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WRITER COACHING

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*I am not currently taking new clients*

Being an author is a long game with zero certainty and a constantly shifting landscape. I would like to help you sort it out and stay strong so you can enjoy the real fulfillment that the writing life can bring. That's why I call this writer coaching instead of book coaching. Writing a good book is important. So is finding your strength and endurance as a writer. And both are learnable.

In working toward the goal of a career as a published author, there is so much more to it than one book. Of course, it starts with one book, and that's a lot to learn. Then there's the query letter and synopsis, and how to select and vet literary agents. But then there's another good book, possibly more querying, definitely more synopses, and through all the ups and downs, an author must also learn to manage their emotions and expectations so they can keep going.

 

I want to help you make your current manuscript or query letter the best it can be, but at the same time, I want to help you develop skills—both practical and personal—to navigate the query trenches and beyond, and be ready to make your next book even better.

Read on, and if you think this would benefit you, click "Let's Talk" which will take you to my contact page. I look forward to hearing from you!

WHAT I BELIEVE

Sara asked a lot of questions up front, answered many more along the way and offered herself up as an ongoing resource. That approach allowed her to understand my intentions while enabling me to get the most out of her feedback. As any writer must know, that's the kind of comprehensive service one needs to move beyond micro-fixes and onto macro-improvement.

—Chuck P.

  • You are at your most potent and powerful when you are writing what you truly want to write.

  • There are plenty of ways to waste your time and effort when pursuing the goal of traditional publication and reaching readers. Writing a better book is never one of them.

  • There is a lot of confusing and conflicting information out there about pursuing traditional publication. You can save yourself stress and time by having an experienced author help you sort it all out.

  • Taking risks is good.

  • It’s never too late.

  • There is no formula. There are only tools. Having a solid toolbox makes it easier to write well and survive.

  • I want to make this as affordable as possible while still respecting the value of my time (see What It Costs)

  • High expectations. Lots of nurturing.

WHAT I CAN HELP WITH

  • Complete or partial adult novels

  • Any part thereof (E.g. first 50 pages, a selection of chapters, etc.)

  • Developmental and line editing

  • Short stories

  • Query letters

  • Synopses

  • Querying strategy, agent vetting and selection.

  • The coaching part of it. Tools to manage the ups and downs and build up your endurance.

  • The creative process. Self-doubt, being "stuck," impostor syndrome, fear, finding your voice.

  • Women's Fiction

  • Literary Fiction

  • Contemporary "general" fiction

  • I am happy to work with authors in other genres with the understanding that I am not as familiar with their specific genre expectations.

WHAT I CAN'T HELP WITH

  • Horror

  • YA, middle grade or picture books

  • Non-fiction

  • Flash fiction

  • Narratives that include explicit harm to children

  • Narratives where there is rape on the page

  • My experience is in traditional publishing, so while I can help make a book better, I'm not much use for self-publishing strategy.

  • Marketing

HOW IT WORKS & WHAT IT COSTS

  • THE QUERY LETTER:

    • I find that many author's query letters are missing some of the most compelling elements of their book, and the best way for me to learn what those might be is through a conversation.

    • We schedule a 30 minute zoom or phone call. You send me your query letter ahead of time. Then we have a chat in real time where you tell me what your book is about and what is most exciting about it to you. I ask you questions and we exchange ideas. Then we do two rounds of rewrites with feedback.

    • $115

  • THE QUERY PACKAGE (query letter, synopsis, first pages):​

    • Similar to the above process, we schedule a 30 minute zoom or phone call. You send me your query letter, synopsis (up to 1200 words) and first 5 pages (standard manuscript formatting) ahead of time. Then we have a chat in real time where you tell me what your book is about and what is most exciting about it to you. I ask you questions and we exchange ideas. Then we do two rounds of rewrites with feedback on all three components.

    • $210

  • EVERYTHING ELSE​:

    • We start with a 15-minute, free Zoom or phone chat about what you need. I am flexible and happy to discuss what works best for you.

    • Real-time conversation—brainstorming, creative-process work, literary coaching, discussing query strategy, general mentoring, etc.: $65/hr

    • For longer passages with in-document feedback, an "edit letter," and a one-hour follow-up zoom or phone chat, I will give you a quote based on my estimated reading/commenting speed. To give you a general range, an 80K word novel would be approximately $1800. The first 10K of a manuscript would be approximately $225.

Click "Let's Talk" to go to my contact page and let me know how I can help you.

MORE ABOUT ME

I am a published author. Ten years ago I started on this path. My first publications were short stories in literary magazines. Then I dug into learning to write novels. I've done workshops, residencies, mentorships, worked with editors, read craft books (so many craft books!) and everything else I could access and afford. In 2021, after querying three books over four years and 167 rejections, I signed with my agent, Laura Bradford.

 

And finally, in March 2023, my debut novel, Johanna Porter Is Not Sorry, released on  an imprint of Harlequin/HarperCollins. My sophomore novel, Principles of (E)motion will release on the same imprint in January 2024. I am currently working on the next book, which I hope will get me another publishing contract (ah, the anxiety).

As a writer, you may look at the demands of your daily life and think, is this even possible? I went from newbie writer to published author all while raising two kids, surviving breast cancer, having "day" jobs (which were sometimes night-shift jobs), helping elderly parents, managing my own and my kids' mental health, and all the other life stuff. Everyone's challenges are unique. So are our tools for managing them.

 

There is no one way to do this. I want to equip you with a strong toolbox. It still will never be a sure thing, but it is absolutely possible

From our first connection, I knew I’d won the author-coaching lottery. Sara's genuine encouragement, positivity, wit, and wisdom are invaluable. It’s like having the best writing craft books come to life in the form of a supportive friend.
—Sandra M.

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