Book Coaching 101

I work with writers of contemporary middle grade, young adult, or adult fiction. I support and guide writers through the early stages of the writing process, from blank page to solid first draft, using a mixture of proven strategies, deadlines, tough love and deep compassion for people who struggle with self-doubt around their ideas, craft, and worthiness of publication.

Here are Frequently Asked Questions about how the Book Coaching process works, what to expect, what you’ll achieve, and much more!

Click on any question to reveal my answer!

What is book coaching?

Book coaching is a partnership between writer and coach with the sole purpose of making the story on the page the best it can be. Book coaching is a process of walking together through the hard parts, moving past obstacles, and celebrating wins. While the writer is doing the hard work of detailed scenes, character development, and more, the coach keeps an eye on the bigger picture of what makes a good story and what will work for the reader. While there is editorial feedback on your pages, it is more than that. It is a holistic approach to creating a story that works. Logistically speaking, book coaching with me involves deadlines for submission of pages-in-progress, regular revision based on experienced feedback, weekly or twice-monthly calls to dig deep into the work, and ongoing support.

What types of writing do you coach?

My services are for writers in the earlier stages (from idea through revisions) of writing contemporary middle-grade, young adult, or adult fiction. Contemporary fiction is, in a nutshell, stories of regular people living regular lives in the present, near future or recent past.

Can you guarantee that I’ll land an agent, that my book will become a bestseller, or that I’ll see it made into a movie one day?

No. Here’s the thing: the publishing market is not something that any one person can control, dictate, or even predict. I make zero guarantees of any kind of commercial or literary success. What I do promise is that I will be 100% in your corner when it comes to making your story great.

I’ve never published. Will it work for me?

Yes! First-time writers are my jam. Let’s work through the things that have kept you from this goal for years or for decades.

I’ve already published a book before. Is it worth it to have a coach this time?

Absolutely! You are writing a brand-new book, so let’s make it a brand-new experience. Many prolific writers work with book coaches on multiple projects. It never hurts to have a second pair of eyes on your project!

How is this different than all the workshops and classes I’ve taken?

Oh, there are so many ways. The main difference is that book coaching, unlike classes and workshops, is specifically tailored to YOU. It’s all about your writing practice, this story, and the pages you produce. Classes and workshops rarely give even a smidgen of the kind of personalized attention you will get with a book coach.

I’ve had bad experiences with getting feedback before. How do I know this won’t be like that?

First of all, I’m so sorry that you have had a negative experience. So often I have heard from writers who were hurt or discouraged by teachers, writing groups, editors, etc. This hurts my heart as both an educator and a champion of people who want to share stories.  One of my superpowers is empathy for the challenges of writing. I am a writer, too, and I know how hard it is. To work for days, months or years and then get negative feedback can be debilitating for a writer. As a coach, I work hard to find and share the positives in addition to areas for growth. I will help you set specific next steps with each call, rather than making global statements. I will help you see that you can do this. Think of our work together as a new beginning. 

How long does it take?

There is no direct answer to this question, unfortunately. It depends on the coaching package you purchase and, more importantly, on the amount of focused work you are willing to do. Try this: if a typical novel is about 50,000 words and a typically-formatted typed page is about 250 words, you can do the math to figure out how many months of coaching will get you where you want to be. (Remember, we will do some revision work, too.)

What if I’m writing genre fiction (mystery/romance/sci-fi/fantasy/thriller)?

If you have a contemporary (or even historical) story about regular human people leading regular human lives, I’m your coach! I am also open to coaching genre fiction for middle grade audiences. But if you are writing YA or adult genre fiction and don’t know where to turn, please let me know and I will try to connect you to a great coach for your genre.

How much does it cost?

Please see my list of coaching services.

What if I have more questions?

Feel free to email me anytime!