Why is a Mentor Helpful?

Courtesy of Pixabay.com & Pete Linforth

Why is a writing mentor necessary? Well, it's not NECESSARY, but it is certainly a good career choice. It boils down to your work ethic. Do you want to present the best work possible?

Hiring a mentor means you are hiring years worth of experience from the industry. A word of warning: It's always wise to do your homework. Anyone can claim to be a mentor, but it's up to you to be due diligent.

What to Look for in a Mentor

Does the mentor have solid credentials? Are they published in a traditional market and not simply self-published? Now, before you begin to throw stones and accuse us of being against self-publishing - STOP. We're not against self-publishing, but when a mentor is traditionally published, then you are getting a person who has actually walked the lines inside publication. They've worked with editors, designers, and marketing professionals residing within the Publishers House. This experience is something only gained by being a traditionally published author or being a person who has worked inside a publisher's house. You may have an editor who is not a published author, but they have worked years with multiple publishers and they understand the art of editing. They know what to expect and how to help you progress through the ranks.

Our best advice - again, do your homework. If you are hiring a mentor it's acceptable to ask for a consultation and perhaps a page or so of critique or ideas over your work. A good mentor is happy to give you a short amount of time and even share a few ideas or suggestions. This allows you and them to see how well you mesh - you'll know quickly if this is someone you can work with.

A Hint 

If you attend a conference, those who sit in the appointment room
seeing the 15-minute appointments, have been vetted by your conference director and their team. They are proven in skill and dependability. Please don't hire a mentor just because they say they are one. Please, please do your due diligence to assure your money is well spent and you have results in your hands before you complete payment.

So Why a Mentor?
If you are a new writer, just beginning to submit your work to on-line sites or editors, and agents, then a mentor can walk you through the process. A mentor can look over your work, point out obvious mistakes, guide you to "clean up your work" to the best it can be before you submit. 

A mentor can also help you with guidelines, proposal submissions, and formatting. Every agent and publisher has specific guidelines that must be met for your work to be accepted and learning to follow the guidelines to the tee is vital. You may ask why? Again, it's a matter of work ethic. Do you want your work to be the best it can be? Of course you do and following instructions is the first line of fire any writer has to pass. The reason is simple - publishing slots are few and the first line of fire is, "Can a writer follow the instructions?" Following instructions is more than just dotting the i's and crossing the t's. If a writer can follow the first step guidelines, then the chances of them meeting deadlines and having a willing and teachable heart, follow close behind. These things are important when publishers begin to work with authors.

A mentor can help you present the best work you can, make sure you've viewed and hit all the guidelines, taught you the formatting or helped you double check what you've done, and they can help you "spit-shine your work." 
For the Experienced Writer 
Perhaps you have an agent and now you are ready to submit manuscripts. Mentors can again, walk you through the process. They can do full content edits and help you assure there are no "holes" or confusion in your manuscript. Mentors are great to brainstorm with and their years of experience bring good fodder to the table.
Does a Mentor Guarantee Publication? 
We can only say, "We wish!" Manuscripts are still vying for a few slots and your writing, subject matter, and publisher needs still play a major role in publication. We can say this, presenting your best work moves your manuscript to a higher spot on the roster. It will raise a brow, and probably become noteworthy so that if you are rejected, your name is bookmarked as a first consideration on your next submission.
Having a mentor helps you as you grow your career in writing. For you, it's important to decide if this is a good business move? If you are serious about growing a career in the publishing industry, then considering a mentor may be right for you. 
You never know until you try. 
Photo credits:
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com and digital artist
Courtesy of Pixabay.com & wiredsmartio 

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