What is Author Mentor Match?
If you have ever wondered about how to find a mentor for your writing, look no further. Author Mentor Match was created by authors Alexa Donne and Heather Kacynski. Each year the program matches mentor authors that are more experienced in traditional publishing with aspiring authors just about to start querying. Authors that are looking for a mentor submit a query letter, synopsis, and the first fifty pages of their manuscript. It is even free.
Alexa Donne is about to publish her third traditionally published young adult book and has an excellent authortube channel that she has consistently posted to for years. I have learned so much from her videos! Here is a youtube video where she discusses Author Mentor Match or AMM:
To learn more about the Author Mentor Match application process, I found this video by Lindsay Puckett doing a vlog about her experience applying to AMM. It is a cute breakdown of each step as she applies and then eventually gets accepted, and she reflects a bit on what the work with her mentor is like.
Lindsay also has an authortube where she chronicles her querying experience and she occasionally is on Alexa Donne's live chat sessions on youtube as well.
In this blog, I am going to discuss all of the benefits of the application process, actually getting accepted of course has a huge amount of perks. You have a mentor that will give you feedback on your manuscript, advice about the business, and possibly help you with the querying process. Not to mention you are connected with the community on another level with excellent networking and another writing credit to include on your query letter. There is even a Goodreads list of the Author Mentor Match success stories that have already been published.
As I prepare my application for Author Mentor Match Round 8 with the deadline of January 11th-14th, 2021, I like to focus on all of the things I am getting out of the process. I can't control getting accepted or not, but I love looking at all the positives for just dipping my toe in and getting myself out there.
So, here are my 10 Reasons to Apply to Author Mentor Match:
Photo credit: Unsplash- Alexandre Schimmeck
- A deadline for writing my query letter and synopsis
Similar to my reasons for having an author blog deadlines and contests along the way of finishing my book are always helpful. It is motivation to get your manuscript into shape, which is something I am working on anyway, but I was delaying doing the query letter and synopsis until I was totally ready to start querying, i.e. procrastinating until the last possible moment. These last couple of weeks focusing on my submission package has been extremely enlightening and no matter what happens with finding a mentor or not, I have some great ideas about where to take my manuscript. While writing the synopsis I thought to myself, yeah, that is what I want my novel to be. For my next book, I will definitely write it earlier in the process and continue to change it as I move along in revisions. I have also thought a lot more about the marketing aspects of my novel, which I thought I had before, but not as thoroughly as a submission package requires.
2. An event to plan my writing year around
Each year the submission period is at different times, however they do post them well in advance. Just like Camp Nanowrimo, ( here is my blog post on why it helps me revise my novel), that happens each year in April and July, it gives a sense of motivation and community for meeting writing goals. AMM is an event that makes sense to keep trying for because it is free and a huge opportunity to connect with a mentor that could possibly be an asset for the rest of your career. Nanowrimo is great for starting your novel, Camp Nanowrimo is useful for continuing to revise, and AMM is perfect for the finishing stages. I also find the NYC Midnight , (my blog post on why I like doing this contest) short story contests that happen each year a great boost to my writing process.
Photo credit: Unsplash - Nathan Dumlao
3. A month of content for Twitter
I don't know about you, but I do tend to struggle with what to post on Twitter. For the month before the AMM submission deadline there is a #AMMparty Twitter party. What is a Twitter party? A hashtag you can tag in your tweets and then click on it and see what others are tweeting about. There are prompts for each day that have to do with your writing life and your work in progress. Easy content to come up with and an authentic reason to go and like and comment on other tweets!
4. Connection to a writing community gearing up for querying
This year is the eighth round, and there is a large community built around it. Regarding the twitter party I mentioned before, former mentees take part in it as do current mentors. I made sure to go through and follow a bunch of them and now have almost one hundred other writers in my network that I follow whether we make it into the mentorship program or not, we will have each other as a support network as we reach out to agents. There is also a month of prompts for Instagram that I don´t participate in because I keep my posts book related, but I do want to check out the hashtag to comment on them.
On Twitter there is also #askAMM where applicants are encouraged to ask mentors questions about the application process and what they are looking for that everyone can see. Other popular hashtags include #AMMfam and #authormentormatch.
I also just joined a facebook group Author Mentor Match Hopefuls and there are a lot of people on the look out for critique partners and are sharing great information here on the AMM journey.
5. Mini-query practice trial run
For the application process you need to identify four possible mentors. You read through their bios and there are very clear descriptions of the kinds of books they are interested in and types of mentees they would like to work with. When I work on my literary agent spreadsheet of possible agents to query to in the future, I will need to read through their interests in much the same way. The choice of literary agents is massive, I like the way Author Mentor Match has a smaller list of about twenty or so in each age category. I can already tell the skills I am getting from applying will definitely transfer. I don't feel as intimidated for querying with real literary agents now.
6. There is a chance you could get feedback even if you are not chosen
They don't guarantee it by any means and I know the mentors are already doing a lot to volunteer their time, but sometimes they do give feedback to the manuscripts they read and choose to pass on. That possibility motivates me, because feedback from an already traditionally published author for free, golden!
7. Very fast announcement of mentees
This year the deadline to apply is January 11th-14th, 2021 and they plan on announcing the chosen mentees on February 3, 2021. I don't know how they pull this off, but what a great return on your time investment. When querying agents, I have heard that sometimes you will have to wait for up to six months for a response.
8. The process helps you for your next set of revisions
I don't know if this is true for everyone, but after reading the mentor profiles, reading the tweets people send discussing their novels, and especially turning on my marketing brain for the query and synopsis and beginning to get feedback on those from my critique partners, I have a much clearer idea of what I need to do to revise my novel, again without even getting chosen for anything.
Photo credit: Unsplash - Kelli Stimett
9. Making the dream of publishing feel like a reality
I am hoping to be in the ending stretches of working on my debut novel. Now that I have a rough draft query letter and synopsis and have learned more about querying, it is becoming more real. Yes, a heap of rejection lies before me, but I actually have a more tangible feeling of progressing to the end as a result of going through this process. I didn't realize how much I needed this.
Photo credit: Unsplash - Joyful
10. Multiple opportunities for a win
Participating in the Twitter party and increasing your followers and connections is a win, getting your query letter, synopsis, and first fifty pages polished, along with the rest of your manuscript is a win, filling out the thought provoking application questions to reflect on your writing career is a win, the possibility of a mentor requesting a full manuscript is a win, a mentor could share your application with another mentor you didn't request, maybe getting some feedback from a mentor that doesn't choose you is a win, and knowing how to do the process for the following year is a win.
Not to mention, you could actually score a mentor...
Are you going to apply to Author Mentor Match? Have you applied to a mentoring program before? Please leave a comment below.