Working with a book coach is a lot like working with a personal trainer for exercise. Can you do it without one? Sure! But are there benefits to working with someone who deeply understands the skills and strategies and will support you as you reach for the big goals? Absolutely.


Stephanie: (00:04)
Hello writers. Welcome to the Let’s Write Your Novel podcast. I’m Stephanie Dethlefs, writer and book coach. And this is the place to be if you’ve got a story on your heart, but you need a bit of clarity, accountability, and support to finally write your novel. In each episode, I’ll give you one skill or strategy to apply to your novel. And we’ll also take a peek into your mindset about the process. I’m here because your story matters. You deserve to write it and you have a reader out there who needs it. I’m so glad you’re here. So let’s get to it this week. I wanna talk about book coaching specifically. I want to share with you what it is that a book coach does, and really what a book coach can add to the process of writing a novel. Book coaching is a fairly new service in the world of writing and publishing, kind of a new branch on the tree,

Stephanie: (01:03)
if you will. we all know that the industry changes fast and it changes frequently. And book coaching was born out of the desire to help writers navigate the whole process. There are quite a few people out there offering writing coach services, which may be a bit more broad than what I’m gonna talk about today. When I tell people I’m a book coach, the follow up question is always, and what does that entail? which circles back to why I’m doing this episode. People who become book coaches usually start with being writers themselves, but not always. What we all have in common though, is the love of books, the love of stories, and a deep curiosity about what makes a story work well. Book coaches know how to take a writer from idea to completed revised manuscript and into the querying or self-publishing process.

Stephanie: (02:00)
That doesn’t mean that a writer has to work with a book coach from start to finish. Sometimes they do. Other times they only contract with the book coach in the phases of the process where they feel like they need the most support. Oftentimes a writer comes to a book coach with a completed first draft, unsure of where to go next. But the cool thing is that you don’t even have to have started writing yet to begin to work with a book coach, you can utilize the partnership to plan out your story before you really get into the writing. If this all feels a little fuzzy that’s okay. The truth is that book coaches tailor their techniques skills and strategies to the individual writer because nothing is one size fits all about the writing process. Every writer is different and every project is different. The book coach’s job is to assess the current state of both writer and project and develop a system of coaching and feedback that will most benefit that particular writer.

Stephanie: (03:03)
The most important part of all of this is that the book coach serves as a partner. We’re objective yet totally invested in you and your story. We’re gonna be endlessly supportive yet unafraid to give you that tough love when it’s needed. And we’re knowledgeable about both writing craft and the publishing world. So while you do the hard work of birthing your story, we hold your hand in a way and guide you toward efficiency and effectiveness. Okay. So what does it look like to work with a book coach? Well, again, it kind of depends on the client, the coach and the project, but I’m gonna give you an overview. Some book coaches do take entire manuscripts and then give you a full evaluation with all the necessary next steps laid out for you. Others don’t offer this service, myself included some book, coaches teach writing classes or offer webinars and courses online.

Stephanie: (04:06)
But the true crux of book coaching is the one on one relationship that’s established through weekly or twice monthly deadlines of a specific number of pages on which you get written feedback and regular calls where you talk through whatever’s keeping you stuck or what needs to happen to move you forward. These two features are where the camaraderie, the cheerleading, the emotional support, the tough love and the gentle nudges develop into a working relationship that’ll impact your book for the better. One thing that book coaches know for sure is that self-doubt does not need to keep you from writing your book. Self-doubt, which is also sometimes called imposter syndrome or fear or writer’s block, or the inner critic is all a normal part of the process for every single writer, no matter how prolific or experienced they are, what a book coach can help you do is talk through those feelings and thoughts and try to find a way to manage them so that you can still do the work.

Stephanie: (05:15)
Another thing a book coach knows is that you can learn the craft while you write all of us, come to the page with a basic set of skills that we learned in school, right? The rest comes with practice and lifelong learning. Part of the benefit of having a book coach is that we can spot an example in your writing, where maybe something has gone kind of awry with the craft and we can help you fix it and understand how to prevent it. As you continue to write forward. We also know that you can increase the chances that a reader will connect with your story to do this. We work hard with you to develop both the course of events that’ll take place in your story, that plot, as well as the internal emotional journey your protagonist is going to take. And if you’ve been listening for a while, this is something I’m constantly talking about here on the podcast, right?

Stephanie: (06:11)
Blending these two things together is what’s going to draw your reader into the story and help them connect to the protagonist and the events on an emotional level, which will keep them turning the page. Look, lots of people write books without a book coach. Certainly people have been doing it for centuries, and I’m not here today to hard sell you on book coaching with me or with anyone else I’ve recently been comparing, working with a book coach as exercising with the support of a personal trainer. Of course we can exercise by ourselves. Some people do really well at it. My husband is one of those people. He’s very self-motivated, but others of us like me benefit from knowing that someone is expecting us to show up at the gym, that someone is curating skills and strategies for us to try that’ll benefit our individual bodies.

Stephanie: (07:06)
The same is true with a book coach. You can certainly write without one, but if you have one, the experience might just be more efficient and effective. And at the end of the day, you’ll have someone in your corner who can hold you accountable, who is as invested in your story as you are. As a book coach, my goal is to help people with a story on their hearts, find the clarity and accountability they need to finally write their novel. It is truly the most fun job I’ve ever had. I could not be more invested in the people I work with and their stories. If you’ve been thinking about writing a novel or maybe you’ve started and gotten stuck, and you think a little clarity and accountability might just be what the doctor ordered, I would love to talk with you. I offer free no-commitment calls where we’ll talk about your story and your writing life and work to come up with at least a practical next step to get you moving toward your goal. You can schedule your call today call. The entire reason I became a book coach is because I’m deeply passionate about helping writers, get their stories onto the page and out into the world. Your story matters. You deserve to write it and you have a reader out there who needs it. If you’d like a little support book, your call it, or share this with someone you know, who might benefit. I’ll talk to you next week.

Stephanie: (08:41)
Thank you so much for being here. If you like, what you heard, would you please take a moment to leave a review on iTunes so that it can reach more writers who like you could maybe use a little support today? I would appreciate it so much. Happy writing!