Book Coaching

Before I became a best-selling novelist (and hell YES I like saying that) I was an editor, and since switching my focus to fiction I've found that my editorial focus shifted as well. My specialty is helping professionals--especially lawyers and journalists--who have a goal of becoming traditionally published in upmarket women's fiction or romance. I help writers evolve from professional writing to a novelist's voice, build a story that pulls the reader through the pages and  create an emotional arc that satisfies.

I'm tough, honest and encouraging and I believe that you CAN learn to do this. I can't guarantee that you'll write a book that will snag an agent or a excite an editor. No one can. But I can help you write a book you'll be proud to submit and approach that process like a pro. If you've been spending small amounts on short term classes, watching videos and using up every possible opportunity for free feedback, maybe it's time to invest a little bigger for more actionable return.

My coaching availability is constantly changing, and I only take one or two clients at a time. Here's what I have right now:

Pitch Proof: Think you're ready to pitch agents? Here's the hard truth: you are probably wrong. I say this with love, and from experience--most people who send me manuscripts hoping to pitch them still need a round of revision or two before they're ready. I'll read your entire manuscript and respond with an honest assessment of how agents might perceive it, either as the first 5 (or 50) pages that often accompany a submission or in response to that exciting "full" request--because sometimes, your pitching materials promise something your manuscript doesn't—yet!—deliver. That sucks--because most of the time, it means you've burned a bridge with an agent who might have been a good match.

I'll respond with a detailed evaluation of the manuscript and a description of what steps you need to take before pitching agents. This is not a line-edit or a copy edit (although I will tell you if you need those things) but a 5-10 page evaluation of the plot and emotional arcs, pacing, characterization and impact of your story and what it will take to achieve that "good-enough draft" that will make an agent pick up the phone.

If you've nailed it and my comments are minor, we'll focus on polishing and move on to an evaluation of your query, synopsis and pitch plan, and I'll offer comments and edits on your pitch materials. Either way, we'll meet (via Zoom) to discuss and make a plan for you to complete your project and get those pitches out there. There will be tough love and warm encouragement, and you'll come away excited and energized whether you're heading back to your desk for a major re-write or making the tweaks that mean pitching with confidence. Pitch Proof: $3000

Full Manuscript Evaluation. For the writer who's taken a completed draft as far as they can go, but isn't sure of exactly where that gets you. I'll read an entire, completed manuscript and offer both big-picture observations and a discussion of what's going right along with any areas of concern and suggestions for where to focus your attention in your revision. I'll be honest about the good and the challenging, because I respect your desire as a writer to learn and grow and to make this project the best it can be.

I'll focus on what you need and tailor feedback to where you are. I'll help you see what you have and what you need, whether you have a great hook that isn't carrying through the narrative, fantastic characters and an emotional arc that need more action or a rock-solid story that needs attention to dialogue, language and pacing to really sing. You'll get a lengthy edit letter (5-10 pages) that lays out where you are in your drafting and revision process and offers clear, detailed ideas for what to do next and how, and then we'll spend an hour on the phone talking it through. You'll come away excited and energized about heading into your next phase of work. Manuscript Evaluation: $3000 

Before we work together, we should be sure we're suited to one another. (I am truly not every writer's cuppa.) Tell me a bit about you, what you're working on and what kind of coaching you're ready for by filling out my COACHING QUESTIONS here. You must also provide the first 10 pages of your manuscript. If it looks like we're a good fit, we'll book a short discovery call to make sure this is what you need.


The Chicken Sisters cover

Want more Mae and Amanda? 

Sign up here for a free Epilogue to The Chicken Sisters--and to be the first to hear about my next book, In Her Boots, coming Summer 2022.