people-workingThe first book I wrote was commissioned by a publisher. I was thrilled, of course. As a work-life balance expert I was very happy to hear that a publisher thought the subject, an emerging concept at the time, was one that merited a self-help book for individuals, as well as the business manual I was already writing for them.

The trouble was, they had already decided what should go in the self-help book and had created a structure for me. They asked me to go away and write the content and – not knowing any better at the time – that’s what I did. It was a rather isolating process, and for most of the time I wasn’t sure if I was doing this book-writing thing right, but I finished it and handed over the manuscript.

I didn’t get a lot of feedback. In fact the book was published with very few changes from my first draft. In hindsight I realise it would have been a lot better if I had worked with someone who knew more about business or self-help books than I did: a writing coach was what I had needed, but no one had suggested it.

Not long after this, I decided to write my first novel. I felt I should approach this in a completely different and more spontaneous way, so I decided on a story (rather than a plot), and spent several intense weeks being “creative” and pouring out a stream of consciousness narrative. I was rather pleased with my work and sent it off to a literary agent I knew; I waited with bated breath until I got a response from her.

Dear Lucy,” she wrote. “I received your manuscript… it is both boring and unbelievable.”

To say I was shocked would be an understatement. But when I’d had time to process her feedback, I realised she was right.

I started again. This time I knew I needed support. I found a recommended professional writing coach. Together we created a structure for the book – but I owned it. Then we agreed a writing schedule. I was accountable to her for doing the writing in the time we had decided on, and she read everything I wrote and gave me regular feedback in writing and on the phone. Her experience and expertise made all the difference. My novel was published by Macmillan after being shortlisted in a major national competition.

post-it-notesToday I’ve written and had published ten books – and I coach and mentor other writers. As the Publish Mentor of the Key Person of Influence programme in the UK and Singapore, I guide many entrepreneurs through the process of writing their first business or self-help book. I help them to avoid the mistakes many first-time authors make, which often result in them starting but never finishing their book.

At Rethink Press we have a team of business book writing coaches who work with many of our authors, especially those writing their debut book. Our BookBuddy service puts into practice everything I learned through NOT working with a writing coach. Starting with a full-day workshop to create a winning title and subtitle, detailed structure and overview book pitch, our specialist business and self-help book writing coaches ensure that the author:

  • Owns their content and has complete confidence in the structure they’ve devised
  • Creates a realistic and achievable writing schedule
  • Has an accountability buddy to bounce ideas off, share high points, and pick them up from the inevitable writing blues
  • Gets expert feedback on everything they write, so they can
  • Finalise a solid, second-draft manuscript for their book, ready for beta readers or a professional edit

If you want to know more about working with a business book writing coach to get your signature book planned, structured and written, take a look at our BookBuddy Writing Coaching service and drop me an email at

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