I’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions for folks who would like to know more about the coaching process and how to work with me, including my rates and availability. I hope this list helps you get started. If you have a question I have not answered, please contact me. Thanks!
What can you help me with?
I’ve helped hundreds of clients and students of all abilities and experience levels meet their personal and professional writing goals. I help beginners ramp up quickly, but am particularly adept at helping advanced writers take their work to the next level by focusing on some of the subtle aspects of writing. As a writing coach, I have a broader skill set than you would find in a typical editor. In addition to helping you perfect your prose and storytelling abilities, I can assist you in identifying and overcoming writing roadblocks. I also offer assistance in marketing your work and building your author platform. My work with clients is individually tailored to their specific needs. I can help you by:
- Assessing your overall writing strengths and challenges and assigning spot-training exercises to help you take your writing to the next level
- Reading your work and offering experienced feedback that aligns with your publication goals
- Teaching you specific techniques that will make your writing more engaging
- Offering guidance in polishing and preparing a work for submission
- Guiding you in planning, writing and pitching your work, including query letters and book proposals
- Teaching you to tap into creativity, as well as how to write with focus and clarity
- Supporting your goals and maintaining your motivation and sense of purpose
- Identifying the best markets for your writing
- Building your publicity plan and platform, including your author website and social media marketing strategies
What genres do you serve?
Literary fiction, genre fiction (particularly urban fantasy), middle grade and young adult fiction, creative nonfiction, narrative nonfiction, memoir, short stories, magazine articles, academic books, dissertations, theses and papers, blogs, book proposals, websites, business writing, nature writing, travel writing and screenplays.
How would we work together?
During our first meeting, we talk about your goals and clarify what you want out of coaching. I also like to read a sample of your work during the initial session—about five to ten pages, depending on how much time we have. Doing so gives me an idea of a work’s overall strengths and weaknesses, as well as gives you an idea of how our process will work. When we start working together, we’ll plot out a meeting course that will take into consideration your time availability, how fast you write and how soon you want to submit. When getting into any program, whether it’s writing or exercising, developing a reasonable schedule is key to success. Accountability is also important for keeping on track. I find that my most successful writers keep to a regular time with me, meeting weekly or every other week.
My approach to coaching is unique because I generally read client work during our sessions. This approach has been perfected over the years, in part because clients have said they benefit more from a live reading than the traditional marked-up page. When we read a book together, out loud, clients pay more attention to their work and learn how a reader experiences their writing. I also offer suggestions for fixing problem spots on the fly, which helps them learn how a professional editor reads a work and helps them learn to revise more readily on their own.
When circumstances warrant doing so–such as doing final revisions on a book prior to sending it to an agent or publisher–I will read client work outside our sessions. With beginning writers, I do prefer to read the first three chapters of a work together during sessions before moving forward with the rest of the manuscript. I find that doing so is more cost-effective and efficient for my clients, because it gives them the opportunity to do revisions based on their new knowledge and skills before having me go over the rest.
What additional support do you provide?
In addition to doing one-on-one coaching, I offer a number of support, networking and publishing opportunities, which are unique to my coaching practice. Here’s the rundown:
Membership – Lori’s Literary Circle
I run a private Facebook group, which consists of my past and present clients and students. This group offers a way for us to support each other, by sharing success stories, commiserating with each other and trading advice and opportunities. I frequently post publication opportunities and contests in this group, as well as any articles on writing and publishing that I think are useful.
Professional Membership – The Boulder Writers’ Workshop
Clients who have purchased a package of five hours or more automatically receive a year’s free Professional Membership in the Boulder Writers’ Workshop, a $75 value. The perks are many, including a professional listing, access to member forums, discounts on classes and more.
Editing & Publishing Opportunities
Because I think it’s important for clients to get some publishing experience and begin to build a platform, I provide two ways for them to get started. Clients are encouraged to write articles about Colorado writing resources or events or interview local authors for the Writing Colorado Newsletter. I am also in the middle of launching the Flatirons Literary Review, a regional literary magazine that will give my clients editing experience and another place to publish.
Monthly Literary Salons
Clients who live in the Boulder area are welcome to participate in the BWW’s Monthly Literary Salon. The salon, patterned after the great salons of the 18th century, provides a forum for support and ongoing discussion about all aspects of writing and publishing. The salons are hosted either by me or a publishing professional.
Online Conversation Series
Can’t make it to conferences? No problem. I organize a monthly Online Conversation series that allows my clients participate in a private teleconference with an industry professional. You can ask them your most urgent publishing and writing questions directly via chat. Past guests have included Gene Perret, comedy writer; Linda Radke, publisher; Cindy Grady, publisher; Kevin Hearne, urban fantasy author; Dinty Moore, editor of Brevity and a memoirist; and Les Edgerton, author of Hooked and the author of several noir novels.
In addition to these activities, I sporadically publish a newsletter for clients full of tips and opportunities. Also, whenever I run across a writing or publishing opportunity that would work well for a client, I send it along.
Will you ghostwrite my book for me?
That depends. There are many situations where ghostwriting is appropriate, but even more situations where it is inappropriate. Ghostwriting is appropriate when an executive or celebrity is interested in releasing a memoir or nonfiction book that supports his or her visibility or business strategies. In these cases, it is not good use of the person’s time to author his or her own book. It is also appropriate when someone has a compelling story to tell, but might not be able to write the book, because of their physical circumstances. The book The Diving Bell and the Butterfly comes to mind, although that book was not strictly a case of ghostwriting. I’ve also ghostwritten overflow work from my fellow writers.
Ghostwriting is inappropriate in cases where the author has a great idea that only they can tell, as is the case with most memoirs and narrative nonfiction books. I’ve worked with writers who were convinced they weren’t good storytellers, but after a few sessions with me they were much more confident in their abilities. They came to discover that only they could write their unique stories. Sometimes people come to professional writers with concepts or ideas for short stories, novels or movie scripts that they want written for them. These people, of course, want a cut of the profit for simply coming up with the idea. The fact is, writers are who they are not just because of their ability to write, but because they have a million ideas jostling in their heads. Most writers don’t have enough time to get to all of their own good ideas, let alone to toil over the ideas of others. When I run into people with good ideas who want others to write for them, I encourage them to try their hand at writing. Only they can give their ideas the best possible chance at coming to life in the world of story.
Have your clients been successful?
My clients define success in many ways, ranging from the personal pride they have had in finishing a project and learning new skills to having their work accepted for publication.
My clients have won many awards, including:
- Finalist, Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction
- The Glyph Award, Arizona Author’s Association
- First Place, North American Travel Journalists Association
- Salon Editor’s Pick
- Finalist, Tin House literary award
- Finalist, Southwest Writers contest
- Colorado Book Award
- First Place, Society of Professional Journalists
- Third Place, Colorado Independent Publisher’s Association EVVY Award for Spiritual Writing
My clients have been published both nonfiction and fiction books. They have also been published in general interest and literary magazines, including: Wend, Women’s Health, 5280, Arizona Highways, Sunset, Men’s Journal, Outside, Backpacker, Go World Travel, Heartlands, The Arizona Republic, The Coachella Review, Runner’s World, Salon, The Molotov Cocktail, Phoenix Magazine, Edible Phoenix, Edible Front Range, National Geographic Adventure and more.
Here are some client success stories:
Judith Robbins Rose brought in an already well-developed middle grade/young adult manuscript that had already had some agent interest but no takers. I diagnosed some motivation, characterization and causality challenges and she did a thorough revision. She subsequently placed Miss with The Sheldon Literary Agency, the same agency that launched Richard Peck’s writing career.
Jayme Moye hired me to coach her when she quit her job in the tech industry to launch her freelance magazine writing career. I helped her learn the elements of story, helped her hone her prose and gave her career advice. Within a year, she was landing big writing travel assignments from prestigious magazine like Wend, had won several national magazine writing awards and had landed editorial positions. She is now teaching a regular travel writing class at the Boulder Book Store using the concepts I taught her and edits Elevation Outdoors.
Carol Test was looking for some support to finish and submit the collection of short stories she had begun while earning her MFA in Creative Writing. We worked to get her on a regular writing schedule and identified some challenges she was having in conceptualizing and finishing stories. We tightened up her already wonderful prose and inserted more plot and tension in her narrative. Her collection subsequently earned a finalist designation in the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Stories and she has since launched her own career as a writing coach, using the concepts she learned in our work together.
Who have you studied with?
My formal training includes a BA in mass communications, an MA in United States History, an MFA in creative writing and a teaching certification through Maricopa Community colleges. I have studied creative nonfiction and magazine writing with Lee Gutkind, editor of the journal Creative Nonfiction, Robert Early, who was the longtime editor of Arizona Highways and Stephen Pyne, award-winning author of more than 20 creative nonfiction books. I have studied fiction writing with John Shors, author of five New York Times bestselling novels, T.M. McNally, finalist for the Pen Faulkner Award for Fiction, Brock Clarke, author of the New York Times bestseller An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England; Chang-Rae Lee, finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and Kevin McIlvoy, editor-in-chief of Puerto del Sol. I studied poetry with Alberto Rios and Cynthia Hogue. In addition to seeking out additional training whenever possible, I keep current with the publishing profession by reading several industry magazines, reading at least two books a month on writing, marketing and publishing, reading in the genres my clients are publishing in. I also attend conferences, am active on Linked-In and am active in professional associations such as Boulder Media Women.
Where have you taught?
I have taught at Arizona State University’s journalism school, in Phoenix College’s creative writing program and at the Virginia C. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University. I am the founder and director of The Boulder Writers’ Workshop as well as the fledgling group, Associated Writing Coaches.
Are you also a writer?
I have spent years as an editor and professional writer, having authored a travel book, published essays and written more than a thousand newspaper and magazine articles. I have done marketing either as an employee or a freelancer for Kent State University, Buena Vista College, Gateway Community College, The Center for the West at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and other educational institutions and private companies. My writing has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, The New York Times, Arizona Highways, America West Airlines Magazine, Working Woman, PHOENIX Magazine, Black Enterprise, Incentive and elsewhere. A story from my fiction collection was a top-25 finalist in the 2010 December Glimmer Train Fiction Open and another made the final rounds of the Bellevue Literary Review Prize and was published in the April 2013 issue. My nonfiction awards include a first place in business writing from Arizona Press Women.
What is your availability?
I offer twenty hours of availability a week for clients all year long and extend those hours in the summer. I am sometimes available to meet with clients outside of my regular hours, on an emergency basis. Please note that I homeschool my junior-high aged son, so am teaching during the day and reserve Mondays for planning.
Here’s my current availability:
Tuesdays – 6 – 8 p.m.
Wednesdays – 2 – 8 p.m.
Thursdays – 7 – 9 p.m.
Saturdays – 10 to 8 p.m. (I start at 2 p.m. the days we have Boulder Writers’ Workshop events)
Sundays – 1 to 6 p.m.
What are your rates?
- $90 an hour in-person or telecoaching
- $75 an hour for a five-hour package
- $65 an hour for a ten-hour package
These rates are for in-office work only; travel charges apply. These rates also apply for work done outside of sessions, billable to the quarter hour. I am happy to talk on the phone about working together; e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time. I also offer $15 off an initial coaching session. When you are ready to rock, ask me for the code to get your discount.
How can I schedule a session with you?
I use an electronic booking system called BookingBug that keeps track of client sessions and billing. You may first buy a package and then book as session, or you may book individual sessions. Credit cards are accepted and you can also make payments through Paypal. I sometimes offer specials and, if you have a coupon, you may enter the code on the scree you are sent to after you press “checkout.” If you have booked a package, you’ll need to scroll down when booking your individual sessions so you can see the toggle switch to use your prepaid hours.
Do we meet in person or long distance?
I meet clients in my home office in North Boulder. I have a comfortable working space in my library. In the summer, clients like to meet in our backyard. I provide coffee, tea and, sometimes, snacks. I also meet with clients over the phone or Skype, an arrangement that works very well, if you don’t count the absence of drinks and snacks. I pay for the calls. Clients e-mail me their work and we discuss it over the phone, just like we would in person. I mark up the manuscript as we talk and e-mail the manuscript back.
Can we communicate between sessions?
In order to give you my focused attention, I request that big questions or concerns be addressed in a scheduled meeting. Otherwise, most other concerns or questions are best to communicated by e-mail. During normal working hours, I am either working with a client or teaching and, as of yet, do not have a full-time assistant fielding calls, so would ask that you schedule your calls ahead of time. If you have an emergency and cannot make a session, of course you can call me or text me.