The most time-consuming and often the most difficult part of writing a book is, well, writing. This is one of the most valuable contributions a book coach can make to your life as an author. What follows are six ways a coach can help you negotiate this part of your writing journey.
1. A book coach will help you organize your ideas, research, main points, and written material.
Organization is the key to every part of a nonfiction book. Everything has to be organized—topics, thoughts, printed matter, outlines, research, pages in books, file folders, resources, and more. The key is to be able to find anything you want any time you want it. That won’t happened if you bury it somewhere on your hard drive and don’t remember what you named the file or where you put it. Organizer extraordinaire should be a book coach’s middle name.
2. A book coach will guide you through the many ways to research your topic.
Wonderful as it would be to just let the words pour forth, before we write most of us have to gather information. Usually, that takes a sizeable chunk of time, even when we know our subject. Besides our modern tendency to “Google” our topic, there are other sources of information: interviews with experts; public and specialized libraries; other people’s books on your topic; corporate publications, such as annual reports; government agencies, of which there are hundreds.
3. A book coach will explain the structure of a nonfiction book and how the parts fit together.
When you think about writing a book, chances are you focus on the content first. You write an outline that delineates the main points and their sub-points. Maybe you even go so far as to organize your chapters into file folders. Then you start writing. True, this is the heart of your book, but not the whole of it. Wrapped around that core are covers and sections called front matter and back matter. All of them have to be written, and what you write is as important as the content. A book coach will draw you a map of these sections, what they contain, why they matter, and what style you should use to write them.
4. A book coach will help you create a writing plan, set realistic deadlines, and create a schedule for meeting them.
Writing a book, even a small one, takes time. The first two questions are how much time do you have, and how are you going to allocate it? This is the point at which you may feel more than a little overwhelmed by the task ahead. Here is what to do: Sit down and make a list of everything you have to write. Start with the chapters; then list the front and back covers; map out the front and back matter. Now, look at a calendar. What is the drop-dead deadline for getting your copy-edited manuscript to the printer? Work backward from then to now. This is one of the most valuable services a book coach provides.The most time-consuming and often the most difficult part of writing a book is, well, writing. This is one of the most valuable contributions a book coach can make to your life as an author. What follows are six ways a coach can help you negotiate this part of your writing journey.
5. A book coach will work with you to find your unique voice and polish your writing.
If you have never written anything major before, you may not even know what your “voice” is. That’s one of the reasons it pays to write a book proposal and, especially, the chapter summaries and the sample chapters. That is how you find your unique style or voice. Don’t write the rest of the book until you’ve nailed it. But, even then, every author needs an editor. Not all book coaches are editors, but many are, at least in terms of development and flow of material. Take advantage of this skill.
6. A book coach will assist you in making the book accessible, inspirational, entertaining, educational, practical, or whatever you want it to be.
Even when you have found your special style, it may not be right for this particular book or audience. If your voice is formal or academic and what you really need is casual and conversational, how do you make the switch? A book coach with ease the journey by asking questions and guiding you down the right path. No matter who your audience, never talk down or at your readers. Engage them in a conversation. If you want to be entertaining, but you’re not a natural comic, don’t try to become one. Rule #1: Be real.
You may not even know when you begin how much you need someone to help you through these steps. In fact, if you are like many new authors, you may not even know what the steps are. You won’t ask questions when you don’t know what the questions are supposed to be. With a book coach, you won’t have to. She will ask and answer the questions for you.