Los Angeles Region

Mentorship Contest 2018: Andrea J. Loney


“I enjoy helping others and can often identify solutions and opportunities for them that they haven’t yet seen for themselves. A thoughtful and thorough critique can make all the difference when revising a manuscript. I would provide written critiques and Word doc Markups to prepare writers to work with professional editors. My mentorship would be limited to picture books only – my preferred genres are #ownvoices diversity, historical/biographical, and fiction, in that order. I would like to see three picture book projects.”

— Andrea J. Loney


Email communication at least twice a month, with in-person or Skype meetings at least once a month.


Submit the best draft of your best picture book manuscript, no more than 900 words for fiction or 1,500 words for nonfiction.

– Set a 1-inch margin on all sides

– Double-space

– Use Times New Roman, 12 point font

1. In the writing sample document, create a header with PAGE NUMBER AND SUBMISSION TITLE ONLY. Do not include your name or any other information on your document. Save the document as a PDF file named with YOUR SURNAME_TITLE. Example: Rowling_HarryPotter

2. In a separate document, provide written responses to the following questions. Create a header with PAGE NUMBER ONLY. Do not include your name or any other information on your document. Save your document as a PDF file named with YOUR SURNAME_ANSWERS. Example: Rowling_Answers

1. Why are you seeking a mentor?

2. What is your previous writing experience?

3. Are you currently in a critique group? Have you ever been in a critique group? How is/was that experience?

4. How many picture books have you started? How many have you completed?

5. What are your goals? What would you like to accomplish in the next three months? In the next six months? In the next year? In your writing career as a whole?

6. List five of your favorite picture books.

7. What are some sources of inspiration for you?

8. What is your dream project?

3. Send your submission in an email with the subject line MENTOR LONEY to:

In the body of your email include:

– Your current SCBWI member name

– Address

– Contact phone numbers

– Email

– Title of your manuscript

– Attach your (2) PDF files

4. Your complete entry must be emailed by 11:59pm (PST) on February 21, 2018. You will receive an auto-response stating that we have received your entry.

About Andrea J. Loney

Andrea J. Loney’s debut picture book TAKE A PICTURE OF ME, JAMES VANDERZEE! (Lee & Low Books, July 2017), is the 2014 New Voices Award-winning picture book biography of the legendary black photographer of the Harlem Renaissance. It also was a winner of the Gold Medal from the California Reading Association’s 2017 EUREKA! Nonfiction Children’s Book awards, a Junior Library Guild Fall 2017 Selection, and a 49th NAACP Image Award Nominee for Children’s Literature. Her first published picture book, BUNNYBEAR, (Albert Whitman & Company, January 2017) is about a bear who believes in his heart that he’s really a bunny, and her third picture book DOUBLE BASS BLUES shares the adventures of a young black boy carrying his double bass home from school (Random House Knopf, 2019).

For a sense of Andrea’s approach to writing nonfiction, read “Mining Emotion to Bring History to Life” at the Nerdy Book club.

Publishers Weekly says: “In an absorbing debut, Loney introduces African-American photographer VanDerZee, who moved from Massachusetts to Harlem at age 18 with a dream and a camera: “He saw what was special in everyone and captured each person’s story on film.”

A community college instructor with an MFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University, Andrea volunteers for the We Need Diverse Books campaign and for Reading to Kids (where she reads many, many picture book biographies to curious second graders). She lives in sunny Los Angeles, California with her devoted family, embarrassingly spoiled pets, and towering stacks of picture books.

“My ideal mentee would be writing at least one historical/biographical picture book, so I would work with this writer on generating ideas, multi-sensory research skills, finding and using mentor texts, exploring lyrical language, developing a strong and evocative voice, mining a subject’s life history for a compelling picture book-sized story, and writing compelling query letters for editors and agents.”

— Andrea J. Loney