There are coaches for all kinds of different endeavors. While everyone is familiar with coaches of sports teams or Olympic athletes, there are many other types of coaches. And if you're thinking about getting into the publishing world (or you already are), then you may be curious about author coaches.
Working with an author coach can be a truly rewarding experience. But not every author will need to hire an author coach to advance in their career.
So this article will help you decide whether an author coach is right for you.
- What an author coach is and how they can help you.
- How to decide if you could benefit from an author coach.
- How author coaching works (and how much it costs).
- How to avoid scammers and choose a legit author coach.
Table of contents
- What is an Author Coach?
- How Does Author Coaching Work?
- Who Can Benefit From Author Coaching?
- How Much Does an Author Coach Cost?
- How to Choose an Author Coach
- Choose Carefully and Watch Out for Scammers
- List of Book Coaches
- Author Coaches: Conclusion
What is an Author Coach?
Sometimes called writing coaches or book coaches, author coaches can help you through the many aspects of writing the best book possible.
A good writing coach won't just tell you what you want to hear about your book. They will help you strengthen your craft, develop a better writing habit, identify your ideal reader, refine your book idea, and much more.
Some author coaches who work with self-published authors may even offer advice on other aspects of self-publishing. This may include marketing, audiobook creation, and even advice on whether to go wide or exclusive.
However, it's important to note that an author coach isn't an editor. Sometimes, the difference can be confusing. But even if you have an author or writing coach, you'll still need an editor to go over your manuscript when you're done.
Writing Coach vs Editor
The main difference between an author coach and an editor is their focus. While there are different kinds of editors, most of them charge per word and focus on making a single book as good as possible by correcting errors, suggesting edits for clarity, and possibly even discussing story structure. The editing process happens after the manuscript is finished, and often doesn't involve much real-time interaction.
Conversely, coaching often happens while the book is being written and can continue past a single project. Plus, there are usually in-person or digital meetups on Zoom or Skype to discuss things in real-time.
That said, there is some overlap. Many writing coaches will provide editorial feedback and help you brainstorm ideas for story directions. Some may even offer developmental editing at a discount in addition to coaching services.
The big difference is that an author coach will help you to prevent mistakes while you're writing, with the ultimate goal of making you a stronger, more consistent writer.
Author Coach vs Book Coach
While some people use author coach and book coach interchangeably, it's worth noting that there could be a difference. Sometimes, book coaches are hired to focus on one single book. They may not assist the author in other aspects of their career, confining their focus and feedback to the book they're working on or have finished.
That said, there's no fully agreed-upon definition. If you find a book coach that sounds like an author coach, then don't let the title dissuade you from seeking their help.
How Does Author Coaching Work?
Author coaches offer a wide range of options, but most of them consist of a set number of one-on-one coaching sessions along with email consultations. This could be for a month, with one coaching session per week. Or it could be over the course of six months, with a coaching session once every two weeks.
These are just examples, of course. It really depends on your needs as the author and what the coach offers in terms of packages or personalization options.
While every author coach is different, there are some commonalities you can expect when looking for an author coach.
Define Your Goals
Your coach will ask you about your goals and tailor your coaching toward those goals. Whether this means simply perfecting your book or becoming a full-time author, they can help you lay out a path to your goals.
Discuss Weaknesses and Strengths
A good writing coach will help you play to your strengths and overcome your weaknesses. This is often what new writers who struggle to get their words down need. But even those who write 10,000 words a day could have weaknesses they need help overcoming.
By breaking down your overall writing goals into smaller steps, an author coach can help give you direction. This often means concrete dates by which you need to have things done, which provides the accountability many aspiring writers need.
Help With Speed Bumps
During your coaching time—whether it be a month, a year, or even longer—your writing coach will be there to help you over the speed bumps. This could mean cheering you on when you need it or possibly even giving you a metaphorical kick in the pants if it calls for it.
Gain Knowledge and Build Confidence
While your author coach won't do things for you (which is a good thing), they will help you gain the knowledge and confidence to do things yourself. This will provide a stable foundation for your writing life.
No two authors or author coaches are the same, but the factors above are generally what you can expect when hiring an author coach to help you on your writing journey.
Who Can Benefit From Author Coaching?
Many authors are solitary by nature. And for some, the idea of opening up to a stranger about their goals and weaknesses may sound like a nightmare. While there's something to be said about getting out of your comfort zone, not every author needs a private writing coach to accomplish their goals.
That said, most writers could benefit from an author coach. Hiring one could help you accelerate your career. But will not hiring one prevent you from becoming a successful author? Not likely. If you truly enjoy writing and are willing to put the time in to master the craft, along with learning the marketing aspects of it, then you may not need an author coach.
It's hard to say who would most benefit from one of these professionals. However, an aspiring author who struggles with formulating a writing habit or is stuck on their story could greatly benefit from hiring a book coach.
A published author who seems stuck in their career and doesn't know what to do to take their career to the next level could also be a candidate for an author coach.
Consider Author Coaching Carefully
One thing to keep in mind is that an author coach is not a magic bullet. While a coach can certainly help, you as the author will still have to do the work of developing your writing skills, overcoming writer's block, making sure you get your words down, and dealing with certain aspects of book marketing.
There's no substitute for hard work and dedication. But a book coach can refine that hard work and aim that dedication in the right direction for ultimate effect.
How Much Does an Author Coach Cost?
The cost of author coaching will vary widely based on a variety of factors. Some writing coaches offer package deals for a lump sum (paid in increments), while others simply charge by the hour as you need them.
You may find a book coaching package that includes six consultations, unlimited emails, and maybe even access to a course for as little as $1,000 or as much as $10,000.
For an award-winning author-turned-coach, you may pay as much as $200 per hour, whereas another coach may only charge as low as $50 an hour. It really depends.
At a minimum, you should expect to spend $500 for a basic book coaching package. Usually, this will be closer to $1000 or more.
How to Choose an Author Coach
There are certain things you'll want to look for when choosing an author coach. These factors will help you find the best coach for you.
Experience is a must for an author coach. If they're not an experienced writer, then they should at least be an experienced editor in order to be able to help you with the writing craft.
A book coach should have some past clients that you can contact for references. If they have a success story or two posted on their website, see if you can reach out to these authors via email or social media to discuss the coach briefly.
Alignment with Your Goals
If you're looking for help getting a book deal, you'll want someone who is familiar with the traditional publishing industry. Sometimes, you'll find a former literary agent offering book coaching, which is a good indication they know the business and have worked with publishing houses before. If you're looking to self-publish, someone with experience in writing and marketing would be an ideal coach.
Since much of author coaching depends on getting the book into great shape, you'll want to make sure any book coach you choose has experience in your genre. If someone knows a genre well, they will be in a position to help you craft a book readers of that genre will love. So you wouldn't want a thriller author coach if you're writing a memoir.
Of course, you'll want to make sure you can actually afford the investment that is author coaching. This can be hard to determine until you actually have a consultation with the coach.
Since coaching can be quite personal, it's important that you and your potential author coach are compatible. If your personalities clash, it will make working together difficult. Again, this is hard to determine until you have a consultation.
Luckily, many coaches provide the initial consultation for free—often after some initial back-and-forth via email or an application process to see if the fit is right.
Schedule and Structure
Compatibility isn't just about personality. Thankfully, you can usually find a schedule and structure that's right for you with a given coach. Every author has different goals and needs, so finding a writing coach who provides a good balance of structure and personalization is a must.
Choose Carefully and Watch Out for Scammers
Unfortunately, anyone can build a website and call themself a writing coach. There are plenty of people with little or no writing experience who may sound like they know what they're talking about. But if you want an author coach, you want someone who actually knows what they're talking about and will provide the value you're seeking.
So to avoid choosing the wrong book coach, keep the following tips in mind as you perform your search.
Beware of Large Upfront Payments
While it's fairly common to see coaching packages advertised (as opposed to hourly coaching), pay close attention to how they want you to pay them. If they're asking for large upfront payments even before you've had a chance to talk with them about your goals and struggles, then you may want to steer clear.
Most legitimate author coaches take incremental payments, such as before individual sessions, and allow you to stop the coaching if things aren't to your liking (without a financial penalty).
Is There a Vetting Process?
Finding the right book coach isn't like ordering off a fast-food menu. But the same can be said of the clients that a coach takes on. A legit book coach won't simply accept any and every client who comes their way.
So if there's some kind of vetting process, it's a sign that the author coach is legitimate and actually wants to help authors. This is why many coaches don't list their pricing on their website and offer an initial call for free.
Coaching Isn't a Course
There are plenty of writing courses out there. And most of them are much cheaper than hiring a book coach. So make sure you're clear on what comes with the coaching. If there's only limited consultation and much of the coaching is done through pre-recorded videos, the price should reflect that fact. Don't pay coaching prices for a course.
Get it in Writing
Before you commit, ensure that you get the terms of the coaching in writing. A simple contract should outline what the coach will do, how many sessions there will be, and by what medium (video call, phone call, email, etc). If there's something they offered during your consultation, make sure it's in the contract.
The contract should also spell out the payment plan, which should allow you to pay per session. Ideally, it should also allow you to opt out of the coaching at any point if things aren't working.
Check for Complaints
You can use the WriterBeware website to check for complaints associated with author coaches. You can also do a simple Google search with the coach's name and words like “complaint,” “lawsuit,” or “scam.”
Just keep in mind that not every potential scammer will come up on these lists. If they don’t show up, it doesn’t mean they’re safe. Be wary and make sure to take some time before you make a decision on any given coach.
List of Book Coaches
If you think hiring an author coach is something you'd like to do, you're in the right place. I've done some research to get you started.
In the table below, there's a list of author coaches (in no particular order) you can check out. While we've vetted them as best we can, make sure you do your own research to ensure whichever coach you choose will be right for you.
|Nicole Wisler||Fantasy||Coaching & Editing||Contact for Pricing||Check it Out|
|John DeDakis||Thriller||Coaching & Editing||Contact for Pricing||Check it Out|
|Kathryn Johnson||Fiction & Nonfiction||Coaching & Editing||Contact for Pricing||Check it Out|
|Megan Zavala||Fiction & Nonfiction||Coaching & Editing||$325 per 60-minute call.||Check it Out|
|Laura J. Oliver||Literary Fiction||Coaching, Editing, and Book Submission Review||Contact for Pricing||Check it Out|
|Simon Golden||Nonfiction||Coaching & Editing||Contact for Pricing||Check it Out|
|Lindsay Whiting||Nonfiction||Coaching||Contact for Pricing||Check it Out|
|Author Accelerator||All Genres||Service That Can Match You With Author Coaches||Price Depends on Coach||Check it Out|
|Carla Dupont||All Genres||Coaching & Editing||Contact for Pricing||Check it Out|
|Samantha Skal||Thrillers||Coaching||Contact for Pricing||Check it Out|
|Jen Graybeal||Romance||Coaching & Editing||Contact for Pricing||Check it Out|
|Jessica Snyder||Romance||Coaching & Editing||$150 per hour||Check it Out|
|Sharon Skinner||Fantasy, Sci-Fi, YA||Coaching||Contact for Pricing||Check it Out|
|Lisa Poisso||Fiction||Coaching & Editing||Contact for Pricing||Check it Out|
|Susan DeFreitas||Literary and Speculative Fiction||Coaching & Editing||Contact for Pricing||Check it Out|
Author Coaches: Conclusion
Whether you decide to invest in a book coach or not depends entirely on you and your goals as a writer. There’s no magic bullet in the publishing or self-publishing world, but some authors can benefit greatly from hiring an author coach. This is not something you should approach lightly, as it can require significant time and money that could otherwise be used on writing, book cover design, editing, and marketing.
But if you need the accountability, unbiased eyes, and the brutally honest feedback of an experienced writer, a book coach could be great for you!