This was a question posed at a workshop I attended, run by the fabulous Emma Sutton, of Naked Presenting. Emma rightly says that no one engages a roofer for the hell of it – you get in touch with a roofer because your roof has a hole, water is leaking through and your property is suffering damage.
You have a problem, you therefore look for a solution.
Following that train of thought, it’s hardly surprising if my numerous messages, newsletters, Tweets and posts – that tell you I’m a writing coach who offers assisted self-publishing services – see you go , ‘huh?’ Yes, you’re an aspiring writer or new author, and you know I’m something to do with books, but how does that talk to you? How does that tell you I can assist with the problem(s) you face? How can you know I’m talking to you when I say I can help?
Emma asked our group to write down the problems we know our potential clients experience when in need of help. I expected to be able to list a few. Whether something unlocked in my brain, I don’t know, but I had to practically wrench the pen from my own hand….
Here’s a selection of the people I help, or the issues my potential clients face. If any of these sound like you, you know now where to go for help – you have access to someone who will hold your hand and guide you effortlessly towards the next stage in your author journey.
- Aspiring authors whose plots have become aimless, or whose writing needs clear direction
- Authors who want to be sure their submissions are attractive and appropriate before they submit to agents and/or publishers
- Authors who want to improve their books/manuscripts in general
- New authors who want to write a book but have no idea where to start
- Authors who just want to know if their book is any good
- Authors who have their books on sale but are disappointed with the amount of sales they’ve seen, and who need help to shift more copies
- Authors at a crossroads or against obstacles that need help to move forwards
- Authors looking to edit and polish their final draft before publication
- Authors looking to print their books in small runs
- Aspiring authors who feel the creative writing groups they attend don’t give them tailored advice and examples that they can apply to their own work
- Aspiring authors overwhelmed by what can prove conflicting and confusing advice, online and offline
- Time-starved authors – perhaps those writing around a 9-5 – who want to move ahead in their writing career quickly
- Authors who need accountability to finish their books
- Authors who would appreciate continual advice and virtual ‘hand holding’
- Authors looking for specific, professional feedback and critique above that from friends and family
- Authors looking for clarification regarding the publishing options open to them
- Authors who feel Amazon isn’t the be all and end all where their book is concerned
- Authors looking for validation that they have talent
- Authors looking to build their author platform, towards actual visibility
That’s a lot of people, in various circumstances and at different stages of the writing process. Perhaps you see yourself in the list somewhere.
Emma went on to ask what we thought our clients would have, following our help. In my case, this is what my authors would achieve or receive:
- Clarification of the various publishing options, and a clear idea of the route that’s best for them
- A fantastic product, and an understanding of who their readers are
- An understanding of WHY something hasn’t worked in their story, or why edits are necessary
- A greater understanding of where and how to market their book
- Improved writing skills
- A realistic view of what they can achieve
- Notoriety and visibility
- An actual finished, tangible book!
- Consistent sales
- An understanding of the customer/reader relationship and where they can exercise some control, and an understanding of ‘long tail’ book promotion
- Knowledge of how and where to gain PR
- Increased enthusiasm towards book number two, three, four, five…
- Confidence as an author and better focus
- An effective submission for agents/publishers, and what each is looking for
Isn’t that far better to understand than saying ‘writing coach/assisted publishing provider’?!
So, thank you to Emma. It was a great exercise, and one that was personally very timely as I ‘go offline’ with the launch of my writers’ workshops.
If you see yourself described in the list above and would like my help on a one-to-one basis, or you’re in need of a publishing service – such as editing, proof-reading, critique, typesetting, cover design and book production (and much more) – contact me on 0800 9788 314, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Developmental editor and publishing consultant Diane Hall is the author of three books; she has also ghost-written books for others and created a plethora of content, on more subjects than you could care to imagine, for numerous clients since the beginning of her career. She is proud to have fundamentally shaped series of books and more than a hundred individual titles over the last decade with various authors, nationally and internationally.
Among her editing qualifications, she holds a linguistics diploma, which involves the study of language and speech. Diane employs this knowledge in the forensic linguistic work she sometimes undertakes.
Diane has seen the introduction and subsequent rise of self-publishing, and passionately keeps abreast of its disruption of the publishing industry. She is a thought leader when it comes to the future of book marketing, fuelled by the poor results authors see when employing traditional techniques.
Thanks to Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net for use of the main image.