What is a Book Coach? Tips for Hiring a Writing Coach

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What is a book coach? Tips for hiring a writing coach

Have you been working on a draft of your book and are constantly getting stuck? Have you finished your draft, but are unsure what comes next or how to improve your story to make it the best it can be? Are you interested in improving your craft and reaching your goals faster than you would on your own? If you said yes to any of these, then perhaps a book or writing coach can help.

What is a book or writing coach, and how do you decide if you should hire one? Continue reading to find out the difference between a book coach and an editor, three questions to consider before hiring them, and five tips for finding the right one for you!

What is a book coach?

A book or writing coach is someone who comes alongside you on your writing journey to help you improve your writing craft skills, develop your book writing process, and guide you through the entire process from idea to completed draft. Sometimes, they may guide you through some of the publishing process and the building of your author platform as well, especially if you plan to self-publish.

A book coach will work with you on setting and achieving goals you set for your writing and/or career and they’ll help keep you accountable for those goals. Another benefit is they have knowledge of the writing craft and publishing industry to help you reach your goals faster than you would on your own.

Keep in mind that while a book coach and developmental editor may have some tasks that overlap, such as providing feedback or critique on your book, a book coach is not an editor. While some editors may offer coaching services, editors work with one manuscript at a time to help you polish your story’s structure. Book coaches help you develop your voice as a writer and help you break through mental blocks keeping you stuck. When hiring a book coach, consider someone with a background or experience as a writer or editor, not just a coach, so they’re familiar with how to write a book and can provide valuable insight.

3 Questions to consider before hiring a book coach

Can you afford one?

Depending on the coach, their experience level, and what packages or services they offer, coaches can cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand dollars. An important question to ask yourself is, can you afford the cost? You can hire a book writing coach to help you at any stage of your writing career. Don’t feel pressured to hire one in the beginning when you’re just starting out, especially if you can’t afford it yet.

Are you ready to hire a book coach?

Some book or writing coaches may specialize in different areas or niches, so it’s important to know what your goals are, what you want to work on, and what kind of coach you need before hiring one. If you write fiction novels, then you’ll want a coach who works with novelists, rather than one who specializes in non-fiction writing, memoirs, or academia. You also don’t want to hire a coach whose focus is breaking through mental blocks when what you need is help learning how to structure your novel or develop a writing process that works for you.

Can you improve without a book coach?

Can you learn the skills and tools you need to improve on your own without hiring a coach? There are a lot of free or inexpensive resources available to improve your craft on your own, such as books, online courses, YouTube videos or podcasts, blog posts, etc. The important question to ask yourself is what is more important to you right now: time or money?

If it’s money, then hold off on hiring a coach, as you can learn to improve on your own by using the free or inexpensive resources mentioned above. This could save you a lot of money in the short term because coaches can be costly. However, it can cost you more time as you’ll have to learn these new skills on your own. If time is more important to you right now, then hiring a coach may be beneficial because they can help you save time by helping you learn your craft and reach your writing goals faster.

Tips for working with a book coach

Find a coach familiar with your genre or category

Look for a coach who is familiar with the category and/or genre you write in. If you write middle-grade (MG) fantasy, look for a coach who works with authors who also write MG fantasy. If you write Young Adult mystery or New Adult romance, look for a coach whose niche is in those categories. Each category or genre comes with its own expectations readers in that genre expect to see. A coach who is familiar with the genre’s expectations will have greater insight into knowing how to help you improve your story and what areas to focus on.

Know their methods

Do you know how the coach works? What is their coaching process? Do they have a “tough love” approach, or will they be gentle with providing feedback/critiques? Will you meet with the coach weekly? Monthly? Will you communicate through email, Slack, or something else? Meet in person or use online video calls? If a coach insists on using video calls and you’re an introvert who wants to communicate through emails only, they won’t be the right coach for you. Knowing their methods and how they work is going to be essential to determining whether they’ll be a good fit.

Make sure you trust them

In the modern digital age, it’s easier than ever to create a website and call yourself a coach with little to no experience or knowledge in this field. That’s why it’s important to find a coach that you trust and feel comfortable with. How can you tell if a potential coach is trustworthy?

Here are a few ways to find out:

  • Were they referred by other authors or writers you trust?
  • Do they have a proven track record? Are there testimonials on their site or elsewhere that you can read?
  • Are they clear and transparent about everything: their experience level, their process, what they help with, expectations, and their cost (no hidden or surprise fees)?
  • Do they offer a free “discovery call” to see if you’re a good fit? Most coaches will offer a free, no-obligation call to see if they’re the right coach for you. During the call, they’ll tell you more about their process and the next steps and answer questions you have.
  • Are they pressuring you to decide quickly? This is a red flag and you should be cautious of any coach that rushes you to decide, especially when making a big investment.
  • Do they require a large investment to be paid in full upfront? This is potentially another red flag as many coaches will work with writers over a period of time–depending on the type of packages or services they offer–and will break up the total cost into payments made throughout the duration that they work with you.
  • Trust your gut instinct, if something feels off about the situation, then it may be best to move on.

Get a coach that can help you with your weaknesses

Writers and editors both have their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to the writing craft, and the same is true for book coaches. You want to find a coach who can help you improve in the areas you’re weak in. If you know you need to work on character development and making sure your characters are fleshed out and have a strong arc, then you’ll want to look for a coach whose strength is helping authors create strong, unique characters that come alive in their stories. How do you know what a coach’s strengths are? This brings us to our next point: ask the right questions.

Ask the right questions

Don’t be afraid to ask a potential coach questions, especially if they offer a discovery call as that is what those calls are for. This is the only way to find out if they’re a good fit for you. You can ask about their writing strengths or weaknesses, what their process entails, if they have any categories or genres they specialize in, or anything else that will help you in your decision. Look at their website or blog before creating your list of questions to ask, as some of them might already be answered on their site. Don’t waste their time or yours by asking questions that could be answered with a quick look on their website.

Ready to hire a writing coach?

So, should you hire a book coach? Only you can answer that question for yourself. If you decide to hire one to take your writing to the next level, then use the tips and questions above to find the right coach for you.


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