The Editor-Writer Mentorship: promoting voices from the margins
 

What is the mentorship program?

The Editor-Writer Mentorship pairs upcoming writers from underrepresented groups* with experienced book publishing editors!

 

Our Editor Mentors provide substantive feedback to help raise a strong manuscript to its best position for submission to potential agents and editors. This is an opportunity to learn from the knowledge of experienced acquiring editors. This program is free of cost due to the generosity of our volunteer editors. 

 

Meet our 2021 Writer Mentees! 

Congratulations to all of our 2021 Mentees! (Click for full bios!):

stef.jpg

STEFANIE
FOSTER  BROWN

2021 Picture Book Mentee

2021-07-29 13_30_56.498+0100.jpg

SOPE
MARTINS

2021 Picture Book Mentee

Rehannah Azeeyah Khan Photo.jpg

REHANNAH AZEEYAH KHAN
2021 Middle Grade Fiction Mentee

YvetteYun.jpg

YVETTE YUN
2021 Young Adult Fiction Mentee

Mimi_Wong.jpg

MIMI WONG
2021 Adult Fiction Mentee

profile_HRINDETROY.jpeg

H'RINA DeTROY
2021 Adult Nonfiction Mentee

Meet our 2021 Editor Mentors 

For our 2021 program, The Word proudly partners with seven Mentor-Editors from Simon & Schuster (click for full bios!):

Deeba Zargarpur_photo.jpg

DEEBA ZARGARPUR

EDITOR

Books for Young Readers and Salaam Reads

2021 Picture Book Mentor

image001.jpg

CAITLYN DLOUHY

VICE PRESIDENT / PUBLISHER

Caitlyn Dlouhy Books / Atheneum Books for Young Readers

2021 Picture Book Mentor

AH Headshot.jpg

ALYSON HELLER

SENIOR EDITOR

Aladdin Books

2021 Middle Grade Fiction Mentor

(Co-mentoring with

Jessi Smith)

AH Headshot.jpg
JS Photo.jpg

JESSI 

SMITH

ASSOCIATE EDITOR

Aladdin Books

2021 Middle Grade Mentor

(Co-mentoring with Alyson Heller)

 
Kate Prosswimmer_headshot (1).jpg

KATE PROSSWIMMER

EDITOR

Margaret K. McElderry Books 

2021 Young Adult Fiction Mentor

Lashanda-Anakwah (1).jpg

LASHANDA ANAKWAH

ASSISTANT EDITOR

Simon & Schuster

2021 Adult Fiction Mentor

(Mentoring in Commercial upmarket/Literary fiction)

IMG_1858.jpeg

SALLY HOWE

EDITOR

Scribner

2021 Adult Nonfiction Mentor

(Mentoring in

Memoir, Narrative nonfiction, and General nonfiction

**read full bio for specific interests)

 

2021 Program Details 

Application deadline

Applications for our 2021 program are being accepted April 5, 2021 (8:00am US Central Standard Time) through April 30, 2021 (11:59pm US Central Standard Time).

Eligibility

Aspiring or upcoming writers from underrepresented groups (see explanation below) with a completed, unpublished manuscript in the picture book, middle grade, young adult, adult fiction, or nonfiction* categories may apply. Applicants may apply in only one category.

*For memoir nonfiction projects a complete manuscript is required. For other nonfiction, a complete proposal with sample pages is required.

How to apply

Download the full application instructions.

Remember to follow all formatting requirements when you apply! 

Take a look at this example email and submission attachment to double check yourself.

More about underrepresented voices

How do we focus our search for underrepresented voices? We promote the inclusive representation of experiences in literature, including a diversity of experiences based on: racial, cultural, ethnic, or religious identity; gender identity; sexual orientation; physical, cognitive, or emotional disability; socioeconomic adversity; and personal experiences of adversity or injustice. 

 

*We recognize that personal experiences of adversity occur in many forms and we believe that the impact of each must be respected. To guide the use of our resources, we focus on experiences that lack representation in literature, based on our best knowledge and research. 

Additional program information

Mentors and mentees will determine their contact schedules and frequency based on the needs of both parties. All mentors and mentees will be provided guidelines and resources to help promote productive working relationships. The mentorship relationship does not guarantee publication of any completed work and mentors are not expected to provide any referrals to acquiring agents, editors or others. The program’s goal is to support the development of the mentee writer’s work.

Mentors and mentees will have a minimum of two meetings over a 6-9 month mentorship relationship. Feedback may be written or oral, as is determined by each volunteer editor. Additional meetings and feedback will be determined by each mentor/mentee pair, based on the volunteer editor's availability and the needs of the mentee. 

FAQs

Is this opportunity only for #ownvoices submissions?

 

We recognize that the perspectives of individuals from marginalized backgrounds will influence their works in a variety of ways. We further recognize that identity is a complex question. We therefore do not have any subject-matter limitations for this opportunity.

 

I’ve read the explanation of “underrepresented voices” but I’m still not sure if my background fits within the underrepresented category. Should I submit?

 

Our mentorship is focused on providing support for individuals whose background has proved a challenge to their writing path and entry into the publishing space, as well as focused on stories that are underrepresented among published books. We ask that you consider whether your your identity and background have offered challenges on your writing path, and whether you think that your work will contribute to our mission to achieve greater inclusivity among those groups that have been regularly marginalized. If based on those considerations you believe that your work is the right fit for this program, we welcome your submission. 

 

Is this opportunity open to agented writers or writers who have been previously published?

 

We don’t require that a writer be unpublished or unagented. Given the high volume of interest and need, we do ask all writers to consider whether you are truly in need of this opportunity. 

 

The manuscript for which you are seeking feedback must be unpublished. 

Can I submit to more than one category? 

 

Applicants may only submit one manuscript for consideration per application year. Applicants should not submit multiple manuscripts, even if in different categories.

 

Does my manuscript have to be complete for me to apply? 

 

Yes, your manuscript must be complete. If you are chosen as a finalist, you will be required to submit your complete manuscript for the Editor-Mentors to evaluate and chose their mentee. This mentorship program is meant for authors who are looking to prepare a manuscript for agent or editor submissions, which requires a completed piece of work. 

For nonfiction applicants, memoir applicants must have a completed manuscript. For other narrative and general nonfiction, if your work will be submitted on proposal rather than via a completed manuscript you may apply so long as you have a complete proposal, with sample pages. If you have a completed manuscript for a narrative or general nonfiction book, you may apply for mentorship on the completed manuscript.

 

For picture books: What if my manuscript is less than 10 pages? 

 

You should submit your entire manuscript in your initial application materials if it is less than 10 pages.

 

For picture books: Should my manuscript include directions on page breaks and art direction? 

 

As long as your manuscript does not exceed 10 pages, and meets all other formatting requirements listed in the application instructions, it can be formatted in whatever way you feel best communicates your vision.  

 

For nonfiction that will be submitted on proposal: What do I include for my manuscript sample?

 

Include the first ten (10) pages of your sample pages. Do not include any other portion of your proposal with your initial application.

For my pitch, should I include comp titles? 

 

Write your pitch in whatever way you think will best represent your manuscript. What you choose to include is up to you as long as it does not exceed the word limit set in the application instructions. 

 

Can non-US citizens or non-US residents (international applicants) apply?

 

You are welcometo apply for our mentorship program regardless of your location. Keep in mind that all of our editors are located in the US, and so if you are chosen as a mentee, when it comes to scheduling times to chat, meet, and do critiques, you'll have to be a lot more flexible with their schedules. But if that's not a problem, then please apply!

 

Can co-authors submit?

 

We unfortunately can only accept submissions for one writer mentee.

 

The Editor-Writer Mentorship in the news!

Read more about the mentorship and what it has mean to our past mentees over at Publisher's Weekly!

Screenshot_2020-03-30 Literary Organizat
 

Past Mentors

J.Anderson_Photo.png

JESSICA ANDERSON

ASSOCIATE EDITOR

Henry Holt Books for Young Readers (Macmillan Children's)

2020 Picture Book Mentor

KMHeadshot-copy.png

KATE MELTZER

EDITOR

Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan Children's)

2020 Picture Book Mentor

TiffanyLiao.jpg

TIFFANY LIAO

SENIOR EDITOR

Henry Holt Books for Young Readers (Macmillan Children's)

2020 Middle Grade Fiction Mentor

Brian-head-shot.png

BRIAN GEFFEN

EDITOR

Henry Holt Books for Young Readers (Macmillan Children's)

2020 Young Adult Fiction Mentor

Headshot_Sylvan-Creekmore.png

SYLVAN CREEKMORE

ASSOCIATE EDITOR

St. Martin's Press (Macmillan)

2020 Adult Fiction 

Mentor

(commercial/romcom/

literary/fantasy/

historical)

Main-Website-Pic-AS.png

ANDREA SPOONER

Little Brown Books for Young Readers

2019 Picture Book Mentor

Main-Website-Pic-AL.png

ALVINA LING

Little Brown Books for Young Readers

2019 Middle Grade Fiction Mentor

Main-Website-Pic-NG.png

NIKKI GARCIA

Little Brown Books for Young Readers

2019 Young Adult Fiction Mentor

Main-Website-Pic-AO.png

AMBER OLIVER

Harper/Harper Perennial

2019 Adult Fiction Mentor

Andrea.png

ANDREA DAVIS PINKNEY

Scholastic

2018 Middle Grade Fiction Mentor

Taylor.png

TAYLOR NORMAN

Chronicle Books

2018 Young Adult Fiction Mentor

Nan.png

NAN GATEWOOD SATTER

Independent Book Editor

2018 Adult Fiction Mentor

Past Mentees

Alyssa pic.jpg

ALYSSA

REYNOSO-MORRIS

2020 Picture Book Mentee

Celia Author photo.jpg

CELIA 

VIRAMONTES

2020 Picture Book Mentee

SaraK.jpg

SARA 

KAPADIA

2020 Middle Grade Fiction Mentee

Swetha S - Picture.jpg

SWETHA S.

2020 Young Adult Fiction Mentee

Paulino_Jeanne_NURJ_Headshot.jpg

JEANNE PAULINO

2020 Adult Fiction 

Mentee

Denise headshot.jpg

DENISE ADUSEI

2019 Picture Book Mentee

MG MENTEE Dionna L Mann.jpg

DIONNA L. MANN

2019 Middle Grade Fiction Mentee

Rosario Martinez_profile.JPG

ROSARIO

MARTINEZ

2019 Young Adult Fiction Mentee

SamuelBWPrint-101.jpg

SAMUEL KÓLÁWOLÉ

2019 Adult Fiction Mentee

NJB pic.jpg

NADINE JOHNSON

2018 Middle Grade Fiction Mentee

MS pic.JPG

MALEEHA SIDDIQUI

2018 Young Adult Fiction Mentee

Maria Ramos Chertok.jpg

MARIA RAMOS CHERTOK

2019 Adult Fiction Mentee