• Stuart Wakefield

How to Choose the Right Book Coach for Your Novel

Updated: Nov 25, 2021


Whether you're a professional writer or an aspiring one, your book coach can help you get the most out of your project. In this post, I'm going to take a look at what you need to know about hiring a book coach — and why it's important to work with a good one.


Why hire a book coach?

It's not enough to have a great idea for a book and a killer book outline. There's a lot more to the process of writing a book than meets the eye. And unless you're a seasoned writer, you might not even know where to begin.


That's why you need to hire a book coach. Call them a writing coach, if you will — they're pretty much the same thing.


A book coach is different from an editor or a ghostwriter in that they help you create the book outline, write your book, and even help you find an agent. A book coach is an expert in the industry, and they can help you navigate the waters.


What does a book coach do?

A book coach is someone who helps you through the process of writing a book. No surprises there, right? They'll help you assess your idea or manuscript, make a plan for next steps, and then help you to revise and edit it so it's the best it can be. It's not enough to just have an idea and start writing. Trust me, I tried it a few times, and I always had to go back and make a plan in order to fix it. When Victoria Mixon trained me to be a development editor, everything changed.

In addition to all that lovely planning, a book coach will work with you to make sure that you stay motivated and — more importantly — stay on track!


How to get the best from your book coach.

The first step is to decide what you need from a coach. Do you want someone who reads in the genre in which you're writing? Do you need someone to take you through the entire process from start to finish? Or is it more a case of seeking advice from someone with experience in the industry? Do you want someone to hold your hand every step of the way, or do you need to be pushed out of your comfort zone?


Decide what you want, then talk it through with your prospective coach.


How to choose a book coach.

So, you’re thinking about hiring a book coach. But how do you know which one to hire? Or more importantly, how do you know whether hiring a book coach is even right for you?


Hiring a book coach can be a great way of getting your book-writing project off to a flying start. The benefits of a skilled book coach are limitless: you'll get expert guidance, someone to put you and your project on the right track and someone to keep you motivated. A professional book coach will also save you time, money and energy.


So how do you find the right coach for you?


Yes, you want a book coach with experience, but you also need to connect with them on a personal level. It's a two-way relationship. There's no point in working with a book coach with whom you don't have rapport. It'll drive you both to distraction, you'll regret spending the money, and your book coach will regret working with you. (I once saw a book coach fire an author. My jaw dropped.)


I recommend talking to a book coach before hiring them. It's just as much about personality and chemistry as it is about expertise.


How to make the most of the relationship.

If you're 'not a writer', writing a book can be a daunting process. Not only can it take years to complete, but the process is filled with self-doubt and criticism. Even the most experienced writers experience anxiety when it comes to putting a book out into the world. Book coaches understand that writing a book is a huge undertaking and most writers don't have the time to devote to a project that has no chance of getting published.


Be clear about what you need from your coach. Choosing the right service is key to how they'll work with you. Run through the services they offer, try and get a feel of their personality, and respect their boundaries. They're people, too.


Ask them what they expect from you as a writer, make sure they understand how you handle feedback so they can adjust their approach, and don't be afraid to raise any concerns you have before you start the working relationship.


And while you're working together, stick to what you agreed. Hold your book coach accountable. Hold yourself accountable. If either (or both) of you are frustrated or unhappy, you're not going to get what your novel needs — thorough, compassionate attention.


Final thoughts.

As you can see, there are many factors to consider when it comes to hiring a book coach.

If you are still not sure which direction you’d like to go, I would love to help. Go ahead and book a free, thirty-minute call with me, and I'll be happy to talk things through. I won't give you the hard sell — I took a sales job when I was at university and lasted three months.

If I'm not the right coach for you, I can find one who is!

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