Book Coaching Basics

Note: Andromeda works with select clients.

 

Contact her directly at aromanolax@gmail.com to discuss fees, questions, and mutual scheduling requirements.

 

 

You've gone as far as you can on your own. Now you're ready to make an even bigger commitment, with the help of instruction, rigorous feedback, and ongoing editorial support.

 

Whether you're writing your very first novel or memoir draft, tackling a major revision, preparing for a submission to agents or editors, or simply trying to add to your writer's toolbox, I'm here to help.

 

How do I know what you need? Because at many critical junctures in my own writing career of 25 years (and counting), I've needed the same kind of assistance. We all do, whether we've written one book manuscript or twenty--all the more so if we keep changing and reaching higher with every project. Hemingway had Gertrude Stein. Fitzgerald had Max Perkins. You need someone who will encourage you, challenge you, and help you see past blind spots toward the best possible version of your future, final draft.

 

Friends and peers often can't find the time or summon the skills and big-picture thinking necessary to provide long-term instruction and macro-scale feedback that goes beyond page-by-page tinkering to larger issues of structure, overall story arc, characterization, POV and more. Many agents and editors are no longer willing to do developmental editing. The publishing world is more fickle than ever. Self-publishing--the right answer for a few, certainly not all--is not the easy way out, either. There's no point in making a manuscript publicly available that isn't all it could have been.

 

Needing expert help is not an indication that you're stumbling as a writer. It's a sign that you're moving forward.

 

Few other fields require so many years of dedicated learning (10 to 20, by some estimates) and so much emotional and intellectual investment as writing. The way we learn best, experts tell us, is by focused practice aided by reflection and prompt feedback. A book coach can provide that kind of rigorous, prompt manuscript feedback, as well as encouragement, personalized instruction on specific questions of craft, copyediting assistance, publishing tips, and more.

 

I offer:

 

  • A full manuscript read with extensive feedback (10 to 20 pages), focused on the manuscript's strengths and weaknesses, with attention to both micro- and macro-level issues (from sentence-level language to long story arc).

  • Post-revision reads for writers tackling the next draft.

  • For writers not ready for full manuscript review, regular (weekly or bi-weekly) check-ins to encourage increased productivity and create a safe place for questions and answers about craft, market, and more.

  • In some cases, light copyediting.

 

My clients have included novelists, memoirists, and short story writers; unpublished writers as well as writers who already have a publishing contract and want to submit the most developed final draft possible; and writers working on full manuscripts, multi-media projects, and nonfiction book proposals. I've worked with people who never studied writing in an academic setting as well as writers with MFAs. I've also done freelance writing, editing, and screenwriting for several government agencies, marine science organizations, and nonprofits.

 

I believe that editing, coaching, instructing, and literary citizenship--including being an active member of the larger writing community dedicated to the written word--are interrelated. While I do book coaching by email, I also teach in both face-to-face and online classes for 49 Writers (an Alaska statewide nonprofit I co-founded with Deb Vanasse in 2009).

 

I choose to work with writers whose work is developed enough to benefit from a fresh eye. Some clients are better served by classes, writing groups, or self-study than by coaching.

 

Please contact me for more information about book coaching or about any of my classes. And whatever you do, keep writing!

 

Testimonials from book coaching clients

 

Andromeda was my instructor for several excellent 49 Writers classes, so I knew my first novel would be in expert hands when I sent her the fifth draft for review. I suspected it was not quite ready to submit to a publisher, but had no idea what its lingering problems might be, let alone how to fix them. Within a month, Andromeda sent me a detailed summary of suggestions, a page-by-page edit of the entire manuscript, and an encouraging letter. She pointed out where my main character could use some more development, where the story bogged down, and how my themes did not come across as powerfully as I had hoped. I ended up making virtually all the changes she suggested, which I understand is very rare. The most amazing part of the whole process was that writing the sixth draft was actually fun. Andromeda showed me the road map and I went for an exhilarating ride. My manuscript is now in the hands of a publisher and I am hoping for the best. Thank you so much, Andromeda!

 

Becky Saleeby, Anchorage, Alaska

 

 

I have worked with Andromeda on fiction and nonfiction book coaching projects and felt that she provided excellent value in terms of literary and practical guidance. She has a great eye for identifying opportunities and strengths in both the work and in the writer. She also provides valuable and precise input on how to improve things that are not quite working. She is always completely professional and encouraging, and knows how to keep the trickiest projects moving forward. Her guidance has been as helpful to me as any that I received in my MFA program.

 

Marianne Cirone, MFA, Antioch University

 

 

 

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