What Is a Writing Coach? (Complete Guide for Authors)


If you’ve read almost any book on a particular discipline, you know the importance of having the right people around you. The top professionals in any given field usually had at least one mentor figure, if not more, helping them as they came up. 

Anybody can have a dream. Knowing how to pursue the dream and actually pursuing it are two different things entirely.

Whether you’re writing your first book or just getting into the process, a writing coach can be a huge benefit to your journey. Not only do coaches know where you want to go and have a plan on how to help you get there, but they’ve worked through the process before. 

If you’re wondering if you need a coach, don’t know how to find one, or are generally just unsure what step to take next, this article is for you. 

Deciding to hire a writing coach is a big step in your writing process, so in this article we discuss:

  1. What does a writing coach do?
  2. How to find a writing coach
  3. Why would you need a writing coach
  4. How much does a writing coach cost?
  5. As you move forward
  6. Parting question

Athletes have coaches.

Musicians have conductors. 

Actors have directors.

And writers have coaches. 

That’s why they’re a coach, after all. 

Some of the most successful people have interacted with the best mentors and coaches. Hiring or working with a coach is not something that shows how little you know, but rather shows how much there is to know about your particular discipline—in this case, writing. That you are aware of this fact is a huge step in the right direction. 

Writing is like jumping into the deep end of a swimming pool and not realizing that it leads to the ocean. Many writers can get confused and overwhelmed just chapters into their book, and be unsure how to continue.

If you started a book and haven’t finished it yet, had an idea and only made it halfway through, or struggled to finally write your ending chapter, you’re not alone. Writing is hard work and takes a lot of forethought and self-discipline. This is simply a fact of writing. 

Creating an entire world on a blank piece of paper is intimidating to say the least. 

What does a writing coach do?

A writing coach is a professional with the sole purpose of coaching you through your creative process. 

A writing coach is not an editor. 

A writing coach is not a ghostwriter

They are not alpha or beta readers (although they can read your work).

A writing coach may draw your focus to varying writing rules and current trends, but this is not their primary objective.

In fact, a writing coach’s goal is to help you through the process. They want to encourage you to continue. Be the cheerleader you need. Help you continue when you’re not sure you can. 

Think of a writing coach as a personal trainer. If you work with a personal trainer several times a week, their encouragement is a big part of your progress. 

Maybe you show up for training and they walk in, pumped to be there, and excited that you showed. When you leave they let you know they’ll see you in a day or two, and tell you that you did a great job.

The same is true for a writing coach. 

They’re not hired to give you developmental edits or line edit your work. They’re here to encourage you to make it through the process. 

Writing a book is a lot of work. It’s a tremendous undertaking. 

A coach may be just what you need. 

How to find a writing coach

Finding the right writing coach may seem daunting, but a simple Internet search can point you in the right direction. 

Just as it’s important to find the right personal trainer to work with, one you feel on the same page with, who “gets” you and you feel that connection with, the same is true for a writing coach. 

Their job is to be your encouragement, so connecting with the right coach is a crucial part of the process.

There are countless online writing communities where you can ask around. Connect with faculty at a writing conference or ask writing friends who they’ve worked with.

If you have a favorite author, you could search their website and check to see if they offer coaching services. If it is not listed on their site, peruse their contact page and consider sending them an email articulating who you are and that you would like to work with them.

Keep your email effective but succinct. Authors are very busy and if they’re open to the idea, showing that you respect their time will likely heighten your chances of working together.

If you don’t hear back, you can take that as a no and simply move on to the next person. 

Finding the perfect writing coach for you will take some time and effort, but it’s worth it in the long run.

However, if you don’t have time to do your own searching, good news! 

If you’re part of any program through Self-Publishing School, SPS has writing coaches with all of the programs.

Yes, you read that right!

Any program you are in through SPS, we have a writing coach for you. 

Simply login to your specific program and find the coach you need. 

Why would you need a writing coach

Now that you know what a writing coach is and how to find one, it’s important to ask, “Do I need a writing coach?” 

At this point it’s crucial to do some self-reflection and take the time you need to do so.

Grab a pen and a piece of paper, or open the Notes app on your phone, then answer the following questions. Take your time and answer as honestly as you can. 

  1. Do I have a hard time staying on track? 
  2. Do I want professional help with my book? 
  3. Am I a self-starter or do I benefit from encouragement? 
  4. Is my deadline feasible or will I need help meeting it?
  5. Do I usually finish what I start? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to consider hiring a writing coach. 

Remember, a writing coach is not an editor, but someone to encourage you in your journey. They will help keep you on track, encourage you when you feel like quitting, and heighten your chances of making it to the last page.

However, hiring a writing coach will help you get to the editing stage. To hire a professional editor, you must have a manuscript to edit. And to have a manuscript to edit, you must have it complete. 

The prerequisite to becoming a published author is writing a book. Many people set off to write a book, but few finish. 

All it takes to start writing is grabbing a pen or pencil or opening a blank document on your computer. 

What it takes to finish writing a book is time, effort, persistence, and overall grit. 

A writing coach can help you in all these areas.

How much does a writing coach cost?

How much a writing coach costs depends on their experience, what they offer, and a myriad of other factors.

If you hire a coach who has never coached before, has little experience, and offers you the bare minimum, they will cost significantly less.

If you hire a coach who has coached for years or even decades, has experience to back them up, and is ready to offer you all the help they can give, they will cost significantly more.

There are two ways to go about hiring a writing coach:

  1. The first is to ask how much a writing coach costs, and determine your budget.
  2. The second is to ask how much it costs you to try and do it on your own.

If your budget is relatively small, do the research you need to and hire a coach who fits your budget and offers as much as you can get for your price point.

If you have a bit of a bigger budget, ask how much it will cost you not to hire a great writing coach. How much time will you lose without the encouragement a writing coach can offer? How important is your deadline and can you meet it without a writing coach to help ensure that you do? Do you want professional help on your book?

If the price point is an issue for you, one-on-one coaching through Self-Publishing School is included with SPS life-time access programs, along with an exclusive community.

This involves group coaching multiple days a week. Through SPS, coaching is not generalized but is targeted at the specific stage you’re at in the process.

Usually the best coaching is the most specifically targeted, and SPS coaching will target your specific stage so you can get the most out of the coaching experience.

As you move forward

Choosing to move forward with hiring a writing coach is a big step toward your publication dreams.

Anyone can dream about writing a book. Most people can even start the process. Few people will make it through the halfway point, and even less will make it to the finish line.

Hiring a writing coach will help you not only start writing your book, but make it all the way to the end, with encouragement along the way.

Just as a personal trainer wants to see you progress in your training regimen, a writing coach wants to see you progress from having your book idea to seeing it completed. 

Parting question

Before you take the leap into hiring a writing coach, ask yourself one valuable question:

Do I want to finish writing my book?

If you like the idea of being a writer but are not intent on finishing your book, a writing coach will be more of a frustration than a help. The relationship will not be pleasant for either you or the coach.

If you answer yes, I do want to finish writing my book, launch yourself into finding your writing coach.

If you have a book burning inside you, a story aching to be told, and just aren’t sure how to make it to the final page, now is the time to take that step.

Your story needs to be told.

You know the steps necessary to do so.

The rest is up to you!

Enjoy the process of finding your coach, working together, and finishing your book. Receive their encouragement along the way and know that they are just as excited about you finishing your book as you are.

Wondering what the best path is for you?

Take our quiz and find out!

Disclosure: Some of the links above may contain affiliate partnerships, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Self-Publishing School may earn a commission if you click through to make a purchase.

Sarah Rexford

Sarah Rexford is a Content Specialist and writer. She helps companies around the nation connect with their audiences through branding and copywriting. A communicator at heart, Sarah speaks on personal branding, mentors creatives, and through her website (itssarahrexford.com), shares behind-the-scenes tips on the publishing industry, including interviews with successful creatives. Sarah is represented by the C.Y.L.E Young Agency.

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