Writing is often a solitary act but is not synonymous with total solitude. Even if we feel “inspired”, in my opinion this is a “job” in its own right. Which implies that we must train ourselves to perform better.
Unfortunately, there is no “recognized” course of study for becoming a writer and we are often faced with ourselves. To overcome our questions or doubts, whether global or on a specific subject, calling on a writing coach can be a good solution. Because what we learn does not just respond to a need of the moment but helps us progress over time with learned mechanics that are sustainable. For my part, I worked in individual coaching with Roxane Dambre, hybrid author – published in publishing house and self-published – of fantasy and romantic comedy, which offers the most comprehensive support for authors in order to improve or unlock a writing point. As far as I was concerned, I needed to reread the plan and construct the synopsis. During 1 hour 30 minutes by video, Roxane analyzed, dissected and pointed out areas for improvement to work on in such a way that when I hung up, I knew what I had to do to achieve my objective.
Why did I choose her among the plethora of authors who offer their service?
- For its credibility in the first place. To date, she has sold more than 500,000 copies of these novels worldwide, and above all, she has trained with publishing professionals through the houses with whom she learned when she began her career.
- For its offer which is broad and above all adaptable to specific issues which align with the specific needs of the author according to his degree of progress in his project.
- Its mode of operation: the 1h30 video allows us to exchange in a much more friendly and interactive way than by email and I like the closeness generated by this interview.
- Finally, for its more than reasonable prices, especially given the added value it brought me.
So, I offered to take part in an interview so that she could present this part of her activity to you through questions and answers.
ST: What led you to offer author coaching and why ?
RD: When I was selected by an ME  the first time, it was in 2012, for my Animae series. I was lucky to be really well supported by the editor who made me rework my texts with suggestions and/or relevant comments. I learned a lot about what works and what doesn't in writing a novel, whether with her or with the proofreaders who also gave me feedback. However, at the time, there was no training for authors to help them work on their stories outside of editorial work through an ME. However, a novel that is poorly put together in terms of plot, character depth or story coherence has little chance of attracting attention. So I acquired these skills gradually through these collaborations.
Then one day, during a trade fair, an author friend who asked me for advice on several of these points told me that I was presenting them in a very educational way and that I should get into coaching, in order to pass them on to others. others who needed it too. Which made me realize that, indeed, I was regularly contacted by people with more or less the same concerns regarding their writing. This is how I created my blog by posting articles on writing issues, then a writing group on FB and finally the masterclasses that I launched in 2018, a bit like that, telling myself that maybe some people would be interested. The enthusiasm was such that I have, to date, trained more than 500 people through this method. Subsequently, as my students progressed, their problems became more specific and I opened personalized coaching slots in order to best respond to their individual requests.
ST: So you started by offering free content and then offering paid services. For what ?
RD: Because I understood that, for some, what is free has no value and that the approach is therefore not the same. Indeed, when I volunteer my time to respond to certain requests, the reception and listening are far from optimal, people do not apply, quickly forget and ask me exactly the same question after three month. On the other hand, if the same advice pays off, then people are very attentive, apply it immediately and their progress is dazzling! The quality of the exchanges is therefore much better and the energy/time spent is much more productive both for me and for them.
ST: It is true that the added value of your coaching is, for me, operational excellence in terms of results. It's a bias in yours ?
RD: Absolutely! I design my training courses so that they are interactive, lively, and above all, effective for the people who follow them. For example, I systematically integrate practical exercises on THEIR novels. This way, at the end of the masterclass, they have a concrete action plan to move forward with their stories. It is not a simple presentation of the mechanics to use but rather how to appropriate them for each of my students. The new masterclass is a bootcamp where I offer practical workshops on a specific subject (author communication, self-publishing, etc.).
ST: Given the number of requests, this author coaching activity is time-consuming for you, so what does it bring you? ?
RD: So, from a financial point of view, frankly not much. This represents less than 5% of my income. On the other hand, it's something that I love doing because from an intellectual point of view, I enjoy transmitting it. And above all, from a human relations point of view, it is very enriching. Because it allows me to interact with people from varied backgrounds, but who have in common with me, the desire and love of writing. It is also an intense satisfaction to see my students grow in their path. I am very happy to be able to say today that some students have become “colleagues”, even friends. This openness is important for my life as an author, because otherwise we can quickly become locked in a heavy solitude. While sharing my passion for writing is an unspeakable pleasure, even more so when it is useful!
ST: What do you expect from your students? ?
RD: Not everyone who contacts me is necessarily at the same stage in their writing project, which is completely normal. On the other hand, all the students who take the plunge to work with me have a real desire to learn. This is what I expect from them. Involvement which translates into listening, a willingness to be open and to work on areas for improvement detected. I feel invested with a mission in these coachings: to help the people who trust me progress. Which implies that they are ready to question their writings, their ways of doing things or their sometimes limiting beliefs if necessary. Because my more global objective is to promote quality French literature, whatever the genre. Which implies that I'm not here to say what people want to hear but what they NEED to hear to become better.
In summary, even if they are all amateurs at the start, I expect them to be ready to adopt a professional posture, because that is what I will teach them so that they can succeed, whatever their objective.
ST: But not everyone wants to become a professional, no ?
RD: I don't make a difference because the projects evolve and, above all, the mechanics apply in the same way whether we seek to make a living from our pen or whether we write for leisure. For example, the plot must be well constructed, with good rhythm, in-depth characters and a coherent sequence. What we call “book marketing” must be of quality, with a cover that meets the codes of the chosen literary genre, careful spelling and typographical correction as well as a punchy summary. Finally, communication on the networks must be aligned to support the novel, in order to attract the right readers, those likely to like the story!
ST: Certainly, what is the point of training if not to offer the best of your novel, I completely agree ! Thank you for this qualitative and straightforward exchange.
RD: With pleasure! This is, once again, also why I like training so much: for the proximity and shared energy.
If you are interested in author coaching , I suggest you discover Roxane's site where everything is explained in detail: for my part, I can only recommend that you use it if the need arises. , because it really made the difference for me.
Have you already tried this type of service? Tell me everything in the comments!
PS. I also chose Roxane Dambre because I appreciate the quality of her novels, and particularly her Scorpi and Quickstone sagas. Don't hesitate to discover his bibliography if you don't know, because it seems that to write, you also have to read a lot 😊.
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