After 12 years of the Cinnamon Press mentoring scheme, we have taken a pause to restructure our offerings and now have three pathways depending on your needs as a writer and whether you are looking for a full editing service with some creative input, an intensive year of one to one mentoring with Jan (plus a supportive peer group and workshops) or traditional mentoring to bring a manuscript to its full potential.
Rowan Tree Editing
If you are a prose writer looking for a full editing as well as creative input take a look at Rowan’s service, Rowan Tree Editing.
Rowan Fortune holds a PhD in English and Creative Writing. They have over a decade of experience in publishing, teaching (Bangor University), freelance writing and mentorship. They have edited and written a long list of manuscripts and in addition to creative editing, will ensure your document is grammatically correct, free of typos, properly punctuated, fluid, consistent, clearly formatted and readable. Your text will be tracked changed, with extensive comments to guide you in your future writing. And you will be supported throughout this process, with a thorough follow up.
For poets and prose writers with some experience who want to explore their writing at depth while developing a body of work, Jan runs an anual Kith pathways mentoring programme. This includes intense one to one mentoring by email and zoom plus fortnightly writing prompts, five online workshops spread through the year and a 5-day online ‘residential’ with a group of peers in your genre.
Cinnamon Pencil Mentoring
We have a small number of Cinnamon Pencil places (around 3 for prose writers and 3 for poets). The mentoring provides creative and structural feedback over a nine-month period with a submissions window for the 2023 programme from now until January 3 2023.
Cinnamon Pencil has been constantly updated over 12 years to provide a rigorous and supportive environment for writers to work one-to-one online with a range of experienced tutors and writers over a year of feedback on a complete manuscript of fiction or poetry. It’s been fantastic to see how the combination of commitment and encouragment can transform manuscripts. We’ve worked with over 170 dedicated writers and had consistently great feedback, learning a lot along the way.
You can read more about Cinnamon Pencil below and will find the online application form here.
This is feedback from Emma:
I want to thank you sincerely for the chance to work with Robin this year. As I have never previously attended a writer’s workshop I was nervous as to what to expect but the experience has been 100% positive. His advice on my writing has been so important to the project’s development, and the thread of debate, conversation and recommendations for reading has been a vital catalyst in my pushing on with a potentially unwieldy and complex collection! Robin has been totally respectful to my own voice, has suggested and encouraged without imposing anything which was not suitable to the direction the writing was heading.
And from Manon:
My year of mentoring with Pencil was transformative. I found myself writing much more than I normally would, as my mentor suggested poets for me to read or themes to explore. I found the whole process very encouraging but also challenging – I learnt some things about grammar, punctuation and sound which will stay with me forever and have dramatically improved my writing. I found my mentor, Helen May Williams, friendly, enthusiastic and committed to my work.
And Rachel writes:
It has been a thoroughly supportive and rewarding experience and I have recommended the Pencil to poet friends. Alex was professional, supportive and extremely insightful. We met via Zoom (oh the Covid effect!) on alternative months. I sent her a set of poems for feedback and we discussed them at our meetings. I found her feedback and advice so helpful. I now have a considerable number of poems to compile into a collection.
And David, one of our novelist students, says:
Thank you very much for the opportunity of doing the mentoring program. It has been a very stimulating process and I now feel like I’m a far better writer as a result. It was exactly what I wanted and needed.
We are no longer running the competition for a bursary place, but if you would be unable to proceeed without a discount please let us know. We don’t receive any outside funding and Cinnamon runs on a shoe-string so please be aware that we can only offer discounts to two applicants.
We will be accepting applications to mentor with us through Cinnamon Pecnil in 2023 from September 1 2022 up until 3 January, 2023.
We have a small, exciting team of high quality authors and editors who also have lots of teaching experience and share our vision to offer you the best service possible.
Remember those awful red pencil scrawlings all over your work when you were young? Too often they were disheartening, but critical feedback given with insight and encouragement is not only challenging, but vital for writing to become honed and polished. Cinnamon is a powerful spice with many health benefits and, rather than taking a red pencil to your work, let's take a cinnamon pencil and make your work shine.
Mentoring works because it is collaborative and transformational. We want our students not only to be able to write fluidly, but to take new delight in the process and think confidently of themselves as writers. We want our students to dig deeply into themselves, their environments, and their material; to be always pushing their own boundaries.
Mentoring sets high standards and gives you the assurance you can attain them by adding direction and support. You will end the process not only with a more polished manuscript but with more insight into your writing and yourself as a writer.
This service is for anyone who is dedicated to their writing of fiction (adult and YA), memoir or poetry and who is willing to do the work to make it the best it can be. Application is competitive as our mentors have busy writing lives and limited capacity and they are giving Cinnamon their time. We are looking for manuscripts that stand out, from writers who are highly committed to writing at many stages. This includes:
- unpublished writers with work in progress or with full manuscripts that they are looking to develop, structure or sharpen with the help of an objective eye; published authors with a new project that would benefit from expert-peer input; writers who have previously done an MA or PhD in writing and now want intensive input that is not tied to an academic appraisal system; writers with agents who are considering changes to their book.
You don't need to have a complete manuscript, but you need enough to show us the potential of your writing.
The mentoring programme runs for a nine-month period each year from March-November.
Our mentors include fiction writers, memoirists and poets. They are all experienced authors and/or editors with expert understanding of the publishing process as well as writing and tutoring experience. And they are all donating their time to support Cinnamon Press.
Our great team of writers are based around the UK and your mentor will deliver six sessions of detailed feedback over the nine-month period. In addition, your mentor will put many hours of work into reading your manuscript, highlighting revisions that might be made, thinking about structure and looking at your writing techniques etc.
Some mentors are able to meet up depending on geography (and pandemics) and your ability to travel. If this is arranged, meetings will be at mutually convenient times in quiet places (like cafés or galleries) in or near the tutor's hometown. You won't be asked to go to the home of someone you haven't met before.
Some tutors offer phone, Skype or Zoom sessions, but the most common delivery is via email with follow-ups.
We promise to give you feedback that will put pressure on your writing process to help you make your manuscript the best it can possibly be, whether it is poetry, short fiction, long fiction of nonfiction.
We promise to work with you to take your writing seriously and devote time and attention to making your work shine. We've seen manuscripts transform, even when they've been strong at the outset.
We promise expert feedback over nine months. Most of this will be reading and commenting behind the scenes to give you ideas and suggestions and some will be by direct contact (whether on online platforms or via email).
Some of our mentors may suggest an agent or a publisher to you towards the end of the process, but this is not a promise of publication.
The nine-month programme is £2,000 for prose manuscripts (up to 100,000 words) and £1,400 for poetry manuscripts (up to 60 poems).
We want the service to be as accessible as possible but also need to consider what is a fair return for an intensive programme. We're able to run at well below the cost of other schemes due to the generosity of our authors giving their time to the programme. We're immensely grateful for this. We're an indie press running on a shoe-string and the proceeds from the mentoring scheme are vital in supporting our work with inventive authors.
We've done a lot of research into other mentoring opportunities. There are well-known agencies charging £1000 simply to produce a one-off 2,000 word report on an 80,000 word novel. There are respected courses that charge £4,000 for six months of group lessons on a novel. We've seen mentoring schemes that cost £3,500 for nine months or £2,000 for six months feedback. An MA in Creative Writing can cost £6,000–9000 or more, and we've had many MA graduates in our previous cohorts looking for feedback that is less tied to curriculum and more focussed on their individual work.
In short, we charge well below the market rate for what is a well-developed, proven service delivered by people who care about writing.
Simply fill in the online application form and if we think your work would benefit from the scheme we will match you with a mentor and take it from there. The closing date for applications is 3 January, 2023.
Unfortunately, we are not able to offer feedback if your application is not successful but we will let you know whether we didn't feel the work was ready for mentoring (we are not in the business of taking money from those who wouldn't get the full benefit of the service, but you can always try again if you feel your writing has moved on) or whether it was simply that we were over-subscribed.