Reminding you not only that you can write this book, but that you have to write it! If you have a book dream in your heart, Life is planning something. Something important. And it’s your job to follow its orders.
But the fact that you’re reading this blog means Life is telling you something else, too: You don’t have to do it alone.
Because guess what? Successful authors always seek out support. Contrary to the fantasy of a lonely writer scribbling away in a garret in Paris, today’s authors know the book journey is long and often arduous. It takes good company, good humor and lots of snacks.
We are often steering our clients toward just this type of company. Specifically, we help connect authors with their own personal cheerleader/therapist/taskmaster/editor—the superhuman we call a book coach. Don’t know what a book coach does? Read on, my friend. Read on.
What’s a book coach?
Like any coach you might hire—a life coach, a workout coach, a business coach, you name it—the job of a book coach is to get you on the right track from the very beginning, and to keep you there until you reach your goal. A book coach lights the way for your book, helping you get your story or wisdom out of your head and onto the bookshelf as quickly as possible.
Book coaches are often experienced editors who started out with official roles in the world of book publishing. They may have worked for a literary agency or a traditional house, racking up valuable experience over years of watching books get born. Now, they’ve jumped tracks to work directly with authors, offering resources, success strategies, personalized writing tips and turbo-charged encouragement.
What can I expect from working with one?
Like any coach, book coaches meet with you at regular intervals over a set period of time with specific goals in mind. Great goals for writers who are just starting out include:
- Deciding which book to write, right now
- Crafting the right “hook” or positioning statement–your North Star as you write
- Choosing the right title and subtitle
- Developing the book’s internal structure and creating a detailed outline for the book
Working with a book coach at this initial stage can ensure you’ve got professional input before you put the time, energy and love into writing your book or proposal. I always say that an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure! Get it right starting out, and your editor will have much less to do when the time comes.
What if you’re already in the writing phase? This is where a book coach can really shine. Writing is a long and sometimes lonely endeavor; too many would-be authors fail because they don’t stay the course. A book coach can help you in this phase by:
- Keeping the writing momentum going via accountability and encouragement
- Reading a partial manuscript and giving feedback to help you aim the book in the right direction
- Bouncing ideas around when you get stuck or blocked
With a book coach in your corner, you are much more likely to end up with a finished manuscript, ready for publication. And guess what? Their usefulness continues. For once you’ve got a book in hand, book coaches can also help with:
- Creative ideas for platform building
- Guidance for writing query letters and developing a submission list
- Planning your book launch
Book coaches can make your writing better
There’s a lot of great advice out there for writers. But it’s not always tailored for you and your book. A book coach can help you sort through some of the crucial decisions you need to make during the writing process, such as:
- What to show, and what to tell. The great writing adage is “show, don’t tell,” but it’s more complicated than that.
- When to use present tense, when to use past tense. We can help you navigate the pros and cons of both.
- What is an effective metaphor and how do you use it? And for that matter, what’s a simile, and when does it work?
- How to weed out clichés
- How to create a defined perspective
- How to identify your unique voice (and keep it up!)
And if you are writing a memoir or weaving bits of your personal story into a teaching memoir or a prescriptive nonfiction book, a book coach can help you navigate some of the trickier issues, such as writing about real people who may not like what you have to say!
Book coaches can point you to the resources you need. For example, they’ll be able to suggest books that might help you exactly where you are right now. They can also help you assess the competitive landscape, ensuring your book stands out from other books on similar topics.
How to know if a book coach is right for you
So, is now the time to invest the dolla dolla bills in a book coaching package?
The answer might be “Yes” if any of the below sound familiar:
You have good days and bad days. Some days you believe you can create this amazing thing. Other days, not so much. You could use some ENCOURAGEMENT.
You have a million ideas—and all of them are good. Right, the embarrassment of riches. Remember, your ideas just want to be heard. Your book coach can listen. You could use help FOCUSING.
You don’t know where to begin. A book coach knows the difference between a book that takes off—and one that never gets off the ground. You need help BEGINNING with a bang.
You are lost in the murky middle. No problem, our book coaches have spent their entire careers studying the structure of great books. We know the difference between a book that flows and one that tanks. We draw on resources such as these book structures to help you tailor your book to the reader who is waiting for you. We can help you with STRUCTURE.
You need a rocket-booster guide to the publishing world. Let us reduce your learning curve. You be you! You be the writer while we will be the guides. You need INDUSTRY KNOWLEDGE.
You live in a world full of distractions. Who doesn’t, in these frenzied times of smartphones and 24/7 news? A book coach can keep you on track. You need ACCOUNTABILITY.
You’re overwhelmed by all there is to know about the book business. Right. We understand. It’s a lot to absorb. You need a NAVIGATOR.
You feel urgent about your book. Every day, you have a stronger sense that the world truly does need this book. And yet, the to-do list ain’t getting any shorter. You need TIME MANAGEMENT.
You want someone who believes in you. We understand. It’s hard to see a book that isn’t born yet. But you know, don’t you, that you were born to write it? We know that, too. You need SUPPORT.
If you’re ready to get more information about hiring a book coach, we’re here for you. Zero pressure, all info. Schedule a call now.
Kelly Notaras is the founder of kn literary arts and the author of THE BOOK YOU WERE BORN TO WRITE: Everything You Need to (Finally) Get Your Wisdom Onto the Page and Into the World, published by Hay House. An editor for 20 years, she’s worked at HarperCollins, Penguin, Hyperion and Sounds True. She speaks regularly at the Hay House Writer’s Workshops and offers consultation by appointment. Find out more about how she can help you with your book.