Welcome to the first Book Coach Spotlight!
This month, I interviewed my own book coach, Trisha Jenn Loehr! Trisha and I met through an editing organization, and we've been good friends ever since. When she decided to launch her book coaching business for romance authors, I knew I wanted to work with her on my own series. I'm glad I jumped at the chance to get her advice because I know she'll have romance authors flocking to her soon!
Bio: Trisha Jenn Loehr is a non-profit communications professional and freelance editor turned book coach for romance writers. As a book coach, her goal is to be the voice that encourages women who write so-called “fluff” or “guilty pleasure” books, to give them permission to do something they enjoy and not feel guilt or shame for writing books that showcase happy stories and make readers smile. Her feedback is always intended to help writers become even better storytellers than they already are.
Along with her Author Accelerator Book Coach Certification, Trisha has a B.A. in communications and professional writing, a minor in political science, a certificate in leadership and applied public affairs, and a certificate in dance performance preparation. (Yeah, it’s a weird mix.) She is also mom of an angel boy in heaven and a sweet rainbow of a little girl, and an advocate for infertility and pregnancy loss awareness.
Q: How did you get into book coaching, and what drew you to it?
A: I loved editing but found it frustrating that so many writers who needed help with their stories had to not only complete an entire manuscript before I could help them (a huge hurdle in itself) but also that the cost of a full developmental edit was so high that it was way out of budget for so many folks. At the same time, I was also trying to find a way to make my business work better for my life too. I needed it to be financially sustainable, something I enjoyed doing, and something that gave me the flexibility I needed. Full developmental edits take a loooong time and I just didn’t have those huge pockets of time anymore.
I kept seeing podcasts and workshops and webinars featuring a lady called Jennie Nash and her company Author Accelerator, and I finally tuned in—and realized it was exactly what I wanted and needed! Book coaching is all about helping authors tell their stories. It uses my developmental editing skills and my people skills and my love of chatting with folks about writing. It’s focused on being relational and encouraging and starting wherever in the writing journey the client needs help. I signed up for the training program and am thrilled to have earned my Author Accelerator Book Coach Certification in Fiction.
Q: What does a book coach do, and when should a writer reach out to a coach for help?
A: A book coach is so many things—a developmental editor, a brainstorming partner, an encourager, a project manager, an accountability buddy, a guide to publishing, and more. We give you written feedback on your writing at regular intervals as you write and have video calls to talk through your story, your hurdles, and anything related to your novel or your writing life that you need help with. We’re available to answer questions and help you set and meet your writing goals, and…I could go on and on. :)
A writer should reach out to a book coach whenever they feel like they need some help! I work with writers at nearly any stage of the writing journey. Those who are trying to figure out their story idea and are preparing to write their novel, those who are drafting or who have a first draft and need to figure out how to revise it, and those who have a polished manuscript and want to start pitching literary agents (if they hope to traditionally publish).
Q: What’s your favorite part of working with romance authors?
A: I love chatting with authors, hearing them talk about their books, and seeing how excited they are and how much joy the story brings them. And when I get to be there and see the lightbulb moment when they figure out the solution to something that hasn’t been working, it’s the absolute best.
Q: What’s your number one writing/publishing tip for romance authors?
A: Always look for narrative drive in your story—are the character’s choices and actions moving things forward. If not, figure out how to make that happen so the story isn’t just happening to your character. It’s way more fun to read.
Q: Besides book coaching, you’re writing your own romance novel, right? Can you tell us a bit about that?
A: I am! I’m working on an enemies-to-lovers romance about two people who cannot stand each other but agree to a fake engagement to try to win a house and a million bucks. I’ve been very slowly working on it in bits and spurts since 2019 and hope to actually finish it one day.
Q: Do you have any writing rituals? (e.g., lighting a candle before you write, meditating before you write, going for a walk to get ideas)
A: I’m a beverage a cozy spot kind of writer. In winter, I get a hot tea and my cozy blanket and settle in on the couch with my laptop. In summer, I make a huge iced chai in a mason jar and sit on my back deck in the sunshine with my laptop. These days, I also always have a baby monitor with me and send up a little prayer that my kiddo will have a nice, long nap so I can get in a nice, long writing session.
Q: What are your top resource recommendations for authors?
A: Marissa Meyer’s The Happy Writer podcast is a delightful podcast in which she chats with writers about their books and their writing journeys. It’s wonderful for writers and readers and really does just make me happy listening to it.
The Shit No One Tells You About Writing is a great podcast for those who are getting close to pitching literary agents. It’s hosted by Bianca Marais, an author, and two literary agents, CeCe Lyra and Carly Waters. Each episode, they do a segment in which the literary agents read and analyze query letters to help folks understand what literary agents are looking for there. They also have a regular segment on picking comp titles, which I know so many authors struggle with.
And most importantly, find a writing community. Having a few writer friends who you can send memes to or who you can plan a write in with can be hugely beneficial and encouraging. My coaching colleague and mentor Sara Gentry offers a few free hour-long Write On! sessions each week on Zoom in which writers share their writing goal, write for 50 minutes, and then check in again at the end. It’s friendly, low-pressure, and great accountability and I join as often as I can.
Q: What’s your number one tip for tackling imposter syndrome?
A: Fun fact: the main character in the novel I’m working on struggles with imposter syndrome! And so do I. :) Spending time with other writers and book coaches is the best way I’ve found to tackle imposter syndrome because no matter how much more experienced the folks in the group are than me, there’s always, always, always something that either I know more about than they do or I’ll realize that they are struggling with the exact same things as me. It’s both humbling and encouraging.
Q: How do you refill your creative well?
A: I love going for walks outdoors or snuggling up with a romance novel to read just for fun and not for work.
Q: Anything else to add?
A: I feel so incredibly lucky to be doing this work and am excited to see where it goes. I’ve only been officially book coaching since late last year and already I can tell that this is exactly the right move for my business and my creativity. I’d love to hear from any writers who have questions about book coaching and if it’s right for them.
I primarily work with women writers because the romance genre is so often authored by women and looked down on in part because of that. My mission is to encourage women who write romance to not feel any shame or guilt for writing these kinds of books, but to instead to relish the joy that these stories celebrate and share.
If you'd like to follow Trisha Jenn Loehr on her book coaching journey or find out more about her writing, this is where you can find her: