Frequently Asked Questions

So what’s this about?

Publishing is a winding, twisty path to follow – often dark and fraught with uncertainty. It’s hard to find your way alone. Author Mentor Match was started by Heather and Alexa, two CPs who have helped each other along the publishing path. This program was born out of a desire to help other writers, the way Alexa helped me (Heather) when she was an agented author who knew the ropes, and I was a baby writer who knew woefully little. Her encouragement is what led to me sending the query to an agent I thought was too good for me – and ended up changing my life.

Alexa and I have gathered together a few debut and agented YA writers who are generously willing to donate their time to help lend a hand to a fellow writer. We’ve all been where you are now. Often, we’ve had to make our way alone, and have taken our share of of missteps along the way. Most, if not all of us, have found that a support group of other writers is invaluable in this often confusing, often heart-wrenching industry. We’d like to offer that support to those who are just starting out.

So it’s not a pitch contest?

Nope! We’re here to help you along your publishing journey as best we can by preparing you and your book for querying agents on your own.

The query slushpile might seem impossible to break out of, but just ask our mentors – it DOES work. Many of us found our agents this way, after all!

Is this only for YA?

AMM is currently open to YA and MG writers, though more of our mentors focus on YA than MG.

Who can enter?

Unpublished writers of young adult and middle grade novels, about to start querying (or have only queried lightly) who are looking to find an agent and/or traditional publisher for their manuscript.

Does it cost anything?

No! Author Mentor Match is 100% free. There are no fees to enter, nor any other costs.

How polished should my manuscript be?

We ask that manuscripts be nearly ready to query; this means different things to different people, so use your best judgement. We ask that at a minimum, you must have a completely finished manuscript¬†and have done at least one full revision pass before applying. Our mentors are here to help you polish, not to give an overhaul of an early draft. Mentors will judge based on query and sample pages and choose the manuscript they feel they can best help. This doesn’t mean we’re looking for perfection, so try not to stress about it. Just make sure you’ve done the best you can on your own, first.

Can I enter this if I was previously agented but looking for new representation?

If you were previously agented but are currently querying again, yes, you may enter this with a new manuscript (not the one you originally found representation with.) However, we are especially looking to help writers who are about to query for the first time. It will be up to the individual mentors to make their own choices about who to they wish to mentor.

Can I enter this if I’ve already queried my current ms?

In order for us to maximize the amount of helpful advice our mentors can offer, we ask that you only apply if you’ve queried this current manuscript less than around ten times. If your current manuscript has already been turned down by all of the agents who rep your genre, we won’t be able to help you very much – not all agents will take a second look at a manuscript they’ve previously passed on.

What if I’ve already self-published?

If you’ve previously self-published a novel, but are unagented and are looking to query a new manuscript, you are eligible to apply. However, keep in mind that some mentors may prefer to work with more inexperienced writers.

How many mentors can we apply to?

After reading each mentors’ bios and wishlists, if there is more than one mentor looking for a manuscript like yours, you may apply to up to 4 mentors.

What happens if two or more mentors like the same manuscript?

In such a case, we’ll allow those mentors to respectfully decide between themselves who gets to work with that applicant. If they can’t come to an arrangement on their own, we’ll ask the applicant to choose which one they wish to work with.

What if I receive an offer of representation after I apply for a mentor?

If you’ve accepted an offer of rep before the mentors make their picks, congratulations! Please shoot us an email or a DM and let us know so that we can remove your application from the pool. That way, our mentors can spend their time assisting another writer with their query and manuscript. (Agents will often want to do revisions with their clients before submission, so we wouldn’t want to interfere with that.)

Is there a cap on mentee applications?

No. We will be accepting any/all applications from as many mentees as are interested and who apply within the submission window.

How can I keep up with updates/connect with other mentee hopefuls?

To stay up to date on the latest news, follow Heather (@HKaczynski), Alexa (@AlexaDonne), or Kat (@KatCho), and/or check the hashtag #AuthorMentorMatch or #AskAMM. You can also subscribe to Alexa’s newsletter, as she provides pertinent AMM updates in her monthly eblasts. To connect with other mentee hopefuls, we recommend the mentee-run Facebook group Author Mentor Match Support Group.

Can I be a mentor?

Possibly! We are currently seeking a select number of mentors for round 2, particularly Middle Grade mentors. You can apply here.

What if I have a specific question about one of the mentors’ wishlists?

Feel free to tweet questions at a specific mentor (just as long as you don’t, you know, bombard them.) Examples such as: “Your bio says you’re looking for sci-fi; how do you feel about a sci-fi retelling?” or, “Would you be interested in X meets Y?” types of questions are fine. We’d prefer such questions be public so that others might be able to see their questions answered also; thus we ask that you please don’t DM the mentors unless invited to do so.

What if I have another question that you didn’t answer here?

For more general questions, or ones that are too long for Twitter, feel free to @tag or DM Heather (@HKaczynski), Alexa (@AlexaDonne), or Kat (@KatCho), or email the Author Mentor Match email found on the Contact page.