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.

As a book coach, I work one-on-one with writers to help them overcome the hurdles standing between them and a finished manuscript. Then I walk them through the publication process and help them query literary agents. Most writers come to me with previous writing experience (in academia, freelance journalism, writing workshops), but they feel stuck on best next steps to take.

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 specialize in memoir and literary fiction. 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 do not consult on self-publishing, historical fiction, commercial fiction, or YA/middle grade.

This page will be updated in early 2019 when I am accepting new clients. In the meantime, a great way to learn more about my writing and coaching philosophy is to subscribe to my weekly newsletter.

Here's information about my upcoming writing workshops.

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