Mentorships

Are you a writer of picture books or young fiction who’d love editorial support to take your work to the next level, but can’t afford to pay for a mentorship or writing course?

Then All Stories is for you!

Jump to:
What is an All Stories mentorship?
How to apply
Download the application form
Submission tips
Live chats
FAQs

What is an All Stories mentorship?

This is a unique and exciting opportunity for writers of picture books or young fiction from underrepresented groups. The ten selected writers will benefit from a comprehensive mentorship package worth over £1500, which includes:

Six months of 1-2-1 mentorship with a highly experienced freelance editor, running Sept 2024 to Feb 2025
Expert webinars with in-house editors to learn about the craft of writing and the publishing industry
Monthly book clubs where you’ll discuss and dissect published books and get to know your fellow mentees
A year’s membership to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, giving you access to advice, events and a supportive creative community
A year’s membership to the Royal Society of Literature, giving you access to free online and in-person events
A copy of the Children’s Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, which includes advice, tips and inspiration for children’s book creatives, articles by award-winning writers and illustrators and a comprehensive directory of agents and publishers.
Introductions to agents at the end of the mentorship.
“All Stories has been the most incredible thing for my writing to date”
Olivia La Bastide, 2022–2023 mentee
“My time as an All Stories mentee was a continual flow of fun and creative wisdom”
Thomas Thomasson, 2021 mentee
“A fantastic experience that gave me the confidence and the skills to take my manuscript to the next level”
Taslin Pollock, 2022–2023 mentee

How to apply

Applications are open from 10th May, 2024 and close at 11.59pm on 24th June, 2024. Successful applicants will be contacted by 31st July, 2024.

You can apply if you write:

  • Children’s picture books (fiction and/or non-fiction)
  • Children’s young fiction (books for readers aged 5–8, sometimes called early readers or chapter books)

To apply, you’ll need:

  • To tell us in up to 500 words why you’re applying to All Stories
  • Picture book writers: a full picture book manuscript of up to 1000 words
  • Young fiction writers: a 5000-word sample and synopsis
  • If you’re a picture book author-illustrator, you can also include one low-res PDF of a picture book dummy

To apply, you must be:

  • from an underrepresented background (a person of colour, disabled, neurodivergent, LGBTQ+, working class or socio-economically marginalised)
  • unable to afford such a mentorship (worth over £1500) – 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

Please read the application form for the full terms and conditions.

Email your completed form to applications@allstories.org.uk by 11.59pm on 24th June, 2024.

Do you have a question about the mentorship or application form? Scroll down to find our FAQs, but we’re happy to hear from you if you’re still unsure about something. Just send a message to our dedicated email: mentorshipq@allstories.org.uk and we’ll respond as soon as possible.

Live chats

You can also join us for one of our live chats where you’ll have the chance to ask Patrice Lawrence (patron), Laura Warminger (former mentee) and Catherine Coe (founder) any question you have – large or small. We’d love you to join us! Follow using #AllStories24 on Twitter/X and Instagram.

  • Twitter/X: Wednesday 5th June @ 8pm
  • Insta Live: Saturday 8th June @ 10am

FAQs

WHEN DOES THE PROGRAMME TAKE PLACE?
The mentorships will from for six months from September 2024 to February 2025. There will be an online kick-off meeting in August 2024 to give the selected writers details about the mentorship and the opportunity to ask questions.

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.

WHO WILL I BE MENTORED BY?
You’ll be mentored by one of our brilliant freelance editors, who are have significant experience of working in a publishing house. You can find out more about them here. Having a team of freelance mentors helps to ensure there is no bias towards particular publishers. We believe it’s important for your mentor to connect with you and your work, so the mentors select their favourite applications, after they’ve been assessed by an editorial committee, comprising two of the All Stories mentors and the award-winning author Rashmi Sirdeshpande, All Stories patron. Personal information is redacted from the applications before they are read by the committee and mentors.

WHO’LL BE RUNNING THE WEBINARS?
We have hand-picked an amazing team of top in-house editors from different publishing companies who’ll be presenting the webinars on craft and the demystifying the industry. You can find out more about them here.

HOW DO YOU ASSESS IF I AM ELIGIBLE 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, neurodivergent, 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 £29,541, and a person living with their partner and two children in outer London should earn less than £57,923 as a household. You should also have less than £16,000 in savings. If you have further questions about this, please email us at info@allstories.org.uk

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, we will ask if you have 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 info@allstories.org.uk

WHAT ABOUT MIDDLE GRADE AND YOUNG ADULT WRITERS?
Writers of middle grade and young adult books will be supported in the next All Stories programme.

I’M A YOUNG FICTION WRITER. 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 they might need work .

DO I NEED TO HAVE COMPLETED MY BOOK?
Not unless you’re a picture book writer. However, 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 A PICTURE BOOK AUTHOR-ILLUSTRATOR. CAN I INCLUDE MY ILLUSTRATIONS TOO?
Yes, you can include a low-res dummy of your picture book.

WHAT WILL I BE COMMITTING TO IF I’M CHOSEN FOR A MENTORSHIP?

  • Attending regular video sessions with your mentor for the duration of the six-month mentorship period (at least once a month, to be agreed between mentee and mentor)
  • Attending all the group webinars and monthly book club sessions held during the mentorship period
  • Working on your manuscript(s) during the mentorship period
  • Delivering new/revised work to your mentor as agreed in their sessions
  • Completing an initial evaluation form with their mentor
  • Completing a mid-mentorship feedback questionnaire
  • Providing a Q&A interview or article for SCBWI’s e-newsletter, Words & Pictures
  • Evaluating the mentorship at the end of the mentorship period

WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM MY MENTOR?

  • You’ll receive regular in-depth feedback to help you develop your manuscript and general writing craft
  • You’ll get impartial advice about the children’s book market and publishing industry (if desired)
  • They’ll spend 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)

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. 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 let your mentor know. 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 REALLY BUSY AT THE MOMENT. SHOULD I APPLY?
We ask that think about how much time you’ll be able to spend on the mentorship before you apply. We want you to get the most out of it by being 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, SHOULD I SUBMIT TO THE ALL STORIES EDITORS FIRST?
The in-house editors involved in All Stories might express an interest in seeing your work, 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 one of the reasons why all the mentors are freelance editors and not linked to a publishing house.

If you’re still unsure about something, please get in touch! Send a message to our dedicated email: mentorshipq@allstories.org.uk and we’ll respond as soon as possible.

“All Stories renewed my confidence in my own writing and helped me to hone my voice”
Rebecca Ferrier, 2022–2023 mentee
“I was able to win a national writing competition and meet my goal of signing a publishing contract … an invaluable and insightful experience”
Kenechi Udogu, 2022–2023 mentee
“I cannot recommend All Stories enough; over the course of my mentorship I learned a huge amount”
Mitchell Kamen, 2021 mentee