So, how’s your novel coming along?
a. Perfect! Everything I write sings! The plot is hole-free and makes perfect sense even though I did zero planning. Oh, and my main character’s arc is so solid it could bear the weight of a baby elephant.
b. Some good days, some bad days. But I’m on track to finish by the year 2023! As long as I don’t run into any plot holes, add or subtract any characters, or have any sudden epiphanies about my story.
c. What novel? I gave up and took up spelunking instead.
d. Well, not so great. I love my story, but I have a lot of questions. Like, is my main character’s arc believable? Is this story holding together? Am I missing plot holes? Where should I start it? What about the ending? And I think my middle is sagging too—is there a plot-tuck for that?
If you answered A, move along. There’s NOTHING to see here. If you answered b, c, or d, here’s why you might want a book coach:
You are tired of writing your novel and you want to be done already. It feels like at this rate you will still be writing this same story when you’re seventy. You’d hoped to have at least two books written by then, but you can’t seem to get this one done. Sure, some of it’s the limited amount of time you have to write, but more of it is the time it takes chasing your tale (haha! Get it? First it was a typo, but now it’s a pun), deleting precious words, and starting over from scratch (again).
You like writing but you get lonely. No one else is as excited about your story as you are. No one else wants to debate the finer points of your story and do ten rounds of “What if my main character’s misbelief is ACTUALLY (fill-in-the-blank)?!”
You could really use some accountability. A reason to get up at five a.m. and write the words. A reason to delay your precious child-free Netflix time for an extra thirty minutes. A deadline that will make you get the writing done consistently. (Because you’re great at getting it done inconsistently—that part you’ve mastered. But it would be nice to make some steady progress.)
Last, but not least, you aren’t terribly sure you know what you’re doing and those darn writing books won’t talk back. Have I picked the right aha! moment, Lisa Cron? Am I really connecting with my reader’s emotions in the right way, Donald Maass? Am I filling in the points on my two-tier outline right, Jennie Nash? It’s very hard to tell. Plus you know you’re blind to your story, partial like a loving parent toward their child. It’s not your fault—this story is yours, heart, soul, and crooked plot. But knowing that you’re blind is so NOT half the battle. You need to know what’s working, what isn’t, and how to fix.
Introducing Book Coaching With Ashly.
(Guess how long it took me to come up with THAT package name.)
Here’s how book coaching can fix all your problems (er, writing problems that is):
You have set deadlines, so you write consistently and make consistent progress. This increases the likelihood of finishing your novel before your kids graduate college.
I use my super secret book coach goggles to scout out what’s working in your book and what isn’t. Then I use my bag of tricks to tell you how you can fix it. This means you spend (waste) less time writing in circles, deleting, and chewing your fingernails in self-doubt (which let’s face it, just eats into your writing time).
I will be your book’s biggest fan. I will ship* over your character’s love lives , swoon over those world building details, geek out over your phenomenal idea, and obsess over the story with you. I coach because I care.
*Look it up. You should know this because one day we will need to make so much fun of this word.
“Gee, Ashly, this sounds great. How does it work?”
I’m so glad you asked.
Here’s how it works:
Step One: Every week, you send me your submission (what you submit depends on what assignment I’ve given you—sometimes it will be pages of planning/brainstorming, other times it will be actual drafts of scenes or chapters). You will send it to me in a Word document via email.
Step Two: I respond to your submission by adding comments using Word’s Track Changes feature. Then I type a note at the end that summarizes your feedback and gives you your assignment for next week (and I always say something nice because its nice to have an ego boost right before I punch holes in it).
Step Three: Read the feedback, email me with any questions, and then complete your next assignment.
That’s it. It’s simple but magical.
“You had me at magical! How do I sign up?”
How long will it take me to finish my book if I work with you?
Well, I don’t have a crystal ball, but the mathematical formula for calculating this is: (number of rough drafts you’ve already written and trashed) x (amount of planning you’ve completed)/(length of time it takes you to write 250 words) x (word count goal) + (amount of time you spend writing) — (amount of time you spend reflecting on my feedback).
If that’s too confusing to calculate, I will give you the answer: It depends. On a lot of different factors. It’s pretty much impossible to answer that question. Next?
How long will my submissions be each week?
You may choose a submission of either 5 pages a week or 10 pages a week. (Pages are based on the industry standard word count per page estimate of 250 words. Stick to 12-point font, regular 1” margins and double space your pages and you will be fine.)
If I choose to do six (or more) months of coaching, do I need to pay it all up front?
Nope, I offer monthly payment plans.
If I work with you, can you guarantee that my book will be published?
No, I can’t and you should be extra wary of anyone who makes such promises. Even if we make your story exceptional and riveting, there are just no guarantees in the publishing world.
What I can promise is that your novel won’t get published if you never finish it and pitch it. And I can assure you that publishing is all about persistence and that contrary to popular opinion, publishers are desperate for good, publishable stories that will pay the bills.