WHAT ARE THE DEADLINES?
Your submission must be received between 12:01 a.m. on October 1, 2020, and 11:59 p.m. on October 31, 2020, (US Eastern time zone). Entries received before or after the application window will be disqualified and deleted. This deadline is firm; applicants are encouraged to apply early in the month.
CAN I APPLY IF I LIVE OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES?
Yes! As long as you and your application items meet the other eligibility requirements, there’s no restriction. Please note that all submissions must, however, be written in English, and all applicants must be able to communicate easily in English. (Your manuscript may certainly contain words in other languages or be fully bilingual, but the primary narrative must be English.)
HOW ARE APPLICATIONS BEING EVALUATED?
A group of first-round judges will read through all applications submitted and select a pool of finalists based on eligibility and the overall quality of the materials received. Mentors will review the application packages for the finalists in their category and select a mentee based on merit, compatibility, and readiness/need for the mentorship as demonstrated in their manuscript and essays.
IS THERE AN AGE LIMIT?
There is not an age limit on applying, however, readiness for a professional mentorship and compatibility with a particular mentor are both consideration criteria. Applicants should display a certain level of maturity, commitment, and practice at their craft. Those who apply need to have completed at least one full book draft, a synopsis, and have a career biographical statement ready at the time of submission or they will be disqualified.
CAN I APPLY FOR MORE THAN ONE MENTORSHIP?
No, you may apply for only one of the four mentorship categories. If multiple applications are submitted by a single applicant, all submissions will be disqualified. Please think carefully about which mentors and/or category is most suitable for your work before submitting your application. If you have applied in the past but were not selected for the program, you are welcome to reapply with the same work or a different work. Past winning mentee participants are not eligible to apply.
IF THERE ARE MULTIPLE MEMBERS PER CATEGORY, HOW DO I KNOW WHO I’LL WORK WITH?
Please let us know if you’d like to work with a specific mentor in your application. While we can’t guarantee you’ll be matched with them if you’re selected, we will do our best to accommodate preferences. If you don’t have a particular mentor in mind, or you’d be glad to work with any of the mentors listed for your category, feel free to not include a preference.
I’M NOT A DIVERSE AUTHOR, BUT I’M WORKING ON A DIVERSE BOOK. AM I ELIGIBLE?
Yes. Mentorships are available to diverse writers or illustrators OR any writers or illustrators who submit a manuscript for children or teens featuring a diverse main character or diverse central subject matter. (See the WNDB™ mission statement page for our inclusive definition of “diverse”).
CAN I SUBMIT A MANUSCRIPT I COLLABORATED ON WITH ANOTHER AUTHOR?
Yes, but only one author or illustrator will be able to work with the mentor. This is because our mentorships are structured as one on one experiences. You’re more than welcome to relay any and all feedback to your co-author, but you will be the designated point person. Your bio and application letter should be personalized to you, although please state that it is a co-written manuscript when submitting.
DO I NEED TO HAVE A FINISHED MANUSCRIPT AT THE TIME OF ENTRY?
Yes. An entire draft of the book should be complete by the time of submission even though applicants send only the first 10 pages or sample chapters. (We also recognize that you may consider it still as a rough draft, or a work-in-progress to be revised, but it should be a completed draft.) Applicants also have to include a synopsis of the full story (which can’t accurately be written until after a full draft is complete). Our Mentors are giving generously of their time, and to honor their commitment they will be paired with writers who have put in the work necessary to demonstrate readiness for such an award. If you are writing a book-length work of YA Nonfiction (NF), have enough to complete the application requirements, and feel you’re far enough along with the project that the mentorship would help you, you may apply with several sample chapters and an outline. You should clearly address your project’s status in your email body to ensure the potential category mentor understands that the manuscript is unfinished. Note: If you are writing a fictional novel for middle grade or young adult, your manuscript draft needs to be finished by the date you apply for the program. No exceptions will be made.
I’M A PICTURE BOOK AUTHOR. MAY I SUBMIT MORE THAN ONE MANUSCRIPT?
No. Please choose what you think is your best eligible work (up to 2000 words; “Back Matter” for informational books does not count in the total word count). The first-round judges will select a pool of final applicants based on merit, and mentors will select a mentee from that pool based on merit, compatibility, and readiness/need for the mentorship as outlined in the essays. Remember that you must be a diverse writer or submit a manuscript about a diverse main character or topic. Please remember that this year, all picture books and “easy readers”—fiction, nonfiction, and educational geared primarily for kids under 10 years old—should be submitted to the Picture Book Text category.
Anyone (in any category) who submits more than one application or manuscript will be disqualified. Anyone who applies for more than one category will also be disqualified.
HOW OFTEN WILL I TALK WITH MY MENTOR?
The logistics and frequency of communication will be mutually agreed upon by you and your mentor after the selection process. Because we have chosen an award-winning and bestselling lineup of authors who are active in the industry, there will need to be flexibility on both the part of mentors and mentees, which is why the details of each mentorship will be individualized after being awarded. Most or all of the communication will be done through email or other mutually agreed upon forms of correspondence.
HOW MUCH WORK IS THE MENTORSHIP GOING TO BE?
The schedule and agenda of the mentorship will be mutually agreed upon by you and your mentor after the selection process, but you will only get out of it what you are willing to put into it. Please don’t apply if you can’t fully commit to the opportunity or if your schedule does not allow some flexibility.
IS THE MENTORSHIP A GUARANTEE THAT I’LL GET PUBLISHED?
No, of course not. The mentorship is an opportunity to work with a well-published member of our community, from whom you will receive individual support and feedback on a work-in-progress. Mentors will not be expected to provide referrals to agents, editors, or publishers. The focus of the mentorship is craft-based, with the opportunity to ask professional and business-related questions as they arise.
I WRITE SOME THINGS UNDER A PEN NAME. WHICH NAME SHOULD I USE TO APPLY?
Please use your real name on the portion of the application with contact information, and let us know what your pen name is in the proper field on the application form. No names or identifying information should be on your dummy/illustration file or the manuscript itself.
WHAT IF I’M ALREADY PUBLISHED AND/OR ALREADY HAVE AN AGENT AND/OR HAVE PREVIOUSLY SELF-PUBLISHED?
Regardless of your publishing history or agented status, you are eligible to apply. However, please think carefully about applying for an opportunity that you may not fully need and potentially taking away that opportunity from someone at an earlier stage, with fewer connections and supporters, who may need the mentorship. That said, if you honestly feel like you could get the maximum benefit from this type of mentorship program, we welcome your application regardless of whether you are already agented or published, but please address this issue openly in your essay. Also, your submitted manuscript must not have been previously published in any form, including self-published. This gives your mentor something in-progress to work on with you during the year.
WHO CAN I EMAIL IF I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?
Please email your questions to the WNDB Mentorship Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHERE IS THE LINK TO THE APPLICATION FORM?
HOW DO I FILL OUT THE APPLICATION FORM? HOW DO I GET AN AGENT?
We've put together primer videos that answer these questions!