Let’s start with a little scenario. You have what you consider to be a great idea for a nonfiction book. Your head is spinning with ideas, and you can hardly wait to get started. Perhaps you have made a list of the main points you want to cover or even begun to write. At first, the words just seem to flow onto the computer screen. You feel like a real author … until the moment you realize you are stuck. Suddenly, you don’t know if you’re on the right track, if your writing is coherent or rambling, or what you did with the wonderful few pages you just wrote, which you forgot to title. You need help. You need a book writing coach.
So, you do a search on Google or Yahoo or your favorite search engine and find the perfect person. She listens with interest. She understands your subject. She asks great questions, which clarify your thinking. She wins your confidence, and you agree to work together. “It’s a partnership,” she tells you. “We both have the same goal: to help you write the best book possible.”
Your book coach spells out exactly what you can expect from her, which are all the things you know you need, plus a few you never thought of. Then, she tells you what she expects of you, as the author. In a partnership she explains, both parties have responsibilities. To get the most out your coaching relationship, here are the seven things a good client should do:
1. Make a full commitment to the book and to your working relationship.
This is not a hobby you have undertaken. Writing a book and working with a professional assumes you are serious. You will find your book coach, if you’ve chose the right person, to be dedicated to you and to your project. You should be, as well.
2. Attempt to stay on the schedule and meet the deadlines you have agreed upon.
A good coach will help you establish a realistic time table for completing each section of your book. She will build in time for writing, critiquing and editing, rewriting, and all the other aspects of working through the project. To keep the momentum going you must try to meet those deadlines.
3. Communicate as candidly as possible about anything that is on your mind.
Talk about concerns, ideas, doubts, changes in plans. One of the most important aspects of your relationship with your book coach is honest, open communication. Both of you must feel free to express yourselves in a safe, accepting environment. A good coach will create that environment.
4. Follow through on all promises and commitments you make.
It may sound too obvious to mention, but it’s important. If you say you’ll do something, no matter how small, do it. You would expect that of your coach, and she should expect it of you. It’s called being accountable.
5. Consider all feedback, suggestions, and guidance your coach provides.
Keep an open mind. You have hired this person for her experience and expertise. She brings a perspective to your book you don’t have, so hear her out. In the last analysis, however, this is your book; so, if you don’t agree with a suggestion, you don’t have to take it.
6. Be prepared for meetings whether they are in person or on the phone.
If you had a meeting scheduled and your coach wasn’t ready, what would you think? These touch-base times are important to the process and serve to move the book along. The more effective the meeting, the better the work you will do when it’s over.
7. Accept encouragement, positive reinforcement, and sincere compliments.
One of the things a good coach does best is cheerlead. She is 100 percent in your corner, through the smooth times and the not so smooth. Writing a book is a time-consuming process that requires a long attention span. When yours flags, your coach’s will hold steady, and her enthusiasm will re-inspire you.
A book coach fills many roles–editor, guide, friend, and teacher, among them. But first and foremost, she is your partner in an endeavor that matters to you. It is a partnership you will come to value over the time.