In my Pitch Wars bio, I repeatedly say I want to mentor someone who's almost there. Someone who's right on the cusp of getting signed to an agent; someone who's ready.
Well, what if you're not ready?
Don't you "deserve" a mentor more than someone who's so close already?
Here's the reason why I don't want to work with people who haven't already come most of the way themselves.
Cultivating a voice takes time, care, and practice. I think it's vitally important that proto-authors guide this process themselves. They should do it through reading. They should do it through writing. They should do it by taking and applying advice from more experienced authors and publishing professionals. And if they latch onto a willing mentor too soon in their lives, they run the risk of not developing independently.
So, when I work with writer friends, I ask them to show me their work at the end of the road, if at all possible, and I ask them to get it as good as it's gonna get before they involve me. If they're not there yet, I'll be honest and tell them it's not ready. I'll give them a push: you do this well, you need work on this, here are a couple language errors, I hope you keep writing. But if they just need a polish, I'm the girl. If they just need publishing/querying guidance, I'm the girl. If they just need reflections on the whole Author Experience, I'm the girl.
But I'm not the girl to choose your path if you're still figuring out where you want to go. You should be the one to choose that.