Today, my guest, Anju Gattani writes about Mentors

In the writing world the majority of us would grin at the word ‘mentors’.  Why?  Because it is precisely this, just a word.  It is a wish, a blessing, for any writer, if a professional or a published author is willing to look at your manuscript and lead you by the hand.  Now if you had to pay someone would you consider this mentoring?  I’m guessing it would probably fit the phrase ‘editorial services’. 

Whenever I bring this up at writers’ meetings, conferences and during general conversations, professional writers are shocked when I tell them that I’ve had (and still have) 2 writing mentors: New York Times Bestselling author, Haywood Smith and USA Today Bestselling author, Jade Lee.  They continue to grow even more shocked when I tell them these professional and extremely talented women have never asked for anything in return and to date, are just a phone call away. 

How did this come about?   Through writers’ conferences, attending chapter meetings and sharing the passion of my project with others.  I didn’t just share my work and have a flurry of authors take me under their wing.  I asked for help, connected with these 2 women (and other bestselling authors after) and followed their lead without question.  This unspoken trust sparked a mentor-student relationship where understanding and the willingness to learn lay the foundation.  I jumped in with a thick skin (the thickest possible) ready to embrace every criticism and red-pen remark. 

I learned and grew as a writer and these women soon became my friends.  They didn’t wave a magic wand and find me an agent or a publisher—that was the next stage in my journey—but they gave me the confidence to go on and believe in myself.  And I did, because they did.  Now I’m a published author myself; but I still remember how they taught me to walk, tread on the fine professional line and be a better writer than I was before. 

So when I shared their books and my gratitude at my very first author talk in January 2012 I wanted the world to know that DUTY AND DESIRE wasn’t just a product of perseverance and persistence.  It was a book, like many others, with a front and back cover, and a story.  And another story lying hidden behind the pages… of two professionals who had believed in it long before the world did. 

The choice to mentor is totally yours.  How deeply you’re willing to get involved in another’s project is your choice too because as a mentor you’re offering the aspiring writer something beyond the written word.  You are offering trust, truth and a belief… perhaps… that you are also just a phone call away.   

Learn more about Anju Gattani at

8 Responses

  1. Isn’t this beautiful – and why RWA is so, so special.

  2. Thanks for posting a comment, Maria. RWA is amazing and even moreso the published authors we have who take budding writers under their wings.

  3. What a lovely valentine this is for your mentors.
    I’ve been blessed to have good, encouraging mentors also and you are right: it makes a world of difference. It’s a tough world in publishing – for published authors to take time from their busy schedules is an honor indeed.

  4. Hi Pamela,
    Thanks for commenting; it’s something I had to share… something I hope will give others hope too. Writing is hard enough and then the challenge of getting the manuscript published is another game altogether.
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. I suspect that my latest writers group will soon be a mentor group. Two of us now have agents and one has a publishing contract. I am truly blessed by the number of professionals and semi-pros who have helped me over the years and they’ve all been a phone call or email away.

  6. Haywood has been one of my mentors as well. She’s amazing!

  7. Hi Victoria,
    Our Author of Asian Novel group is truly amazing too. Having a mentor is like an awakening – like a wake up to the real world of publishing! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Hi Walt,
    I can never speak enough about Haywood Smith… she is truly magnificent! And her books are too – which is why I carry them around to my author events!

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