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Calendar of upcoming events

25th November: #WMChat with Amy McCaw
1st December: WriteMentor Children's Novel and Picture Book Awards open
9th December: #WMChat with Lauren James
4th January: Maz Evans (MG) and Lauren James (YA) course start dates
4th January: WriteMentor Community Learning Hub opens
31st January: WriteMentor Children's Novel and Picture Book Awards close

Scholarship Opportunity


Aisha Bushby will be mentoring one author of colour for free, on a rolling basis. 

To apply to this round please send the following by Monday 30th November 2020. 

– A sample of writing (up to 3,000 words).

– A summary of the story you want help with. 

– A brief explanation of where you are on your writing journey and what you hope to achieve. 

Aisha will offer:

– A monthly report on between 5,000 – 10,000 words, for six months starting January 2021. 

– A Q&A follow-up to each report.

– Help with planning and editing throughout the process.

– Support while submitting to agents.

How to apply:

Complete the form via this link:

Online Courses

We have a new page for all our online courses! 

We hope it's much easier to navigate now. Read below to see how you can be the very first to sign up for newly published courses.
12 week courses with Lauren James (YA)
Places are available on a first come, first serve basis, so sign up now (by paying a £60 deposit) to secure your place for January 2021. Be quick, we sold out quickly last time.

The groups are smaller this time, to give you and your manuscript even more attention!

And remember, as well as incredible tutoring, feedback and insight from Lauren, we also offer feedback on your submission package from a top agent - click on the links above to find out more!

Start date: 4th January 2021

WriteMentor Children's Novel
and Picture Book Awards

Our awards open for entries in just 2 weeks time!

In the build up to the awards opening, we share with you some of previous successful entrants, winners and judges best pieces of advice:

PB AWARD Winner SOPHIA PAYNE: my WMCNA experience

Interview with 2021 Picture Book Award Judges Justine Smith and Paul Moreton

How to win the #WriteMentor Children’s Novel Award by Alexandra Page

How to almost win a novel competition by Kathryn FOXFIELD

4 reasons to enter a novel competition (even if you’re not planning to win)

Five tips for winning the Write Mentor Children’s Novel Award 2021


Read more details about the award, including the judges, prizes and key dates here.

WriteMentor Community Learning Hub

We have exciting news for all of you!

Starting from the 4th January, we’re launching our brand new WriteMentor Community Learning Hub, which is a monthly subscription course/community/learning platform and it comes with so many benefits, both in the short and long term for your writing.

Read more here.

Other Opportunities

Spark Mentoring

Spark Mentoring is always available if you need extra help or support each month. We have made the Spark mentoring package even better by including access to our 12 month novel course and the self-editing course with Kesia Lupo for all Spark mentees - do contact me if you wish to access either of these and are a current spark mentee. If you wish to sign, hit the link above for all the details.

We have introduced a couple of new mentors in recent months to give those signing up, a wider range of authors to choose from and increase likelihood of compatibility. All their profiles can be found on the website.
We welcome Melinda Salisbury, Yasmin Rahman, Alex Sheppard and Aisha Bushby.
All our mentors would be delighted to work with you!

Spark mentor Emma Read has offered to give ongoing free critiques to BAME writers - one free package per month of synopsis and 1st page.
Sign up here and she will work through the list, at a rate of 1 a month, so the quicker you sign up, the quicker you'll get some feedback.
The latest edition of the magazine was released on 7th August!

Kit de Waal | Joseph Elliott | Emma Perry | Marisa Noelle | Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez | Jasmine Richards | J.R. Ford | Ian Johnson | Fiona Barker | Anna Moutran | The Honest Writer

Find out about...writing Young Adult fiction...publishing your first as a literary agent...representation in publishing...writing picture books...self-publishing...overcoming writer's read competition-winning short stories and flash fiction, and our celebration corner - featuring you!

Final word from ...

Kari Veenstra

Small Press, Big Opportunity

Publishing is often viewed as a two-sided coin—self-publishing and traditional. But there’s a third option, often overlooked: signing with a small press. Small presses offer authors a hybrid opportunity to partner with a traditional publishing professional while still maintaining a degree of control over the direction of their work.
After the 2018 #WriteMentor mentorship program, my YA SF The Rescuer didn’t attract the attention I had hoped. After two months and 30 agents queried, I pulled the submission to rework the opening. Imagine my surprise when a small press reached out to me directly. They’d seen my submission on the #WriteMentor website and invited me to submit the manuscript. I signed with INtense Publications in May, 2019, and The Rescuer debuted in February, 2020.
Small presses offer authors a more direct path to traditional publishing, which can be a great fit for many debuts. Here are some things to expect when working with a small press:


Submitting to a small press is largely the same as submitting to a literary agent. Authors submit a query letter, synopsis, and sample pages as a cold pitch or following an invitation from a writer’s conference or Twitter pitch party. A small press is more likely to welcome unagented submissions, freeing authors to submit to a publisher before securing representation. Because the submission goes directly to the main decision maker, response times can be faster than literary agents or large publishing houses.

Offers and Contracts

An offer from a small press is cause for celebration! Before signing any contract, take time to research the publisher and check the contract for red flags. Some small presses take advantage of unagented authors; no deal is better than a bad deal.
A respectable small press will offer time to consider the contract. Use the time to review the contract and let other presses or literary agents know about the offer. An offer in hand could result in representation if the contract is lucrative.


Once a contract is signed, a small press sends the manuscript to an editor for review. There may be multiple passes for developmental edits. Small presses tend to favor the author and their vision. With a small press, the author retains a lot of control and often has final say when it comes to major developmental changes.

Line Edits and Interior Design

Once developmental edits are complete, the manuscript goes to a different editor for line edits. The author should get an opportunity to approve any and all changes. (What the author can and cannot do should be included in the contract). The small press will work with a graphic designer to design the cover and the interior file, taking author vision into account.


Small presses don’t typically have an in-house marketing unit to handle book promotion, so the onus of marketing falls to the author. A small press should provide a list of required marketing documents, and the author should be prepared to submit them to appropriate outlets. The small press can offer valuable direction and marketing support.


A small press will handle publication and distribution. Ideally, the small press will have contacts with a reputable distributer like Ingram. A small press will send author copies and ARCs, while also coordinating pre-orders and distribution. A small press should promote the upcoming book launch on social media to drive attention to the event. Many small presses partner with PR teams to handle press releases and media blitzes, all great for exposure.

Post Publication

In post publication, a small press is an essential supporting partner. They handle all the online sales and work directly with distributors like Ingram. They generate sales sheets and handle royalty payments, leaving the author to schedule community events.

Final Thoughts

Self-pub, traditional, or small press …What works for one author might not work for another. Publishing is a business with no right or wrong path. Working with a small press provides exposure, support, and validation while allowing authors to be active participants in the publishing process. The press might be small, but the opportunities are limitless.

Kari Veenstra writes gripping adventure novels for teens, allowing them to escape into the world of fiction while still being confronted with the tough issues of our times. She grew up climbing trees and shooting arrows in the remote jungles of Papua New Guinea and now lives in the deserts of El Paso, Texas, where the mountains and culture remind her of home. The Rescuer (INtense Publications, 2020) is her debut novel. You can connect with Kari at
Do YOU want to be the star of this newsletter?

Do YOU want to have the final word?

We are VERY open to the content - it can be a personal story of your writing journey, it can be about something you're passionate about, within the kidlit publishing industry and community. It can be advice, or something you've learned, it can be an excerpt from your WIP.

As I say, we can't guarantee we'll be able to feature everyone, depending on the response, but we'd love to.

Writing can be lonely, but it doesn't need to be.

May the Force be with you!

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