What is a writing coach and should you hire one?

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Writing coaches existed long before the pandemic, but it seems so many have come out of the woods in the spring of 2020. A writing coach can be a great asset to an entrepreneur, even if they don’t have the intent to write a book or other long-form piece of content. Like anything else, it’s important to do your homework before working with a writing coach.

Writing coaches aren’t just for books

Although my official title is Book Development Coach and Consultant, I work as a writing coach in other capacities upon request. One of my clients is a money mindset coach. She wanted to improve her ability to write emails, PowerPoint slides for webinars, and sales pages rather than hire someone to write them for her.

Many entrepreneurs simply prefer to hire a copywriter rather than learn how to do it themselves. But, there are plenty of people who feel like they know their audience best. Yet they don’t necessarily have the writing skills to effectively communicate the value of their product or service.

When I work with this client, she sends me her emails, slides, and sales pages before our Zoom call. I share my screen as we discuss what I would change (and I’m making those changes for her, basically putting on my editing and writing hats). The sessions are recorded so that she can return to them at any time. I send him the completed documents at the end of our session.

Over a year of working together, I have seen marked improvements in her writing. In fact, she doesn’t need me as much anymore, which is a good thing. (I’m not one of those coaches who wants people to feel like they can’t be successful unless they constantly pay me money for help.)

Related: 4 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Editor for Your Business

Writing coaches can also serve as business coaches

From time to time, people come to me hoping to become freelance writers. Again, I walk them step-by-step on how to identify their ideal client, improve their existing writing skills, build a portfolio, and pitch to potential clients.

Along with my book coaching clients (the majority of my coaching business), I also teach them how to turn this book into a lead generation machine for their businesses, book podcast interviews, be consistent and engaging on social networks and much more.

Related: How Podcast Interviews Can Help You Make More Money

Some writing coaches are great reading coaches, but some aren’t.

As I’ve explained in previous Entrepreneur articles, not all writing coaches are created equal. And not everyone is qualified to walk people through the process of writing and publishing a book step by step.

Getting someone from book idea to final chapter wasn’t something I knew how to do early in my professional career as a writer, editor, teacher, and coach. Although I’ve been in the writing and publishing industry for over 25 years, I’d say I’ve really honed my abilities as a book development coach over the past 14 years. I created my nine essential book writing steps a few years ago. These have helped people with absolutely no writing experience become respected, published authors in 60 days to 12 months (the average being three to six months).

Be careful when hiring someone claiming to be a book coach, especially if they seem new to the scene. It’s always surprising to me how many non-writers say they write and deliver coaches.

Need a writing coach?

Not everyone needs a writing coach, but most people can benefit from one.

Take a moment to answer these questions.

  • Do you have a book idea (or six) in you, but feel like you can’t get it out?
  • Are you tired of seeing, Author of… in other speakers’ bios?
  • Would you like to learn a more creative type of writing, such as poetry, creative nonfiction, fiction, screenwriting, or drama?
  • Are you an entrepreneur, lawyer, coach, psychologist or other expert who would like to do some (or all) of your blog writing, writing, email writing, report writing, etc. ?
  • Do you want to go to graduate school, but aren’t sure you can handle the paperwork (not to mention the thesis or dissertation requirements)?
  • Have you dreamed of becoming a freelance writer, but you don’t know how to go about finding clients or if you even have the skills to do so?
  • Are you financially secure or able to find the resources to hire a writing coach? (Most good ones aren’t cheap.)
  • Do you want to apply for small business grants, artist grants, or fellowships, but aren’t sure your writing skills are up to snuff?

How to Choose a Writing Coach

Qualifications are key when choosing your writing coach. Ratio is also important and price should be the last consideration.

Research the people you work with before you have that first sales call (which most people call discovery sessions these days). Any ethical writing coach will send you something about themselves and testimonials before meeting with you.

LinkedIn is a great way to find writing coaches, and Google is your friend too.

Ask yourself if they’ve worked as a writer – if they haven’t, that’s a huge red flag.

If they are supervising graduate work, dissertations, etc., do they have a graduate degree?

Author coaches are an area where you need to exercise extra caution. Many promise best-selling success overnight. But, end up veering towards expensive anthologies or meaningless coloring book projects because they never wrote or edited a book themselves. (Coloring books can be great for passive income, but don’t create authors or thought leadership.)

Related: 3 Red Flags to Watch for When Hiring a Book or Writing Coach

In summary

I enjoy being a writing coach as well as a book development consultant. Many of my colleagues are ethical and experienced people, but a growing number are not.

Whatever your dream or goal, a qualified writing coach is a great ally. You will save a lot of time on the learning curve. Plus, the chances of you achieving your vision – rather than giving up in frustration – are very high. higher when you have an experienced mentor by your side.

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