Story time for authors working with book coaches

Should I trust a book coach to get my book published

Have you been invited by a charming book coach to help you get your book written and published?

Once upon a time not a million years ago I had a book marketing client called Miranda. She wrote romantic fiction and had been working with a Fairy Godmother Book Coach (FGBC).

Miranda had been paying the FGBC at least GBP £500 (USD nearly $790) per month over a period of well over a year: Miranda was inspired to write a trilogy of novels and of course this takes time. Mucho months at GBP £500 a hit.

A genuine book publisher: what more could you ask for?

Happily for Miranda, the FGBC guaranteed that she would find her a “genuine publisher” (GP) for her books: a real, traditional publisher who wouldn’t expect Miranda to shell out any money because of course, he was a genuine, traditional publisher and these types of publisher don’t expect authors to pay out.

As a GP, his business would absorb all production costs and would submit a cover design, although Miranda wanted a specific cover picture which she commissioned and paid for.

GP was quite happy to go along with this despite the fact that it was not necessarily the most attention-grabbing option for a book cover that should have been selling the sizzle in the sausage, rather than the sausage itself, as old-fashioned advertising wizards used to say.

Could GP and FGBC perhaps not have given a sh*t? Good Heavens, perish the thought.

Now: where the book coaching story becomes a bit messy

Here is how the (fictional, of course!) story unfolds…

**FGBC hooks author by saying she can guarantee that she will find a “publisher” for author’s book as long as author works with her.

**FGBC stiffs author for £500 a month for a weekly exchange of emails, comments on work done so far, and one phone call. This goes on for several if not many months. Note: FGBC “edits” the work but although the spelling and grammar are OK, it’s speckled with glaring content and contextual mistakes. Not the FGBC’s problem!

**FGBC works in cahoots with a GP (possibly one of several) who of course falls in love with the author’s book and offers to publish it for nothing on Amazon print and Kindle. Maybe even pays a small advance. Author is thrilled to have a “real” publisher, not a co-op or self-pub service.

**FGBC pays GP a couple of hundred quid (maybe three hundred bucks) to, in effect, self-publish the book via Amazon Createspace and Kindle … however author thinks it’s a traditional trade publishing deal with a strong focus on Amazon.

**FGBC may have a variety of different relationships with these GPs, but you get the drift.

**FGBC meanwhile has pocketed large fees. Author is left to market books and distribute them (other than on Amazon.)

And does every book-coached author live happily ever after?

Perhaps, in the true spirit of storytelling, we should leave the answer to this one to our imagination?

If in the meantime you’re looking for help to get you through the book-writing/publishing process honestly, please be careful who you choose.

Much more to the point, however, be assured that there are many book coaches who, unlike these types I write, er, fiction about, actually do a good honest job and make their clients proud.

But have you come across Fairy Godmother Book Coaches (FGBCs) and Genuine Publishers (GPs) like these?

Please share if you have, and let us know how your book writing/publishing journey has progressed.


photo credit: Castles, Capes & Clones via photopin cc




  1. Leslie Silton says

    I am a professional book editor and writing coach and I have NEVER done anything like this to any of my clients. I don’t promise what I can’t deliver and I always deliver what I promise. My clients are quite happy with my services.
    I’ve never stiffed anyone – not even by a penny.
    No editor that I know of can guarantee a writer that a publisher will take their book. Surely there is enough knowledge floating around for a writer – even a newbie – to know that.
    I charge a fair price to my clients. Also I have what I call my ‘starving student’ rate, which I will offer to hard-working writers who simply do not currently generate enough income. And they do work hard, they are responsive, they know they are getting a special rate and the work flows back and forth very well. No one yet has taken advantage of my goodwill in this regard.

    As far as this report from the UK goes, I could have done without the extra drama. Everyone knows it isn’t true that all editors are monsters. All the ones I know are more like me, frankly. We are trustworthy, we are skilled, we are highly motivated to do the absolute best for our writing-clients and we do deliver. If there’s an editor out there doing awful things to their client, how about naming the son-of-a-gun. Why keep it a secret? Let their
    hind end hang out and be known. That should keep the bad acting down to a dull roar or less.

    • I would love to name the perpetrators here, Leslie, but the truth is the author doesn’t know about this. Personally I have nothing to gain by telling her, frankly, as I don’t normally work as a writing coach but only as a book marketer. I know she would be very upset to realize that she has been scammed in this way. The best I can do for her now is to help her with her marketing so that despite the publishing smoke and mirrors she can sell enough of her books to make all her hard work worthwhile anyway. So far, it’s looking good.

      If, one day, she does realize what has happened then I will name and shame, certainly. I have enough proof to do that without fear of getting sued. It’s a difficult decision at the moment though, with a client who really doesn’t need to be hurt and disillusioned. My view, as I said above, is to help her make the best of it. What would you do in my shoes?

      And please be assured, this article was not intended to be a slur against genuine, honest editors and coaches like you. It’s just a warning that – as in so many other disciplines – there are mavericks out there trying to make a quick buck.

      Thanks for commenting.

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