Paying it forward.
2018 was a major year for me. Ten years after penning the first words of my first novel, I finally signed with a literary agency! It took months for me to accept that my dream had come true and to give myself permission to believe that I was a real, agented author.
I was also fortunate to be a finalist in two Romance Writers of America chapter competitions.
Another boost to the idea that I really am a writer.
While the accolades and the idea of legitimacy felt good, there is zero way to consider it a lone success. The key to my success in 2018 was the support I received from fellow writers. First, my mentor Diana A. Hicks in the PitchWars program, who guided me to the right tools, such as craft books and beat sheets, that got my manuscript from story to novel. Then, my critique partners, who gave me thoughtful feedback not just on my MS, but also on my pitches, synopses and comments from contest judges.
With all that I’ve gained from being a mentor, I needed to give some of that back. So I’ve been participating as a mentor in the following programs. They might be worthwhile for you, too.
(from the Savvy Authors website)
Based on Gia’s experience as a PitchWars mentee and Binders Mentor, we’re offering a program with in-depth, personalized coaching on craft (plot, pacing, GMC, etc.) and the overall “product” of the MS (sensitivity issues, marketability, story cohesion, etc.)
The mentorship includes two passes: the first a read-through of each MS including comments and suggestions. The second after any changes that have been made based on suggestions and discussions. Gia can also provide guidance on query letters and synopses based on the work we’ve done together.
(from the PitchWars website)
Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine for an agent showcase. The mentor also helps edit their mentee’s pitch for the contest and their query letter for submitting to agents.
2019 was another great year. One thing I was excited to do is pay forward the support I’ve received on my writing journey. That included volunteering to be a contest judge more often, and volunteering as a mentor for the Binders Mentorship Program, which pairs published and agented authors with emerging female and gender non-conforming writers.
Participating in a mentorship program was the key to signing with an agency and getting a book deal for me. It might not be the path for you. But if you’d like to give it a try, Savvy Authors, PitchWars and Binders are great places to start.