What is a book coach?
Yup, that’s the question I get asked the most. A book coach is a combination of editor, mentor, cheerleader and project manager. I’m here to provide you with feedback and line editing along with support and accountability. When we work together, I give you an outsider’s perspective on what is working and what isn’t with your manuscript and keep you moving forward with deadlines and encouragement. For more information, check out this post about Why Writers Hire Book Coaches from Jennie Nash. She created the Author Accelerator program where I got my training.
Why should I hire a book coach?
Hiring a book coach is an investment both in your book and yourself as an author. As your coach, I’m with you wherever you are in the process and for whatever you need during this process. I can help with the development of your story or help you create a compelling arc for your main character; I can support you with learning the craft of writing including how to create strong scenes, when to use show-don’t-tell, and how to avoid info-dumping. I’m also here to show you what’s working, remind you of why you made the commitment to write this book, and help you to meet your writing goals.
Can you guarantee I’ll get a book deal or be successful as a self-published author after we work together?
Sorry, but no. No one can guarantee that – and if they do, run in the other direction. They’re lying. There’s no clicking your heels three times and wishing for (and getting) a book contract. Nor can I guarantee you’ll sell well if you choose self-publishing. Success as a writer, whether traditional or self, depends on the amount of you’re willing to put into writing and then into finding your audience, marketing, and building an author platform. I wish it could be different – but there are no guarantees when it comes to publication. (Personally, however, I still think it’s worth the work and journey!).
So what can you guarantee?
I promise to walk with you through challenging (and often lonely) process of writing a book. I commit to helping you discover what it is you want to say and why you want to say it. I will ask good questions, challenge problem areas you might want to ignore, and help you find and develop your voice. I will remind you of why this book matters and help you see just how great of a job you’re doing. I can’t make any promises about the outcome, but I can offer another set of eyes, tools that I know work, and my ongoing support.
What’s the difference between a developmental editor and a book coach?
A developmental editor will read your partial or full manuscript and make suggestions. These sometimes take the form of inline comments, an edit letter, or a call (or a combination of all three). But this service is more of a one-and-done. The editor reads your work, gives the requested feedback and that’s it.
A book coach takes a more hands-on and project-oriented approach. That means being part teacher, part editor, part project manager, part cheerleader. Clients typically choose to work with me for anywhere from three months to a year beyond, depending on what they need. If you work with me for one-on-one coaching, I can help you with:
- clarifying your writing goals
- holding you accountable so you can reach those goals
- supporting your writing journey
- step by step planning of your story or revision
- developing and deepening your writing skills so each draft – and each project – is better than the ones before.
What genres and age categories do you coach and edit?
Romance (adult and YA) and women’s fiction are my personal favorites and where I feel most confident. I have a special place in my heart for fantasy and soft science fiction and any books with strong female leads. I do not coach Middle Grade, Memoir or non-fiction – but I can point you toward some great coaches who do!
Will my book be ready to publish/pitch after I work with you?
Ultimately, if that’s your goal, then yes, but not initially. Especially if we’re working on your first draft. Novels need several rounds of revisions followed by beta reader feedback, and, if you plan to self-publish, copyediting and proofreading. If you hope to traditionally publish, you’ll need to work on your pitch and fine-tune your first chapters. However, no matter where I join you on your writing and publishing journey, your book will be closer to being ready to be with a reader after we’re done.
Will I finish writing or revising my book within the deadlines of my package?
You ask hard questions! If you only expect to work with me for three months, then… probably not. Truthfully, I can’t predict how much time it will take to complete your book and your progress will depend a lot on your writing experience. If you’re a new writer, we may spend several deadlines working through a single chapter, developing essential skills with each revision. I know that’s probably not the answer you want, but I want to be truthful. Investing so much time and money is risky, but it will be worth it to make your book – at whatever stage it’s in – stronger. If a package ends before you’ve completed your book or reached your goal, you can extend so we can continue to work together.
How can I connect with you?
I post regularly about a variety of writing life topics on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and you can subscribe to my monthly newsletter for free tips, exercises, and other special opportunities. If you’re interested in working with me, I recommend scheduling a 30-minute exploratory call.
What craft resources do you recommend?
The best way to improve your writing, beyond practicing, is to read as much as possible. That means reading widely (not only in your preferred genre/age category) and being aware of storytelling in other formats from films to television to plays to short stories, comics, and graphic novels. If you’re looking for great resources on the craft of writing, I love:
- Story Genius by Lisa Cron
- Super Structure and/or Write Your Novel from the Middle by James Scott Bell (Both short with LOTS of actionable information)
- Goal Motivation Conflict by Debra Dixon
(affiliate links – this means if you buy these, I make a small commission at no cost to you) There are also many helpful blogs, podcasts, webinars, and videos with excellent craft information. In my monthly email newsletter I try to curate and send out my favorite new tips and inspiration.
Q: How do I sign up to work with you?
A: I typically book clients anywhere from 4-12 weeks in advance, so the sooner you let me know about your project, the better. You can schedule a 30 minute Discovery Call here or submit the form on the Contact page on my website. I typically respond within 1-2 business days.
Q: Will you sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement?
A: No. You don’t need to worry. It’s not necessary and not used in the publishing industry by agents, editors or publishers. I recommend this article from Jane Friedman who explains why it’s not necessary. I can assure you – your idea is yours and its execution is entirely up to you I do.
Q: Do you accept credit cards?
A: I do. When you receive an invoice, you can pay with whatever card you wish.
Q: Can I get an invoice for my tax records?
A: Absolutely. I provide all my clients with a PDF invoice with my name and contact details, the date of service, and the price of service.
Q: Do you use a written contract?
A: Yes. I use 17Hats for digital contract management and invoicing. When I provide a quote for services, you will have the chance to review my contract and terms of service and ask questions.
Q: So, what are the details or working with you?
- Scheduling – Clients schedule all calls through 17hats. We’ll use Zoom for calls unless different arrangements are made in advance.
- Appointment Changes – Clients can change their appointment time through 17hats based on schedule and availability. You must make a change at least 24 hours in advance or that deadline is forfeit.
- Default Manuscript Format – All edits are sent in Microsoft Word with track changes and comments and all submissions must be formatted in standard manuscript format (12pt Times, double-spaced, first line indent, 1” margins).
- Deadline Policy – Deadlines are the responsibility of the client. If a client misses a submission deadline, the client may need to wait until the following week to receive feedback depending on my schedule and availability. If a client misses both a deadline and call without advanced notice, the deadline may be forfeited.
- Termination Policy – If a client misses two deadlines, the package may be terminated at my discretion with no refund granted for the missed deadlines. Reinstatement via the purchase of a new package is also at my discretion and the new start date is decided based on schedule and availability.
- Business Hours – I keep regular Monday – Friday business hours with the exception of public holidays and vacations. Since I am balancing coaching with my own writing, most calls will be in the afternoon (Eastern Time Zone – I’m in Massachusetts). Special arrangements can be made for weekday mornings or evenings. I don’t check email after hours or on weekends and rarely schedules calls on weekends.
- Cancellation Policy – Coaching is billed based on the cost of the package with a 50% deposit due before work begins. The deposit is non-refundable once work has begun. The client can cancel a package via email. Refunds will be given only on work not yet done.
- Deferment Policy – Life situations happen that are beyond our control. Please notify me as soon as possible if you need to defer the remainder of your package for a short period of time. A re-start date will be at such time when the client can resume and when I have room in my schedule. Plans cannot be deferred longer than three months once payment has been made. If more than three months passes, the client must enter into a new agreement in order to continue coaching.
What if I’m not sure which package I need?
Let’s talk! I offer a free 30-minute consultation to discuss your writing goals, where you are in the writing process, and what you’re looking for in a coach. Ready to set that up? Contact me HERE