Book COACHING

You are a smart, talented, ambitious person with a killer concept for a book. You have a notebook full of ideas and a Word doc on your desktop called ShittyFirstDraft.docx. Maybe you stay up late Googling “how to write a query letter” (never too early to prepare for success), or you’ve stalked the shelf at your local bookstore where your paperback will someday appear with your name on the spine. Maybe your characters visit you in your dreams. You feel a little bit haunted. Impatient. Itchy.

You take a writing workshop. And then another. You Google “low-res MFA.” You watch the Joan Didion documentary and think it isn’t fair; you were born in the wrong decade. Maybe you should buy a typewriter, or go back into therapy.

That itch you feel is a question that plagues you. Can I guess what it is?

“Why haven’t you finished your book yet?”

You may think you need tough love, a stern taskmaster to look over your shoulder and make you finish that draft, or a $30,000 MFA program that will hold you hostage until you’ve written your thesis (and then put you on the fast track to a book deal).

But there’s another way.

As a book coach, I work one-on-one with writers, to help them overcome self-doubt, break through procrastination, and get unstuck from loops of negative self-talk.

I’m not a therapist, but my process is therapeutic. I’m a deep listener, an empathic ally. Clients tell me, “This is like therapy but…more fun.” 

Writing is a solitary process and it’s hard to know when you’ve taken a right (or wrong) turn without a collaborator to bounce ideas off of. Writing workshops can be a big help but they're a short-term fix. 

You need someone in your corner who’s been where you want to go, and I have ten years of experience in media and publishing (beginning at The New Yorker), and three published books under my belt, in three genres. I understand indie and Big Five publishing and have contacts throughout the industry. 

I would love to help you work through the obstacles standing between you and your best work, stay accountable to your specific writing goals, and reconnect with the spark that made you fall in love with the idea of writing a book in the first place.

When I first came to Leigh, I was frozen in a glacier of writer’s block. I never wanted to look at my book again. She not only got me motivated to see my work with new eyes, but inspired me to remember why I was writing my book in the first place. In a short time with Leigh, I accomplished my goal of passing the halfway mark in my book, something that didn’t seem possible. Leigh is great because she’s wicked smart, funny, and tolerant when all you want to do is complain for an hour about how much you suck. She gives sage advice, and most importantly, she puts you back on the path. She’s an even-keeled listener, a practical coach, and she wants to see you succeed. If you’re looking to really truly finish your book, Leigh will help you get there.
— A.G.

So, how does it work?

I create a custom package of services for each writer that I work with, based on where they're at and what they need. I offer:

  • Private coaching by phone: We talk every week, or every other week, about the writing process. I listen to where you're at, help you troubleshoot, and hold you accountable. Writers who have been putting off finishing their book for years (yes, years!) tell me how hugely helpful it is to have someone they can rely on to hold them accountable to their own writing goals.
  • Manuscript critique: I give both micro- and macro-level suggestions. You'll get comments and edits from me on every page, plus big-picture feedback on structure, plot, voice, point of view and narrative distance, themes, language, scenes and dialogue, characters, and pacing. I will tell you what I love about your work and I will also give my suggestions for next steps. 
  • Publishing consultation: I critique query letters and book proposals. I can help with market analysis and comp titles. I can research the best agents to query for your project. I can also review rejection letters as a diagnostic tool for next revision.

I am available to my clients by email in between our calls, for whatever comes up (brilliant idea or momentary panic). I only work with a small number of writers at a time, so I can give deep, personalized attention to you and the project that means so much to you.

ready to take the next step?

I am currently accepting new clients for October 2018.

If you are interested in learning more, please fill out the short form below and I'll get back to you!

Leigh is a gifted coach who combines the psychological insight of a skilled therapist with expertise about the process and craft of writing. From the moment our phone calls begin, she’s listening intently and able to handle whatever I throw her way—confusion, despair, frustration. She responds with smart, practical suggestions for process and content, as well as relevant reading suggestions. Oh, and talking to her is also really fun.

As a reader, Leigh is a dream. Her line notes and end comments are among the most comprehensive and incisive that I’ve ever received (and this from someone who has an MFA and has taken numerous workshops).

If you’re looking for someone to help you identify and reach your writing goals, Leigh Stein delivers.
— Maggie Levine
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Interested in taking a class with me? Here's information about my upcoming writing workshops.