Book coaching services for professionals: which do you need most?

by | Jan 25, 2024 | Publishing | 0 comments

Looking for book coaching services?

If you’re looking to develop your professional expertise and ideas for a wider audience, it’s likely that you will need to engage book coaching services.

This post attempts to make your search for a book coach more efficient by helping you prioritise the services you need, clarify the value you should expect from a book coach, and show you how to identify the most effective person for you to work with. 

If you’re like any of the professionals I talk to each week, you don’t have time for detailed online research, but you want to feel confident in your shortlist of prospective book coaches. 

It’s essential to recognise where you are in the process of writing a book, because that will affect the services you need. For example, if you’ve already started writing your manuscript, your coaching needs are completely different from someone who has a great idea for a book but keeps writing the first few pages and getting stuck.

What book coaching services do you need the most?

Over the course of working with hundreds of writers, I’ve found there are a few common circumstances that prompt someone to reach out for personalised book coaching. See if one of the following professional avatars resonates with you.

1: The fan of constructive feedback

Many professionals buy courses, attend webinars, and take workshops when they are exploring how to publish their book. It’s common for people who are highly educated in their respective fields to feel very conscious of their lack of knowledge of the book publishing industry—and to buy a class to address it. Add to that some self-consciousness over the fact that often they’ve not published anything outside of professional journals or peer networks, and there’s frequently anxiety over not knowing enough. Which is ironic given that it’s your expertise and knowledge that has led to your goal of writing the book in the first place.

The problem is that once the workshop is over, or the course has finished, you are still on your own when it comes to your work in progress. Tips and tricks, checklists and how-tos can be extraordinarily valuable, but each book is as individual as its author. Getting quality feedback, editorial support, and constructive suggestions is essential to bringing your work to a broader audience, whether you’re aiming for a traditional book deal or planning to self-publish. 

Is this you?

The book coaching services you most need: 

  • Structural editing
  • Line editing
  • A trusted and experienced sounding board for questions relating to your book
  • Commercially astute insights into the marketplace for your idea
  • Author platform planning and development to strengthen your audience and visibility

The outcomes you can expect:

  • Clarity on how to improve your writing as and where necessary
  • Understanding of how your work’s structure helps or hinders your communication goals
  • Insight into competitor titles and the market for your idea
  • Confidence in actions you can take to develop your author platform

The experience your book coach should be able to demonstrate:

  • Proof of providing editorial feedback of a structural/developmental nature to traditionally published authors of fiction or nonfiction (depending on what sort of book you’re writing)
  • Evidence of having edited traditionally published books 
  • Testimonials from published authors as to the value of the coach’s feedback
  • Market knowledge through freely sharing insights into the current market and key challenges for differentiating your work from the competition—setting the commercial scene, as it were, before you choose to work together.

2: The ideas person

Perhaps you’ve been considering writing a book for some time, but can’t seem to get beyond a rough outline, or a series of posts on LinkedIn or Facebook. You know that you have a unique take on a contemporary issue or problem, and would love more people to know about it. Maybe you’re working towards a course or membership community and want to build your profile by publishing a book targeting your ideal audience. You might be well known in your professional niche, and perhaps have some media exposure in your city or region, but to grow beyond the academic or professional niche you need a book for a more general audience.

Problem is, how to move from your idea to a book? How to get beyond the brainstorming, list-making, and endless additional research to get your idea into shape in the form of a book proposal?

Is this you?

The book coaching services you most need:

  • Writing a book proposal
  • Understanding the elements of a book proposal and how they work together
  • Commercial understanding of the marketplace for your idea
  • Author platform analysis to strengthen your audience and visibility ahead of publication

The outcomes you can expect:

  • A draft (or edited and revised draft) book proposal that captures your core message and speaks to a need in the marketplace
  • A strong sense of the competitor environment for your project
  • A clear plan for additional actions necessary to finalising the proposal
  • A strategic understanding of why those additional actions are necessary

The experience your book coach should be able to demonstrate:

  • Proof in the form of published books whose structure the coach helped shape and refine (make sure these are traditionally published books if a literary agent and traditional publication is your goal)
  • Testimonials from professionals working in a similar field to yours on how the coach helped them
  • A track record of helping subject-matter experts to build an outline for their book 
  • Experience working inside traditional publishing to provide commercial and strategic insights (if finding a literary agent and getting a book deal is your goal) to help you navigate the book publishing process. 

3: The strategic thinker

You might have started to query literary agents or submit your book proposal directly to publishing houses. Or you might just be considering doing either of those things. 

But whether you’re thinking about it or already in the querying trenches, your professional area of expertise is proving no match for the mysteries of the book publishing industry. Why is nobody responding? Is there something wrong with my project — and if so, what is it and why won’t they tell me? Who are these mysterious agents and do I really need one? Am I approaching the best ones for my project? And why can’t I get anyone to talk to me?! Your frustrations multiply as weeks turn into months. 

Is this you?

The book coaching services you most need:

  • A trusted sounding board to discuss your book and provide honest insights into the industry that are difficult to find elsewhere
  • Constructive help in identifying comparable titles for your book
  • A strategic review of your efforts so far and practical suggestions as to where you might need further refining or development
  • Literary agent and publisher research

The outcomes you can expect:

  • Clarity on the agent and publisher submissions process 
  • Strategic insights into your submissions materials (such as your query letter, book proposal, sample chapter)
  • A clear plan of action for querying agents and submitting your manuscript
  • Detailed information about the most relevant agents or smaller publishers for your work

The experience your book coach should be able to demonstrate:

  • A track record of working in and around traditional publishing, showing understanding of how the industry works
  • Experience in working with aspiring authors on submissions materials that result in landing a literary agent and a book deal
  • Understanding of where and how to research literary agents and book publishers, and how to interpret the results of your research
  • Testimonials that speak directly to the coach’s experience and attitude.

4: The self-published author

Many self-published authors rush to publication then come to regret their decision when the real challenges of marketing set in. Others experience a degree of success with one or more self-published works but after growing a sizable audience they wish to take their writing and message to a broader audience, which is still the realm of the traditionally published book. 

Is this you?

The book coaching services you most need:

  • Constructive but intensive editorial feedback and guidance to improve your writing (if necessary) or to improve the structure and usability of your material
  • Strategic advice on competitor titles to differentiate your work in the marketplace
  • Insights into developing your author platform from a niche audience to a general readership
  • Literary agent and publisher research

The outcomes you can expect:

  • A detailed plan to get you from where you are now to where you want to be with your next book
  • A clear understanding of how and why to develop your author platform to maximise your appeal to traditional publishing decision makers
  • Details of relevant literary agents or traditional publishing companies that accept direct submissions to make your submissions process more efficient

The experience your book coach should be able to demonstrate:

  • Understanding of the many reasons why a professional chooses to self-publish, as well as the common limitations and constraints that self-published authors discover in the process
  • Evidence of assisting a self-published author to get an agent and/or traditional publishing deal
  • Knowledge of where and how to find and screen potential agents for your work, or prospective publishers open to direct submissions
  • Testimonials about the coach’s industry knowledge, practical guidance, and client outcomes achieved.

5: The accountability seeker

You know what you want to write but you’re already stretched and overwhelmed by your existing professional and personal commitments. You’re looking for accountability in the form of regular ongoing deadlines—a Zoom, or a number of pages for your coach to edit—to keep you on track each week or month. 

Is this you?

The book coaching services you most need:

  • My view is that you don’t necessarily need a book coach for accountability alone; you could get this from any coach or mentor who can keep you on track with an agreed schedule. For example, you could ask your personal trainer (if you have one) to force you to do more burpees if you haven’t written a set number of pages by the next training session! I know that would motivate me. 
  • However, if you’re looking for editorial feedback as you proceed, then your coach should have experience with editing the sort of work you’re writing. 

The outcomes you can expect:

  • If you stick to your agreed accountability schedule then you will see results in the form of words on the page. 
  • You will be much closer to your goal of a draft document, whether it’s a book proposal or a fiction manuscript. 

The experience your book coach should be able to demonstrate:

  • A solid track record of desired outcomes for previous coaching clients
  • Relevant editing experience for your type of book
  • Testimonials that provide a sense that the coach focuses on goals, milestones, and accountability.

Finding the best book coach for you

As a recovering academic, I’m always pro-research. But if you’ve already identified a few prospective book coaches, it’s time to decide exactly where you’re at in the process of writing your book, and filtering your search result to find a couple that seem like a good fit.

After that it’s time to talk to each prospect to see whether you feel comfortable discussing your project. Schedule a free consultation or discovery call—and if they don’t offer one, that’s a huge red flag right there.

During the call, do they demonstrate insight and understanding into the type of book you want to write, and the main challenge you’re facing? Do they provide value during the call, regardless of not knowing whether or not you will hire them?

After the discovery calls, it’s a matter of budget and availability. 

By making a choice you’re committing to making real progress with your book project—which is sometimes the biggest challenge of them all. 

My book coaching services — just saying

As you conduct your book coach research, take a look at my services, mini case studies, client testimonials and Google reviews

If you’re interested in discussing your project with me, I’d love to hear from you. You can send me an email or schedule a no-obligation chat here.

As a former literary agent and a twice-published author, I know first-hand the profound satisfaction of a traditionally published book. So whatever you do next and whoever you choose to work with, I wish you every success along the long and winding path to publication!

Check out what my clients are saying…

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