We’re excited that you’re interested in being mentored by a member of the Storymakers Guild. It’s awesome that you want to improve your craft and learn more about the nuts and bolts of being an author! We hope that this year is one of growth for you.
Before you apply to the program, we’d like to share with you our expectations and guidelines so you know what it is you’re getting into! If you ever have any questions or concerns about any aspect of the program that aren’t answered here, please contact the program directors at email@example.com. We are here to help you have a great experience!
General Expectations for Communication
This program lasts from the end of June to the next Storymakers Conference. The mentors are ready to commit to the entire time to help you. If you cannot commit to working on your writing for the full 11 months, please wait to apply for the program until you are ready.
Once you are paired with your mentor, please work with them to set up an initial introduction meeting. We recommend Zoom or other video call format, but you can meet over the phone or even on a chat program. Use whatever method you and your mentor are most comfortable with! It is much easier to get to know each other using a live communication format for the initial meeting, even if you’ll be communicating by email thereafter.
Here are some suggestions for what to establish in that first meeting:
- Frequency of communication (we recommend at least once a month, but every partnership will look different, so decide together what will work best based on your mutual goals and schedules)
- Your writing needs and goals
- What your mentor is willing/able to do to support you
- Schedules (for example, if you have a big life event in February, let your mentor know you won’t be giving material to them to read then. Or if it’s summer and you’ve got young kids at home from school, let them know you’ll need extra time to compensate.)
- Next planned contact time
We ask that you check in with your mentor at least once a month. This can be a simple check in (Here’s what I worked on this month, here’s some questions I have, etc), or it can be more involved, depending on what you and your mentor work out. If you and your mentor have set a deadline together (for example, you’ll have 50 pages for them to read and critique by October) and you realize you need to adjust the deadline, reach out sooner rather than later so your mentor can schedule around it.
Three Mentorship Tracks
Mentors are able to choose up to three tracks they feel qualified to mentor, while mentees will be limited to one track for their application. Here’s a quick overview of the three tracks so you can decide which one best suits your goals.
- Traditional Publishing Track: this track is for writers who have decided they want to either sign with a literary agent or small press, and have a specific work in mind that they are getting ready to query. They are looking for mentors who can help them craft a query letter, synopsis, and other submission materials, and give them advice on the submission process.
- Self-publishing Track: this is for writers who have decided they want to self-publish their books, and are looking for guidance at a variety of steps along the way. Some may have a particular book they are ready to publish that they’d like help with.
- Writer Development Track: this is for writers who haven’t decided which publishing track they want to take or may not be interested in publishing their work at this time. This track will focus on craft development. It’s for those who may be on their very first manuscript, or who may have more writing under their belt. Writers at any experience level can choose this track. The mentor and mentee will decide together which aspects of craft they want to focus on over the course of the mentoring year.
When you apply, you’ll submit up to 5 pages of your writing. Not all mentors will use a writing sample to make their choice, but we’d like to provide the option to those that want to. If you are applying for the Traditional Publishing track, please submit the first 5 pages from the work that you are looking to have published. For Self-publishing and Writer Development tracks, choose any 5 pages of your work.
General Mentorship Advice
Obviously, every mentor/mentee pairing is going to be different, with a range of needs and wants, but here are some basics:
- Be considerate of your mentor’s time. Authors are busy people! At the same time, though, you should feel like you can approach your mentor if a question comes up. Open communication is really important.
- Not all mentorships will hinge on the mentor reading a manuscript for their mentee. There may be some partnerships where advice, guidance, and encouragement are more valuable to the mentee than a manuscript critique. It’s important to be upfront with your mentor about what needs you have. Your mentor may not be able to fulfill all of those needs, so be prepared to prioritize with them.
Life happens! We know there may be a situation where someone has to drop out of the program.
- If you need to drop out of the program: Please contact us as soon as possible (firstname.lastname@example.org). We may be able to give the opportunity for mentorship to another writer.
- If your mentor needs to drop out: This is very rare, but can happen. Sometimes we’ll be able to find another mentor for you to work with. Otherwise, we do encourage you to apply again next year.
We’ve had a lot of success in past years, with many mentees reporting that they improved their skills and had found a new friend in their mentor. We are excited to offer the program again to help another crop of writers and hope that you’ll have a great year of writing!