#AMA for aspiring novelists with a writer's coach! I'm an award-winning YA fantasy and paranormal romance novelist helping writers bring their books to life as a writer's coach and teacher. I help writers get their books written, polished, and published to the delight of their readers. Let's chat about how. It's not one-size fits all. :) I'm here to answer any questions you have!

Beth Barany
Jun 11, 2018

I write in several genres -- young adult fantasy, paranormal romance, and (coming soon) science fiction mystery, and love helping writers who want to write great escapes for their readers too.

I do that through my blog for and by writers: Writer's Fun Zone, and through my online school for writers here: http://school.bethbarany.com/.

Through our programs, courses, and workshops, we help writers with:

  • planning your novel
  • editing your novel
  • making time to write your novel
  • branding and marketing for novelists
  • publishing your ebooks
  • and more!

MORE WAYS TO CONNECT WITH BETH

#FICTIONGEEKS YouTube channel: http://fictiongeeks.com/videos

Beth's playful YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/StreetEye1001/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Beth_Barany

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bethbarany

Blog: http://www.writersfunzone.com/blog/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/bethbarany/

Amazon: http://amazon.com/Beth-Barany/e/B002F90RKM/

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Does being a writing coach mean you are basically a sounding board to the other person where you brainstorm ideas together? What else is involved in the coaching process?
Jun 17, 8:16AM EDT1

I answered this questions below. I'll repost the reply here:

Lots more is involved, at least the way I do it. :)

Much of what I do is help writers get to know and then use their strengths, learn to trust those strengths, and to be okay with the things they aren't strong in.

Once writers do the above, then they can focus on getting better at whatever it is they want to learn about writing, whether strengthening their craft, improving their writer habits, learning how to market and promote, or anything else.

Many writers come to me with tons of unconscious and conscious judgment about how they write. That judgement gets in the way of the work of being a writer.

It's hard to be a writer when you're constantly judging every word you write or you're afraid of the reception of your work.

I go more into these fears in this article and accompanying free webinar (replay) here.

Jun 17, 2:23PM EDT0
What is your approach in coaching other writers? Do you have a certain strategy you follow with all the writers you help?
Jun 17, 12:34AM EDT1

My approach varies greatly depending on the needs of the writer.

So my strategy is to have an in-depth conversation to discover what each writer needs and wants.

Then we want to work together, we see which of my programs or courses would be best for them.

To schedule your own Discovery Call, go here:

http://www.writersfunzone.com/blog/talk-to-a-writing-coach/

Jun 17, 2:27PM EDT0

Is it possible to promote a book without a budget or very little capital?

Absolutely!

All you need is the willingness to take some risks, experiement, and never give up!

Jun 16, 4:09PM EDT1

I also answered how you can market on little to no budget in other #AMA questions in this feed.

Jun 16, 4:11PM EDT1

Does being a writing coach mean you are basically a sounding board to the other person where you brainstorm ideas together? What else is involved in the coaching process?

Lots more is involved, at least the way I do it. :)

Much of what I do is help writers get to know and then use their strengths, learn to trust those strengths, and to be okay with the things they aren't strong in.

Once writers do the above, then they can focus on getting better at whatever it is they want to learn about writing, whether strengthening their craft, improving their writer habits, learning how to market and promote, or anything else.

Many writers come to me with tons of unconscious and conscious judgment about how they write. That judgement gets in the way of the work of being a writer.

It's hard to be a writer when you're constantly judging every word you write or you're afraid of the reception of your work.

I go more into these fears in this article and accompanying free webinar (replay) here.

Jun 16, 4:08PM EDT1

In case you have questions about what a writing coach does... or at least what I do as a writing coach. :)

Jun 16, 4:10PM EDT1
What are your thoughts on book blogging? Is it a good step for first time writers to get published? Are there any downsides to it?
Jun 16, 10:22AM EDT1

I think book blogging is a wonderful avenue for first time writers (and experienced writers), if you like blogging and sharing your work-in-progress to the public as you learn and grow as a writer.

For those who don't know, book blogging is the process of writing your book via blog posts, thereby publishing your work in pieces over time on your blog. Then once that's done, you compile all the posts and make any needed changes and publish as a book.

The downsides could be that the public feedback dampens your enthusiasm and creative work, and thus your ability to continue through the difficult parts.

I've created two nonfiction books this way (Overcome Writer's Block and Twitter for Authors), and am in the process of creating a third: Spiritual Life of a Fiction Writer by Beth Barany (most of the articles to-date.)

Jun 16, 3:59PM EDT0
Does being a good writer necessairly mean that the same person could be a good writing coach?
Jun 16, 7:09AM EDT1

Not necessarily. Being a good coach means being able to put yourself in a beginning writer's shoes. Not every writer I've met remembers what it was like to be a struggling writer. So, they don't necessarily have the empathy to meet the writer where they are in their struggles.

That said, a good writer could learn how to be a good writing coach, for sure.

Jun 16, 3:49PM EDT0
Shouldn't it be easier to get published now that there are multiple available platforms for publishing competing with each other?
Jun 16, 5:51AM EDT1

Well, it's certainly easier to publish if you want to include self-publishing in your options. 

In terms of being easier than in the past because here are multiple available platforms for publishing competing with each other, I'd have to say "That depends." 

There are more authors than ever working to get published; more niches of readers developing because of new publishing avenues.

Overall, I'd agree that if you want to get published today, it is easier. Good luck!

Jun 16, 3:47PM EDT0

Well, it's certainly easier to publish if you want to include self-publishing in your options. 

In terms of being easier than in the past because here are multiple available platforms for publishing competing with each other, I'd have to say "That depends." 

There are more authors than ever working to get published; more niches of readers developing because of new publishing avenues.

Overall, I'd agree that if you want to get published today, it is easier. Good luck!

Jun 16, 3:47PM EDT0
What is the consideration given to a first-time publisher and is it the same as an experienced writer's work?
Jun 13, 2:55PM EDT1

The short answer is that depends. Who is doing the considering?

If you mean, "What is the consideration given to a first-time writer and is it the same as an experienced writer's work?" and if you're wondering what an editor/publisher or agent might think... Then I'd have to say that they won't know you're a first-time author if you don't tell them.

Seriously, though, I'd expect the same high quality from both a first-time writer and experienced writer, if I were the publisher.

If you want to know what I think as a coach, then each of these types of writers will have different concerns, problems, and challenges. Though I'm not sure if that's what you're asking!

Jun 13, 4:55PM EDT0
What is your personal editing style?
Jun 13, 3:57AM EDT1

I take a multi-layered approach to editing my writing. 

For fiction, I write fairly quickly, after an organic process. (I teach that here.) So when it comes to editing, I do lots of passes.

In my first pass, I read the book on my ereader, highlighting things and taking notes on things that stand out. Then I set the book aside for a while. 

On my second pass, I print out about 30 pages at a time and hand-edit them for clarity, grammar, and add details or cut.

On my third pass, my husband reads aloud these pages to the both of us; he's marking it up and I'm hearing things I missed. (Almost a two-fer!)

On the fourth pass, I input his edits, answering his questions and filling in things based on his suggestions and things I noticed.

Fifth pass: Then I send these approximately 30 pages to my Early Reader team and they send me notes, ranging from typos to story and character questions.

Sixth pass: I send these pages to my critique group of experienced writers who I've been with for over 10 years and get their awesome input.

Seventh pass: I sit with all these edits and make changes.

Eighth pass: I send the whole book to a Beta Reader team, people who haven't seen the book before, and get their input. By this time, I'm pretty happy with the book and feel it's nearly publishing ready.

Ninth pass: I make changes based on beta reader input and then I publish!

Jun 13, 4:51PM EDT0
Are there any writing-related websites and / or books that you find useful?
Jun 12, 6:41PM EDT1

I'm a big fan of these books: (in no particular order):

  • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
  • Story Grid by Shawn Coyne
  • The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler
  • GMC: Goal, Motivation, Conflict by Deb Dixon
  • Writing Stories of Feminine Creative, Spiritual, and Sexual Awakening by Kim Hudson
  • Wired for Story by Lisa Cron
  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland

As for websites, aside from my own, Writer's Fun Zone, I also like:

I don't read a lot of blog posts on writing, as I focus on teaching or my own writing. I prefer books for craft and other aspects of writing.

Jun 12, 7:05PM EDT0
How should an author establish the intentions the publisher has for their book and in what ways can they address the issues and changes they are not willing to make while retaining the contract?
Jun 12, 5:27PM EDT1

A literary agent can help the author work to address any issues and changes and come to an agreement with the editor. An agent can also help the author establish the intentions the publisher has for their book. I wouldn't recommend working with any publisher who does not share your vision for your book. You can consult with a literary lawyer to help you sort out any contract issues too.

Jun 12, 6:55PM EDT0
What happens if the book goes out of print or the publisher goes out of business? Do the rights to publish revert back to the author?
Jun 12, 4:19PM EDT2

Yes, generally the rights refer back to the author, but to be sure, read the contract. If needed, consult a literary lawyer.

Jun 12, 4:31PM EDT0
Do you manage to write on daily basis? Also whats your best way to deal with writers block?
Jun 12, 6:21AM EDT1

I write about 4-6 times per week, so not every day. I take at least one day off for my mental and emotional health.

My best way to deal with writer's block is to set the timer for 10 or 20 minutes and write just 500 words, at least. I always ending up writing more, but on the few times I only get to my minimum, I still feel good.

The point is I create small wins. That way I feel good about coming back to my writing the next day.

I wrote a post about the cumulative power of writing one word at a day here:

http://www.writersfunzone.com/blog/2018/05/16/one-word-at-a-time-the-law-of-compound-effects-by-beth-barany/

Jun 12, 4:31PM EDT0
How did you go about making your first sale? Did you ever try to sell without an agent?
Jun 12, 5:47AM EDT1

I self-publish my books, so I sell book directly to my readers online and in-person. I've never add an agent. You could say I am my own agent!

Jun 12, 4:25PM EDT0
Are your books available as eBooks? How involved are you in that process? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Jun 11, 10:04PM EDT1

Yes, my books are available as eBooks on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and elsewhere. I'm intimately involved in publishing my eBooks and do all the work myself. I read both eBooks and paper, about 75% and 25%.

Jun 11, 10:24PM EDT0
In what specific ways does a writing coach help an author?
Jun 10, 4:18AM EDT1

The specific ways will vary depending on the author's concerns, challenges, and goals.

Here are some examples: One author wants to move forward on her book, but doesn't know if what she's written is any good. She's passionate about her genre, but feels pulled in many directions. We talk; I hear her passion. I also understand that she wants to create something a bit different from the norm, and has no role models or any other writers around her who seem to understand her vision. She hires me; I read her work, and notice that her instincts are right on. She keeps writing, showing me pages each week. I give her feedback on what's working and what I'd like to see more of.

Eventually she finishes her first draft and tells me that I helped her believe in herself, and that has made all the difference.

Another writer didn't believe he had what it took to write write a novel, then finally did with the help of regular meetings with me where he had to turn in pages. He also used my step-by-step planning course and writing support group to get his book finished.

Another writer wanted help brainstorming and getting asked questions she hadn't thought of. So that's what we did together. She's now got a completed manuscript.

Another client wanted help getting an agent, so we worked together to perfect her pitch and query letter. Some months later she got an agent, then a publishing offer. She's proud of the book that was published.

These are just some of the specific ways I help authors.

Last edited @ Jun 11, 8:34PM EDT.
Jun 11, 12:32AM EDT1
What method of publishing do you prefer: Self-publishing or through a publisher? What are the pros and cons?
Jun 9, 2:30PM EDT1

I prefer self-publishing at this point. The pros and cons essentially boil down to who gets to make all the decisions and who is the investor for your book. In self-publishing, that's you. 

In traditional publishing, the publisher is the investor and gets most of the profits. You don't get a say about the cover or marketing activities. You come to an agreement about editorial choices, but if you don't come to an agreement, your work won't be published.

Here's an article on the pros and cons:

http://www.writersfunzone.com/blog/2016/02/25/self-publishing-vs-traditional-publishing-by-deanna-jackson/

I created a free report here -- you do need to sign up for it and can unsubscribe at any time:

http://www.writersfunzone.com/blog/self-publishing-vs-traditional-publishing-report/

Last edited @ Jun 11, 8:36PM EDT.
Jun 11, 12:02AM EDT0
So far, what genre has been your favorite to write and what are your reasons for this preference?
Jun 9, 12:16PM EDT1

I really have enjoyed writing fantasy the most; that may be because so far I've spent the longest on it. It took me about 12 years to complete my Henrietta The Dragon Slayer trilogy.

(And I'm still working on my more stories with my beloved characters.)

Last edited @ Jun 11, 8:37PM EDT.
Jun 10, 11:59PM EDT0

What is your approach to writing dialogue for each character?

Jun 8, 11:53AM EDT1

This is a great craft question. My approach is to draft the dialogue quickly. Then during editing, I think deeply about the characters' arc (change) for the scene and add layers of thought, action, and emotion to create a three-dimensional person on the page.

More resources on creating dialogue here:

http://www.writersfunzone.com/blog/2018/02/28/writing-dialogue-resources-novelists-writers-fun-zone/

Last edited @ Jun 11, 8:37PM EDT.
Jun 10, 11:56PM EDT0
Is it possible to promote a book without a budget or very little capital?
Jun 8, 1:54AM EDT1

Absolutely. One way to do that is to send out lots of books for review.

I wrote an article on this very topic here:

http://www.writersfunzone.com/blog/2015/11/05/how-to-get-reviews-by-beth-barany/

Essentially, word of mouth sells books. What can you do in your world to generate this? Can you get the local press interested in you? How about relevant podcasts?

Yes, getting media coverage is free; you just need to put in some elbow grease to make your book relevant and attractive to the media. Since there are so many outlets out there -- blogs, podcast, local print magazines and newspapers -- you can be busy with that.

Another free activity is speaking. Check your local libraries, bookstores, senior centers, Rotary clubs, writing associations, etc.

Last edited @ Jun 11, 8:40PM EDT.
Jun 10, 11:50PM EDT0
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