It's an even month, when I usually talk about giving or receiving feedback. I'm going to mutate that into talking about getting mentorship, which may involve getting feedback.
Types of Mentorships
There are multiple types of mentorship programs.
What do you need? What do you want?
Free or paid?
This post has been edited to add a section on choosing a free or paid program at approximately noon Pacific time on Monday August 14, 2023.
"Money flows to the writer" is often heard in writing circles. This is meant to help writers to avoid schmagents and scammy Publishers. In certain fiction circles, one is advised not to pay submission fees and in others, it is standard procedure to pay submission fees. However, paying to attend conferences and workshops is not a part of that particular advice, since those are expected to be improving your craft and not as a direct publication exchange. It does contribute to a "pay-to-play" mindset that we must be careful about.
That said, consider your budget for learning and improving your craft and career.
Some of the links below are free to applicants and some have fees. Some cost thousands of US dollars. Other than trying to avoid scams (please comment or email me if I've linked to a scam), I've included both free and paid opportunities below. In this edit, I've marked those that have fees/tuition.
There aren't that many mentorships that focus solely on your career. Often, career gets lumped into a combined mentorship. For a career mentorship, you already have to have an idea of what you want for your career. Are you a short fiction writer? Novelist? Both? Often you'll have to focus on one per mentorship. What craft advice can you use? This won't come in the form of feedback on your work but rather craft books and other reading for you to learn from. What tools might help you advance your career?
A few of these are available through
The most well-known of these was Pitch Wars, where a specific manuscript was selected by a mentor who helped with revising until it was polished for a showcase for agent interest. Many Pitch Wars mentees went on to find agents (with or without their mentor's continued assistance) and a portion of those secured book deals. However, Pitch Wars is no more. In fact, the last couple of years has seen the ending of many similar programs.
All of these programs require you have a manuscript or a short story that will be revised and polished during the mentorship with the goal that you'll use the learned revisions tools on your future manuscripts.
Find opportunites at
Look for these from
Workshops can also lead to mentorships. All the in-person and online workshop intensives will require you have a manuscript you submit. You'll often have teachers who will spend time discussing craft in group and sometimes individual settings, along with group critique. These are also given with the idea that you'll take these learned lessons for revising future manuscripts. There are a ton of annual workshops.
SFF/H related workshops
There is a ton you can learn by joining writers groups. My favorite are Discord groups. Many like Facebook groups or email groups or web forum groups (like Codex). These are not individual focused mentorships, but you might learn a lot about career and craft that you would not have discovered on your own. Keep your eye out for groups that might provide you these oppotunities.
Some suggested Discord groups - these link to webpages where you can find the Discord invite:
This was not in any way meant to be an all-inclusive list of mentorship opportunities. It is meant to encourage fellow writers to look into mentorship opportunities as ways to improve their careers and crafts. Do you have suggestions on mentorship programs and groups? Please leave a comment!
Writer of spec fic.