Frequently Asked Questions
Why would you choose to coach with Athena Daniels?
I’m a six-times international bestselling and multi-award-winning author, professionally trained Book Coach, Creativity Coach, and Certified Life Coach. I run my business as an author and coach around the responsibilities that come with being a mother to three with a day job.
I’m passionate about teaching others how to dream big and succeed. Pursuing my passion as a creative entrepreneur around a busy life is something I live every day. Inside tips and secrets for bending time for increased creativity are an added bonus when you choose to coach with me. This means you get the benefit of my skills as a book coach, creativity coach, and life coach all in one!
I am both a traditionally published and self-published author with an active release schedule, which means I keep up to date with the dynamic and ever-changing publishing industry. Today, publishing is one of the most brutally competitive industries on the planet. It’s an investment in time and money. It’s an emotional journey filled with challenges, failure, rejection, and of course, achievement and celebration. Having an unshakeable authorpreneur mindset is key to getting through the journey from writer to successfully published author smoothly. A writer needs strength, resilience, and an understanding of the industry – what to do, what not to do, and how to avoid the pitfalls and costly mistakes. Doesn’t it make sense for you to take the time to learn how to do it right from the start?
To provide education, structure, and resources for writers to create and self-publish books that match the professional standard of quality and purpose of traditionally published books.
Initially, I started out believing my mission was to raise the standard of self-published books in the industry but soon realised that is not true as it implies that the overall standard of self-published books needs improving. Although there is certainly a percentage of self-published books that are arguably… quality-challenged, self-publishing is an option that an increasing number of traditionally published authors choose to pursue today. There are some wildly successful self-published authors making six and even seven figures a year producing exceptional quality books. Many brilliant writers prefer to be their own publisher, take control of their author career, and make all the business decisions themselves.
Traditional publishers have tried and tested processes they follow. They run their books through a professional editing and proofreading process, professional typesetting and cover design without exception. Before selecting your manuscript, they’ve considered where the polished version of your book will sit in the marketplace. They have a solid understanding of readers’ expectations relating to the specific genre. They know what makes a book successful and have refined the title, taglines, and blurb that make a reader choose to buy your book over countless others.
With recent changes in the publishing industry, self-publishing a book is now an opportunity available to anyone. In a fascinating experiment, Brent Underwood self-published, “Putting my Foot Down,” a book that consisted of just one page – a picture of his foot. His experimental book even earned a #1 Best Seller badge on Amazon. Here’s the full article: https://thoughtcatalog.com/brent-underwood/2016/03/my-best-selling-book-started-off-as-a-joke-what-you-dont-know-about-publishing/
Even though the quality of self-published books can vary greatly, readers’ expectations remain the same. By its very existence in the world, a book carries a specific set of promises to the reader. An avid reader myself, I know how disappointed I am when a book doesn’t meet those basic promises. A successful, self-published book meets reader expectations by following the same quality processes that traditional publishers have used for generations.
Instead of signing their rights over to a publisher, a successful authorpreneur chooses their own team of professionals, editors, typesetters, cover designers, and has done the necessary market research. They’ve taken the same steps to reach the same high standards set by traditional publishers and remain in control of their project every step of the way.
I now understand it is my passion, my mission, to help writers reach the same quality publishing standard as traditional publishers from writing the very first word to producing a book that will sit proudly on a shelf next to any traditionally published one.
What exactly is a Book Coach?
“The coach can see what you can’t see.” Tony Robbins
Think of a book coach as your project manager, mentor, and cheerleader through the process of turning your manuscript into a professional book. A book coach helps you get clear on your book’s purpose, guides you through the creation process, and enables you to get results. A book coach helps writers stop talking about writing their book and helps them actually write it. Not just a book, but your best book. A book that has meaning, value, and a reason for being in the world. A book that’s polished and professional with a message that isn’t lost in unnecessary narrative. A book coach knows your ‘why,’ holds the vision for your book, and guides you through each creative phase to achieve a book that you will be proud of. A book that has the potential to impact and change lives.
Many businesses, from start-ups to million-dollar companies, have business coaches. A good coach is a valuable resource, helping visualise your dream, create time-based action plans, and keep you accountable.
As a writer and six-times published author, I understand the challenges writers face in today’s dynamic and ever-changing publishing landscape. The publishing industry seemingly changes every minute. I am dedicated to stay up to date with the latest developments and opportunities in the author world and help you understand your choices and navigate the path that is right for you.
What does a Book Coach Do?
A Book Coach meets you where you are on your writing and publishing journey and helps you clarify and navigate the following steps. Book coaches can assist anywhere from the very first idea for a book, right through to publication and marketing of your work. What are your goals? To only print a few books for your friends and family? To be a resource for current and potential clients? If your goals are more substantial, you need to think like a publisher, do the required market research and write with your ideal reader in mind.
And that’s where good Book Coaches are worth their weight in gold. They bring the experience and knowledge of the publishing industry to you. They do not do it for you, but they help you understand what you need to do, and why you need to do it and are by your side, supporting you throughout the process. A book coach will help you understand what your book’s message is and then help you fulfill that promise to the reader.
“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” Timothy Gallway
When you hire a book coach, you won’t lose control of your work. A book coach won’t take over your project. Instead, they help you remain in complete control by teaching you to understand every step in the process and why they are necessary. This ensures that the book remains authentically yours, written in your voice, and is the very best it can be.
When do you need a book coach?
When you’re ready to stop treating your writing as a hobby, or dream you’ll never achieve and “go pro.” A book coach can step in during any stage from the first idea to advising you on marketing your published novel.
You’ve got something to say, that’s hopefully why you want to publish a book. But what good is your message if it isn’t presented professionally and conveyed clearly? The reader will lose interest if the first chapter doesn’t appear to fulfil the book’s promise and set it aside. If your cover and blurb aren’t created correctly, a reader might not pick up or even find your book among countless others in the online space.
A book must be written and created with your ideal reader in mind if you want your message to reach its intended audience. A book coach helps you get crystal clear about what your book is, and who it’s for. It’s hard to publish and promote a book if you’re unclear about what the essence of your book is and who needs to read it.
Do any of the following describe where you are right now?
- Are you stuck or spending hours writing in circles?
- Do you need clarity on your idea or purpose of your book? You have so many ideas about what you want to write, but what will make an excellent book that your audience will want to read?
- Who is your ideal reader? Who is your message for? Getting clear on who you are writing for helps you create a book that has direction and purpose. You’re not writing a diary; there’s a reason your book needs to be in the world. What is it? And how do you make sure your message is conveyed clearly?
- Do you want to write a book that has the best chance of being read by a wider audience than your family and friends? A book coach can help you do that.
- Are you pursuing publishing through a traditional publisher? A book coach can help you prepare a book proposal agents and publishers want to read.
- Are you planning to self-publish your book? You need to think like a traditional publisher and treat Self-Publishing as a business. A book coach will help you research the market, understand the importance of editing, cover design, formatting, and avoid costly pitfalls.
- Is it your goal to pursue traditional publishing? A book coach can help you write a book proposal publishers and agents will want to read.
- Want to become an authorpreneur and take advantage of the range of opportunities and doors that becoming a published author can open for you? A book coach can show you everything you need to be your own independent publisher and pursuing your goals as an authorpreneur.
What a book coach is NOT:
A book coach is NOT a vanity publisher or POD publisher. A book coach will help you understand why one-size-fits-all publishing does not fit all. Package ‘deals’ for producing and publishing a book is about their company, not about writing and creating your best book. While it might be tempting to use a vanity service that offers you an ‘everything done for you’ service at a price you can afford, there are more important figures to consider—book sales for one. Credibility for another.
A book coach won’t write your book for you. A book coach is not a ghost-writer. Although a book coach makes suggestions and recommendations that keep you moving forward, a good book coach is careful to ensure that your book always feels yours, and your ‘voice’ is preserved at all times.
A book coach shares your vision, helps you understand your ‘why.’ A book coach uses this information to assist you in creating your book’s business plan, complete with budget and distribution strategy. You can upload a shopping list to Amazon and call yourself a published author. A ‘Self-Publishing factory’ can promise to publish even your diary, for a fee, but if you’re serious about creating a professional book and its purpose for being in the world, the writing and publishing process needs to be done correctly.
You are about to publish in one of the most brutally competitive industries on the planet – doesn’t it make sense for you to take the time to learn how to do it right?
Is a Book Coach a POD or Self-Publishing Company?
There are many Self-Publishing companies out there today, charging fees to publish your book without even taking the time to understand or even care what you’re publishing.
Self-Publishing companies will charge a fee to publish your book for you. They take your manuscript and turn it into a book ‘all done for you.’ But don’t be fooled. They are in it to serve themselves, not help you write and create the best book you can. They won’t drill down and help you write your best book. They will publish literally anything without any consideration of quality over content and clarity of your message. Is that what you really want? Is that how you want to show up in the world with your book?
What guarantees can you make about the success of my book?
There are absolutely no guarantees in the publishing industry and be wary of anyone who tells you otherwise. Can anyone ever guarantee a song will be a hit? A movie will be a blockbuster?
To stay in alignment with my personal values of honesty and integrity, I cannot, and will not, make sweeping promises and guarantee your book will become a bestseller and make buckets of money or even make back the return on your investment. There are far too many variables that factor into how successful a book is, including luck and timing, and what the definition of success means for you. (Goals and visions for your publishing goals are discussed and created in all of my coaching packages.)
Another thing to consider is that book sales might not be your most significant revenue stream. It might be speaking opportunities, expanding your business to become an expert in your field, media exposure, and the list goes on. There are authors making multiple six figures and more from the doors that their published book has opened. When a book is done right, and its message and purpose are clear, publishing is just the beginning.
Ok, so you can’t guarantee I’ll become the next Stephen King or make a million dollars, what can you guarantee?
If you are open to being coached and willing to put in the hard work (nobody ever said writing a book is easy), you will end up with a published book, that is the best book you can write, and an achievement you can be proud of. And of course, if you do hit those bestseller lists, I will be cheering your success the loudest!
Publishing a book is a bucket-list item for many people. According to statistics, 80% of people say they want to write a book, but only around 3% actually do. If you show up, you’re open to being coached and put in the necessary work and effort; you will end up with a book with a purpose for existing that you can be proud of.
Books change lives. Your message might be just what someone else needs to hear right now. Give your message the best chance to reach the person who needs to hear it by doing everything you can to fulfill the promise to readers.
Publishing a book that can make a difference in someone else’s life is a powerful and rewarding experience. A book coach might be the missing piece you need right now to make your dream to publish your book a reality.
Self-Publishing means I can cut costs and do it all myself, right?
Technically, you can publish your shopping list if that’s what you want to do. But is that really what you want to do?
A book is a gateway to how you want to show up in the world. A quality book with a message can change lives. It can open doors, opportunities.
“If you want your book to sell like a book, it has to look like a book.” Dan Poynter, The Book Futurist.
Your book needs to strive to have the appearance and quality of a traditionally published book. It is the experience readers enjoy, and the standard we have come to expect. A published book, I believe, carries with it specific promises to the reader. A reader expects a certain ‘experience’ when spending their most valuable resource – time – reading your book over the millions of other choices available.
A nonfiction book or memoir takes readers on a transformational journey.
Regardless of how good you (or your Aunt Betty, the English Teacher) believe you are at editing, formatting, and design, there is a clear and noticeable difference between amateur and professional editors.
Hiring professionals’ costs money. This is the book you will be taking out into the world with you. You want to create the book you want to be seen with and turn up on your arm at any event with. You want it to have its best foot forward. You wouldn’t turn up at Oprah wearing tracksuit pants and scuffed shoes, and you don’t want your reader pulled out of your story every second page because they stumbled over your sentences.
You want your book to be polished and something you can be proud of. You’ve spent countless hours writing, pawing at your soul to make words bleed onto the page. You have a message and know the purpose of your book. Isn’t it only right to give that message the best chance of getting into your readers’ hands? Don’t you want to change a life or many if you could?
Does filling out the questionnaire guarantee you will coach me?
No. Because of the commitment required in coaching, I only take a certain number of clients at any one time. I also have a very clear criteria for what I look for in a potential coaching client.
One of the most important things I look for in a potential client is their willingness to do the work and be ‘coachable.’ This is because my programs are structured in a way that gets results. Writers have often spent months, if not, years on their manuscripts. Coaching is designed to get clear on exactly what your book needs to get the desired outcome—your best book.
Who won’t I coach?
Someone who isn’t passionate about the message of their book. If you want to publish a book just to call yourself a published author, I’m not the coach for you.
I’m about making a difference in the world. As an avid reader, I don’t want my valuable time wasted. I don’t want to be sold a book based on a description that doesn’t deliver on its promise. When a reader chooses your book out of the millions of choices, I want to make sure you’ve done everything you can to fulfill that promise and make the reader’s experience as pleasant as possible.
I can’t guarantee how many copies will be sold, but however many readers do go ahead and choose your book, they will not feel deceived or ripped off due to the quality. If they don’t like your message or subject matter it will have nothing to do with its quality, how it is presented or delivered. Content is subjective.
Is a book coach expensive?
Book coaching is flexible, meaning you can get as little or as much help as you need. Some clients start by purchasing a couple of coaching hours, only to go onto a package when they see the value it brings.
Publishing a book costs money, there’s no getting around that. You’re investing in the creation of a product that will be for sale, something you have spent many hours, months, or even years writing. You want your book to be a professional product and fulfill a promise to the reader. You spend money on quality editors, cover designers, and typesetters. A book coach assists with the content before you get to the production stages, as well as through the publishing process.
Don’t pay a vanity press or Self-Publishing company to do what you can do yourself. If you’re investing money in the creation and publication of your book, make sure you invest in the areas that bring you the most value.
To be clear, I’m not saying that the more you spend on producing your book, the better. I’m saying that if you understand WHAT you need and WHY you need it, you can make informed decisions about what is right for you, your book, your message, and goals.
A book coach helps you understand what your options are at each stage. For example, a more expensive editor isn’t a guarantee their work will be any better than an editor half their price. Do you understand what type of edits you need for your book? What’s the difference between a structural edit, a substantiative edit, a copy/line edit, and proofread? Which ones do you need for your book? Before you go ahead and book them all, understand what each one does and make an informed decision on what your individual needs are. If you don’t understand what each type of edit is and what your book needs, how will you ever decide?
You often talk about A Book’s Promise to Readers – what does this mean?
I believe that a book, simply by its very existence, comes with a set of promises. Like buying a car or other items, the buyer has reasonable expectations of quality and that it delivers on its purpose.
There are processes traditional publishers have in place for a reason. Books carry with them a promise to the reader. An avid reader myself, I want that promise fulfilled when I spend my money on a book.
A book’s promise to the reader is that the author has undertaken every step necessary to ensure the reader’s journey is worth the investment in their time reading it. The book’s description must accurately deliver on its promise. It has been professionally edited so that the reader’s ride is smooth and is not pulled out of the story by clumsy sentences or awkward structure.
A book coach helps you define and fulfill your promise to your readers.