What does that mean? Technically nothing, emotionally everything, and practically, somewhere in between.
What do you mean, a mentor?
There are many writing contests run online, usually publicized through Twitter, where writers can win mentorship and/or editing from another author, an editors, or an industry pro. Mentors publicize what they’re interested in reading, what their editing style is, and what they look for in a mentee. Writers submit a query, first pages, sometimes a synopsis, and sometimes answers to questions about themselves/their book, choosing two to four mentors to read their entry. The process is very similar to querying agents, by design! Then each mentor picks one (or sometimes two) authors to help with polishing up their work to a diamond shine.
I saw some mentors that seemed perfect for my second novel, code-named Ballroom, so I entered. I got a request within four hours of submitting—which, to be honest, has a lot to do with luck of who’s reading submissions. Like agents, mentors are searching for a love connection with a story, and in these contests, additionally for a book they have ideas to improve.
Reader, I made a love connection.
I mean, as far as career progress that the IRS would consider taxable, a mentor doesn’t count. Getting one means having another critique partner, a cheerleader, a guide, one who’s walked the path you hope to be on, but that’s it.
But “that’s it”? Oh, no, dear reader! Having someone who’s never met me and doesn’t know me pick my story out of their submissions and want to read more is the most validating experience an author can have. And then to have that mentor be so, so excited about so many of the things you love about your own story, well… that’s everything!
Practically, somewhere in between
I feel so loved and supported and uplifted. Sure, winning a contest doesn’t guarantee an agent or a book deal, but it guarantees having one more friend in my corner to encourage me, challenge me, and support my question. Cat, I can’t wait!!