Book coaching with Belinda Pollard
The beauty of book coaching is that you get the project done. The book that has been burning in your heart for years, is finally on paper.
I know exactly how hard it is, and I will not judge you for the time it has taken or the way you have struggled. I know exactly what that struggle is like.
But I have more than tea and sympathy to offer. I have answers – drawn from a long career as an editor and publishing consultant in specialty publishing, and even my own more recent adventures as an author. I know what to focus on at different phases of the process for the best results. I’ve also got up-to-date experience of the self-publishing jungle if that is your chosen path.
“Success” means different things to different writers. Let’s find out what success means to you.
These are some of the things writers ask me:
- How can I tell if my book is any good?
- My book isn’t working. How can I fix it?
- What should I put in, and what should I leave out?
- How can I find the time, the confidence, and the courage?
- How can I create a book that makes a difference?
- How can I tell it in my own words, not someone else’s?
My goal as a coach is to help you take your rough materials and turn them into a book that makes a difference – to you and to others.
It’s also to help you connect with your dreams and life purpose, and write the book of your heart – whether it’s a memoir, a novel, or a self-help book.
Coaching helps you get from wild idea to completed book. It also saves you money in the long run, because the book you eventually submit for editing or publishing is so much stronger.
My ethos, and the purpose of book coaching
- 20+ years in books and publishing, including both traditional and self-publishing, as a developmental and structural editor, and publishing project manager for specialist publishers
- Editor of dozens of books, some of which have won or been shortlisted for Australian and international awards, and/or become bestsellers in their niche
- Multi-award-winning author of fiction, non-fiction, and light memoir – yes, I write as well as edit and coach. My writing prizes include a Varuna Fellowship.
- Degree in Communication and Journalism, including editing (Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane)
- Honours Degree in Theology (Moore Theological College, Sydney)
- Award-winning former journalist
- Consultant to many self-publishers
For more details, visit my LinkedIn profile.
Genres I work with
- Fiction – most genres but especially mystery, thriller, fantasy, romance and women’s fiction
- Children’s books
- General non-fiction
- Memoir, especially inspirational life stories
- Christian books and secular books with a Christian worldview – both fiction and non-fiction. (My second degree is in Christian theology.)
“I greatly appreciated Belinda’s hand in shepherding the process when I published my book Slow Clothing. Her knowledge and confidence in me and the topic was invaluable.” Jane Milburn, ABC Australia journalist, eco entrepreneur, and founder of textilebeat.com.
These are the outcomes for some of the people I have worked with:
- An author whose book was rejected by a publisher, and they recommended me. I saw a different unifying theme than the one he’d first thought of; he was inspired, and reworked it; the publisher offered a contract. It has now had multiple reprints in several countries, and been translated into another language. The author is passionate about sharing it, because it really is the book of his heart.
- A woman who writes beautifully, but because of ADHD struggled to pull her story together, to make it flow. Now her devastating but ultimately hopeful personal experiences have been read by thousands of people. Many said, “I couldn’t put it down.”
- A man whose greatest desire was to help others, but who struggled to write his story. He just wasn’t a bookish person. And yet he could see how a book could allow him to share his wisdom more widely and for much longer. The result of our partnership? A powerful book for other non-bookish types, that has become a bestseller changing many thousands of lives.
Whatever the problem you are currently facing with your book, there will be a solution. Let’s find it together.
“I just love Belinda’s warm and gentle coaching style. Her experience as a publishing consultant and as a published author gave me the confidence to self-publish. If you have a book inside of you and need help getting it down on paper, Belinda is the woman for you!” Tanya Arnold, Author, Pupcakes recipe book
“This book has been a bit special for me. Belinda has actually had to think like me and tidy me up and still allow me to write the book. All my ‘Wattoisms’ and character are still in my books. She puts the ‘wow’ in the books.” Ian “Watto” Watson
Ian was the founder of the Shed Happens encouragement movement for men and author of four books: Every Bloke’s A Champion… Even You!, Champion Blokes Shed Their Shame, Champion Blokes Learn to Love and Can We Talk? I worked with him on all of them.
My experience as an author: memoir
I got taken by surprise during the process of writing my own award-winning light memoir, Dogged Optimism: Lessons in Joy from a Disaster-Prone Dog. I thought it was going to be a series of funny anecdotes about my daft dog, but it became something deeper and more special to me: a collection of life lessons in how to find happiness in unexpected places.
Writing Dogged Optimism was a tough road. A lot of the memories I had to dredge up were painful, even though it was primarily a light-hearted book. It was confronting and scary to put my life out there to be looked at. I learned a lot of hard lessons in the process.
I like to think I was a good coach before Dogged Optimism — but I’m a better one now!
My experience as an author: fiction
My award-winning debut novel, Poison Bay, took me 20 years from the initial concept to publication. I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not! There were a whole lot of reasons why I took so long to get traction on the project, and many of them were psychological. I questioned whether the book was a worthy use of my time… and then I questioned my own worthiness as a writer of fiction.
Lots of my clients have those questions, too. My personal experience of mud-wrestling with fears and doubts has helped me give others more realistic, useful, empathic and encouraging advice.
My experience as an author: non-fiction
I experimented with speed writing while putting together Use the Power of Feedback to Write a Better Book, including 22,000 words in one memorable weekend. I discovered that the resulting manuscript was much harder to polish.
Next time, I’ll write a non-fiction first draft more methodically, and save myself time in the refining stage.
“(Belinda’s) suggestions for content and structural enhancements such as plot and character development are intuitive, spot-on, and jaw-dropping good. Belinda’s guidance has not only improved my work but made me a better, more creative, and much more skilled and capable writer.” Molly Greene, author of the bestselling Gen Delacourt mystery series.
How does coaching work?
- First, we discuss your project (usually via email) to discover whether I can help you.
- Before our first meeting, I will ask you for various materials, including a sample of your book.
- Then we meet via Zoom or Skype for 60-75 minutes.
- Afterwards, I send you some brief notes about our conversation.
You might want to meet regularly, intermittently, or you might only need one session. Everyone is different.
I help you discover your writerly strengths that you probably didn’t even know you had. I work with you on creative solutions to your writerly weaknesses (don’t worry, we all have them).
I seem to have a knack for “seeing” what your book could be, and helping you see it too. But the vision that emerges is unique to you and your topic and your passion, not forced into anyone else’s mould. I am fierce about protecting an author’s distinctive “voice”.
I help you develop clarity about who you are writing this book for, and exactly what you want it to achieve.
- First session: $350 (includes research and reading I undertake before we meet)
- Subsequent sessions: $275 per 60-75 minute session
- Special package deal: 4 sessions for $999 (save $176)
We set the schedule according to your needs and your project. Some people like to meet at regular intervals, or when they have reached a new milestone in their project. Some only need one session to break through a particular problem.
The next step
Email me, and let’s talk about that book that’s on fire inside you. There is no obligation — this is just a first, informal conversation.
In your message, please tell me a little about your book:
- your goals
- genre or type of book
- where you are up to in the process (just started? nearly finished? stuck in the middle?)
- how many words you have written.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Send me a message via email:
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