Rising Stars Picture Book Mentorship

Rising Stars Picture Book Mentorship program pairs agented picture book creators that are knowledgeable about querying, agent calls, author-agent relationships, being on submission, book deals, and contract language, with the next generation of children’s book authors and illustrators for an immersive, custom-made mentorship experience that is more than just a critique.

I submitted my application this morning. While the odds are not in my favor, there are probably 300 applicants and 25 mentors, I found the experience to be very positive. The application is not for the faint of heart. It is an extensive application that focuses on your strengths, weaknesses and goal setting just to mention a few items. My final application was over 18 pages!


Applicants must:

  1. Be a picture book author, illustrator, or author-illustrator.
  2. Be serious about your craft and be actively working toward traditional publication.
  3. Be currently unagented (unagented creators with self-represented book deals may apply if currently seeking an agent), unless otherwise stated on the mentor’s profile.
  4. If agented, applicant must not have a book deal or a traditionally published book. *Only select mentors will accept agented submissions.
  5. Not have been mentored as part of another picture book mentorship program within the last year— exceptions: if it was a PAID mentorship or shorter than one month long, you are still eligible.
  6. Be willing to not query during the duration of the mentorship unless otherwise decided by you and your mentor.
  7. Be ready to dedicate 3 months to the program this summer.
  8. Complete the application and submit your manuscript.


One of the best parts of the Rising Star Picture Book Mentorship application process was getting to know the mentors. Each mentor had prepared a profile for you to view. You can learn about them personally, their current and upcoming books, their strengths, what they are looking for in a mentee, a visual wish list, website, social media accounts and what the mentor feels is a good fit or not for submitting your manuscript. In addition to these profiles we were able to meet the mentors one evening where they were able to share a little about themselves. It really helped me to listen to each mentor and take notes. I found my notes helpful when deciding which mentors I would be the best fit for my manuscript.


Completing the application was time consuming, especially if you want it done right. As with any application, some questions are easy and others required a great deal of thought, research, and planning. Before I started the application process, I put in hours of research looking at the mentors portfolio, picture books, website and social media. I wanted to really get to know the mentors that I would be working with this summer. I found my research, notes, and their profiles to be very helpful when addressing the question why I like to work with the specific mentor.

Some areas I needed to take a deep dive into were my strengths and weaknesses as a picture book creator, my long and short term SMART goals, and about the children, who I hope, will read my books. I have no experience with finding comp titles or writing pitches, so this was a challenge and a good one. These are skills I definitely need for submitting my manuscripts to publishers. I reviewed my application at least 3 times and then I hit submit.

A nice little perk was the 30-Day Applicant Self-Care Challenge to help us focus on self care while completing the application.

Thoughts …

First, want to say that I am very thankful to Kailei Pew and Ebony Lynn Mudd for offering this low-stakes, high-quality Rising Stars Picturebook Mentorship. The mentors are amazing picture book writers, several are writers and illustrators, with knowledge and experience in traditional publishing. The books they have published and those that are upcoming are books you want to read. The topics, writing styles and voices of these authors are unique and it is easy for me to see why their books are being published.

Whether or not I am selected as a mentee or not, this has been a great experience. I have only completed the application phase, and can only imagine what the mentorship will teach me about my craft and moving my career as a picture book author forward. Fingers crossed that I see my name on Twitter on May 25th. I will be jumping up and down and sharing the news everywhere!

Requests …

I am so glad you’re here and I thank you for taking the time to read this post. I am grateful that I can share my writing journey with you. 

I’m looking forward to helping you as a children’s book writer in any way that I can. Speaking of helping — please leave a comment below and let me know what questions you have about picture book writing. 

My website has been updates and it is now interactive. There are surprises everywhere. Click on the balloons and see where they take you. Can you find two writing videos? Freebies? A chocolate chip recipe? There’s even a special freebie to anyone who subscribes to my newsletter. Check out the resources for childrenparents and teachers, librarians and homeschooling families.

Please consider purchasing a copy of Two Wins for Wiley or Gertie Saves the Day for gifts. If you are going to a baby shower, looking for an end of the year gift for a special teacher or thinking about summer reading books, give them books. It has been my wish to get books into the hands of children. It is the best gift I can think of for children and adults!

One last request … 

You can really help this author by leaving a book review on Amazon or Goodreads. You can leave a review for Gertie Saves the Day here or here. Two Wins for Wiley here or here.  Reviews can be as easy as 2-3 sentences and should take about 30 seconds to leave and would make a huge difference for me. Need help? Click here.

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