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And Now a Word From a Mentor—Katy Duffield

Hello, WWTS applicants!

I was so wonderfully overwhelmed as I read your applications and your manuscripts that before I was even a third of the way through I knew I had to email Tara and ask if she’d allow me to write a short post. Thankfully, she agreed. So here I am.

First, I want to say: WOW. You guys have outdone yourselves. And I mean that with all my heart.

I was completely blown away by your humor, your heart, and your passion for books and writing. You shared heartfelt, imaginative ideas and strong, wonderful writing. You’ve shown that you’ve paid your dues as evidenced by the looooong list of classes, conferences, and workshops you’ve attended. And you touched my heart with your backgrounds, strengths, weaknesses, and favorite books. Your personalities and determination came through loud and clear. You guys are doing all the right things. Keep it up!

It was an absolute honor to read your work, and I promise I did not take my job lightly. A great deal of time was spent reading and rereading and thinking and considering (and obsessing over!) each and every application and manuscript, and I have no doubt that the other mentors did the same.

As I read, I made notes. I added stars next to manuscripts. Cripes! You should see all the stars! I’m sure the other mentors will agree that narrowing the list down to one mentee has been challenging and difficult (almost impossible!). I tweeted earlier that I wish I could take you all, and I wish I could.

When it comes right down to it, what I really want to say is this—and I mean it from the bottom of my heart—even if you are not chosen as a mentee this time, PLEASE believe me when I say that you are ALL worthy. And I don’t mean that in a “rah-rah,” “chins-up” way. I mean it sincerely. You guys have SO much talent. You’ve worked hard and dedicated yourselves to your writing—and it SHOWS. Your applications and manuscripts affected me so strongly; I couldn’t miss the opportunity to tell you what reading your work meant to me.

I’m excited about being a mentor. I sure don’t claim to know it all, but I’ll assist my mentee in any way I can. Kidlit folks are the kindest, most giving people, and I’m thrilled to be able to be a part of this great community and a part of WWTS. I believe that we never stop learning, and I can’t wait to see what I learn from you guys!

One last note:  Don’t give up. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t!

~Katy Duffield



  1. Beth Gallagher says:

    Thanks for this post, Katy! It’s so easy for us creatives to be very hard on ourselves and our work. Meeting rejection with a smile, notes on what could be done differently, some revision, and on to the next query is a challenge not for the weak willed, that’s for sure! 😉 Thanks for serving as a mentor, and thanks to all the others as well. Hope I make the cut, but wishing a happy successful future for the mentors and their choices!

  2. Virginia Manning says:

    I went to check if the announcement had been made and read Katy’s post. Thank you, Katy! I know all the applicants are very nervous and doubting their self worth right now. This was a wonderful message to send to us!

  3. Linda Hofke says:

    Thanks, Katy, for posting about your experience in the selection process. I hear there was an enormous amount of entries, so this much have been a difficult task for you.

    I submitted to you (squeaked in right at the deadline) and even if I am not selected I want to say THANK YOU for reading my work and considering it. Your time is appreciated.

    I am always amazed at the generosity of people in the kidlit community, giving their time and advice to help other writers master the craft and bring great literature into the world for children to enjoy. So thanks go out to all the mentors and to Becky and Tara for making this possible. And best wishes to all those who are selected.

  4. Maria Marshall says:

    I echo the others in saying THANK YOU for your sincere praise (like Megan, I am keeping this poat for those dark days) and the time and effort you put into reading and picking a memtee. Your willingness to participate is greatly appreciated.

  5. Megan Jones says:

    Katy, thank you for the sweet words of encouragement. I am saving this for frustrating days or after a difficult critique when I need a boost of confidence. Thanks to all the mentors and their willingness to share their time and knowledge. Special thanks to Becky and Tara for organizing this awesome opportunity. I can’t wait to see how this program grows in future years.

  6. Elizabeth Steffenson says:

    THank you so much, KAty, for the update on how it is going on the mentor side as we all anxiously await the results!? Your words of encouragement are so powerful and inspiaratiinal…no wonder you have found success in your writing career. SO kind of you (and all the mentors) to share your gift and wisdom with us. Your mentees will be lucky indeed! And to all the applicants, best of luck!

  7. Emily Cook says:

    Thank you for being a mentor! Whoever you work with will be very lucky indeed! Thanks for your encouraging post and comments 🙂

  8. Sharon Coffey says:

    Katy, thank you for going out of your way to take the time to write such encouraging words. No matter where we are on our writing journey, it is a passion for each of us or we wouldn’t pursue it. As a matter of fact, it pursues us. Your words help us to know that other people read the stories that are planted deep within us and they enjoy them. That’s what its all about.

  9. Sharon Coffey says:

    Katy, thank you for going out of your way to take the time to write such encouraging words. No matter where we are on our writing journey, it is a passion for each of us or we wouldn’t pursue it. As a matter of fact, it pursues us. Your words help us to know that other people read the stories that are planted deep within us and they enjoy them. That’s what its all about. Thanks again.

  10. Traci Bold says:

    This was encouraging to hear Katy. Thank you for all of your time in doing this, especially in the prep work of reading so many submissions. You rock!

  11. Debra Shumaker says:

    Katy, thank you so much for this post. I think most of us, if not all of us, have considered giving up at some point, so it is so nice to read these words of encouragement! Thanks for jumping in to be a mentor!

  12. Mary Miller says:

    You are right, this community is filled with kindest people. You are a perfect example. How very thoughtful of you to write share this with us. Thank you!

  13. Jacquie Sewell says:

    Thank you Katy – for taking the time to be a mentor and for your kind, encouraging words! Whoever becomes your mentee is a most fortunate person!

  14. Cindy Williams Schrauben says:

    Thanks for the wonderful post! Regardless of the outcome, it was a good exercise for me. Often, until articulating my goals, they aren’t fully formed with achievable steps. Thanks for offering your time to this program. Without the generosity of this community, I wouldn’t make it.

  15. Melanie Ellsworth says:

    Thanks for the very kind words, Katy. I completely agree with you about this wonderful community of children’s book writers.

  16. Heather Kinser says:

    What a lovely post. Thank you for all the time you put into the selection process, and for reminding us that we’re all worthy. From my perspective, win or lose, the application process in itself was fantastic. It was intense(!)–but also inspiring, and therapeutic. I’ve been waiting a long time to answer the questions that were posed in the mentorship application. It was nice to finally be asked! And it was good for me to verbalize all I think and feel about why I’m trying to write for kids.

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