CWA has had an informal mentoring program since its inception, and strives to foster an atmosphere of mutual support and nurturing of each others’ careers. This informal mentoring includes in part the continuing education opportunities provided at each CWA Conference as well as the one-on-one help that generous members have offered.
During the early 90’s, Barbara Florio Graham offered to create a more structured program, tailored to CWA’s specific need to help associate members become professionals, and to assist professional members gain expertise and assistance in areas outside their specific fields. She oversaw this program from the beginning until June, 2015. CWA is in her debt!
NEW MENTOR PROGRAM DIRECTOR
Janiss Garza oversees the CWA Mentor Program. To contact Janiss regarding the mentorship program, please email her at CWAMentor@fitcatinc.com with “CWA Mentoring” in the subject line.
What Is Mentorship?
What is being offered through our mentorship program is informal mentoring. This is a free exchange between a member who has expertise in a particular area, which may include non-writing areas, such as web design, photography, ebook conversion, cover design, etc.
It’s important to understand what is meant by mentoring. Mentoring is not substantive editing (going over a manuscript to make suggestions about format, organization, content, etc.), copy-editing (checking for grammar, spelling, punctuation, spacing, etc.), or finding markets for you, or helping with publicity. If you need that level of help, you need to hire an editor, an agent, or a publicist.
What to Expect (and Not Expect) From the Mentorship Program
CWA’s mentoring program is an informal, unpaid, one-on-one arrangement to provide help with a specific project or problem. Once the connection is made between mentor and the person requesting mentorship, CWA is no longer involved.
The Pro-list should always be your first stop for general questions, as well as to ask for referrals to professionals who can provide specific help.
If you need an editor, an agent, or a publicist, you must expect to pay for their services. The same is true for a paid mentor, whose specific services often vary with the individuals involved and the project. CWA has several members who offer professional mentorship. (Among those members is Patricia Fry.)
How the Program Works
- Potential mentors should email Janiss Garza (CWAMentor AT fitcatinc.com. This need not be a formal matter, just a request to be included in the listing on the website. Include with your email a brief description of your expertise and what you’re willing to do as well as your email address and your website URL. Do not include a list of your books or other accomplishments. Janiss will edit your entry and return the edited listing to you. You will then send the edited description along with a photo to Marci Kladnik (email@example.com) for inclusion on the website.
- Mentors are not allowed to charge for their help. They may set any limits they wish, as to how and when they want to be contacted (many won’t want phone calls), how much material they’re willing to review, how many emails they’re willing to exchange during a specific time period, etc. Each arrangement is dependent on the mentor’s willingness and availability and arrangements are individual and private. (It’s also a good idea to share the final agreement with Barbara so she can understand what’s expected.)
- Members looking for mentors will go to the website, see if the help they need is listed, and contact one or more mentors to check availability and to see who might be a good “fit.” At this point, the pair should notify Barbara of their match.
- Members will not offer any monetary compensation, nor shall they discuss the mentorship with other members or outsiders. Any complaints should be directed to Janiss. Praise, however, is always welcome. You can tell Janiss you’re pleased with the experience, nominate your mentor for the Shojai Mentorship Award, and/or send your praise to Wendy Christensen (firstname.lastname@example.org) to include in a future DIGITAL MEWS newsletter. If your member has a testimonials page, send a note to be posted there, and also consider a LinkedIn endorsement or comment on the mentor’s Facebook page. The phrase “monetary compensation” does not include any small thank-you gifts!
- Mentors can remove themselves from the website at any time, either permanently or temporarily.
- To contact Janiss, please email her at CWAMentor AT fitcatinc.com.
List of Mentors
Please join us in thanking all of these CWA Mentor Volunteers:
Tamar Arslanian: email@example.com
I’m willing to help as a mentor for one-off type requests in the fields of:
– Writing/Creating a Blog
– Using various social platforms to promote your blog
– Creating a brand for your blog
Christine Church: firstname.lastname@example.org
I can offer mentoring services as both a professional writer (fiction and nonfiction), and a professional horse and pet photographer. If people have questions in either of these areas (writing pet nonfiction, writing fiction (fantasy/romance/paranormal genres) or pet/horse photography) I can offer them answers.
Janiss Garza: email@example.com
I am good with social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and some specialty cat social media sites – but not LinkedIn), blogging (more about getting your blog out there to an audience and using WordPress plugins, nothing all that technical), photography (both taking photos and working in Photoshop), photography apps on smart phones, using photos for print and for products (a la Zazzle and CafePress). Questions regarding these I can probably answer pretty quickly and offer help. I also edit and publish (ebooks and print), but not sure I have the time to answer questions regarding these topics, as they can be really time consuming – if there are questions on these topics that don’t take a lot of review (time-consuming stuff I can’t do means looking over a 35,000 mms or being a book sherpa), I can do them. I do best for this sort of thing in short spurts and unless I’m at a conference (like this weekend) or on a particularly tight deadline, I’m generally available.
Janiss Garza, FitCat Enterprises
Lee Wardlaw Jaffurs: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’d be happy to mentor someone who is interested in writing for children and/or teens. I’m the author of 30 award-winning books for young readers, and have been working in the children’s book field for almost 30 years. I also have a BA in Education, and will complete my M.Ed. this summer.
Anne Moss: email@example.com
I can help people with web-related questions. Anything to do with domain names, hosting, wordpress, online advertising and social media. I’ve been doing this for the past 15 years and have experience in all of the above which I’d be happy to share with other CWA members.
Fran Shaw: firstname.lastname@example.org
I can discuss basic interviewing techniques — how to find sources, vet sources, organize your interview questions; and basic query writing — how to approach editors, how to come up with story ideas etc. Other than that, I’m willing to read and review content and make suggestions on improving someone’s nonfiction article, if my schedule allows.
No website, so check the CWA Directory for full bio.
Rosie Sorenson: Theyhadmeatmeow@aol.com
I’d be happy to offer mentoring to anyone interested in polishing their personal essays (500-700 words.) I’ve published many such pieces, including humor pieces and would be happy to take a look at someone’s drafts. My work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Cats Center Stage, the Contra Costa Times, the Progressive Populist, and others. In addition, I won Honorable Mention in the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition for 2007. She is also a monthly humor columnist for the Foolish Times (www.foolishtimes.net). My essays have been broadcast on KQED-FM, the popular San Francisco NPR affiliate, in its “Perspectives” series. In 2006 she won its Listener Favorite Award. In 2009, I won the Muse Medallion from CWA for her photo essay book: They Had Me at Meow: Tails of Love from the Homeless Cats of Buster Hollow. In 2010, I won the Muse Medallion for my humorous line of greeting cards which incorporate funny photos of the cats of Buster Hollow.
Janet Velenovsky: email@example.com
I would be willing to mentor a CWA member with regards to feline behavior. My time is limited, but I would be happy to provide some quick email support to a member who might have questions or want recommendations on reliable sources, etc.
Janet Velenovsky, CPDT-KA, CDBC, KPA CTP, ACCBC
Owner, Kaizen Pet Training & Behavior
Susan Willett: firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan C. Willett is a writer, blogger and photographer. A winner of the BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Award, Susan’s expertise lies in social media and online tools, and she’s willing to mentor on writing for the web, creating a website and how to blog, as well as how to use Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Vine, and Google+ effectively.
Allia Zobel Nolan: email@example.com
I would be willing to help with: Covers …The Most Important Part of Your Book: What you don’t know, CAN hurt you. Query letters…Short and Sweet. Inspirational Books…Pet Books Can Inspire.