Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Mentorship Program

The Mentees Selected for 2021 NV Mentorship Program are:

Mariana Andrade

Elizabeth Davis

Jenna Dixon

Bev Englund

Jennifer Hart

Sonya Kenkare

Jen Nails

Jacqueline Straughan

Karen Thomas


Upcoming NV Mentee-only Workshops in 2021 will be held at 3pm:

March 28 – First Group hangout /critique

April 18   Story Structure  Heather Petty

May 16    Nonverbal Communication for Characters  Jenny Mackay

May 30 Second Group hangout/critique

June 6    Support Yourself and Your Career by Building Community Suzanne Morgan Williams

June 27    Writing Intense Viewpoints  Terri Farley

July 11   Discovering Where You Belong Within the Kidlit Community  Ellen Hopkins

July 25 Third Group hangout/critique

August 8 Fourth Group hangout/critique

August 22 Fifth Group hangout/critique

September 5 Sixth Group hangout

See you all in Virginia City


YOU DON’T NEED TO LIVE IN NV TO APPLY. The program is a combination of 1-1 mentorship via in-person meetings, conference workshops, and agent meetings.THE NEXT MENTORSHIP PROGRAM WILL BE OFFERED IN 2021 and registration begins Dec. 1, 2020.

Registration opens Dec 1, 2020 – January 30, 2021

Announcement of Mentees: March 1, 2021.

Program begins April 1, 2021 until September 19, 2021.

Registration IS HERE:

Every other year (bi-annually), Nevada SCBWI hosts its flagship Mentor Program, the first of its kind among SCBWI.

Nevada SCBWI is committed to giving our members the best opportunities to improve their writing and to get closer to their goals of seeing their works published. One of the best ways to learn is to work with an author-mentor who have published and are experienced writers who enjoy mentoring other writers. The key is that our NV Mentors are not only experienced professional writers, they want to help yet-to-be published writers produce a more polished manuscript. We don’t guarantee publication but many of our past mentees have published or signed with agents since their involvement in the program.

During the program, each mentor works with 2 or 3 mentees. The mentors are making a special commitment of time and insight because they all love to see writers and artists succeed. If you would like to be a participant in this program, as a “mentee,” you will need to commit to spending time on your revision with the aim of improving your craft. The Mentorship Faculty is on the menu on the sidebar, but here is a shortcut as well: FACULTY.

Our highly knowledgeable past and current mentors have included National Book Award Finalists, New York Times bestselling authors, Caldecott Medal–winning illustrators, Coretta Scott King Award winners, Charlotte Zolotow Award winners, million-selling series authors, art directors, editors, publishers, and agents. We hand-pick mentors who are gifted both at creating children’s books and at teaching. Many Nevada Mentor Program alumnae have gone on to win awards, land agents, and sign book deals.

This program is designed to help you grow. We guarantee that you will meet, work personally with, and learn from some fine professional writers. We do NOT guarantee that you’ll find an agent. However, here is a list of mentees who have found agents after the program and published. (This is not a final list since we don’t actively keep it current, but update it when we hear about one of the mentees. The list is on the sidebar menu as well.) LIST of Agented Mentees.



The success of the program is based on a several factors:

* Focused, one-on-one mentor relationship to guide your entire manuscript from an experienced author and teacher

* In-person meeting with mentors and other mentees in the program to create a supportive community that lasts after the program.

* Craft sessions on various elements of the story, technique, and workshops on query letters

* Group critique/feedback and agent critique

* 6 month timeframe to allow for revision with opportunity to schedule Zoom/Skype/Facetime meetings online or telephone calls with your mentor scheduled in advance at the beginning of the program to help keep a deadline in mind.

* A final review after revision


What to Expect from the Mentor Program:

The Mentors choose the participants for the program by a blind application process. Number of acceptances are based on the number of qualified manuscripts.

Nevada residents may receive grant assistance from the Nevada Arts Council.

Who Should Apply

As with all SCBWI functions, the application process is open to any SCBWI member. This program is for SCBWI members only. Additionally, because the program is being designed and underwritten by the Nevada Region of SCBWI, some weight will be given to members from our regions and the immediate vicinity (see the application process).

This is NOT an entry level program. It is designed for pre-published writers and illustrators who have been working at their craft and are producing publishable or almost publishable work, or for published members who want to improve their skills or branch into a new genre of children’s books.

Pre-Published Authors:

Consider applying if:

  • You have been attending a critique group regularly and are beginning to get very positive feedback on your work or have a few manuscripts under your belt.
  • You have submitted to agents and publishers with “good rejections”
  • You have been invited to send more work to an editor.
  • You have published in other fields or other genres of children’s books and want to break into something new.
  • You aren’t sure if you fit any of the above categories, but the program seems made for you, and you are willing to work hard and to respond to constructive criticism and comment.

Published/Agented Authors:

Consider applying if:

  • You want to change genres.
  • You’re a midlist author who wants to publish higher (to push your craft and claim a more prominent place in the market).
  • You have recently lost an editor or publishing house and are looking for a new one.
  • You’re just not sure about your new project.

All Applicants:

  • If your work is longer than 85,000 words, there is an additional fee of up to $1000. The publishing industry generally recognize that chapter books are no longer than about 20,000 words, MG of about 45,000 with fantasy/science fiction being a bit longer to about 55,000 words, and YA being about 85,000 words or shorter. Again, science fiction and fantasy tend to be longer.

2021 Mentorship DATES

INFO SESSION: Please review the info Zoom about the program 


Due Date Schedule:

  • Dec. 1, 2020 – Jan 30, 2021 – Open application process.
  • March 1, 2021 – Announcement of Mentee Selection

You must first register for the Mentorship Program. The fee to register is $50.  For those not selected, a critique will be provided by a mentor or agent depending on the manuscript but the writer will not be able to choose.

The program fee for 2021 is $1350 paid in two checks. $650 on March 1, 2021. $600 on June 1.

This year’s event will begin as a virtual event and end in the fall with an in-person meeting in Virginia City, NV at St. Mary’s Art Center for a weekend commencement with mentors and publishing professional(s).

St. Mary’s Date: Sept 17-19, 2021 in Virginia City

St. Mary’s includes shared room plus breakfast & lunch for the stay. We are still calculating the cost of dinners and may decide to include or pay separately depending on our finances. We need to breakeven in costs for this program. (You may opt to stay at a hotel or elsewhere in Virginia City at your own cost if you don’t want to share a room. If we run out of rooms or there is a roommate issue and require attendees to stay elsewhere, we will figure out a subsidy for the extra costs, but it is only if we lack space.)




Please carefully read the application details including submission information below.

You will submit 4 files.

  1. Your full manuscript prepared as a full submission. It must included your contact info just as if you’re submitting to an agent or editor. If you don’t know, you’re probably not ready to submit to this program. Please name the Word document with your full name followed by target reader, genre, title of your novel/PB, and the number of total pages in your completed manuscript. Use Part 1 in the name of the document. YOUR CONTACT INFO includes both email and phone number.
  2. One document in WORD format that has the application information plus 20 pages of your manuscript plus a 1 page synopsis of the story. Please include your contact info just as if you’re submitting to an agent.
  3. One document in WORD of the first 20 pages of your story/PB that is ONLY TITLED by the name of your manuscript, genre, and number of total pages in your completed manuscript, and no other identifying information.
  4. Application questionnaire completed.

Example for file 1

Mun-Cynthia-MG-fantasy-MYGREATNOVEL-xxxxpages – Part1.doc

(This document is my completed manuscript)

Example for file 2

Mun-Cynthia-MG-fantasy-MYGREATNOVEL-xxxxpages- Part 2.doc

(This document is only 20 pages of the manuscript with your contact info and up to 1 page of your story synopsis)

Example for file 3

MYGREATNOVEL- MG- fantasy-xxxxpages – Part 3.doc

(This is just 20 pages of your novel or full picture book document WITHOUT your contact info)

Example for file 4

Mun-Cynnthia- MG-fantasy – MYGREATNOVEL – xxx pages – APPLICATION – Part 4. doc

This is one document that answers the questions below – the five questions.


CONTENTS OF THE APPLICATION – File 4/Part 4 information that needs to be included.

  1. Why do you want to enroll in the NV Mentorship Program?
  2. How many years have you been an SCBWI Member?
  3. What is your home SCBWI region?
  4. In the past 5 years which SCBWI events have you attended. You can take a snapshot of your event history in the SCBWI account.
  5. Please indicate the order of mentors you would prefer. If no preference, please indicate that.

FORMATTING your manuscript: Please make sure your file is a in Word format and you follow the formatting guidelines posted on this link:

EMAIL SUBMISSION: email all documents in one email with SUBJECT line 2021 NV Mentorship Program and send it to 

These instructions are specific BECAUSE it helps us organize and find your information quickly. SCBWI NV administrators are all volunteers so please help us save time. If this program takes more time than we have to offer then we won’t be able to offer it in the future.

Questions about the program can be sent to This email is not checked daily. You might be able to find your answers by asking folks on the SCBWI NV Facebook page. I have asked past mentees if they would be able to answer questions through Facebook. There is also a list of past mentees on the website, if you’d like to speak to them as well.

INFO SESSION: You can watch the info session that was recorded earlier fall here: REPLAY

Due Date Schedule:

  • Dec 1 – Jan 30 Open application process.
  • Mar 1 – Mentee selection announcement
  • February 15 – Announcement of Mentee Selection
  • April 1 – Individual program begins for 6 months.
  • Tentative Sept 17-19, 2021 – Virginia City Finale – If we are still under Covid situation in the fall of 2021, the portion that covered the Virginia City Finale will be refunded.