What To Expect from a Book Coach

Monday, January 08, 2018

Some of the best books in the world are there, pretty much fully formed, inside the author’s head. And there they stay, keeping you up at night while you think of more fabulous ways to explain your concept, rewriting it all inside your head. At some point though, you realise that it’s been rather a long time, and nothing has actually come out. There are so many ideas, but you don’t know where to start with writing it all down.

Or, you have written and written and written; you have notebooks full of everything you know, hundreds of pages tapped out on the keyboard in a frenzy of excitement. And then, nothing. You realise that a lot of writing is not actually a book. It’s a valuable brain dump, it’s golden research, it’s many things, but it isn’t actually a book.

A book coach is the person you call in at this point, when your family and friends are sick of hearing about your book that never seems quite finished. Make sure you find one who gets you, who works in your genre and has good feedback from other authors. It’s quite an intense relationship, so find a coach you really like.

Why Can’t I Just Write What I Know?

Maybe because, strangely, you know too much. You know so much about your subject that it could ever fit into a book. A book with all that information in it would be overwhelming for your reader, and overwhelm isn’t what readers want.

Your book coach could never know as much about your subject as you do. That’s what makes you a good team. The coach knows how to write books in your genre, and you know the content.

What Happens to All My Nuggets of Wisdom?

It’s all about breaking the information down and laying into a book shape.

For a non-fiction book, we start by looking at what you want to achieve (for your business, or for you personally), then we look at what your readers want to know (which is not always what you want to tell them). From there we can decide what to keep in the book and what to leave for other avenues, like your blog or author website. Then we are left with the gold, which we chunk down into chapter sized pieces. We add all the bits around the edges, like exercises, tips and images, and lay the chapters out into a path towards a goal.

You can imagine how useful this planning would be BEFORE you start to write, but it can be applied just about anywhere along the way.

Cheer Leading, Hand Holding and Butt Kicking

This is the unspoken job description of the book coach. How they are applied depends on what you need. Most people need a little of each.

Cheer Leading

A little cheer leading is invaluable to keep you motivated, to remind you why you are doing this book writing gig, to tell you honestly that yes, your book is good enough.

Your coach will get to know you, your book, and your target market very, very well. They see your vision. So your coach can more authentically provide cheer leading services than most other people, including your mum.

Hand Holding

Your book coach will hold your hand and walk you through the decisions you need to make so you can end up where you want to be. That might include making decisions on planning the book out, support while writing it, helping you decide how it should look, making sure it gets designed with that vision, and getting it printed and distributed the way that best suits you and your author goals.

Having someone to ask questions to along the way, someone who is on your team and not trying to sell you something, is pretty handy.

Butt Kicking

Unfortunately, writers have an incredibly finely tuned ability to procrastinate. They love to do things like reading blogs about writing instead of actually writing.

Sometimes, you need time out from the book to get on with your work, family and life. Sometimes, you need a kick in the butt to get back on track. A client said to me once that book coaches “Have the magical ability to know the difference between when life is too crazy to take even a small step forward on the project, and when I am procrastinating and indulging my self doubt.”


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Alex Fullerton

Alex Fullerton is an author's consultant and self-publishing specialist at Author Support Services, which is based on a pineapple farm in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Australia. She has spent the last thirteen years working with business people to create concise, compelling, and comprehensive books that complement their businesses and increase their professional standing. Alex is supported by a dedicated team who provide a full self-publishing service, from planning to printing.