Mentoring Program

BIO’s mentoring program for members is now accepting requests for matching with mentors. This program is designed to be helpful for biographers at all levels of experience: a BIO member writing a first biography or a veteran biographer who would like to share pages or a writing dilemma with a colleague.

Eleven highly experienced and prize-winning authors of literary, political, artistic, historical, and popular culture biographies will offer coaching sessions to help writers in such areas as:

  • preparing pitch letters for potential agents
  • shaping a book proposal and sample chapter
  • improving interview skills
  • using libraries and archives effectively
  • dealing with subjects’ families and associates
  • creating a narrative out of your facts
  • promoting your book

You may sign up for one or more mentoring sessions. Based on your interests, the coaching committee (Will Swift, Cathy Curtis, and Linda Leavell) will select three available mentors whose expertise suits your subject area and your specific concerns, and provide you with their bios. For example, if you are writing about Mary Todd Lincoln, you might be presented with three mentors, one of whom has expertise in nineteenth-century American women, another who is a presidential biographer, and a third who has written about mental illness. You then select one of these.

The fee will be $60 per hour. Most of that fee will be paid directly to the mentor; a portion will cover BIO’s administrative costs. The mentors will be paid for time spent reading submitted materials and for the time they spend in consultation.

You can begin the process by sending an email to Will Swift with a brief summary of your project and a statement about your goals for the mentoring sessions. You will then receive instructions about payment and a list of three mentors with their bios. Once we receive your payment and choice, you will be given instructions for setting up phone, email or Skype sessions, according to your mutual preferences.