Here’s something fun. Due to popular demand and encouragement from a few early clients, I’m launching a one-on-one writing coaching service to my roster of freelance offerings. This article from Writer Unboxed really helped nudge me in this direction, and if you’re at all curious, it’s worth a read. Normally, writers have been contacting me with completed manuscripts to review. Or questions that fill up a 30-minute phone consultation. Writers ready to submit have requested query and synopsis edits, or my most popular service, the Submission Package Edit, which is a comprehensive look at what agents and editors want to see: the first ten pages, your query, and your synopsis.
Things have been going really well and I’ve gotten to know hundreds of writers from all around the world. Several have gotten agented, and there has even been a publishing deal for a project where I’ve edited a partial. It’s been a terrific almost-two-years! Except I’ve discovered that I’m leaving out a whole group of writers: those with an idea or those in the early drafting stages.
This is where coaching comes in. I’ve developed and tested two tracks, and I’m ready to get some clients in the pipeline!
One option is for writers who need help with deadlines and motivation: we check in over the phone, I read some of your materials and see where you’re getting stuck, we set some goals, and you check in with me up to several times a week to report on progress, rant about a place you’re getting stuck, and otherwise stay accountable to someone while you try to meet your deadlines. I try to suss out your style, whether you want a task master or understanding guide, and we stay in touch during your writing process. Lots of writers thrive with a source of external pressure (gentle, of course!), and it’s a comfort knowing there’s someone to turn to if you need help.
My second coaching option is to work with you at the earliest stages of idea and manuscript development. Is your concept worth putting a year of your life into? Does your story have legs and enough substance to make a compelling manuscript? I will ask you to create a long outline, chapter-by-chapter, and think about character and plot in as much detail as you can. This gives us a map. I do a developmental edit on this, working to suss out your theme, make sure you have enough cohesive elements, point out things that have potential to the story and market (and things that don’t), and otherwise pressure check your idea.
The worst thing someone can say upon reading your manuscript is, “And? So? So what?” This second type of coaching will help you think about your idea in a bigger way, and help you brainstorm things to add (or take away) before you really start the long, hard work of writing. There’s a lot of brainstorming and back-and-forth involved with me.
Both types of coaching include a 30-minute consultation to start, review of your query and synopsis, and a glimpse at any writing samples you have so that I can know what your strengths and opportunities for growth are. Then we dig into the project at hand. You can add editorial services of additional phone check-ins. Because I keep strange hours, most of our work will be email-based, or we can layer in more calls.
It all comes down to what you need. “Mary, I want a taskmaster.” “Mary, I want a cheerleader who’s realistic but kind.” “Mary, look at this and tell me if I’m crazy.” This is the sort of highly customized and deeply personal stuff that coaching is about.
Because it’s time-intensive, I can only take on a few clients per quarter (ideally, the back-and-forth part of the relationship will last for two or three months, especially in deadline-based coaching). The price will be $599 for the services outline above, with add-on or a custom quote available depending on the length and breadth of your project.
I’m just starting this service, so it may change or morph in the next few months. For the first five clients who are ready to dive in and be very pampered guinea pigs, I’ll offer 15% off for mentioning this post. I’ll do some initial coaching and see how my workload changes. The price may change in the future. Check out my website for a full description of coaching. Let me know what you think in an email or the comments!