Thursday, January 11, 2018

H.U.P. Mentor Program

Guidelines are starting to take shape, but nothing is definite. Things will be revised as feedback is given.  We want this as inclusive as possible, so a variety of perspectives are badly needed.  By February, everything will be finalized.

I'll say this a lot:  We need applications from disabled/neurodivergent writers with multiple marginalizations.  Please, please apply.  We want this to be an accurate representation of our community, not just white, not just cishet, not just Christian.  We want everyone comfortable enough to apply.

General:  

The H.U.P. Mentor Program will give promising new/emerging disabled and/or neurodivergent writers one-on-one attention from an experienced, established disabled and/or neurodivergent writer in their field.  The mentee doesn't have to have a completed, novel-length manuscript to polish, but can also ask to be mentored on querying agents, writing a book proposal, submitting to literary magazines, revising short stories, pitching articles, etc.  

The program will take place for two months over the summer/fall, with tentative dates being from August 1st to September 30th.  We may extend the period or add an extra one next year, depending.  

Mentors and mentees must agree to a minimum of two interactions a week.  Since travel is difficult for most of us, all correspondence will be done via phone, e-mail, Skype, Facebook, etc.  Mentors and mentees will list on their application which methods of correspondence work best for them.

This program is free. 

How it works:

Early February, applications for mentors will be accepted and reviewed as they come in.  By March 15th or so, the application window for mentors will close.  Mid-April, chosen mentors will be contacted and a post listing all the mentors for the year will go up on the blog.  The post will have each mentor's name, photo, genres worked in, experience, methods of communication, etc.  I'm uncertain about listing anyone's specific disability/neurodivergence publicly... so I may not include that on the blog.

In May, applications will open for mentees.  Mentees can select up to three potential mentors to apply to.  If the mentee meets the requirements for the program, their application will be given to the selected mentors.  Mentors will review their applicant pools and make a choice.  Mentors will be aware of each other's progress and choices so no one picks the same mentee.  By the middle of July, everyone should be notified of the mentors' decisions.

Mentor Qualifications:

Mentors must have some type of publication history (it doesn't have to be a traditionally published book, magazines are fine) and/or three years of teaching or professional editing experience, minimum.  An MFA or other graduate degree isn't required.  If you've been a mentor to other writers before, please mention it.  If your editing business has lead to a client getting a book deal, let us know! Self-published authors will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, but it's a tricky situation.

Mentors will be asked what types of writing they have experience with.  They will also be asked what aspects of writing and publishing they're "good at" and which parts they hate.  If a poet is a pro at submitting but can't help organize a chapbook, tell us!  The more specific you are, the better.

*The application is being worked on.*

Mentees:

No one applying to be a mentee should have published books, advanced degrees, or an agent.  (Self-published books might be permissible, depending.)

A writing sample in the genre you're seeking a mentor in is required along with the application.  Five to ten pages of prose (double-spaced) or three to five poems will suffice.

Mentees should have a clear goal in mind when applying and should state the goal:  A cozy mystery polished, pitches to magazine editors refined, query for a memoir ironed out.

*Application is being worked on.*

Miscellaneous:  

Application questions will be emailed to applicants as an attachment or questions can be pasted in the body of an email.  If someone needs another method, I'll try to oblige.

I understand certain people hope to work with someone with a similar disability or neurodivergence, but that won't always be possible.  Some of us aren't "down from the attic" and are afraid to disclose specifics.  Not every genre of writing will have mentors with every disability or neurodivergence.

I considered giving mentee applications to mentors stripped of personal information.  But, that won't guarantee everyone gets a fair shot... having a rich diversity of people will.

As people point out things I've missed (or ways to make this better) through the rest of January, I'll be making changes.  The final version (for 2018) will be completed by February 1st.


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