Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 3/28/14

MENTOR! MENTOR!

From the first cave carvings, to the invention of paper, the printing press, computers, blogs, tweets and twitters, people have been simply driven to communicate. However, what we communicate and how well we do so can be “a horse of a different color” altogether. When the desire is there and ink is flying, sometimes clarity (or focus) is lost. That is why I applaud all writers who read as passionately as they write and who seek the mentorship of authors they admire. If you read my blog last week you know of my mentor and friend Lois Beebe Hayna, who has definitely made a big difference in my life! (Google her name and you’ll be inspired.)

One of the genres I love to read (and write when time allows) is Science Fiction. Two of the big names in that field are Isaac Asimov (biochemistry professor and science fiction author) and Gene Roddenberry (screenwriter and creator of the Star Trek phenomenon). I have read—and watched—the creations of both these gentleman, appreciating their differences while thankfully enjoying their individual expertise. Then I discovered that they had become fast friends and actually considered each other “mentors,” as science inspired imagination and imagination pushed science. However, that didn’t happen immediately. Mr. Azimov wrote a challenging letter to “show” where Mr. Roddenberry was wrong in the scientific portrayal of scenes in Star Trek. It was Mr. Roddenberry’s passionate defense of his TV series that caused Azimov to re-think his position. Eventually Azimov agreed that Roddenberry’s writing was “intellectually stimulating,” and through their close friendship, he served as an advisor on Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Yes, writers who seem to be at an impasse can (and do) mentor each other.

So, how do you find the best writing mentor? Here are a few tips:

  • Look for an author of your preferred genre, one whose books you sincerely appreciate.
  • Research that person, website, Facebook, Twitter, publisher, etc, and decide which avenue they have opened for “contact.” It is important to be respectful of that; it is also valuable to discover whether or not they’ve mentored other writers.
  • Write to them. You are a writer seeking writing help and the way you construct your request will speak beyond the words on the page. Be brief, be polite (not overly solicitous), and be ready to thank them for any reply even if it is “No.” This can be an email message; however, I highly recommend mailing a letter.
  • Mentors can also be found through genre-specific conferences and writing groups, such as Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Science Fiction Writers of America and the Colorado (or Philadelphia) Christian Writers Conference.

One exceptional group of people who can and DO mentor fledgling authors are the self-publishing teams who are totally focused on helping authors see their books in print. If you are too shy to contact a “famous” author, research the self-publishing industry and select one or two businesses to contact. You will be quickly impressed by the benefits!

Royalene ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.

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