period for revisions until the agent showcase in February in which mentees post pitches for their MSs and the first couple hundred words for agents to look at. Agent requests are hidden until the showcase is over at which time the mentees are free to submit their requested materials to the agents.

Again, being in PW does not guarantee an agent. A mentee could be the darling of the PW showcase, but end up with no final offers. They could also have 0 requests during showcase, and still get an agent from cold querying. Mentees are also advised to research and vet all agents and don’t have to submit to an agent who requests.

The agent showcase might be the big shiny trophy that attracts you to PW, but honestly it’s not the most important part of it. What is important is making writing friends, learning new craft, and just pushing yourself and your MS to the next level.

Author Mentor Match (AMM)

Program Date: Opens January 12, 2022

Open to: MG, YA, A

Mentors: Agented/Published Authors

Timeline: Flexible

Site: https://authormentormatch.com/how-it-works/

Provides: 1 full MS pass, 1 query pass

Location: USA, open to international writers

Details: The second oldest of the programs listed, started in 2016. It’s similar to PW with featuring agented/published authors as mentors and the submission process. The major difference is that there’s no agent showcase or final time. If you need a more flexible revision schedule, AMM might be better for you.

RevPit

Program Date: Opens March 17, 2022

Open to: MG, YA, A

Mentors: Editors

Timeline: 2 months

Site: https://reviseresub.com/

Provides: Editor pass at MS, agent showcase

Location: USA, Eastern timezone, open to international writers

Details: Similar to PW in that it has an agent showcase, but usually a tighter revision deadline, roughly two months. It’s unique in that it’s one of the few mentorship programs that features editors as mentors instead of authors. Some of the editors are writers or agents on their own, while some are only editors.

The next round should be interesting as they’re changing a lot about the submission process. To make it more accessible to writers, especially those who live internationally, they’ll no longer be any editor caps as some editors were maxing out with their submissions after only a few hours. They’re also requiring the full manuscript, meaning there will not be any contact between editors and potential mentees until the announcements are made. There’s a few other changes too, so I suggest visiting the official site for more information.

In the past, RevPit has offered Camp RevPit (think Camp NaNo) or RevPit #10queries event on Twitter in which writers can submit for a free chance at having their query and first five pages critiqued anonymously by one of the RevPit editors. Usually the events are a good way to learn the basics of a good query letter and opening pages, but I’ve seen some questionable takes over the years, so your mileage may vary.

Here’s the lessons learned post from my first attempt at RevPit if you wish to know more.

Write Mentor (WM)

Program Date: Most likely March/April 2022

Open to: Picture Book (PB), Chapter Book (CB), MG, YA,

Mentors: Agented/Published Authors

Timeline: 4 months

Site: https://write-mentor.com/2021-writementor-summer-programme/

Provides: Full developmental edit, agent showcase

Location: United Kingdom, British Standard Time, open to international writers

Details: Similar to Pitch Wars, AMM, and RevPit. You apply to be mentored by agented/published authors with an agent showcase in four months. However, it focuses more on younger age groups such as CB, PB, MG, and YA. It’s based in the UK, and all submission times are BST.

Write Mentor also offers a number of different programs and classes, some of which you have to pay for, but scholarships are available.

Authors of Colour (AOC)

Program Date: Most likely August/September 2022

Open to: MG, YA, A

Mentors: Agented/Published Authors

Timeline: Open

Site: https://www.avengersofcolour.com/

Provides: Query Package: 30 pages, query letter, synopsis, pitches, industry advice

Location: Open to international writers

Details: This is different than the previous programs for two major reasons. The first is that it’s open to authors of color ONLY. Hence the name. The second is that it only critiques submission packages– query letter, first 30 pages, synopsis, and pitches.

I’ve never applied, but I have heard of good experience with the program.

Write Team Membership

Program Date: January 1, 2022 – March 31, 2022

Open to: PB, MG, YA, NA, A

Mentors: Agented/Published Authors, former mentorship program mentees, industry professionals

Timeline: 3 months

Site: https://www.writeteammentors.com/open-inbox

Provides: Answers to writing questions, query package critiques for BIPOC

Location: USA, Eastern, open to international writers

Details: This is a fairly newish one. It originally popped up in December 2020 in which writers could enter a lottery. The lucky few chosen would get a chance to pitch their MS to agented/published mentors to revise and no agent showcase. Think of it as applying to AMM #PitMad style.

For 2022 they’re changing it to having in-house mentors who will answer writing/industry questions from January 1, 2022 – March 30th, 2022. BIPOC authors can request a chance for query package critiques.

Rogue Mentor

Program Date: Varies

Open to: Varies by mentor

Mentors: Agented/Trad-Published/Self-Published authors

Timeline: Varies by mentor

Site: https://www.roguementors.com/for-mentors

Provides: Varies by mentor

Location: USA, Open to international writers

Details: This one is the newest mentorship program, created after an AMM hopeful mentor didn’t get in, and discussed going ‘rogue’. Since then more mentors have gone ‘rogue’ and an official site has been created. Rogue Mentor is similar to AMM in that it has a flexible revision schedule with no agent showcase, but what’s offered varies by mentor. Affiliated agented/published authors can sign up to be mentors to aspiring authors. It’s not responsible for unaffiliated mentors who decide to ‘go rogue’ on own so check out the site before submitting to authors calling themselves ‘rogue mentors’.

Honorable Mentions

These are other writing programs which might be of interest, but not exactly like the other mentorship programs listed above. Links to the mentioned sites are in the names.

Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency (and other similar programs)

Madeline Milburn Literary Agency is a well-known agency in the UK and for the past two years they’ve had a mentorship program open to writers regardless of where they live in the world. I applied the first year and obviously didn’t get in, but what was attractive was the fact you didn’t need a completed MS, just a synopsis and outline of the story.

I’ve seen a few other agencies offer similar programs/submission process over the years that seem legit. Always do your research before submitting to such a program, but it could be the program just for you.

DV Debuts

This one is for DV (diverse voices only) debuts only, meaning, you already have a publication date. Debuts are paired with DV authors who help them navigate their debut year and beyond. The program itself debuted in 2021 and occurred from June 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021, and presumably will be available in 2022.

Team Optimism

Not really a mentorship program, but a good website/newsletter to follow if you’re down with your writing or have mentorship/rejection fatigue from applying to mentorship programs or querying agents only to keep being rejected. Rejection can always sting, and easily turn into Imposter Syndrome. Being sent happy and optimistic thoughts on a regular basis or being encouraged to reach out and try again can help with the reject. Team Optimism has occasionally offered positivity passes, where you get nothing but positive feedback on your first few pages letting you know what you’re doing well.

Writer in Motion

I’ve discussed Writer in Motion before, having participated in 2020. Writer in Motion is a program where participants get a picture as a writing prompt and then have to write a 1,000 word story based on the prompt. They spend roughly a month documenting their piece and writing journey from initial thoughts and draft, to a self-edit, peer-edit, and finally editor-edited versions. It’s a great program to get you out of a writing slump, make new writing friends, learn some writing skills, and get to have a short story edited by an actual editor.

That’s it for this post. Next one will cover how to choose the right program and mentor for you.

2 thoughts on “So, You Want to Enter a Mentorship Program, Part 1: The Programs

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s