Writerly Lifestyle

Do You Need an Editor? Top 6 Things to Think About BEFORE Hiring an Editor or Book Coach & the Difference between Book Coaches and Editors

July 18, 2022 David Season 2 Episode 7
Writerly Lifestyle
Do You Need an Editor? Top 6 Things to Think About BEFORE Hiring an Editor or Book Coach & the Difference between Book Coaches and Editors
Show Notes Transcript


  1. The difference between an editor and writing coach
  2. 6 Things to think about when looking for an editor
  3. Questions to ask yourself and a potential editor

Last time on the interview series I talked to debut debut author, Annie Lisenby. She shared all about about independent publishing, finding the right fit for your work, and making your manuscript shine!

In this episode, Rachel and Emily share how to decide what kind of editor or book coach you need, what to look for in an editing professional, how to navigate choosing an editor, and what questions to ask yourself as well as questions to ask an editor or book coach!

Emily and Rachel, Golden May’s co-founders, book coaches, and editors met on Twitter through the #WritingCommunity. 

They believe that it’s impossible to see the holes in your own work and that learning together is infinitely more productive than learning alone.

Their goals are to help you identify your book’s potential, teach you how to fulfill it, and connect you with the community needed to sustain your writing journey!

Tweet me @DavidRGwyn
Check out the YouTube Channel


David Gwyn: [00:00:00] Does this sound like you, you have a manuscript lying around and you've done some edits, maybe you're thinking of querying it soon, or maybe you've even already started, but you haven't really gotten any responses. Is it time to call in a book coach or an editor? Do you know what to look for in an editor?

I certainly didn't, but you only have one shot to impress an agent with your manuscript. So how can you make sure you're putting your best foot forward? I'm David Gwyn, a writer with a messy first draft, wondering how to make it shine. So it's ready for submiss. During season two of their writerly lifestyle podcast, I'm asking agents, editors and authors, how they suggest writers go from the end on a first draft to signing a publishing deal.

The last two interviews I did were with debut authors, Jessica Payne, and Annie libe. Jessica went with an agent. Annie went with an independent publisher. Be sure to listen to those, if you're curious about which route is right for you. But now I want to give the industry professionals some air time. So in today's interview, I'll be talking to Emily and Rachel, they make up golden may editing.

They're here to share the six things you need to [00:01:00] think about before hiring an editor book, coach Rachel and Emily believe it's impossible to see the holes in your own work. Learning together is infinitely more productive than learning alone. And their goal is to help you identify your book's potential, teach you how to fulfill.

And connect you with the community needed to sustain your writing journey. And today they're going to share the six things that you need to think about before hiring an editor or book coach. And they're gonna talk about the differences between book coaches and editors, so you can find out which might be right for you.

Let's get to the interview. 

Emily and Rachel, welcome to the writer of the lifestyle interview series. You're going to be sharing six things writers should think about when hiring an editor. But first, before we do that, I wanna hear about how both of you got started in editing and what made you want to get into editing and coaching and kind of what you were doing before in your careers.

Rachel, do you wanna go. 

Rachel May: Yeah, absolutely. And thank you so much for having us on today. This is awesome. And we're [00:02:00] so excited to talk with everybody. For me, editing has always been kind of like a dream in the back of that, of my head. I was a big reader growing up. I really got into it in middle school.

and I was like, man, I wanna write, but I never had the full belief in myself that I could actually do it. So I was like, maybe the next best thing is editing, which I also loved it wasn't that was not like a compromise in any way. But I always was like, man, it would be so cool if I could help people write these amazing books.

And I. Went through university with a English literature degree. And then I got out and I got into the startup world. I worked in tech startup and I actually worked for a, a pretty well known online mattress company. And I was there for about seven years, but it was not exactly, the dream.

It was like, this is so cool. I'm learning so much. But I still always wanted to go back and be that editor. And then Emily and I ended up meeting on Twitter. And we were writing partners at first sharing our writing. Really we, we developed a great critique partner relationship and one day Emily was just like, Hey do you start a business?[00:03:00]

Yeah, I was like,

yeah, let's do it. Meanwhile, we had been really diving into learning about writing craft. Really diving into writing craft books, improving our own stories. And we just fell in love with that process of learning and growing. And both of us were like, how do we help other people do the same thing? So it developed into the business.

We just were like, let's do it. And then like, Probably a week or two later, we had a business plan and then a little bit after that we like started a business. , that's how we, that's how we got here. It just was a, a love of stories and a love of a love of learning, love of growth and wanting to, to help other people grow the same 

David Gwyn: way.

That's so cool. That's really cool. And Emily, what about you? What did you do before, before becoming an editor? Yeah, in my 

Emily Golden: previous life I worked for I worked in environmental non-profits and then I did some political stuff. And so a lot of, mostly around communications for both. So lots of [00:04:00] lots of messaging, communicating, writing, that kinda stuff, but, you know, non-fiction but I didn't really think about being an editor.

 When I was younger, I always wanted to write, and I wrote a lot when I was a kid and in high school and everything. But then when I started writing again you know, when Rachel and I met. It was very much like we fell in love with that learning process and we sort of dared each other into doing it.

We're like, Hey, we should, we should be editors. And they were like, but really if you do it, I'll do it. . And so, yeah, it was, it was really fun., for both of us, and we'll talk about this a lot, I'm sure. In terms of the difference between editing and coaching, but we started with both.

And so now we just offer coaching service. But we did have editing services when we first started, so we can break those down, I'm sure in a bit, but it's been fun. 

David Gwyn: Yeah, that's, that's so cool. I, I'm really excited to talk especially about the writing coaching thing, because I feel like that's something I keep hearing more and more about 

and it's so funny, everyone, everyone who doesn't have a writing coach is skeptical and everyone who does says it's the best thing they've ever [00:05:00] done. And so there's gotta be something to this, right? . So I'm, I'm super glad to be talking to both of you about this process and what people should think about when they're looking for, writing coaches.

So. How does someone know if they're ready for a, a writing coach? Is there a thing that you look for in a person is there's a, a clue for you that says like, Hey, if you're a person who feels or thinks X, then you are ready for, a writing coach. Is there anything that stands out? Emily, do you wanna take this one?

Emily Golden: Sure. The difference to me between the coach and the, the editing is that a lot of times editing is about the book, right? It's about the specific book that you're like. You're gonna learn a lot in the process of getting an editorial letter and going through that, especially if it's a developmental editor But the difference, I think between the two is coaching is a lot more about you.

It's a lot more about your skills at least in our, our brand of coaching. It's a lot more focused on growing you as a writer growing your understanding of story structure. Right? Cause we have [00:06:00] weekly assignments, weekly feedback, weekly calls. So we really get to dig deeper into the fundamentals of storytelling and apply that to whatever you're working on.

At that point in time. You know, when you're done with our program, you have everything that you need to go into future books as well. So I think that that's in terms of the difference between, what you're looking for. If you're, if you're looking for. Someone to support you, someone to be your cheerleaders, someone to hold that accountability for you, and also teach you a lot about storytelling and how to, how to put your stories onto the page.

David Gwyn: Yeah. Rachel, anything, anything to add on that before we move on? 

Rachel May: I think I might just add how you mentioned earlier, how people who don't have a coach are kinda skeptical. And those that do are like, ah, that's my favorite thing ever. I wanna add a little bit to that, because I think if you are skeptical of what a coach can do, it's worth looking into it because the editing process is still part of coaching and coaching takes it in our, in our brand.

I just a step next, like next level mm-hmm . And so [00:07:00] if, if it's something that. You know, you struggle to come to your page every day. You struggle with the confidence of knowing what you're doing. You're afraid of failure. All of those things are things that you can be coached to. And at the same time, if you're like, I don't need that kind of a person, but at the same time, you're not accomplishing your writing goals.

Then maybe you do need a writing coach. So I would just say like, keep an open mind about it because it's amazing really is amazing the level of growth that you can accomplish in just a short amount of time. When you have someone there that is holding you accountable, that is going to work through those writing blockers.

So, you know, if you are struggling to reach your writing goals, it's for you. 

Emily Golden: An analogy I like to use is Everybody knows what a personal trainer is, right? If you wanna write a, run a marathon and you get a personal trainer, you know what you're getting, you're getting the support, the cheerleading, you're getting someone who can help you figure out what you need to do, help you listen to your body, help guide you down that.

Right. A, book coach is just a personal trainer for someone to write a 

David Gwyn: That analogy specifically, and, and kind of what, what we've [00:08:00] been talking about and what, what I've heard so far, it really just makes a lot of sense.

A lot of the people that I interact with a lot of people that are that listen to my podcast that are, that are in my community, are people who. Have usually two or three, shelved manuscripts, they've gone through the query process. They're familiar with how it works. They've maybe had some bites from agents, but they just haven't been able to get themselves in, into you know, that agent area, or even just like a successful launch with a, with a, a book.

And so I think that's really where, your expertise is gonna be so helpful in helping people understand just like. This is, this might be the push you need. If you're serious about writing, this might be the push you need to get you from where you are just into that next, next space, which I think is so cool.

Great. So let's, let's dive into the list. 

Rachel May: So the first thing that we would suggest if you're, if you're on the, the lookout for an editor or you're, you're considering getting outside eyes on your work, which spoiler you should. If that's where your head's at, I think really the first step is to understand what type of editing [00:09:00] you need.

There's lots of different types of editing. We've talked about coaching but. What we're thinking of here is, are you in the revision space? Do you have like big picture? Things you're thinking about with your book, story structure, character development high level story centric, things where you're like, I kind of really need help on plot.

That would be a type of editing that you might not wanna look for. If, if you're gonna search out a line editor, for example, line editing is when you're an editor goes through kind of line by line and they only are going to look at flow of pros. Content sentence, structure, word, choice, those kind of things.

So if that's not where you're at, I wouldn't look for a line editor. I'd look for a developmental editor. Who's gonna help you with big picture revisions things. You'll also see out there. Copy editing. Just kind of a a level, more honed in or, or zoomed in on your manuscript. Copy editing is like mechanical content, gram, grammar, spelling, punctuation, you know, story, cohesion, those [00:10:00] things.

We often get people that come to us that are looking for copy editing. But that's not our service. So just keep that in mind. Like that's what you, if you're like, okay. I'm I know my story's great. All I need is grammar. Cuz I suck at grammar. Then go for a copy editor. And then proofread is kind of like the last final stage of editing.

That's when you're looking for typographical errors, formatting errors that last final catch. So go through that kind of list top down, revisions line editing, copy, editing and proofread and decide, you know, this is where I'm at with my current manuscript. This is what I need. And then you can start searching for an editor who fits those.

David Gwyn: Yeah, that's great. So how much do you think about genre when it comes to editing?

Like should a person with a certain genre, should they be looking for an editor or writing coach that only coaches in that genre?

Emily Golden: Yeah, that's a great question. I think that. [00:11:00] There's genre is helpful to think about, but I wouldn't narrow it to the point where you looking for a coach who only does thriller, right. Or who only does a certain type of you know, fiction genre or non-fiction genre. I think it's important to, to look at the types of genres that coaches do.

Like we don't do nonfiction and we don't do memoir. There are coaches out there who only do memoir. So it's important to look at what is the coach saying that they will you know, that they like to work on? We have a list on our website of thing of the types of genres that we enjoy. But for the most part, because we're looking at fundamental story structure for us, we can do a lot of different genres.

I think for that. Probably a little bit more important when you're doing a developmental edit, because at that point someone's looking specifically at your story, right? So if you have a thriller, they're gonna be looking for a thriller conventions, they're going to be looking for things that that genre has.

And so it gets a little bit more important there when you're looking at the line in and copy [00:12:00] edit stuff. I, I think it's much less important. You just, you want someone who is familiar with fiction or nonfiction or whatever it is that you're that you're submitting to. 

David Gwyn: Yeah, that makes so much sense.

So Emily, let's stick with you for number two here. 

Emily Golden: So tip number two step number two really is to determine what your goals are for the editing relationship. And this is really, really, really important because a lot of the.

You will have a successful editor relationship, if your expectations are very clear. And so to determine what your expectations are, you need to figure out what it is that you're looking for. How do you, and this can be. You know, as specific as I want to have a , developmental edit letter, or I want to end coaching with a outline that I feel proud of, right.

Mm-hmm or I want to end coaching with a finished draft in X number of days, whatever it is that you want to do. You know, But get really specific on that and then get specific also on how do you wanna feel, right. How do you wanna feel when you're done with this relationship with the editor, do you wanna feel more confident in your guiding skills?

Do you wanna have a better [00:13:00] grasp of straight structure? Do you wanna know that this specific work in progress is super strong and works? Like what is it that you are looking for and want to walk away from? Because then when you go into step number three, You'll have a good idea of what it is that you're looking for and asking for and be able to stand strong in that, so that when they're offering you their myriad of services , you know which ones you're kind of looking for.

David Gwyn: That makes a lot of sense. And, and so for you on like the kind of writing coach editor side of this relationship, it's obviously something that you hope a writer comes in with?

Does that change at all along the way? Or do you find that writers normally come in with the idea of what they want and it, and you kind of stick with that? Rachel, do you wanna take. 

Rachel May: Yeah. So I that is a question that we ask everyone that we talk to what are your goals?

 The first is to make sure that we can help them accomplish those goals. Every person who comes to us bottom line is we want them to achieve their writing dreams. And so we wanna make sure that we're the best fit for them. And so when they do come with goals, it's very helpful.

It's for us to be able to say yeah, absolutely. Our [00:14:00] services can do that. On the other side of things, their goals also sometimes do change when they're talking to us. A lot of times. People will come with or are you as a listener, may even have this, this goal of, I just wanna make my story better. And then they come to us and, and we dive into, okay, what does that look like? What do you mean?

What do you mean your story better? Do you have a direction? And some times they are just like, you know, we just wanna feel like this is my dream. I just wanna accomplish my dream. We can do that. We do that all the time. And then when they. An editing program or, or a coaching program with us. A lot of times we do see their goals shift 

a big part of our program is to really unlock your writing genius, to come into the writer that you're meant to be. And as you start to see those barriers, come down, your fears, come down and you step into who you are meant to be as a writer. Your goals go up because we accomplish them in our program.

But you also dream. And that's what we like to [00:15:00] see. So they do change. Yeah. And it's a really cool process to see our clients literally become more. Like excited about their work, literally become more confident. And I just had a writer today, one of my clients today I've been trying to write a story for two years and every time she wrote more than a paragraph, she hated it and threw it out.

So this writer had never written more than one paragraph of her story. Wow. And this today she wrote two full. And talking to her was just like, you could see on her face. She was just, she was like that, wasn't that hard. I actually could finish this story. All she wanted when she came with us was to like, figure out what her story was about. And then now she's like, I could write it. I could do it. I, I, I have it. And I'm like, yeah, you could, you could do it. so we, we get really excited about 

David Gwyn: that. That's so cool. Emily, anything to add to that before we jump into number three with Rachel?

Emily Golden: Yeah, I would say the only other thing I would add is that we do see a fear, plays a huge role [00:16:00] in how you set your goals and what you set your goals to be. Right. And so a lot of times especially, so when we had developmental edits, We went through a lot of calls with prospective clients who came to us, thinking they wanted the developmental edit when coaching was actually what they were looking for because, but they, they were too afraid to admit it to themselves.

Cuz it's such a scary step, right? It's like the, and going on this very intimate journey with this other person, who's gonna like really help you break down your story and like your mindset around your story. Right? It's this big. And so a developmental edit was easier for them to like wrap their hands around.

You'll read it, you'll give notes. Like I can, I can like make sense of that. And so I think a lot of times when we get on the phone with those people, they would realize in conversation with us, that coaching was really actually what they wanted. They wanted the accountability, the the support, the cheerleading, the hand holding and the teaching.

And so think through, how you wanna feel when you're done and who you wanna be as a writer is really important , and then stay open and those phone calls, right. To making sure that, those [00:17:00] feelings are matching up with the right services and you're not letting fear get in your way.

David Gwyn: Yeah. Such a, a great message , for people to think about. So Rachel , let's go to number three. 

Rachel May: Yes. So our, our number three step here is to set up an intro call, get to know them a little bit. We highly recommend doing this because it's, this is a This is a partnership, whether or not you're, you're coaching with us, or you're working with a separate editor you're sharing your vulnerable work.

You're opening your creative heart, and you need to know that they're the right fit for you. So we like to think of it as a little bit of a job interview. And you are hiring the editor. Many times you may approach these calls like, oh, I need to make sure they take me on as a client. It's like, I want you to think of it the other way around.

We want you to think of it as like, you wanna get to know. This editor, this coach to make sure that they are going to be the best coach for you hands down. And so we, we encourage you to ask some questions. And some starting point questions are things like do work in my specific genre and age group, which we talked about a little bit earlier.

What's [00:18:00] your editing or coaching process? Like what do I receive from this program? What am I gonna get when I'm finished? How should I feel? When I'm done. And then things like, what kind of qualifications do you have? Do you have experience what's your turnaround time? Does it line up with, how soon you want your edits or your coaching completed you know, program expectation.

And then you can always ask for samples for testimonials, for reviews. And I think that's a really, really key to seeing. What kind of work this editor or coach puts out and how they make their clients feel on top of those kind of surface level questions we also would recommend you dive a little deeper because giving and receiving feedback.

On this creative work on this vulnerable work requires a lot of trust. So we have some like hard questions that you might consider asking as well. And these are things to ask yourself, but also ask, you know, the [00:19:00] professional that you may work with of do they believe in you? Do they believe in your story?

Do they see the vision? Can you trust them to preserve your vision? That's why you come to. Professional help outside ice is to tell the story that you wanna tell. Are they gonna help you do that? Or do you feel like they'll steamroll you and completely change everything and not listen to you? Do you enjoy talking to them?

Do you feel intimidated? Do you feel compassion and trust and understanding? feel comfortable receiving praise or criticism? From this person. And that's one to really sit with and think about that's you're and feedback is vulnerable and feedback conversations can hard and you need to, or trust support, you will this professional teach you how to improve your writing craft.

are they going [00:20:00] to teach you how to improve your skills or are they going to come in with a red pen and quote unquote fix things? And what are you looking for? What are your goals? And last but not least are they going to focus their efforts on. Improving your story or improving you as a writer, helping you, giving you tools to succeed.

Those are all things that you can figure out when you are in a in a, in an intro call. 

David Gwyn: Yeah, I, I just I'm like stopping myself from taking notes over here, cuz this is so valuable. I, I, this is so useful. 

So that's a lot of questions and there's even more to come. Rachel and Emily came to the podcast with a wealth of information and I wanna make sure you get every bit of it. If you're like me, you know, how valuable this information is. And whether you're thinking of using an editor or book, coach, having a bank of questions can really help ensure you find the perfect person for your writing career.

But let me guess, you're listening to a podcast because your [00:21:00] hands are. You're driving, doing yard work, chasing kids around. That's what I do anyway, when I'm listening to podcasts. That's why I compiled the list of all six things to think about when looking for an editor or book, coach, plus all the questions Rachel and Emily suggested you ask, check the description for that free download.

I can't get over the rethinking of the relationship between editor and writer. You're in control. You are the employer, which means they need to convince you to work with them. Not the other way around be firm about what you need to feel successful. This is an important relationship, but it needs to work for you most importantly, and be sure to hang around until the end, because Rachel and Emily have an awesome free giveaway.

You're not going to wanna miss this. 

I love the idea of shifting seats at the table of thinking of it more as like you're interviewing them.

Not the other way around I think is something that writers need to hear that, that you're not Calling an editor or a writing coach and saying like, please, you know, can [00:22:00] you take me? It's like, no, you gotta find somebody who fits your style. And I, I know we're gonna talk about that in a little bit, but I, I think one of the things that I really wanna highlight that I think is so important and, and potentially overlooked is that idea of the long term goals, right?

Like this isn't hopefully your only book. And so. Are you learning to be a better writer? Through the coaching that you're getting, or the editing that you're getting. Is it just, like you said, are you just like fixing commas is the editor just telling you what to change and what to, what to do better?

Or are they helping you become a better writer so that you can. You know, grow and do it on yourself is I think a really important and often overlooked message to hear. And so Emily, before we, we go back to you for number four, I wanna, I wanna ask like a follow up question from your perspective, what are you as, as a, a writing coach and editor, when you're on that call with a writer, what makes you think that kind of get to know you intro call?

What makes you think like this is a person that you wanna work with? What are the things that you're hearing from them? Yeah. 

Emily Golden: So for us, it's very, very like. [00:23:00] Defined we say in all of our materials, we work with tenacious writers. We're looking for writers who are ready to go to the next level and are willing to do what it takes.

So they're willing to face the vulnerability of getting, critical feedback. They're willing to dive deep into learning. About the craft they're willing to put in the work, you know, every week to show up and and really they're, they're ready to take the next level of their writing journey.

So those are the people that we are looking for and I think that's a specific type of, of client. And so I think that's important to think about, right? Like, What is it that you want? Do you want that? Or are you looking for, I want this book to be cleaned up and it's like written the best way that it can be at a line level so I can publish it.

Or are you just looking for a coach who can help you with the accountability of making sure you show up every week so that you can get your draft done, but you don't really wanna learn all the craft stuff. . I think those are the three kind of big buckets of people who are looking for services.

And so it's important to kind of know what it is that you're looking for and if you're ready to [00:24:00] go real deep contact us. 

David Gwyn: It's that commitment. I think, which I, I love to hear that, it's not about taking on anyone, anyone out there who is trying to write a book.

It's really about finding the people who are that kind of career authors, the people who are like, I wanna write a book. I want this book to be great, but then I wanna write another one and another one. I want everyone to be better and I think that's so valuable. So Emily, we're gonna head back to you for number four.

Emily Golden: Number four, ties to number three a lot. Right? So number four is don't be afraid to ask questions, always come prepared. So this goes back to that idea of you are the one doing the interviewing. You are the one trying to figure out if they're a right fit. And so these calls, I think oftentimes folks show up, it's scary.

It's really, really scary to get on the phone with someone. I mean, I feel like we're pretty nice, but it's still probably really scary to come talk to us about your dreams to talk to us about what is it that you're looking for are services, right? And so it can be easy in those circumstances. I think to lose sight of the things that you wanna get out of the.

So [00:25:00] make sure you spend some time thinking ahead of time. What are the questions that you have? What are the things you really wanna articulate about your vision for your book, about your dreams, for your writing journey, about what you wanna get out it so that you can be the interviewer in that situation.

And really get out of that one on one call what you're looking for. 

David Gwyn: Hmm. I think that's so valuable. And I think you really nailed it cuz like I'm sitting here, I'm, I'm feeling very seen right now because I've never done one and I feel like I should, a lot of, writing coaches and editors are like, Hey, you know, let's just pop on a call and chat and I'm always like, yeah, that seems really nice of them to do.

And I was like, I'm not gonna do it, but it seems really nice that they offer that. And so I think that that's like a, a nice challenge for people. If you're thinking about, getting a writing coach, like just go. , do the call chat with somebody, see if it's the right fit. See if you get those butterfly feelings that like, oh, this is a person I wanna work with.

 But Rachel, I wanna go to you for a quick follow up. What are maybe like the best questions you've been asked when on a call with a, a writer, this, these kind of intro meeting calls are, are there any that stand out as kind [00:26:00] of like those great questions? If people are listening right now and they're gonna get on that call and they're gonna be braver than me and do it, , what's something that they can ask that would be really important and valuable.

Rachel May: I always love those writers who come with the thoughts and feelings of, I want you to help me. But tell me how, how are you gonna help? So that's an awesome question. Even if you just open with that of like, Hey coach, I wanna get better, but how are you gonna do it?

That's one of those hard questions. Quote, unquote, hard of like, you're gonna dive deep into that. , that's a get into the nitty gritty there. Because especially for us, like that's, our entire goal is to help, to help you grow, to help you tell the story. And so when I get asked that question, I then start to feel my own butterflies of , I'm gonna help this person.

 How amazing is that? And like that story, I told a little bit earlier of this, this writer who wrote the most she's ever written because of our assignments, Emily and I were texting. Literally we make a difference. So like [00:27:00] that attitude of coming of. How are you gonna change me? That gets me jazzed because I'm like, I'm going to, I know I'm going to, and here's how here's how specifically this program is gonna change your life.

So I, I love that question. I just, that one always gets me so excited. And I also really love when, when writers come with, like, what are the next steps? Like, that's such a fun question. Let's get started. How do we get started? Yeah. But also the questions that are around what's your favorite part of coaching?

 That's a question that I have fun talking about, but I also think that it's such a good question because when you ask. A coach or you ask an editor, why do you do this? You can really see like a, a difference in answers there of people who are just kind of like, well, you know, I took a copy editing class and like, I just like comma.

 We're being so hard on copy editors.

[00:28:00] I know I'm is I'm not meaning to, we appreciate 

Emily Golden: you all. We're not people

Rachel May: don't mean to pick on copy editors at . 

David Gwyn: They're an important part of the process. They're just not your part of the process. They're not part, they're just a different part, but what I 

Rachel May: mean by that is like the, you can see people who are passionate. And if that copy editor is like, I love grammar, like passion versus this is just my job.

And I prefer personally to work with passion. So if you're gonna be interviewing someone. I wanna know why they're passionate about what they're doing and if they're not they're not my vibe. 

David Gwyn: Yeah, no, I love that. And so I have a, a question Emily I'm gonna go to you and see if, okay.

If you can answer this and maybe gimme a percentage actually It seems like you kind of balance this mindset, accountability piece with the kinda the softer stuff with like the story structure, building a [00:29:00] story, outlining a story. What percentage of each, and, and is it different for each client? Mm that's 

Emily Golden: a great question. I'm gonna cheat and I'm gonna say it all happens simultaneously. 

Rachel May: That's what I was gonna say. Yeah. Because you, 

Emily Golden: because when you're learning something new and you're like, let's say it's character development, you have a really hard time digging into someone's mentality, maybe cuz you're own.

Mentality's getting in the way. Right. You're coming up against blocks as to what it is that you really wanna say through this character, because they're a lot like you and mindset. Oh my goodness. You're never gonna finish the book. Right. And so it's spirals, like that's where your mindset comes from.

It comes from, I'm not learning it fast enough or my feedback was rough or, it's not coming out the way that I wanted it to. And so it's, it's equally a craft question as much as a confidence question. For me. It's all happening at the same time, because as you get a stronger grasp of the craft, your confidence is gonna grow.

But then also as you're getting a stronger grasp on your mindset and your own internal voices [00:30:00] and blockers, and like how to manage them, then you're gonna grasp the improve faster. Right. So it's all happening at the same time. And the accountability is just a, is a part of the process, right? It's.

Result of meeting every week, having assignments needing to finish those assignments. And so that's a big part of it for, for us. But there are coaches who are more focused on the accountability piece, like their, their goal is to make sure that you are getting to a certain word count or getting to the end of whatever it is that you're working on or helping you achieve your goal in that way.

And that's slightly different than what we provide, which is much more of that deep craft and mindset. 

David Gwyn: No, that makes total sense. So let's go back to Rachel for number five. 

Rachel May: Awesome. Okay. So speaking of vibes number five is vibes are critical. You wanna make sure you're looking for the right fit with this interview, with this finding the right coach or editor for you.

And so going into it, like, I, I would love for you to trust your gut. I would love for you to when you're meeting [00:31:00] these professionals on the phone are you finding that connection? Are you finding that positivity? Are you finding, a similar wavelength as far as. You know, what they're going to do for you and, and what you're gonna do for them.

Are you guys on the same page? When we find the vibes, you know, like Emily mentioned earlier, you know, when you get on a call so trust you're good about that. And be like, have fun with it. Like this person is going to be working with you. We said earlier, this is a relationship.

You're both. You're both doing work together. So you want that to be, I'm gonna guess a fun relationship. Like, I wanna have fun with my clients. I want them to enjoy coming to our calls. I want them to be like, yes, I'm meeting with Rachel today. I don't want them to be like, Ugh, I really don't like Rachel, you know, wanna have that connection.

you know, that empathy. So find those vibes and, and listen to, to what you know, they're giving to you and what you're giving to. 

David Gwyn: Yeah, I think this is one of [00:32:00] those intangible, like squishy things that you can't explain, but you just know it's like that, that gut check that, that is so important that maybe of all of these things is, is maybe the most important and it's the hardest to define, but I, I think too, it's, it is one of those things.

That's like, that feeling when you meet someone for the first time at. First day of school, or like when you were a kid, when you went to summer camp, like you just, you just know you feel comfortable in that, in that relationship. And I think, you're asking someone to give feedback and, and to get on a call and to talk with them about something as personal as writing can be.

And so I think you can't overlook the, the vibes check

Rachel May: I would love to add just a, a little bit more to that. You know, when, when we talk about vibes because it is intangible, I would also really encourage you if you're you're out there looking, keep an open mind of who may give you that vibe.

It's really easy to sometimes. Keep a very narrow view of, I maybe I want someone who looks like me, talks like me acts like me, you know, those things. [00:33:00] And that is not what we mean by vibes. Like we mean like that emotional connection. And you may find that in a different place than you're expecting.

So keep your eyes open, open mind, just as much as I'm gonna go into this conversation, like seeing if they're a right you know, a good fit for me and what that. I, 

David Gwyn: I think that's such a great point and, and something that people should really, really be thinking about. All right, Emily, let's go to number six.

Emily Golden: Okay. Number six, this is my favorite one. So number six is don't be afraid to invest in yourself. It is worth it. You are worth it. And I think that this is writers are such a special. Breed of person, especially if you're coming to your books, like really wanting to share them with people and like move people, engage people, right?

, it's about connection. It's about it's this, this desire to connect with other people and to relate with other people. And so we are in it for reasons that are very important, right. [00:34:00] But they're just books. They're just fiction. Right? And I think sometimes a lot of the time writers end up feeling like their, their desires and their goals for their writing are, silly or unimportant or less important than other things.

And I think that, I personally believe that that is not the case. I think that it's one of the most important things that you can do for two different reasons. I think that sharing, like whatever you have to say is important. I don't care what it is. I don't care what genre it's in. I don't care how absurd or ridiculous or silly your story is.

It's still important. . We think. all of the stories that got you through the pandemic, like stories are important. But on the other, on the flip side, there's something about learning how to figure out what you wanna say and learn how to say what you wanna say. Right? And that, that process of learning that you can get your stories onto the page and you can you can connect with people in [00:35:00] that way that it's just so powerful for you as the author.

Every single one of the writers that we've worked with changes as a person, like your ability to, to write with confidence, just changes your confidence in every other aspect of your life. It changes it just changes how you approach things. It changes how you learn new things. It changes, just changes everything.

And so I think like in these types of programs, like investing in your book and investing in yourself as a writer are very, very important things and they are. The investment of time of energy, of money, whatever it is. That's sort of, I mean, I think all three of those things can be things that hang us up.

Because we tell ourselves we don't have enough time or people need our time more than we deserve it. Or you know, the energy, like we all have have limited energy and we have limited money, obviously. So it is an important thing and it's worth prioritizing. 

David Gwyn: Yeah, I, I love this last piece of advice too.

And I think in investing in yourself, whether it is time, money, effort, what, whatever it is, I, if, if you are the type of person and if you're listening to this, and you're the type of person who [00:36:00] I is, wants to work with with Rachel and Emily, or, or is thinking about writing coach, then you're somebody who is.

Invested in your craft. Like you've taken the time. I mean, you're listening to a podcast about writing when you could be listening to anything, literally anything else . So like, if you're, if you're that person listening right now, then you need to invest in, in yourself. 

Why wouldn't you. Invest in something that is part of you as a person. And I think that's so valuable. Rachel, anything to add before we wrap up?

Rachel May: Yeah. And you were just speaking to it. I think if you're sitting there asking yourself, is, am I ready? Yeah. That's the key indication. Yeah, you're ready. 

Emily Golden: like, yeah, if you're still with us right now, you're ready. 

David Gwyn: we're ready. 

Rachel May: Like there there's, there is a lot of these fears of, oh, but I'll do it in, then I'll do it when I'm done with this.

And I just, I just so echo what Emily said of like, this is your dream. This is your passion. You clearly [00:37:00] care about it. You wanna tell a story? You deserve to invest in it. Like you deserve it. If, if this is what you love, give yourself that gift. And you are ready. You're ready. For coaching, like kind of at, at any stage, it doesn't matter what stage you aren't, you're ready for coaching.

So ask yourself that question and then come chat. We'll tell you how, 

David Gwyn: and don't be afraid to get on the call. They're they're very nice. I know. I'm I'm like the person saying it and I've never done it, but maybe I'll ha I'll have to, I'll have to just, I guess, I don't know. We'll see. 

Emily Golden: the only thing I would add to that is the, just.

The fact that you're ready. If you're still saying, I don't think I'm ready. Ask yourself, like, I'm gonna, we're gonna ask you why not? We asked the client, we had a client who said that a couple weeks ago. He said, oh, I'm interested in this. I'm I'm not sure if I'm ready yet. We said, Rachel said, why. And he said, I don't know.

Yeah. And now he's signed up. so ask yourself if you don't have a good [00:38:00] reason, 

David Gwyn: you're probably ready. and yeah, I 

Rachel May: mean, what I asked him was what does ready look like to you? If you are on the fence of, are you ready? What does ready mean? Are you using that as an excuse because you're afraid or do you have a legitimate, like, no, I'm getting married next month and I'm taking a, a two week honeymoon and I.

You know, need to do this at that point. I'm ready then. But what does ready, like really look like? I think that's a good question to ask yourself for, for any type of you know, service that you're looking for for writing. Be ready. You got this. 

David Gwyn: I love that, but what, what a great place to end and I'm, I'm actually gonna ask a, a question that might sound a lot.

like what you just said, which is what is, if there's one thing you would want people to take away from this conversation and I'll start with you, Emily, but what is maybe one thing that you would want them to walk away from this conversation and think about, or to come back to something that would stick with them?


Emily Golden: I mean, [00:39:00] I'm just gonna reiterate it's worth it. You're worth it. Your story is worth it. Like, I just, I, I just wanna like implant that into the head of every person who's ever dreamed of writing. Like it's worth it on every level for every reason. It's, it's just, if it's your dream, it's worth it.

You're worth it. Don't wait. 

David Gwyn: Yeah, we have a great message. And then uh, Rachel, what about. 

Rachel May: That's it. I was completely echo it. yeah, I think Emily said great. So I'll leave it there. 

David Gwyn: Cool. So the, the last thing I, I wanna talk about is that you shared a resource. And can you talk a little about what it is and, and I'll, I'll link it below and, and people should a hundred percent check it out.

I know we talked before this, your, I think your, your newsletter and the information that you give. So consistently helpful that I'm like, I am, I, I subscribed to a bunch of editors and writing coaches and I have shamelessly unsubscribed from a bunch, but I, I wanted to bring you [00:40:00] on because I read your newsletter, like cover to cover as it were.

So can you talk a little about just, just what the, the resource is? And, I'll be sure to link that for every. 

Rachel May: Yeah. So I'd be happy to jump in with this one. So when we start with any client, when we start the, the coaching process with any client, one of the first things that we look at is your story point and what that is, is your story's main themes, your message, the takeaway that you as an author, want your reader to learn.

From writing your story. And the story point is the foundation to everything that goes on in your story. Character arcs , world building, plot story structure, it all comes back to this central idea, this story point And our resource that we're giving away to listeners today is our guide on developing your story point message.

It's called unearth your story point. It's gonna take you through the process of, of understanding what your themes are diving into why you care about your story, what you do want [00:41:00] readers to take away, and then how to concisely develop a one line. Message of how your readers are gonna change, what lesson they're gonna learn which would be the story point.

So unearth your story point. You're gonna love it. It's just so in depth and a great resource for no matter what stage you are in in writing. 

David Gwyn: Nice. That's awesome. Yeah, I, I, I highly recommend you picking this up. I mean, I can't, I cannot stress enough how helpful the information is that you, that you both share.

Emily Golden: I can just plug. We also, in addition to our book coaching program, we have a community which is called the tenacious writer society. And it is a it's a slack community in which a bunch of story nerds get together and talk about story all the time.

And in tenacious writer society, you get two craft master classes a month that are live with us. You get to ask questions, go to workshops. We have monthly coaching calls where we answer questions. And water coolers where we all hang out. So it's a really fun place. If you've been looking for folks who are tenacious [00:42:00] like the folks we described before that is where you're gonna find them.

And in that there's also critique groups and critique partnerships and the feedback training and all this stuff to make sure that we're all being good. Helpful writing partners for one another. And then we have our outlining course from story idea to cohesive outline, which is basically our out the outlining portion of our coaching program.

Online self-paced it's very in depth and it covers everything that we would go through with clients to get them to that, that first that first goal of the online. 

David Gwyn: That's awesome. Yeah. Thanks for sharing. I know we talked a little about this before.

You're you did like a live coaching call. I know you did it on Instagram. And so , I highly recommend that if you see that rolling around as well, because that's, that was so cool.

I, I went yesterday and it was really, really helpful and, and fun and, I really learned a lot. So thanks again. Rachel and Emily, thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate it. I had a blast. I learned a lot. So thank you so much for taking the time. Thank you 

Rachel May: so much for having, for having us. This is great. This is a blast. 

Emily Golden: This was really fun. 

David Gwyn: Okay. So there you have it. What to [00:43:00] look for when you need an editor or book coach. This episode is especially important because you have two downloads. I compiled the list of six things to look for when thinking about a book, coach or editor, as well as all the great questions Rachel and Emily suggested you ask.

Plus, you can also get their free giveaway to help you discover the heart of your story by unearthing your story point. It's such a valuable resource, and I highly recommend you checking it out. It's linked into description as well. Next time on the podcast. We're talking to Shmi Osman. If you've been around the writer lifestyle podcast for a while, her name will sound familiar.

She's an author, an editor with a Agora books, and she's going to share what to do to ensure your manuscript gets the agent or publisher attention that you deserve in the meantime, check out some highlights from this season of the writer lifestyle podcast. Now. 

Paula Munier: I am looking for writers who are in this for the long haul, because it's a long haul business

Jessica Payne: Well, I [00:44:00] actually asked her what's one thing I could do better as an author after we finished, make me disappear. And she's like, you could consider plotting a little bit because I am like such a pantser. And I can see her point.

Paulette Perhach: There are a thousand ways that someone might not accept your piece that has literally nothing to do with the quality. And just knowing, like, there are a ton of good writers. It's not, you it's that, we're all in here doing it together. And sometimes it's someone else's turn and sometimes it's your turn and that can be really hard.

Zulie Rane: I've always wanted to be a writer. I always thought I would be a fiction writer a novelist. I still remember, I don't know how old I was, maybe like seven or eight opening the book, looking at the back cover and realizing books.

Don't just to, they don't spring into being fully formed. Somebody writes them. It's somebody's job to create those. And I was like, oh, amazing. That could be me.

Ericka Baldwin: Because we grow your book can grow. And because we learn almost every day. And if we, if we task [00:45:00] ourselves to learn something new, right, then we can always apply and continue to apply to the same manuscript.