Romy's Blog

Buyer Beware: not all coaches are created equal

You'd be excused for thinking I'm a b!tch to diss my competition with a post like this - but far from it! Firstly, I don't see other coaches as the competition, and secondly, I'd be the first to admit I'm not equal to many of the writing coaches out there!

This post is about what different writing coaches do, and how to find the one who'll be the right fit for you - it might not be me!

To get started, check out the page on my website where I list some of the things a writing coach can do for you. If any of those sound like services you need, then keep reading. However, if you are a highly disciplined and self-motivated writer, who enjoys spending hours studying writing craft and the publishing industry on your own - don't waste your time reading the rest of this post. You have plenty of other things you could rather be doing.

Still with me?

Great! So what criteria do you need to take into consideration when selecting a writing coach?

  • What are the coach's credentials? He or she doesn't have to be a writer, but what is their experience: editor, trainer, other publishing industry insider?

  • What is their field of expertise, and is it what you need? We all have our strengths and areas of expertise. For example, the coach may have 20 years experience editing for DC comics, but they're unlikely to be the best match to help you write your non-fiction study of South African invertebrates. Is the coach more a motivator, an editor, a career advisor or a teacher - and which do you need most?

  • As you would with any other service provider you pay your hard earned cash to, ask for referrals. And don't be afraid to ask the coach for a trial run. I'm sure most coaches would be more than happy to show you how they work, so you can decide whether or not this is what you're looking for.

Yup, that's pretty much it. Easy, wasn't it?

So why should you consider choosing me as your writing coach?

My area of expertise is commercial or genre fiction. If you're looking for guidance on narrative structure and character development, I'm your gal.

Sidebar: To you, invertebrates might be characters who develop through their life cycle, but I'm still not going to be a good fit for you. Nor will I be a good fit if you are writing a doctoral thesis - this might be a good moment to mention that the only theses I've even attempted to read are those written by my immediate family, and that was only because I love them.

I don't coach for the money (though it helps!). I coach because I want to reach back and help up the authors who have followed behind me. I want to save them some of the struggles I had to face along my journey. But my main goal is still to write my own books, and my writing time is precious (and limited!) so I am not going to take on a project or a client that I am not fully committed to, no matter how much money you offer me.

The same should apply to you!

I have spent more than a decade writing and studying commercial fiction. I've lived and breathed it, and have battle scare in the form of eleven published works (and counting!) I've also taught and mentored along the way, and had a day job in organisational logistics - so if you need help planning your novel (or screenplay), organising your writing time, or taking the next step in your career - why not get in touch and ask for a trial run?

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