By Barbara Bent
Mentor: An experienced and trusted advisor
No matter where you are in your writing career there are people who know more than you do. If you’re fortunate enough to be friendly with one of them who is willing to teach you the ropes, you’re very lucky. Conferences, workshops, contests and online classes are all helpful, but if you want advice that’s tailored to you and your journey in publishing, it’s best to have a mentor to guide you along the way.
I have been writing for many years. In fact, my personal mentor and I were in a critique group together years ago. Still, I run my writing by her before we devise a plan. Certainly, she wants to know that she’s not promoting a bad piece of work
My personal mentor has everything I need. She has written novels, been a reviewer of nationally known books, as well as a contributor to a well-known blog site. She has hundreds of contacts among powerful authors and publishers.
More importantly, she was a member for many years of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers—known as AFIO and regularly attended their meetings in Washington DC. Because of that association she has asked that I not use her name
I just self-published my first book using a freelance editor to help me, and my co-author avoid common mistakes. I know grammar, I know enough not to hand an agent a manuscript under a bathroom stall door, but I need contacts to help me sell my book, get my name out there and establish a presence.
My mentor’s advice is not always easy to hear, but it’s solid and the publishing world is ever-changing and mysterious. Especially now when so many with unedited, self-published books are clogging the internet.
Because of her background, she is a brilliant Strategist. Faced with any situation I’ve given her, she has provided a solution. Here is where her advice has served me well. Before I attend conferences, I often go over the list of attendees and the sessions with her. She will advise me as to which authors she knows well, which speakers are the best and everyone I should introduce myself to. By following her advice, I’ve met some lovely authors, agents and publishers who also suggested contacts for me. My network is growing faster than it would have without a personal mentor
In a sense having a good mentor is like having someone introduce you into society. You know who the players are, who will be friendly, who can help you and will be willing to and how to make the most out of the hectic allotment of your time at these jam-packed events.
She has saved me hours of time, by guiding me in the right direction. Eventually, I probably would have figured some of this out but how nice to have a knowledgeable, generous friend, show me the ropes.
I will always be grateful to my personal mentor for opening many doors for me that would have otherwise been closed.
My co-author Paulette Lippman and I first came up with the idea of Circle in a writing workshop almost 40 years ago. We continued to write but not with very much speed until about 5 years ago when we picked up the pace. Since we now live in the same apartment building, it was easy to have meetings.
I live and work in New York. My first published pieces were confessions. I then moved to short stories for The Star magazine when it was a tabloid. This is my first novel. I’m a member of RWA, MWA and The Authors Guild.
What goes around comes around
The perfect beach read for any season
Two fiftyish women are thrown together in a client broker relationship. Through the ups and downs of single life, online dating with dreadful dates, the two of them influence and change each other until one day they realize they’ve come full circle and have, at last attracted what they wanted
Available on AMAZON in paperback and eBook.