Tell your clients what coaching is

When I first began offering coaching to writer clients, I had copy on my website that said something like, “I offer coaching services for all aspects of writing and publishing.” If a potential client got in touch to ask me what coaching was, I would say something like, “Anything that is outside of a typical edit on a manuscript.”

Hardly anyone ever hired me to coach them.

I thought that “I can help you solve most writing- and publishing-related problems!” was a great marketing strategy. It wasn’t. It didn’t help potential clients visualize why they would ever need coaching.

Then I started listing specific things I could do:

  • I can provide feedback on query letters based on my experience as a literary agent and an EIC
  • I can show you how to solve plot or characterization problems in the novel you’re writing now
  • I can help you get unstuck when you can’t seem to figure out what happens next
  • I can interpret rejection letters so that you can understand where your ms is not hitting the mark with agents
  • I can review your revision chapter-by-chapter to make sure you’re staying on the right track

Once I started doing this, people hired me! They could see themselves needing the services I was offering. They also began to ask specific questions like, “I can’t figure out how to write a good synopsis. Can you help?” It wasn’t on my list but, yes, I could help. (And then I’d add it to the list.)

Defining exactly what you can do for a potential client should be the first step in your marketing plan.

More from Club Ed

New! If you missed Naked Editing the first time around, you can take the self-paced version now. This is a great introduction to story editing.

And if you’re interested in learning story editing/developmental editing, don’t forget to sign up for the fall sessions of Beginning and Intermediate Developmental Editing of Fiction. These are instructor-led and online but asynchronous – you don’t have to be anywhere at a specific time and place.

The 2022 Club Ed Course Catalog is here! Instructor-led and self-paced classes for all editing levels.

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Plus: The Club Ed Guide to Starting and Running a Profitable Freelance Editing Business is now available!