RAMP Mentees

RWA's Romance Author Mentorship Program is here to help members RAMP up their writing career! Whether you've never been published and need some guidance to make your latest manuscript the best it can be, or you've had some experience publishing but are struggling to get to the next level or make a transition to a new subgenre, we encourage you to apply to become a RAMP mentee!

As a mentee, you'll be paired with an experienced author who will work with you through a full manuscript revision. At the end, you'll be able to participate in a showcase with agents and editors and an Indie Master Class with authors who are indie publishing superstars.

Become a Mentee

The 2021 application period is now closed. Mentees will be announced by 11:30 a.m. CT February 9, 2021

Mentee Guidelines


RWA General and Associate-Writer Members are eligible to apply.

Applicants can be published or unpublished, but the submitted manuscript may not be previously commercially published.

Applicants must have a completed, polished manuscript at the time of entry. This means that the manuscript has already gone through your normal editorial process, whether that's working with critique partners, beta readers, a freelance editor, etc. The mentors' job is to work with you to make your manuscript the best it can be, not to edit it from the ground up. 
Who should apply to be a mentee? 

Wondering whether RAMP is for you? Becoming a RAMP mentee could be a great benefit to the following members: 

  • Unpublished writers looking for extra guidance and opportunity to make the leap to published
  • Published writers who feel their craft needs a boost, are struggling to get to the career level they would like to be, or are coming back to writing or romance after a long break
Writers who feel confident in their knowledge of craft, revision, the business of publishing, etc., are encouraged to apply as mentors!   

The Process

Before the mentee application opens, potential mentees will be able to review the bio and wish list of selected mentors. Once applications open, mentees will be able to select up to four (4) mentors to whom they wish to submit their work. 

Applicants will be required to provide a summary and first three chapters of a completed manuscript, which the mentors will review over a period of approximately three weeks before selecting a mentee with whom they wish to work. Each mentor will only choose one mentee, and not all mentee applicants will be accepted. 

For RAMP 2021, mentees will be announced on February 9. Applicants will find out on that date if they have been chosen or not by visiting the announcement page. 

Selected mentees will then work with their mentors over the course of 5 months to revise the full manuscript, as well as a query, pitch, and/or back cover blurb. The goal at the end of this period is for the mentee to have a manuscript and collateral materials that are ready to submit to an editor or agent, or ready to go to a copy editor or proofreader before self-publication. 

What to Expect from Your Mentor

Minimally, we expect mentors to: 
  • Perform one edit round on the full manuscript with an edit letter delivered to mentee
  • Perform one edit round on either a query, pitch, or a back cover blurb, depending on mentee’s preference
  • Answer questions about the business of publishing and reaching their indie-author or traditionally-published goals.
Optionally, mentors may elect to perform a final read-through of their mentee's manuscript before the showcase begins. 

The Big Events! 

RAMP will culminate in two main events: a Traditional Showcase and an Indie Master Class. Mentees are highly encouraged to participate in both events, no matter what publishing path they are considering.

Traditional Showcase 

During the week-long Traditional Showcase, mentees will post a 50-word pitch and the first page of their revised manuscript on a forum. Participating agents and editors will be able to review these and request more materials from those that interest them. 

Indie Master Class

The Indie Master Class will take place during the RWA Annual Conference, and will be an intense day of education with a prominent indie publishing author. Only RAMP mentees will be invited to attend the Master Class in person.  

Instructors for the 2021 Master Class will be announced soon!

Submission Requirements

Applicants may only submit one manuscript. 

Submitted manuscripts must:
  • Be a work of original Romance Fiction, which means the work contains a central love story, and the resolution of the romance must be emotionally satisfying and optimistic
  • Be complete and polished at the time of entry, with a word count totaling at least 40,000 words
  • Be previously unpublished
  • Not be published until after the Traditional Showcase has ended, if the applicant is selected as a mentee (this only applies to the manuscript submitted for RAMP, not to any other works by the author)
  • Not be out on submission to an agent or editor until after the Traditional Showcase has ended, if the applicant is selected as a mentee (this only applies to the manuscript submitted for RAMP, not to any other works by the author)

Submission Materials

Applicants must upload the following on their application, each as separate PDF files:
  • Summary (one page, single-spaced, 12-point font)
  • First 3 chapters (double-spaced, 12-point font)
These files will be sent to all mentors to whom you submit. They should not be personalized to any mentor. 

Please note: Mentors may request more material or ask follow up questions to help with their selection. 

Mentee applicants will also be asked to supply the full version of their manuscript so that RWA staff can verify that it is complete per requirements. The full manuscript will not be shared with anyone outside of RWA staff and will be deleted upon verification. 

Important Mentee Dates for RAMP 2021

Dec 16, 2020 Mentors announced and their wish lists posted
Jan 5, 2021:
Mentee submissions open
Jan 19, 2021:
Mentee submissions close
Feb 9:
Mentees announced
June 28 - July 5:
Online showcase for editors/agents
July 14-17:
RWA2021 in Nashville, Indie Master Class 

Why Become a Mentee

"I was fortunate to have a wonderful mentor when I first started writing. She pushed me when I needed that kick in the bum, but she was also wise enough to give me space to develop my voice. I firmly believe in the power of a great mentor—they can help you find direction, offer advice and suggestions, give motivation and support. They can be relied on to fan your flames when doubt threatens to douse your creative fire and are invaluable allies in the roller-coaster world of writing." --A.Y. Chao

"A good mentor helps you to see your work with new eyes. They will inspire you to elevate your writing to a higher level. They will believe in your power to create, even when you don’t. They will cheer you on when the door to success finally opens. And they'll guide you as you walk through that door, and the world stands to greet you as a brand-new author!" --Elizabeth Chatsworth


The Golden Network

At their 2019 annual retreat, The Golden Network, an international, online chapter composed of former Golden Heart finalists, voted to extend chapter membership eligibility to selected RAMP mentees!

Learn more about about the benefits and support mentees can receive by joining The Golden Network

RAMP Mentee Forum 

Each mentee class will have access to a dedicated, permanent forum to interact with fellow mentees, sharing advice and encouragement during the run of the program and beyond.

Selected 2021 Mentees will have access to their forum beginning February 9, 2021.

Mentee FAQs

Do I need to be an RWA member to apply? 
Yes. Eligible mentees must be RWA General or Associate-Writer Members. 

Will you accept mentees with manuscripts in XYZ subgenre? 
This will depend on the mentors who are selected. It's our goal to have a variety subgenres represented among the mentors, including YA and Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance. 

Before the mentee applications open, we will post the mentors' "wish lists," which will detail what types of novels they're eager to assist with. Mentee applicants will be able to review those and submit their manuscripts to the mentors who look like they'll be the best fit.

Is there a fee to apply? 
There is no fee associated with RAMP. 

What should a summary include? 
A summary should be a simple outline of your story so that mentors have an idea of what they'll be reading. It does not have to be a formal query/synopsis. 
What if more than one mentor selects my manuscript? 
Each mentor will make a case for why you should work with them, and then you will be able to choose. 

Does the first three chapters include a prologue? 
You may submit your Prologue, Chapter 1, and Chapter 2, or you may submit Chapters 1-3, whatever makes the most sense for your manuscript.

If I know I will be indie publishing/traditionally publishing, can I still participate in the Traditional Showcase/Indie Master Class?
Yes! We encourage all mentees to take advantage of both events for the experience and knowledge they will gain about both types of publishing. 

What if I can't get in touch with my mentor or am having other issues? 
Contact RAMP@rwa.org

If I'm not selected, will I be informed? 
All mentee applicants will find out their selection status by checking the announcement page on the date mentees are announced. Applicants will not receive individual notification.