Take your readers on a

heroine's journey

FAQ

BOOK COACHING:

What is the experience of book coaching like?

It's both intimate and practical. A combination of coaching calls, editorial feedback, goal-setting, deadlines and the sharing of helpful resources (books, articles, talks, films, newsletters) creates an experience of being intellectually stimulated, creatively nurtured, focused, productive and disciplined all at the same time.

Laughter is pretty much guaranteed. Tears are likely at some point (and welcome). We are dealing in the territory of emotion, after all. If you didn't care deeply about your subject, we wouldn't be doing this.

It can be a juicy creative process. My first client said, during one of our calls, "I think I'm having a book orgasm!"

How does book coaching differ from developmental editing?

Book coaching works with you as the writer, as well as your writing. The coaching process offers regular 1:1 coaching calls, plus creative nurture, guidance through blocks, brainstorming and more. 

The editing process usually begins when a solid draft of the book is already in place and is focused exclusively on the text. If you already have a partial or full manuscript, you can read about my editorial services here.

IS A book coach THE SAME AS A WRITING COACH?

No. I focus on 5 key steps in book development, rather than coaching you regularly through the writing of your full manuscript. 

Book coaching is designed to liberate you to write on your own, because you already have all the clarity you need. Through the services I offer, we do the heavy lifting together in advance - the thinking before the writing - giving you a clear map to follow.

what's the difference between a book skeleton and proposal?

Your Book Skeleton is about brainstorming, defining and ordering your ideas for your own sense of clarity and structural cohesion. It's your personal roadmap for your book.

Your Book Proposal puts those ideas onto the page in expanded and polished form, for the attention of the literary agents and publishers. This is a sales document.

THIS SOUNDS LIKE A LINEAR PROCESS. What about my creative flow?

To me, developing a book requires a dance between left and right brain. Both are needed.

I believe that creativity thrives inside boundaries, even if that sounds counter-intuitive. To this end, providing structure and accountability while allowing plenty of room for your creative inspiration, I give you the option of choosing your own deadlines (with an outer limit). 

This way you can work at the pace that suits your creative flow, while also putting deadlines in place to make sure you are moving forward and getting the results you're looking for. 

THE PRACTICALITIES:

DO YOU WORK WITH BOTH ESTABLISHED AND EMERGING AUTHORS?

I can meet you where you are on your path, provided you are already a writer in some form. This need not be in book form (yet). I will ask for a writing sample before we commit to working together, because I need to be able to see that there is coherence between your goals and your stage of development as a writer.

Why might an established author want to work with a book coach? You might simply be stuck, or eager for external reflection. You might be working on your dreaded second book. Perhaps you're writing on a new subject, switching genres to one you're unfamiliar with, or addressing a different readership this time. 

Maybe you're looking for support because this book feels extra vulnerable to you: it's deeply personal, or the content is so close to you it's hard to see it clearly.

DO I NEED A BIG SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWING?

A large following isn't a requirement to work with me; however, in the absence of a (significant) platform, please be aware that you'll have to work hard to find other ways to find connections with potential buyers for your book. 

Publishers these days are risk-averse. They want clear indicators of how the book might sell and what you will do proactively to make this happen. You will need to assume responsibility for the majority of your marketing; that's simply how the industry works these days.

Marketing considerations are discussed in depth if you sign up for Your Book Proposal.

CAN YOU GUARANTEE I'LL FIND AN AGENT OR PUBLISHER?

I cannot guarantee any outcomes for your work, for example that you will be picked up by a publisher.

I can guide you, bring tried-and-tested methodologies to your table, and offer honest feedback. But I can't control how you use the tools, or how much time you give to your project, or how fast or deeply you work. Nor can I say with any certainty what agents or publishers might be looking for, when you are ready to send out your proposal. It's an unpredictable business, and much depends on luck and timing.

What I can guarantee is that I bring integrity to my work, and will offer feedback, guidance and editorial support to the very best of my professional abilities.

WILL I GET A RETURN ON MY INVESTMENT?

I can't guarantee that you will make any money from what you write. There are no guarantees! Good books get turned down, bad books can find a publisher, and publishing terms can vary wildly.

Few books make money, but a book can raise your profile in your industry and allow you to open up new income streams, or build upon pre-established ones.

Most non-fiction writers make their money through indirect means: from teaching, consulting, speaking, workshops, running retreats etc

Your book will work best if you figure out how to weave it into your broader professional eco-system. Ask yourself: what will my book do for me, even if I make no money from book sales? How can it move my life forward in the direction I want to go?  How will it get me to where I want to be?

DO YOU WORK ONLY WITH WOMEN?

All are welcome, as long as I genuinely believe I can be of assistance. The heroine's journey is archetypal, relevant to all genders. If you have a book idea that's compatible, I'd love to hear from you.

DO YOU OFFER SINGLE SESSIONS?

Standalone 75-minute sessions are available to clients who have already worked with me. These can address any issue related to the project we have worked on together, for example if you want added support as you roll out your pitching strategy to agents and publishers. To book, please email me at catriona@storieswithspine.com.

MY UNIQUE ANGLE

How do I know if you're the right coach for me?

Do we stand on common ground?

My philosophy is explained in more detail here. You'll gain a clear sense of my offerings here. Please see my 'Do We Fit?' page here.

Please spend time perusing these pages. This will help you to make the right decision for you, vis-a-vis our compatibility.

If you're considering signing up for one of my larger packages, we can organise a 20-minute discovery call to see if we're a good fit.

what if i feel vulnerable? My subject is edgy

I am sensitive to the doubts and fears that can arise in writing a counter-cultural narrative.

I know first-hand that being seen and heard can be scary, especially if you are taking on culturally embedded misogyny.

Know that I'll be here to acknowledge, validate, nurture, bolster, encourage and champion you as we work together.

What 's unique about your approach?

The reader's journey:

I place a special focus on narrative drive, which is crucial in non-fiction if you want to do more than throw pieces of information together. A transformational non-fiction book takes the reader on a narrative journey.

At every step I will encourage you to think about the arc of change you are offering your reader. This makes for the best kind of reader experience.

Balance between your vision and the marketplace:

I embrace both, helping you to work effectively with the tension between your creative inspiration and the wants and needs of the marketplace.

I am well informed in, and sensitive to, your themes: 

I am constantly studying books and other educational resources about the archetypal feminine, as well as deepening my understanding of this through my own lived experience and embodied practices.

Discover 5 ways to create transformation with your non-fiction book

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Get a 10% discount if you sign up between 1 January and 30 April 2023