053 Where to Find Mentorship for Your Publishing Career

Here are the show notes for the most recent episode of the Christian Publishing Show.

You can listen to this episode here.



My wife and I are expecting our second baby in a couple of weeks!

We have entered the “any time now” phase of waiting for our Christmas baby. So the podcast will be airing some re-runs and pre-recorded episodes over the next several weeks.

This episode first aired on my other podcast, Novel Marketing

Episode Introduction

Do you ever feel alone in the writing journey? Or perhaps you are not sure what to do next. One thing every hero needs on the hero’s journey is a mentor. The journey of writing is no different. In this episode, I am going to talk about 10 different places to find mentorship.

Why Mentorship is Important

  • Most authors feel like they are the exception, the chosen one, the one for whom writing will be easy and successful. 
  • A mentor is a person who sets you straight and teaches you that you still have a lot to learn.
  • It’s hard to read the label when you are standing inside the bottle.
  • Easy to make the same mistakes over and over.
  • Helps identify blind spots.
  • There is a lot to learn to succeed. 

How to Tell If You’re Ready for Mentorship

  • Are you willing to suffer criticism to get better?
  • Are you ready to commit to implementing the advice you get?
  • Every hero in every story thinks he is farther along than he really is. The mentor shows him that he still has a lot to learn.  

Most successful authors avail themselves of most of these mentorship avenues at one point or another. Depending on where you are in your journey, one of these avenues may be more helpful to you than others. 

Stop thinking about strategies in terms of right and wrong. It is better to think about it in terms of pros and cons. Advantages and disadvantages. 

The right thing to do is to obey God. If he is calling you to do one of these strategies then that is the one to do, He may call other authors in a different direction and that is ok.

#1: Books



  • Dated
  • Impersonal
  • No Accountability
  • No Personal Encouragement 

Bottom Line:

Access the minds of experts for only $10 per expert. Impersonal and requires a lot of self-discipline. 

#2: Podcasts & Blogs


  • Free
  • Can learn just about anything
  • Expert advice
  • Cutting edge


  • Interaction Limited
  • Unfocused
  • No Accountability
  • No Encouragement 

Bottom Line: 

A free, timely and impersonal way up the learning curve.

#3: Writers Conferences 


  • In-Person
  • Expert
  • Focused
  • Wide Networking
  • One of the best ways to find an agent


  • Limited in time and scope
  • Like Drinking from a Firehose 
  • No Accountability
  • Expensive, Especially if you go to a lot.

Bottom Line: 

The default for most authors. An easy way to spend a lot of money without much to show for it education-wise. But for networking, nothing beats a conference in expanding your network. 

#4 Online Courses

Online courses blend of pros and cons of podcasts, conferences, and books. 


  • Expert
  • Focused
  • The more you pay the more personal they tend to be
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Great value compared to conference.


  • Static
  • Impersonal (you are one of many)
  • Limited Accountability
  • Limited Encouragement 
  • Limited Focus

Bottom Line: 

One of the best ways to fill in knowledge gaps. If you take the cost of just one conference and spend it on courses you will advance up the learning curve much faster. 

#5 University Degree


  • A high credibility path if you want to pursue traditional literary fiction. 
  • Degreed instructors 
  • Useful if you want to teach in university yourself


  • Slow
  • Very Expensive. (Liberal Arts colleges now cost $25,000 to $50,000 a year not counting books, room and board). The days of being able to work your way through college on a minimum wage job are over. For grins check what your alma matter is now charging students to attend. I checked mine and it now costs over $40,000 a year. That is over $160,000 for a four-year degree! 
  • The focus tends to be on non-commercial writing, depending on the school.
  • No one in the publishing world asks if you have a degree, they just care how well you write. 

Bottom Line: 

  • Rarely worth the investment anymore. University is not the bargain it once was. 
  • Don’t get school loans for a liberal arts degree! You may never pay it off. 

#6 VA Apprenticeships


  • Can make money!
  • Learn things authors don’t know to teach.
  • Learn advanced techniques
  • I am looking to hire a VA to help me with my podcasts! If you are interested, email me your resume. 


  • Hard to find.
  • Time-consuming.
  • No accountability
  • It requires a significant time commitment.
  • It’s a job. A lot of what you are doing is actual work. 

Bottom line: 

An unconventional way to learn for authors who are time rich and cash poor.

#7 1on1 Coaching


  • Personal
  • Ongoing
  • Focused
  • Accountability


  • Very Expensive (unless you compare it to University)
  • Good coaches are hard to find

Bottom Line: 

If you can afford it, this is one of the fastest ways up the learning curve. 

#8 Facebook Groups



  • Facebook is a time vortex.
  • The quality of advice is a mixed bag. I see a lot of bad advice shared in Facebook groups. Most of the marketing superstitions spread in Facebook groups.

Bottom Line: 

  • Better than nothing. The benefit really depends on the group. 
  • Be picky and look for smaller groups with credible oversight. 

#9 Critique Groups


  • Inexpensive
  • Personal
  • In-person
  • Accountability
  • Tend to be craft-focused


  • Inexpert Advice
  • Hard to find. You will most likely need to start one.
  • Tend to be craft-focused

Bottom Line: 

  • A great way to improve your craft. Only as good as the other authors.
  • Beware of bozos!

#10 Mastermind Groups

There are two kinds of Mastermind groups.

  • Peer
  • Expert


  • Inexpensive
  • Expert advice
  • Accountability
  • Community
  • Deep Networking
  • Advanced (Eventually this is all you do.)


  • Hard to find
  • It is about both give and take
  • Can be expensive. (Not uncommon for Mastermind Groups to cost $250/mo and up). Some cost $30,000+ a year.

Bottom Line:

One of the best forms of mentorship, especially in the long run. 

I am starting two mastermind groups!

I am starting one for unpublished authors and one for published authors. You can learn more about the groups here.

The groups will be hosted through patreon and each is limited to 10 writers, so I won’t be surprised if these sell out quickly. We will meet monthly with online video.

Each author will get a chance to pick my brain and learn from the other authors as well. We will also set realistic goals and then hold you accountable to accomplish them. 

I am running these mastermind groups through Patreon as reward tiers. So go to our patreon page to sign up.

  • The group for published authors is $100/mo
  • The group for unpublished authors is $50/mo. 

If you are already a patron, all you have to do is change your patron level to get access to one of the mastermind groups.


Would you like to be a published author but don’t know where to start? This course is for you. In this course, Thomas Umstattd shares a simple explanation of a complicated process.

You will learn the pros and cons of traditional publishing and the pros and cons of independent publishing. You will also learn step by step how to go from idea to book on the shelf.

Use coupon code “podcast” to save 10% or click the link in the show notes.

The post 053 Where to Find Mentorship for Your Publishing Career appeared first on Christian Publishing Show.

6 Responses to 053 Where to Find Mentorship for Your Publishing Career

  1. Avatar
    Ginny Graham December 10, 2019 at 6:50 am #

    Mentors are valuable. Thanks for the repost.

  2. Avatar
    Ginny Graham December 10, 2019 at 6:52 am #

    I would be happy to offer you my birthday, December 20th. Your wife might like it because it is only ten days away!

  3. Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser December 10, 2019 at 7:28 am #

    Congratulations on the upcoming addition to your family!

    Had I but sought a writing mentor
    things might have ended well,
    and not at the epicentre
    of an unpublishable hell.
    I tried to find an agent
    with a decent, dated book;
    the search faded, became stagnant
    for I knew not what it took.
    And then I took the indie path,
    thinking quality would shine
    There I was condemned by math
    to the back end of the line.
    Low sales begat by prideful canker
    have set what might have been to anchor.

    • Avatar
      Andrew Budek-Schmeisser December 10, 2019 at 8:29 am #

      If I may add a PS, there’s another kind of mentorship writers need…spiritual mentorship.

      There are two kinds of wheelbarrows; the familiar kind, with two handles and a single front wheel, becomes unstable the moment you lift the handles; YOU are the stabilizing force.

      When you’re moving, the single wheel achieves a dynamic stability (like a bicycle, easier to keep upright the faster it goes).

      The kind the construction guys prefer to use has two front wheels. Raise the handles, and it’s stable. You have to try to tip it sideways. It’s stable at rest, and in motion.

      The single wheel is writing mentorship. You can move the load, but it’s you, the writer, who has to find the spiritual balance.And when things are going nowhere fast, that can be wearying.

      The second wheel is a spiritual mentor, someone who can help keep you upright, especially when your career isn’t moving.

  4. Avatar
    Roberta Sarver December 10, 2019 at 8:52 am #

    Andrew, your postscript contained a great word picture. I think we all need a spiritual mentor.

  5. Avatar
    Brenda Jackson December 10, 2019 at 8:44 pm #

    This is not about mentorship specifically, but I’m curious if anybody knows why, in fiction there are tons of writers organizations and crit groups, but it seems there is next to nothing for nonfic? Or are there tons of nonfic organizations and they’ve just managed to fly under my radar?

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