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Mentee application feedback | A deep dive into our archives
Steph gives feedback to unsuccessful mentee applicants and also digs out some newsletters you might find useful re-reading
Today we’ve got a slightly different bonus newsletter. Last week, we confirmed our ten successful mentees for the second round of the Talking Travel Writing x BGTW mentoring programme. 69 readers applied to become a mentee but, with only 10 spaces available, it was a tough job whittling down the numbers. As we did, we realised that many applicants were asking for exactly the same types of support — much of which is already available in our archives.
Diving back into over two years (!) of newsletters to find resources for our unsuccessful mentee applicants made me [Steph] realise that our wider subscriber base could also benefit from this. Even I’d forgotten exactly how many different topic areas we’d covered and the wealth of wisdom lurking in our archives.
Most of our archives are only available for paid subscribers, so this might be a good opportunity to invest just £7 a month (or £60 a year) to get access to two years of Talking Travel Writing archives and have four brand-new newsletters delivered straight to your inbox each month.
How to submit a standout mentoring application
But first, how can you make sure you stand out when applying for mentoring programmes? We noticed the same issues in multiple applications and hope the following tips can help those who reapply to the next round of the Talking Travel Writing x BGTW mentoring programme.
If you don’t have any pre-existing writing clips, make your own. It’s very hard for us — and, indeed, editors — to take a chance on a writer without being able to read any of their work. You might not have any paid commissions under your belt, but you can write a couple of pieces showcasing your style on either your own blog or on free channels such as Medium. Being able to attach clips to a mentoring application (and a pitch to an editor) is going to increase your chances of being selected.
Use the application as a place to showcase your writing style. Clips really helped us get a sense of each applicant’s writing style, but we were also immediately hooked by a couple of people whose writing absolutely shone in their application. The best used the form itself as a place to showcase their dazzling way with words and stood out immediately.
Make us understand how much you’re invested in travel writing as a career. With 69 applicants vying for our attention and only ten places available, those who were successful in their application were among the applicants who demonstrated a clear investment in travel writing as a career. If you’re hoping to become a travel writer on the side or just think it might make for an interesting hobby, then the mentoring programme probably isn’t for you.
Talking Travel Writing resources from the archives
Many applicants raised the same areas they’re struggling with as a reason they wanted a mentor — and a lot of these we’ve covered in great detail over the past two years.
We, therefore, wanted to dive into our back issues and highlight some of the topic areas we’ve written about and the practical tips you may find very useful.
Need help polishing your pitches or just getting a second opinion on whether your story sounds like a rounded, viable idea? Apply for a pitching partner. You’ll need to be a paid subscriber to access this programme, which partners you up with another journalist also looking for feedback on their pitches. Already a paid member? Reply to this email and we can send you the application form.
Want more general guidance for pitching? We’ve written about this subject extensively, including in this newsletter (and subsequent paid newsletters, including examples of good and bad pitches and editors’ pitching tips).
Know that networking is key but not really sure how to go about it? We discuss why networking is so important, hear from an editor about how writers can network with her and get tips from an expert networker about how to do it.
Wondering whether you need to niche down or can make a career as a generalist? Read this newsletter and then learn how you can get assigned commissions directly by editors and use SEO to bring editors directly to your inbox.
Need a framework to help you build upon your past successes as a travel writer? Use this action plan to plan out the rest of the year.
Looking to get commissions to come to you, rather than existing solely on the hamster wheel of pitching? Read this newsletter.
Feel you need to upskill your writing? We did a whole series on what makes good travel writing, how to hone your craft, what editors think makes good writing and an academic’s perspective on what makes writing sing.
Want some inspiration for pitching better-paying outlets you might not have considered before? We discussed why US-based publications have so much more money, suggested ways to find new, foreign publications to pitch, spoke to journalists who work with a range of foreign travel media and asked editors at foreign publications how to pitch them.
Have lots of regional travel writing experience and fancy a crack at guidebook writing? We just published this newsletter and wrote a whole series on guidebook writing where we heard from commissioning editors at guidebook publishers, examined the realities of guidebook writing and learned from some of the industry’s leading guidebook authors about how to make it profitable.
Not yet a paid subscriber? It costs just £7 a month and you get full access to all two years’ worth of Talking Travel Writing archives, as well as exclusive access to future paid newsletters.