Developmental editor or book coach?

Ever wonder about the difference between a developmental editor and a book coach?

Since becoming a fiction coach, I’ve been asked repeatedly about the differences between a fiction coach and developmental editor. This is a great opportunity to share what I’ve learned so you can make an informed choice for you and your manuscript. 

Before we explore how a coach compares to a developmental editor, let’s get a snapshot of a developmental editor’s job description.

A developmental editor provides advice to develop the structure, plot, character, and other aspects that need cultivation for the next draft. They bring years of study and experience to the manuscript and cast a constructively critical eye over the work as a whole.

When reviewing a manuscript, a developmental editor considers the big picture of the narrative arc. They measure the impact of the story on its target audience and expectations of its genre, the logic and flow of the action beats, the interior lives of the characters and their arcs, the world building, and much more. A manuscript report and a light manuscript mark-up may be provided as a guide for the next few rounds of revisions.

The developmental editor may offer a second round of edits to go through your initial changes, but confirm this approach before re-submitting.

Engaging a developmental editor can provide you with a strong understanding of what needs revision and encourage you to work on your own to get the job done.

Let’s explore how a book coach helps writers to develop their stories in a similar but slightly different way.

A book coach is a developmental editor who works more holistically with writers to develop their stories and overall technique. A book coach also:  

  1. listens to your book and career goals and applies them to the feedback on your manuscript.
  2. assists you with choosing a path to publication that suits your story, aspirations, and individual needs as someone juggling other commitments as well.
  3. guides you in determining when a manuscript is ready for pitching and publication.
  4. listens to your fears and doubts and supports you to build self-confidence and stretch when appropriate.
  5. supports you by applying coaching practices to build resilience and navigate the emotional ups and downs of the writing process.
  6. supports you through writer’s block and rejection by establishing a basis to make informed choices on next steps.
  7. supports you in ways a developmental editor does not, from a hybrid approach of coach, mentor, editor, and support system.

Through rounds of feedback on a manuscript, the book coach builds trust with you to develop both the manuscript and your craft for the long game. As writers see their skills develop, the book coach and writer become a team dedicated to making the manuscript become the best it can be as the writer upskills along the way.

Engaging a book coach might be exactly what you need to stay motivated and nurture your storytelling skills. 

If you need support to develop your story and move toward your writing goals, reach out for an obligation free chat with Selina.  

Selina writes paranormal romance and mystery.

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