Start writing from a position of strength.
If you have a great idea for a book or a story, but aren't sure where to start, you're not alone! Writing a book is a complex undertaking and if you've never done it before -- or even if you have -- the first steps can be overwhelming.
I have helped hundreds of writers take the first steps in getting their story or idea out of their head and onto the page, and I can help you, too.
Getting help from a pro at the start of your project is a ninja move, because it can literally save you years of frustration.
Blueprint for a Book Premium Coaching
Blueprint for a Book is a system that helps you plan your entire project, from what you'll call it to how you'll describe it to who's going to read it -- and why. It's a process that will help you deeply understand your book from start to finish so that when you begin to write, you don't have to stop to ask yourself what you're doing or where you're going. It's my favorite part of the coaching process because whether you're writing fiction, memoir or non-fiction, you will make massive progress towards realizing your goal.
How does it work?
You get six weeks of intensive feedback in three key ways
1. EDITORIAL FEEDBACK ON THE PAGE You will work through 27 Blueprint assignments and send me everything before our first deadline. I will take three days to give you editorial feedback on every single aspect of your work. Based on what I see, I will give you customized assignments for each of the next 5 deadlines, and on every deadline thereafter, you will get the same intensive on-the-page guidance and feedback.
Pro Tip: Every element we develop together in this program will also lead directly to what you will need when it comes time to prepare a book proposal for agents or to build a marketing plan for reaching readers if you self publish, so it's like double dipping in terms of your preparation and planning.
2. SUPPORT BY EMAIL If you have questions or doubt or confusion or angst between deadlines, I will almost always answer on the same business day. And if I have thoughts or ideas about your project, I will email, as well. When you sign up to be coached by me you get my full brain, all the time -- which is to say that I will solve problems for you in the middle of the night, in the middle of a shower, and in the middle of the 405 Freeway; I will come across books, articles, blogs, and ideas that I will send your way as you work; when you hit a roadblock or get mired in doubt, I will feel the pain as keenly as you do, and will do everything I can to help you through it.
3. SUPPORT BY PHONE After you get my feedback on each deadline's assignments, we will talk on the phone for an hour. We will brainstorm, plan, commiserate, strategize, and answer every question you have about the work. You will find that this process is rigorous, supportive, focused, and fun.
Why does it work?
you get a professional guide at every step of the way
"Every writer, from complete beginners to seasoned professionals, needs someone to do what they can’t do, no matter how experienced: see their own work with fresh eyes. The trick is finding someone who can then pinpoint what’s working, what isn’t and how to remedy it. For me, that person is the indefatigable, insightful, beautifully brutally honest Jennie Nash. While she never pulls punches (after all, you’re paying her not to), Jennie is always encouraging, empathetic and compassionate – not to mention spot-on. She is also quick. All this is why, even though I’ve worked in publishing, as an agent, and taught writing for decades – in fact, my book is about how to write a story -- I turned to Jennie when I wanted to get the manuscript ready to shop. We worked together every step of the way: on the manuscript (including helping me get organized enough to really focus in on it), the query letter, the proposal, and the marketing platform that helped me land the agent I wanted most, who then sold the book to a great publishing house. I couldn’t have done it without Jennie, and I can’t recommend her highly enough. She is a godsend." —Lisa Cron, Wired for Story (Ten Speed Press, 2012), Story Genius, (Ten Speed Press, 2016). Instructor, fiction master class, UCLA Extension Writers' Program. Ted Talk-giver.
Who will benefit most from premium coaching?
- Writers who have gone to all the conferences, read all the books, signed up for retreats — and still can't seem to get momentum.
- Anyone who craves a balance of compassion and tough love. I am here for you on the days when your book wants to break you and on the days when you’ve gotten lazy and need to be told to ax the 50 pages to make your opening sing.
- Writers who are eager to write the best book they can and are serious about their craft. You don't have to be super skilled (after all, that's what coaching is for -- to get super skilled) but you do have to have a fundamental understanding of how books are written and sold. I can't take you to the highest level if you would be better off in an entry level course.
- This program is equally effective for fiction and non-fiction writers, for flat-out beginners to New York Times bestsellers. But you have to be ready to dig deep and work hard. You have to be ready for some serious tough love. You have to be ready to invest and you have to be ready to make more progress than you have ever made before.
- Writers who want a professional guide down in the trenches paying attention to every comma, every word, and every nuance of their story.
- Writers who are tired of getting rejections that say, “We loved your writing, but….” Or “We loved your story, but….” Or “We loved your concept but….” and who are ready to start over the right way.
- Entrepreneurs who aren’t even sure they ARE writers, but who are certain they have a killer idea the world is waiting for. I have great success with this kind of writer.
- For more detail on who is a good fit for this program, see "Who Do I Choose to Work With?" below.
Who will not get what they need?
- People who want someone else to do the hard work for them.
- People who demand a guarantee as to outcome. There are no guarantees in the creative process or in publishing.
- People who are mean and rushed and stingy of spirit. I don’t work with people like that, because I find that they don’t write good books.
- Writers who might be better served by a therapist. Writing is deep, soul-level work. My clients cry all the time. We rant at the world. We solve big problems. But it’s not therapy.
"Thank you to Jennie Nash, my independent editor for the last six years, whose honesty and incisive edits have made everything I've written better. I do not publish anything without her reading it first. To all writers or aspiring writers, I recommend Jennie." -- Sam Polk, author of For the Love of Money (Scribner), Founder and CEO of Everytable and Groceryships. Sam's book came out to huge acclaim. See this piece in The New Yorker for a taste of it.
"You are not a book coach, you are a life changer. You are the wind beneath my wings. I fear for you if the two of us ever end up at a karaoke bar." -- Tracey Cleantis, author of The Next Happy, a finalist for the Books for a Better Life Awards and An Invitation to Self-Care (Hazeldon). Psychotherapist, speaker.
Okay so what does it cost to invest in my success?
$4,200.00 for six weeks of intensive coaching, feedback, accountability and professional guidance
If you're not sure you're ready to start coaching, try theses 6 free lessons from my Blueprint for a Book program free HERE.
How exactly does coaching through Blueprint for a Book work?
It's six weeks of intense development work so you know the shape of yuor entire book before you start to write
- Six deadlines—You send me pages at a prescribed time, usually twice a month.
- Professional, timely, line-by-line feedback— I pour over your pages line by line, making extensive notes, and giving you direction for what to do next.
- 6 phone calls—After each deadline, we'll check in and make sure everything is going according to plan, that you're feeling good about your work, and that the project is on track. We'll brainstorm, talk about problems, concerns, hopes and dreams.
- Customized project management— We decide together whether it makes sense to revise as you go, or plow forward with content generation. You can't go off track in this way. I won't let you.
- Email me with clarifying questions — I'll be here to answer big and small questions as they arise. It's like having a pro on speed dial.
- You will end up with a crystal clear Blueprint for how to develop your book — You will end up with a clear idea of what you are writing, a solid structure for the entire work (including outline and, when appropriate, chapter templates) opening and closing chapters, a definition of your ideal reader, a list of competitive titles, and an understanding of your motivations and goals. All of this material is used to guide your writing and is also used when it is time to pitch your book to agents or direct to readers.
- A plan for moving forward — In select cases, I may offer to coach you through the writing and development of your book myself, or I may direct you to Author Accelerator, or you may choose to go off on your own to complete your draft. No matter what, you will have a clear plan for what to do to bring your book to life.
Who do I choose to work with?
I want to make a huge impact on your work
I don't take on every writer who approaches me for this service. I have to believe it can really help you. You have to believe it can really help you. We have to know that we can do awesome work together. The first step is to fill out the application at the bottom of the page to let me know you're interested.
I use five main criteria to make my decision:
1. Commercial Viability: I want to help writers who want to reach the maximum possible number of readers and there are some projects that are more likely to do that than others. I have a pretty good nose for that, by this point -- although that doesn't mean there are any guarantees in publishing. There are not.
That being said, I do something elect to work on projects that have a more modest external goal. I have been working for a year with a client, for example, who is retired after a long and distinguished career in Washington. She wanted to learn how to play the cello and how to write a novel. I admired her resolve, her seriousness of purpose, her intention, and her passion for the inner working of politics (which is what her story is about) and accepted her as a client on those strengths. It has been one of the most satisfying coaching relationships I have had. At the start, I would have put the odds of her being traditionally published at about zero. Now, however, they might be over 50%.
I am not the coach for clients who want to write simply because it feels good, or because they enjoy it, or because their friends tell them they have such interesting stories to tell. There is nothing wrong with those intentions, but I can't have a significant enough impact on those projects to make it worth it.
2. Coach-ability: Is the writer coachable? Are they ready, willing and able to accept guidance? Can they take what I have to offer?
3. Fire in the Belly: Do they have a fire in their belly? Writing a book is a long, hard, complex and emotionally difficult undertaking and everyone has demands on their time, doubt in their mind, and any number of other potential roadblocks to success. Persistence is far more important than talent, so I try to get a sense of why they are doing this, what they hope to get from it, and whether or not they have the resolve to see it through.
4. Can they afford my fees? Publishing is a gamble. Working with a book coach is an investment that may or may not pay off. I couldn't work with someone who didn't understand that, or who was demanding some kind of monetary ROI.
5. Will they make me a better writer, person or coach? I am absolutely made better by working with my clients and I look forward to opening their submission emails every day. I love my work and I have many clients who have worked with me for many years -- we are now on second books and third books. I have become a better editor, a better coach, a better writer and a better person by my association with these people. I look for that possibility.
APPLY FOR PREMIUM LEVEL COACHING ON BLUEPRINT fOR A BOOK
Use this form to let me know you're interested in Blueprint for a Book Premium Coaching. I will send you a detailed Q&A so I can get to know your project and your goals. Note that I normally book 2-3 months in advance.
- Email me using the form to let me know that you're interested. I will send my rate sheet and a Q&A that will help me get to know about you, your project, and your needs.
- If you want to take the next step, send back your Q&A and five sample pages of your work. Instructions for how to do this will be on the Q&A.
- I review Q&As twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I normally get back to you within 72 hours of submission.
- If I think I can help you take your work to the next level, I will email you an overview of my thoughts and ideas for how the Blueprint will work for you, and when I would be able to start coaching.
- If you think the feedback I give you on your project and your process aligns with your needs, and the timing works for your schedule, we can determine a time to start coaching. Note that I normally book clients for this program at least two and sometimes three or four months in advance.
- If you need a 30-minute phone call to make your decision on this investment, we can set up a time to talk.
- If I don't think you are ready to work with me on 1:1 on premium level Blueprint coaching, I will let you know why. It's not a judgment about you or your work. It's usually just a matter of who I can best help.
If 1:1 premium coaching doesn't make sense for you at this time, my programs at Author Accelerator might be just right for you. You'll get my systems and strategies delivered by talented coaching whom I hire, train and oversee.
I am the founder and Chief Creative Officer of Author Accelerator. I started this company because high-level one-on-one book coaching is expensive and not every writer can afford it. I believe however, that every writer needs it. It's the best way to get the book out of your head and onto the page.
The core Author Accelerator coaching program is $399/month for 6 months. It is designed to get you to finish your first draft or a revision draft.
“I’m here to tell you that this program and these people are the best of the lot. I came in intimidated by what I needed to do to make my novel work. What I found was not only encouragement, but a tough-minded empathy and kindness that is rare in the world, let alone the writing world. Jennie Nash’s vision and her tireless efforts to keep making Author Accelerator better have totally blown me away. I know I’m gushing here, but because of you all my story has come to life”— Susan Setteducato-Donnelly