This post originally appeared on Medium in November 2020.
When I was a senior in high school, I had to take Physics as a graduation requirement. By this point in my school career, I was leaning heavily toward the humanities and wanted nothing more to do with math or science. I walked into that classroom believing I was doomed to fail.
What I didn’t know was that the teacher, a dear grandfatherly man with bad jokes and even worse personal style, went far beyond the call of duty to make sure that his students understood the science he was so passionate about. Whether we were hanging on by a rope or a thread, he would check in with each of us regularly, spending hours after school and even hosting meetups at the local pizza shop, where we could come and sit for as long as it took for us to understand the problems of trains leaving stations and baseball trajectories.
Why did he do this? Because he loved physics, and he loved his students even more.
This is what I’m reminded of whenever I talk to other book coaches or think about why I’ve jumped into this profession. Book coaches are passionate about books, about reading, about stories … and even more passionate about helping writers get their stories onto the page and out into the world.
How a book coach does this varies, of course. Some book coaches are open to all genres, while others work with only specific genres. Some book coaches support writers of nonfiction, while others work with writers of fiction and/or memoir. One book coach may focus on the early work of planning and drafting, while another may work through revisions and still another may help writers prepare to pitch their books to agents. Usually, what a book coach offers is some combination of all of these.
My point in saying this is not to overwhelm or confuse, but rather to show that there is literally a perfect book coach for everyone. If you are writing a nonfiction self-help book and you are ready to write a book proposal, there is a book coach who can help you. If you are writing a historical romance novel set in WWII France and you are struggling with the protagonist’s internal development, there is a coach out there for you.
Below is a list of just some of the types of things a coach can help you do:
* outline your book
* get clear on what you are trying to say
* get clear on who your characters are and what drives them
* deeply understand your target audience
* understand what works (and what doesn’t) in your genre
* write and revise your first draft
* revise your second/third/fifteenth draft
* research agents and prepare to pitch
* understand the publishing process
* make publishing decisions
The key thing to understand about book coaching is that it is a personalized, one-on-one opportunity to get trained, knowledgeable, smart, and passionate eyes on your project. Not only that; once you hire a book coach, you have someone in your corner for life.