Hiring a book coach is a big decision. Whether it’s the right decision for you or not depends on a lot of factors, including where you are on your writing journey, what your goals are, and what kind of book you’re writing or plan to write. For a start, here are two things you should think about before hiring a book coach.
Why are you writing your book?
Writing a book is hard work. It takes a lot of time and effort. It’s frustrating. It’s aggravating. It makes you doubt yourself. It forces you to face the possibility—no, the probability—of rejection. So why do you want to do it?
If your answer is, “I want to make a lot of money and quite my day job,” or “I want to be famous,” or “I’ve got a little extra time and I thought it would be fun,” think again. Very, very few writers actually make enough money to live on, and only a tiny number become household names. And although many aspects of writing a book can be exhilarating and rewarding, fun isn’t an adjective most writers I know would use to describe the process. If this is you, then a book coach probably isn’t the right way to go.
Or if you say, “I just want to collect my blog posts together for posterity,” or “I want to write down the family history for my grandchildren,” you might not really need to hire a book coach. There’s a world of difference between the wonderfully therapeutic act of writing for yourself and those close to you and writing something for strangers who don’t know anything about you.
If your answer is some version of, “because I have to,” or “because I’ve been thinking about this idea for my whole life,” or “because I need to prove that I can,” or “because my message is really important and I need to get it out to a broad audience…” then that’s a different matter.
The bottom line is this: Hiring a book coach means you’re serious about writing a book and you want it to be read by strangers—not just your family and friends. It means you are willing to invest the time, energy, and resources into writing something that’s the best you can make it, to suffer through revisions and rewrites, and keep going until you’ve done your best work.
What kind of help are you looking for?
Although in theory a book coach can help you at any stage of your project, if you’ve never written anything and you have a terrific idea for a book you think could be a bestseller, a book coach is not for you.
If you’re looking for validation and reassurance, someone to tell you your work is fabulous and just encourage you to keep going—that’s not the role of a book coach either. There are many wonderful organizations that provide safe spaces for writing with encouragement and camaraderie in generative workshops—Writers in Progress, for instance.
But a book coach isn’t that person. A book coach is someone who is in your corner, but isn’t afraid to deliver hard truths. A book coach wants you to succeed just as much as you do, and part of ensuring that is not letting you get away with work that’s less than you’re capable of. A book coach will celebrate your achievements, commiserate with your frustrations, and do everything humanly possible to keep you on track to meet your writing goals. If that kind of help seems like what you’re looking for, a book coach might well be for you.