Confessions of a Book Coach

If you had told my younger self that I would someday be a book coach, I would have laughed. I don’t like to write, and I think that writing is very hard work.

And yet, here I am, celebrating my 10th year as a book coach, having helped more than 230 professionals become published authors, and having written my 12th book.

Before I started as a book coach, I had volunteered to coach two colleagues in my National Speakers Association chapter in preparation for a presentation I was making for the chapter on my process for writing a book. Each of these colleagues said to me, “Have you ever thought about being a book coach?”

My response: “No! Is there such a thing? Is there a need?”

What I’ve learned over the past 10 years is that there is such a thing, and there is indeed a need. Lots of professionals want to write a book as a business growth strategy but can’t get started or get stuck along the way.

What do I do as a book coach?

While I initially thought that my focus would be to help professionals create a process for structuring and aligning their books with their businesses (and this is certainly a big part of my job), I quickly learned that my job description could include several unexpected components:

  • I’m a cheerleader. I encourage you when you’re feeling defeated or that the task is just too hard.
  • I’m a brainstormer. We work together to discover a new way to approach your topic.
  • I’m a reviewer. My clients are often terrified that they will publish a book—a rather permanent bit of documentation—that is less than excellent. I promise you that I will always provide my candid assessment of your work, so you are free to write (and not focus on editing as you write). I read your book as you write it, and again as a part of your editorial board.
  • I’m an accountability partner. If you tell me that you need to get this book completed by year end, I will let you know where you need to be to hit that goal at our weekly meetings.
  • I’m a visionary. You may have a limited view of your possibilities. I help you think bigger. I encourage you to reach higher. I’m your possibility partner (which was my original tagline when I began my business 10 years ago).
  • I’m a resource. While I do developmental editing, I don’t copy edit, publish, offer legal advice, and other services that you may need. I know great resources that can meet these needs, and I help you select the best resources.
  • I’m a teacher. I offer classes and education on many aspects of writing, publishing, and book promotion, and where I’m not qualified as a teacher, I position other experts to provide educational events.
  • I’m a therapist. I now know that I may need to talk you “off the ledge.” Sometimes the authorship journey becomes overwhelming, or the negative voices too loud, and I stand ready to help you get back at your writing desk.
  • I’m a trusted advisor. I will tell it to you straight. I have your back. I’m here for you.
  • In the past several years I’ve been honored to have several clients return to work with me on their next book. My husband asked me, “Didn’t they learn how to do it during the last time you worked together?”

I believe that the reason that I have clients return is that it’s not always about what they learn, it’s about having a partner in the process—a partner who understands all those extra job duties.

I truly believe that I have the best job in the world. I get to partner with smart, successful thought leaders who want to make a difference in the world. And I get to help!

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