After meeting you at one of our workshops and getting to know you and your work, we will ask 10 exceptional writers and illustrators to join our year-long mentoring programme, starting in December 2018. These 10 mentees will bring new, different voices to books and publishing and will have the potential to be commercially successful.

What's on offer?

One–to-one support from an editor or designer

You will meet one-to-one with your mentor at least six times over the year. We'll make sure that at least three of the meetings with your mentor will take place in person at one of our London offices (don't worry, we'll cover travel costs from any UK address). The other three meetings might be held over the phone. We expect that each meeting will last for about an hour.

For writers: you'll be matched with a Penguin Random House editor who has experience working with other authors writing in your genre. Their support will include: 

  • Helping you shape your manuscript to make it as strong as it can be. This will include giving you constructive feedback on what's working and where you could improve. This could be feedback on anything from character development, to plot, to pace, to length.
  • Supporting you to get a publishing deal – either by publishing your book themselves (we’ve bought or ‘acquired’ books from 5 writers so far on our WriteNow mentoring programme), or helping you submit your manuscript to literary agents.
  • Giving you confidence in your own voice.
  • Thinking about how your book might sit alongside other published books in the market and recommending other books to read.
  • Sharing insights on your book’s target audience and how to reach them.
  • Giving you experience of writing to deadlines and writing with direction over an extended time period.



[My editor] has not only given me new insight into the story I’m telling, but he’s also given me confidence in my novel. It isn’t just confidence that I can write, it’s confidence that I should write.”     Katie Hale, WriteNow mentee




For illustrators: you’ll be matched with a designer who has experience working with children’s picture books. Their support will include:

  • Working with you to help you develop as an illustrator.
  • Supporting you to get a publishing deal – either by publishing your illustrations themselves to accompany a picture book text written by an author (we’ve bought or ‘acquired’ books from 5 writers so far from our WriteNow mentoring programme), or helping introduce you to illustration agents.
  • Sharing insights on the picture book market.
  • Giving you confidence in your own style.
  • Giving you experience of drawing to deadlines and responding to feedback and artistic direction over an extended time period.

Please note that our mentoring programme is about finding and nurturing talented people who we are excited to publish, regardless of whether they are a writer or illustrator. This will mean we won't be prescriptive about how many of our 10 mentees are writers and how many are illustrators. We want to have the flexibility to mentor the most promising individuals who have applied to the programme. 

Some of the 2016 WriteNow mentees


An introduction to the local support available for writers

We'll connect you with our partners Spread the Word (London), New Writing North (Liverpool), and Writing East Midlands and UNESCO City of Literature (Nottingham). They will let you know about the ongoing support they offer locally for writers and can introduce you to networks and activities in your area, as well as acting as a long-term point of contact and resource. 

Creating a support network

We’ll bring all of the writers and illustrators on the mentoring programme together in person twice over the course of the year to share experiences and get to know each other. Previous WriteNow mentees are in regular contact, including through lively Whatsapp groups.  

Membership of the Society of Authors

We offer free membership to the Society of Authors as part of our mentoring programme - the trade union for authors and illustrators. They offer independent advice including reviewing publishing contracts.

Getting to know an agent

Literary and illustration agents are a really important part of the publishing process, acting as the key link between authors, illustrators and publishers. Many publishers, including Penguin Random House, won't accept work from creators who don't have an agent. To give you an insight into what agents do, we'll set up a one-to-one coffee with an agent. If you're based outside London, we'll schedule this to coincide with one of your mentoring sessions. 

How do I apply for the mentoring programme?

Fill out our application form for the chance to come along to one of our workshops. At these events we'll get to know you and your work, especially through the one-to-one feedback sessions with our editors and designers. We’ll then shortlist the writers and illustrators we’re most excited about from each workshop for the mentoring programme.

If you’re shortlisted we’ll ask you to send us your full manuscript if you are a writer. If you are an illustrator we'll ask you to send us your take on your favourite picture book. If you were to re-illustrate it, what would it look like? You don't need to do the whole book, just one colour spread.

We will also arrange a short phone call with all our shortlisted applicants to understand a little more about why WriteNow appealed to you and what you want to get out of the mentoring programme.

We will then announce our final 10 mentees at the beginning of December.