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WriteMentor Picture Book Mentorship

Welcome picture book writers! Children’s books are such a special type of writing: full of wonder, strong emotion, humor, and powerful storytelling. They may be short in words, but they leave a long-lasting impression on children and adults alike.

This will be my third year mentoring picture books through WriteMentor. I'm proud to say my former mentees now have agents and some have book deals! While those are not the goals of WriteMentor (diving deeply into revisions and coming out of the program a stronger and more empowered writer is), it's exciting to help people accomplish these goals. 

My former mentees:

This year, picture mentorship has changed a bit. Mentors will provide one round of edits on three picture book manuscripts. My hope is that we will have time to dive deeper into one story and really dig into revisions. (It would be awesome if we could do that for all three, but in my experience, getting one done is a ton of time and work.) If you want to revise heavily and are open to story changes, I might be the right mentor for you. If you are looking for quantity over quality, I'm probably not the right fit. While PBs are short, they are an incredible amount of work.

If any of this is confusing (totally understandable!), please join us on Twitter for mentor chats (schedule TBD) to ask questions!

What I'm looking for

I love stories with humor, strong emotions, and lyrical writing, plus stories about nature, fitting in (or not), mental health, or anything out of the ordinary.

Things that interest me:

  • Animals

  • Kickass girls

  • Nontraditional families

  • Nature

  • Climate change 

  • Ocean life

  • Weirdos and grumps

  • Stories from LGBTQA+ and POC writers on any themes you want

  • Humor

  • Animated vegetables and plants

  • Kids in STEM

  • Art and making things

  • Serious illustrators who are serious writers (not really part of WriteMentor but I am an author-illustrator, so I know the ins and outs of dummies)

Not a good fit for me:

  • Rhyme

  • Lost socks or animated laundry

  • Christmas stories

  • Insensitive representations of race, gender, disability, weight/eating, or refugees 

  • Most princess stories unless they are really, really different

  • Stories from adults' POV

  • Books for really young readers (like board books)

Please note, this year I cannot accept rhyming texts and will not select rhyming stories to mentor. That means if you submit a prose story but you want help on rhyme for the other two, we are not a good fit. My apologies, but I'm just not the right person for this. (Lots of other mentors are experienced rhymers.)

What I offer

I have about fifteen years of writing and editing experience in a ton of areas. Learning and applying a wide range of skills has vastly improved my writing, my ability to give and take feedback, and my understanding of various markets. I have also applied to a number of contests (some won, some not), so I understand how the process works. 

Here's what I'm bringing to the table:

  • Have been edited by some amazing people and want to share that knowledge

  • Have worked on picture books, novels, and poetry 

  • Published picture book author-illustrator and poet

  • Knowledge of selling a book with and without representation (I've done both!)

  • 15 years in corporate communications, marketing, and advertising, so I have a good sense of pitching and brand

  • Professional illustrator who understands how text works with image

I strongly believe in sharing knowledge. If you’re ready to learn and work, there’s no secret, sacred, or key piece of information I won’t share with you and help you apply to your story or submission materials.

What you'll get:

  • Three edit letters/notes with redline edits

  • More in-depth feedback on one story as time allows

  • Supplemental worksheets and templates if appropriate for your story

  • Help on a query and pitch if time allows

  • All written communication (no phones or videos unless accommodation is needed and then yes of course)

  • IM/DM, slack, twitter, discord, email, are all good with me

 (Please note: you need to use a redline/track changes function and know how to accept/reject changes.)

 

I believe editorial feedback should include positive comments. I want you to know what’s working and what you’re doing well! But I will also include direct feedback about what can be improved. I will provide directed suggestions that are open-ended (not tell you exactly how to fix). Ultimately, it’s your story, and you have to find the specific solution, but I will guide you toward possibilities and away from pitfalls.

 

Some people think picture books are easy or quick because they are short or for kids. But writing a children’s book is extremely hard. Be ready to take a hard look at your text and be willing to heavily revise the story itself. We’re not here to just copy edit.

another way of looking at revisions

What I’m looking for in a mentee

As a writer and illustrator, I know firsthand how special your project is to you, and my job is to help make your story the best it can be. 

I'm looking for someone who:

  • is committed to this process and their writing

  • can take and apply editorial feedback 

  • has an open mind and is willing to revise

  • will communicate when life/schedule things come up

  • has a sense of humor about it all

We can work out a schedule and timeline that fits your life and needs, but you have to be dedicated and willing to put in the work. Please don't ghost me for weeks on end (obviously, emergencies happen, and that's fine!) I live with chronic pain, so I understand how hard it can be to balance everything. 

I don’t care if you’re just starting out or have been doing this for decades. It doesn’t matter to me if you’ve won awards or any of that. I just want to fall in love with your story. That is the subjective bit. If I don’t pick your story, it doesn’t mean it isn’t good or doesn’t have potential. Don't give up!

More about me

I am an author and illustrator focusing primarily on children’s books. My debut picture book LLOYD FINDS HIS WHALESONG came out in 2020 from Page Street Kids. My next book, SMILE, SOPHIA, is scheduled for 2022 from Feiwel & Friends. I'm represented by Jessica Watterson of Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

I have about 15 years’ experience in corporate communications, editing, and branding, and now I work as a freelance editor, author, and illustrator. My writing has been published in literary journals, including Cirque Journal, Prime Number, and Lingerpost. I was a 2012 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship finalist and a 2005 Kidd Creative Writing Scholar at University of Oregon. I also have fifteen years of experience as a zine maker and bookbinder and am an affiliated artist with Climate Science Alliance.

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If you have questions that aren't answered here, tweet me!

A few books I love:
  • We Are Water Protectors, Carole Lindstrom
  • The End of Something Wonderful, Stephanie VW Lucianovic
  • Greta and the Giants, Zoe Tucker
  • Ghost Cat, Kevan Atteberry
  • Wild, Emily Hughes
  • The Secret of Black Rock, Joe Todd-Stanton
  • The Storm Whale, Benji Davies
  • Hildafolk, Luke Pearson
  • Nightlights, Lorena Alvarez
  • Ocean Meets Sky, The Fan Brothers
  • On a Magical Do-Nothing Day, Beatrice Alemagna
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Youtube
  • Ko-fi
  • Artstation
  • wwd-icon
  • scbwi.jpg
THAR SHE BLOWS

© 2021 Skylaar Amann