Have you spent hours editing your work just to find, during one more run-through, typos and grammatical errors? Incomplete sentences? Unfinished thoughts or scenes? Repetitive phrases? Missing info?
Has your reading group offered help, but not substantial critique? You ask yourself why, when you so badly want their help, do they leave things dangling?
Maybe it is time to look for an Author Coach.
What does an Author Coach do? Your coach can help with editing, but can do so much more for you than that. Your coach can encourage you to brainstorm additional ideas or motivations for your character, can mentor you when you are stalled, and assist you with tracking your goals.
Let’s say that your plot isn’t moving along as smoothly as you would like. This is something an Author Coach can help solve. Maybe one of your characters is flat and you can’t see a way to round her out. Your author coach can do that.
In my case, my manuscript was finished but I needed an objective opinion. I wanted someone who was not my friend to read without bias, who could see places where the story bogs down as well as spots where not enough descriptive detail was provided.
I met an Author Coach as the San Francisco Writer’s Conference in February. Yes, she charges a fee. Yes, I signed a contract. What was awesome was that within a month she had read my manuscript and provided me with 16 pages of ideas!
She found inconsistencies. For example, in one scene my character said that her mom did not own a cell phone, but in a later scene mom used it to take a call. Small potatoes, but something that missed my own review.
Another service that she provided was reading my rough draft of a query letter. She helped with wording, with my “credential” and with something as simple as the greeting. After spending an hour with her going over the query, I made the corrections and mailed it out. Two hours later an agent requested to read my manuscript!
One other problem area for me was the one-page synopsis that agents require. I had never shared mine with anyone before and so did not know if it was what agents look for. My Author Coach read it and offered suggestions that were logical.
Prior to going to the conference I had never known that coaches existed. Now I am a strong advocate of hiring one. She helped me see the things that most needed correction. She was respectful and kind, yet strong enough to make me believe that her ideas would polish my manuscript in ways that I could not do alone.
Your task is to consider going outside your comfort zone. Think about whether or not this is a step that you feel comfortable taking.