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What is an All Stories mentorship?
This is a unique opportunity for writers of middle grade and young adult books to benefit from in-depth feedback, support and guidance from highly experienced editors who’ve mentored many authors on their journey to publication.
You do not need to have completed a full manuscript to apply, but you must be able to fully commit to developing your work.
The chosen mentees will receive:
- Nine months of one-to-one mentoring from a freelance editor with many years of industry experience
- Group webinars given by editors from a range of major and independent publishers about the children’s book industry and the craft of writing
- An invitation to the exclusive online All Stories community where the mentees can discuss their work, raise questions, support each other and share experiences
- A year’s membership to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
- Introductions to agents at the end of the mentorship
The chosen mentees commit to:
- Attending monthly video/phone sessions with their mentor
- Attending all the group webinars
- Working on their manuscript during the mentorship period
- Delivering new/revised work to their mentor as agreed in their sessions
- Completing progress and satisfaction questionnaires during the mentorship
- Providing a Q&A interview or article for SCBWI’s e-newsletter
- Evaluating the mentorship with their mentor at the end of the mentorship period
The mentors commit to:
- Giving in-depth feedback to their mentee to help develop their manuscript and their craft
- Giving impartial advice about the children’s book market and publishing industry (if desired)
- Spending two to six hours per month on the mentorship (this includes distant hours such as reading manuscripts and face-to-face hours such as meeting time with their mentee)
How to apply
Applications are open from 8th April, 2022 and close at 11.59pm on 30th June, 2022. Successful applicants will be contacted by 12th August, 2022.
You can apply if you write fictional children’s books for middle grade or young adult readers, and in any genre. Writers of picture books and young fiction will be supported in the next All Stories programme.
To apply, you will submit a 5000-word sample and synopsis. We also ask you to tell us why you’re applying to All Stories, in no more than 500 words.
To apply, you must be:
- from an underrepresented background (a person of colour, disabled, neurodiverse, LGBTQ+, working class or socio-economically marginalised)
- unable to afford such a mentorship (worth over £1000) – this is self-certificated, but All Stories reserves the right to ask for evidence of low income
- unagented and unpublished
- resident in the UK
- 18 or older
NB: Writers apply to the programme as a whole, not to individual editors. Once the application period has closed, each editor will be sent entries that fit their specified age range and genre criteria, from which to choose their mentee.
Please read the application form for the full terms and conditions.
To apply, please download and complete the application form. Email the completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject header “All Stories application”. You’ll get an automatic reply to confirm we have received your application.
Where does the programme take place?
The mentorships will take place entirely online, through video calls and webinars. If preferred, you may agree to meet with your mentor by phone call.
Can I choose my mentor?
No – writers apply to the programme as a whole, not to individual editors. This is because different editors work in different age ranges and genres. All valid applications will be assessed by an initial editorial committee comprising four of the All Stories mentors and the patron, Patrice Lawrence. This committee will evaluate various aspects of each submission including the quality and commerciality of the writing and selected applications will be sent to each mentor from which to choose their mentee.
How do you assess if I am eligibile to apply?
Whether or not you come from an underrepresented background is self-defined, but you should identify yourself as a person of colour, disabled, neurodiverse, LGBTQ+, working class or socio-economically marginalised. All Stories does not get involved in such identifications.
What do you mean by ‘being unable to afford such a mentorship’?
Your household should earn less than the UK’s Minimum Income Standard, which varies according to your situation – please use www.minimumincome.org.uk to check what this is for you. Please be guided by the household amount rather than the individual amount and if you live in Inner/Outer London, make sure you choose this on the results page. For example, a person living on their own with no children outside London should earn less than £20,383, and a person living with their partner and two primary-age children in outer London should earn less than £51,794 as a household. You should also have less than £16,000 in savings. If you have further questions about this, please email us at email@example.com
Will you ask for proof that I am unable to afford such a mentorship?
Not as standard, even if you are chosen for a mentorship. However, All Stories reserves the right to ask for evidence of your income and savings at any stage.
I can’t afford the things I need in order to access the mentorship fully. Can All Stories help with this?
Yes. All Stories has an access fund for mentees who need help in order to access the mentorship fully, for example, internet, hardware and disability access costs. If you are chosen for a mentorship, please provide us with details of any accessibility requirements.
I have self-published a book. Am I eligible?
Yes, this does not disqualify you. However, if you have paid to self-publish your book, this suggests that you would be able to afford a mentorship and wouldn’t qualify to apply. If you have further questions about this, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What do I need to submit?
You should submit the first 5000 words of their manuscript plus a synopsis.
Can I submit a sample from anywhere in my book?
We ask that you submit the beginning of your book. It’s more difficult to assess other sections since they may lack sense and background. Bear in mind that your opening pages should hook readers into your story – if they do not, this suggests something is wrong.
Do I need to have completed my book?
No, but we should feel that you are committed to working on your manuscript and developing your talent. You will have a chance to tell us about why you are applying to All Stories in the application form.
I’m also an illustrator. Can I include illustrations too?
Unfortunately not. All Stories is specifically for writers and we will be assessing your submission based on the writing alone. If you include illustrations your application will be disqualified.
What will happen during the sessions with my mentor?
During the sessions, your mentor will give you feedback on the work you’ve sent to them beforehand (at least a week in advance). You will be able to discuss any issues, ideas and next steps. The aim is to help you make your work as strong, appealing and marketable as possible. You will also be able to ask your mentor about the children’s book market and publishing industry.
What if something happens that means I can’t work on my book between sessions?
You should try your best for this not to happen, but if it does, please tell your mentor immediately. We understand that unexpected things happen and you may be able to agree a different schedule with your mentor. Please note that All Stories reserves the right to terminate the mentorship if you fail to participate in any of the webinars or mentoring stages of the programme without good reason.
I’m eligible and this sounds like a great opportunity, but I’m not sure how much time I’ll be able to spend on the mentorship.
You should only apply if you believe you’ll be able to dedicate the necessary time to work on your book during the mentorship period, including attending sessions with your mentor and all the webinars.
When my book is ready, do I have to submit to the All Stories editors first?
No – the in-house editors might express an interest in seeing it, but you are not obligated in any way to a particular editor or publisher (or agent). All Stories is an impartial, unaffiliated project, which is why all the mentors are freelance editors and not linked to a publishing house.