Book coach and founder of Author Accelerator Jennie Nash joins Zibby to discuss her latest book, Blueprint for a Book: Build Your Novel from the Inside Out, which offers writers a number of tools for literary success. The two talk about the advice Jennie offered Zibby for her own memoir, how Jennie is using her company to empower those who have been marginalized by the publishing industry, and what many writers get wrong when they try to write a book. Jennie also shares how she went from being a writer to a teacher to a coach, and why this position is the most fulfilling of the three.


Zibby Owens: Welcome, Jennie. Thank you so much for coming on “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books” to discuss Blueprint for a Book: Build Your Novel from the Inside Out.

Jennie Nash: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Zibby: I was just saying before we started, this is such a full-circle moment for me because you helped me when I was trying to write a book, which is now being published in one form or another as Bookends. Then, it was in a completely different iteration, or pretty different. I think about these questions that you have in here as part of the fourteen questions, particularly, what would you put on the jacket flap? I remember, at the time, you asked me to write the jacket flap for one novel or something that I was working on. I was like, oh, I wouldn’t want to read that book, so I better not write that book. Tell listeners about what your blueprint model is and how you became a book coach. I want to hear the whole thing.

Jennie: You just encapsulated, actually, perfectly what my whole philosophy about writing is, which is, you have to know what you’re writing, why you’re writing it, who you’re writing it for. You have to know those deep-level questions before you can write something that’s going to hold together. Sometimes that process of discovery — people are called to write. You have been called to write your whole life. Oftentimes, it comes from being a reader and being so touched by the books that we read and wanting to be that for somebody else, wanting to be in the mix, in the game. There’s this call. There’s this burn. There’s this yearning. Maybe you have a story. What I’ve found is that creative people have a thousand stories. They have so many things that they could write or that they want to write. Oftentimes, it’s, what should I work on? What is the thing to focus upon? Is this book right or good enough? Should I bother? Should I put the time in? All those questions.

Too often, the way we teach writing is we leap to craft. Craft is about, how do you write a scene? How do you develop a character? How do you write dialogue? How do you develop a plot? All those questions which you have to answer at some point, but you shouldn’t answer them at the beginning. What I have found in my career as a book coach is that you can write your way to the answer. One hundred percent, you can write your way to the answer. You’ve done it. I’ve done it. Famous people have done it. It just is really inefficient and frustrating. My whole philosophy encapsulated in Blueprint for a Book is, take a little bit of time before you write or if you’re stuck to figure out these fundamental questions, this blueprint for your book. It’s going to unlock everything. It’s going to make everything easier. Writing is never easy. There’s no magic solution, but it’s going to make it easier. It’s going to make it more efficient. It’s going to make you more confident. That is an idea I’ve staked my whole career on.

Zibby: So it better work. You had cases studies in here from Carla Naumburg and K. J. Dell’Antonia, both who have written for my most recent anthology, Moms Don’t Have Time to Have Kids, and have been on my podcast and whose books I love. It was so neat to see all of their things excerpted, this scene and that scene, and have it analyzed by you.

Jennie: I’m so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with just amazing writers. I was a writer for a long time. It’s what I thought I wanted to be in my life. I did the whole thing. I had a three-book deal at Penguin. I was a really firmly mid-list writer, which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s kind of not the place you want to be.

Zibby: It sounds like better than bottom of the list or better than not on the list at all.

Jennie: I mean, yes. There is a certain thing to that for people who are just trying to get started or get their first book or what have you. That is what you want. That is where you want to be. I was sort of stuck there. I was trying to make a real career of it, of being a writer. In that mid-list place, you kind of can’t because you’re not really making enough money. It’s very unstable and insecure. I knew I was good at this. I knew I liked this. I accidentally stumbled into book coaching when I was teaching at UCLA in the adult education writers’ program, which is an incredible program they offer. It’s LA, so there’s TV sitcom writing and movie writing and also book writing.

Zibby: I took a class there, you know.

Jennie: You did?

Zibby: I did, yep, after college when I had just moved to LA. I wanted to keep writing and meet other people who loved to write. I took a personal essay class there. Now my husband, whenever we drive by, he’s like, “It’s your alma mater.” I’m like, “It is not my alma mater. I just took one class.”

Jennie: There’s so many places to learn how to write. It was a great program. I developed a bit of a reputation there as being very market-focused. I think that that was because of where I was in my own career. You got to sell. You got to write things that are going to sell. That doesn’t mean writing to the market. I still believe you should write what you’re called to write and what’s in your heart to write. I was teaching a lot of memoir. My whole mantra was, you can write your story all day long if it is something you want to do or it feels good or it’s fun or it’s therapeutic all day, but as soon as you start thinking about, I want readers, I want a book deal, I want an agent, I want all the things, you better start thinking about your reader and who they are and what they want and what they need. I kind of developed this reputation. One of my colleagues approached me. She was an agent. She was an incredible story analyst. She wanted to write a book for writers. She had never written a book. She said, “Will you take me all the way through? Will you help me plan it, write it, pitch it, do all the things?” She wasn’t looking for a ghostwriter. She was looking for a guide and a cheerleader and all of those other intangible things. I had never done it before, but I was just itching. I said, “Oh, my gosh, that sounds like exactly what I want to do.” The constraints of teaching in a six-week course, probably the kind of course you took, an eight-week course, a ten-week course — was yours ten?

Zibby: This was in 1998 or 1999 or something, so I don’t even know. It couldn’t have been more than six or — somewhere between six and ten weeks, I would say.

Jennie: It’s a very frustrating process for the instructor and the writer. The writer wants more attention on their words. The instructor can’t give it. It’s so frustrating. Writing, there’s patterns to it. There’s things we all do. There’s universal things about creativity, but it’s so unique. The words on the page are so unique to you. What you want is somebody paying attention to your words. I did that with this writer and developed the processes and systems that I still use today. They’re much refined now. That writer turned out to be Lisa Cron. Her book, Wired for Story, became massively popular in the writing world. The follow-up book that I also helped her with, Story Genius, they’ve become foundational texts for a lot of people. She’s just brilliant at analyzing story. At that point, I was like, oh, this is what I want to do. I don’t want to make the fight to be a writer. I think I’m a better book coach than I am a writer. I shifted my whole career to helping other people and helping other writers. It’s just been a thrill. I just love it.

Zibby: If people are listening and they’re thinking to themselves, how do I know if I need a book coach? at what stage is the best time to get a book coach? Is it after you’ve written it? Is it as you’re getting started? Does a book coach edit or just provide general feedback? Take it from there.

Jennie: Everybody generally knows what an editor does. An editor comes in after the work is finished and goes through it and tells you how to make it better. That might be called a developmental edit. Anybody who’s ever been edited usually adores the process because it’s amazing. It’s usually the first time you’ve had somebody paying that really close attention to your words. It’s such a privilege and a gift to be edited by a great editor. A book coach comes in earlier in the process, usually, and sticks with you through it. Rather than, “Oh, here’s this thing, and I’m done. Will you look at it?” in a perfect world, it’s, “Here’s this idea. I’m noodling. I want to get it right.” A book coach is going to be like a personal trainer. They’re going to keep you accountable. They’re going to give you deadlines. They’re going to give you feedback in almost real time. I give my clients feedback within forty-eights hours. You’ve got that feedback. It’s editorial feedback just like an editor would give. Different. Book coaches have different levels of input, but you’re going to get that editorial feedback, that accountability, and then critically, the emotional support. You know very well, writing, it has ups and downs. You fall into despair and doubt. Good things happen. Bad things happen.

There’s usually nobody that really understands that in your life the way that a book coach can. We’re just in it, in the creative process with our clients. Your question was, when would somebody best use it? I wish that most writers would start with some kind of professional help on their books. Most people don’t. They start to write. They usually complete a full draft, which is a year of their time, at least, usually many more. If there’s flaws baked into it, all they’ve done is just deepen those flaws. Sometimes the flaws, they’re unfixable. Then they go out to pitch it. They know they can write. They know they have a good story, but they’re not getting traction. They don’t know why. That’s usually the time people come to a book coach, is when all other doors have been shut. It’s very painful because it’s so late. Then what we’re doing is saying, there’s this fundamental thing that’s not working. There’s evidence. This is not an opinion. It’s evidence here in the pages for why this isn’t holding together or why it’s not working. It’s really hard news to deliver. In a perfect world, I would say, get help at the very beginning. That’s what the blueprint that I wrote about is. Make sure it’s solid at the beginning. Then write forward. Maybe you don’t feel that you need help or you feel good and confident and sure at that point. I just think that can make all the difference in the whole world.

Zibby: I feel like book coaches are like doulas. You’re kind of like a doula rather than the OB who’s delivering the book. You’re along the way. You hold the hand. You make sure it’s all set up for success. You get it all the way to the finish line and then hand it off.

Jennie: You’re a publisher now. What you’re doing with your new venture is actually addressing an extremely similar problem to what book coaches address at a different stage of the process. It’s this idea of nurturing. That’s gotten so squeezed out of publishing for all the reasons. Life moves fast. Publishing has changed. People are really risk-averse in publishing now. They want the next big, sure hit. They want celebrity things or Instagram influencer things. The days of a writer being supported through maybe a book not doing well or maybe a small first book or maybe a — a career takes a really long time to build. That nurturing is what I felt had gone missing. I had a taste of it in my time as a writer. I really had a taste of it. There’s just nothing like it, having somebody, sending your chapters, waiting for them, giving you that feedback, encouraging you, believing in you, that nurturing. I’m just thrilled to see what you’re doing. Again, it’s at a different stage. It’s like, okay, these writers have finished manuscripts that are ready to be published. They need nurturing too. That part of the process is incredibly intense. There’s so many skills you need at that part of the process. What you’re doing is that for that stage. What a book coach is doing is, before you even get to that stage, you could have nurturing as well.

Zibby: I feel like we should probably partner on more projects. A number of things we’re doing are memoirs that are about to be written where I’m like, “I want you to write a memoir. What do you think?” It is very, very similar. They just know where it’s going to end up versus doing it on spec, if you will.

Jennie: Exactly. What I really like about your model, which is similar to our model, is — this idea that you’re going to get plucked out of what used to be called the slush pile, you’re going to get plucked out of the slush pile and a fairy grandmother is going to wave a wand and make you a best-selling writer, there’s that very pervasive myth out there. It just doesn’t happen like that. It’s so much work. We see writers that we’ve never heard of, maybe, or writers that we love who have a new book — Jodi Picoult just had a new book come out. You think, oh, there’s the book. Yay, a new Jodi Picoult book. She worked so hard on that for years. Maybe she’s been thinking of it for who knows how long. What it takes for a person like that to bring that forth and to get that into our hands, so much goes —

Zibby: — Actually, if you want to know, you can listen to my podcast with her. She talks all about that.

Jennie: I missed that one. Did you just talk to her?

Zibby: I talked to her in the last couple months, right around when her book came out. I don’t know.

Jennie: Well, since you do four hundred podcasts a year…

Zibby: I know. I’m trying to slow down. I really am. It’s just hard.

Jennie: There’s no magic wand. It’s just a lot of really hard work at every stage. I like the model that’s a little bit more of a startup model, the entrepreneurial model that a writer is bringing a product into the world. They need to do all the things that the entrepreneur would do, which is, who’s my audience? Who’s going to buy this? How is it going to get into their hands? What do I need to do? What skills do I need? Do I need to partner with people? All these questions. It’s much more intentional than, oh, pick me. Please pick me. I just want to be picked. I want to be plucked out. I want to be anointed. I’m all about the hard work. If it’s going to be hard work and you need support, align yourself with whoever can give you that support. Be intentional that that’s what you’re aiming for and that’s your goal and that’s what you want rather than the, nobody’s choosing me. Woe is me.

Zibby: It’s very true. Having been on the losing side of the equation or the aspiring side and now on this side acquiring and evaluating manuscripts, it’s a very, obviously, different process. The books that come in through the slush pile, if you will, the main thing there is they are not usually — I shouldn’t say always. The books that come in from agents have been tightened up and edited. A lot of the problems are gone. They’re formatted. There are no typos. Some of the unagented are really great, just maybe not right for us. I would say in general, if I could make sweeping statements, it’s easier as a publisher to evaluate some of the more polished submissions, whether it’s agented or not, because that’s more of a — you have to evaluate, how many resources does your publisher really have? Do they have time? Do they have time to be editing? Different publishers have different amounts of that available to their authors. I used to get the advice from you and other people and everything, make sure it’s all polished. I’m like, no, I’m just going to send another proposal. I’m just going to try again.

Jennie: I heard you tell that story about your own book, of realizing that you had sent it out when it wasn’t really ready. You probably know now — agents know this. Publishers know this. Book coaches know this. If we see a writer and they’re in despair — why is my book not getting traction? Why is it not getting chosen? Why is it not getting picked up? Why is it not getting offers? We look at it. It doesn’t take very long to see why. There are evidence-based reasons. It’s not totally subjective. I just hate to see that heartbreak in the writers where they think that it’s them. They think, oh, I must not be good at this. I must not be a good storyteller. Maybe my story’s not good. Maybe I can’t write, or whatever that thing in their head is. It’s usually not that. It’s usually that they just haven’t had the nurturing. I don’t want to throw anybody under the bus because we all just do the best we can with what we have and what we know.

When I was teaching at UCLA, there was this really frustrating type of student. This is adult education, so they would’ve been in the program for ten years taking every class under the sun. They would come into my class. I had amazing colleagues. They would say, I’ve taken Lisa’s class and Barbara’s class and Monica’s class and all the classes. You’re like, wow, they’re really putting some effort into this. Then you would see their work. It wasn’t holding together. They thought that they were working hard, but they were just taking piecemeal craft classes a little bit at a time. You can learn some things that way, but a book is its own thing. It’s a long, complex, intellectual work of art. You can’t really learn it six weeks at a time. It was just very frustrating to teach in that sort of a program and to see what the writers were trying to accomplish but just not going about it in the right way. It was hard.

Zibby: Now you train and have a whole team of book accelerators, book coaches. You do teach classes. Tell me how you’ve expanded this whole thing.

Jennie: After I began to coach my own self, my career really took off. I had some really great early successes. After Lisa Cron’s two-book deal, I had a client get a deal at Simon & Schuster. I had another one get a deal at Scribner. I was like, oh, my process really works. I began to have more work I could do my own self. I started a company called Author Accelerator to train other people how to be book coaches. We have a certification program. We’ve certified ninety-four book coaches, mostly in fiction. We just started certifying in nonfiction this year. We have about fifteen so far in nonfiction. The certification program is very rigorous. It takes people about nine months. You have to work with clients. You have to record your coaching sessions. We’re really looking for the editorial chops but also the compassion and the project management, how you can move a writer forward. Now we have this really robust community of book coaches. We would like to be a leader of this new industry. It’s super new. It’s only really come up in the last, probably, five years as a real thing just as the changes in publishing have gone down. I am just in this incredible place where I get to teach others how to do this.

Being an agent, just to take another role in publishing, you can’t go to school to be an agent. It’s an apprentice situation where you oftentimes start out as an intern at an agency. You work your way up. You work your way to having your own projects. You’re usually being mentored by somebody who’s more seasoned than you. The same is true for being an editor. You learn as you do it. You can’t really go to school and get a degree in it. The same is true for book coaching. We’re just trying to provide that guidance and mentorship to folks. The people who are coming in to be book coaches are — it just makes me smile. They’re ninety-eight percent women. Thirty-three percent of them have advanced degrees, incredibly educated people who have not really found a place in corporate America, I would say. A lot of English majors, history majors, philosophy majors. We have some outlier anthropology, geography kind of people. A lot of moms, huge number of moms. It’s people looking for work that they can do that’s satisfying, that they can do from home, that they can control, that feels good in the world right now, and that’s going to make them some money.

The opportunity to empower other women and teach them how to do this thing and see them — you can tell that I just love what I do. It’s like you, Zibby. To spend my days immersed in people’s stories and the creative process and the types of people that bring it forth, it just feels good. It feels like, win, win, win all around. It’s just an enormous privilege to have this be my world. We have some coaches who — I really urge people to focus very narrowly on who they want to help. We think of writers as just a monolithic block of people. We have coaches who are choosing to help really specific groups of writers. I was speaking to someone yesterday who’s a veteran. She wants to focus only on helping veterans tell their stories. We have a woman who’s — I smile because her story’s incredible. She was married for thirty-five years and then discovered that she really was gay. Her mission is to help folks in the LGBTQ+ community not necessarily tell their stories, but just to write. We have folks focusing on social justice. We have folks focusing on speculative fiction, all over the map. It’s just rich and good and awesome. I love it.

Zibby: Okay, wait. If somebody wants to find one of these people, what is the process like? Do they sign up on your site and you assign them? Can they just pick which coach? Where do they go? How soon can they sign up?

Jennie: You can sign up today. You can go to We have a matching process. It’s a twenty-five-dollar fee because it’s an actual person who does this work. We have a really intense intake questionnaire where we ask about your project. We ask about your goals. We ask about your history as a writer, what you’re hoping to achieve, what kind of style you like. Some people want a lot of patience and hand-holding. Some people are on a deadline with a publisher. They just want to crank it out. They want some tough love. We get a sense of what you’re looking for. Then we will match you with the writer that we think is a really good fit. We do this very intentional that way. I never wanted to have a marketplace where you could come and you could pick and choose who you want to work with. Even though that sounds like a good idea, what tends to happen is people tend to focus on the wrong things that they want. Oh, look, here’s a book coach at Author Accelerator who’s a USA Today best-selling novelist. I want to work with that person. It’s like, well, that person actually isn’t a very good fit for you because what you really need is all these things over here. Having this really high-touch matching service, it tends to result in incredibly magical connections. Oftentimes, the connections are not the most obvious thing. We really pride ourselves on making that good match. It works really, really well, so we’re going to stick with that process. People can go to to be matched. If they’re interested in becoming a book coach, there’s a way to get the info on that site there as well. I didn’t mean for this to turn into just a giant advertisement for what I do.

Zibby: No, actually, I feel like there’s so many people who are interesting in becoming published authors and don’t know where to turn to. I get emails like this all the time. What should I do? What I should’ve been doing is — now I’m going to go back in and just be like, talk to Jennie Nash. Go to Author Accelerator and find somebody. What I usually say is, try to find somebody to help you with your book at this stage, or a freelance editor or somebody like that who can take the time with you. Sorry about that missed opportunity. I’m really excited. That’s why I’m asking so many questions. This is such a valuable resource in helping writers become authors and achieving their dream. I think it’s really helpful. I also find it fascinating. Is there a price range generally? Just so people have an inkling of the lowest or the highest or if they can afford it or whatever or if they want to pay for it.

Jennie: It’s fine. I like talking about money. I think it’s important for writers to think about money and for coaches to talk about money and all of that. One of the questions we ask on that intake form is, do you have a budget so we can try to match you with somebody who can accommodate that budget? Our coaches are self-employed, so they set their own rates and their own prices. As I mentioned, they focus on their own thing. The range, you could get feedback on a blueprint — a blueprint would be — my book has fourteen steps. You go through those steps and answer them. Some of our coaches have a package where you get feedback on those answers. That might be as low as a few hundred dollars. Others have packages where they’ll go back and forth with you on the blueprint for six weeks. That’s going to be maybe five or seven hundred dollars. Then if you were to work with somebody and say, I want you to take me all the way through the writing of this book all the way through pitching and helping me with that, now you’re going to be looking at a six-month or nine-month investment with a monthly fee that might be anywhere from $600 a month all the way up to $2,500 a month or more. I think I’m one of the highest-paid book coaches out there. I’m a lot more than those prices, but that’s for a very particular kind of writer who is ready to make a particular kind of investment.

There should be a budget for most people. That’s why I say if you only have a very small amount of money to spend, getting that help at the very beginning is really important. Then the other thing I will say is to follow Author Accelerator on all social media. Our coaching students are required to work with three different writers at three different phases of the process. On the fiction side or the memoir side, a coach helps somebody with a blueprint. They help somebody who has a finished manuscript to evaluate that manuscript. They help somebody with a pitch strategy researching the path to publishing that’s best for them and how they could pitch that book. Every single one of our coaches — we have about three hundred students moving through our program right now. They all have to work with writers. Many, many, many of them put out the call for students at those stages. That is usually no cost. It’s kind of like — I might be dating myself. Vidal Sassoon used to have salons, and you could go get your hair cut by an apprentice.

Zibby: Oh, my gosh, yes. I totally remember that.

Jennie: I think it was free. I can’t remember. I know I did it. It’s kind of like that. At the moment, you can’t apply to have your work worked on by a student. At Author Accelerator, when our students put out the call for these writers that they need to work with, we’ll often repost or amplify out those requests. That’s a possibility for somebody who doesn’t feel like they can afford anything.

Zibby: Sorry if I cut you off. Do all of the people who go through your Author Accelerator program, do they have to do the blueprint? If you have the book written, do you have to go back and do a blueprint? What if you just don’t want to do the blueprint?

Jennie: Oh, no, absolutely not. You don’t have to. A lot of coaches have things where they’ll do a manuscript evaluation as a starting point. I was focused on the blueprint. I don’t know why. Here’s the thing that I teach my book coaches. I have systems and processes and tools. The blueprint is one of them, but there are many systems and processes and tools that are helpful. I mentioned Lisa Cron’s Story Genius, is a very particular method of writing. A lot of folks know the Save the Cat method or the Story Grid method. These are all great methods. What I teach my coaches is, you use whatever tool you need to help the writer. Your job is to help the writer. It’s not, I’m going to use Jennie’s system or Jennie’s process. I teach you how to think about having a process and build that, but it’s all about what that writer needs. We’re tool-agnostic, I guess is what I should say. Our book coaches have to do these things to get certified. Once they’re certified, they’re going to do whatever they need to help the writer. We have people that are certified in those other systems and methods and might bring those in. We have people who will do everything. That’s why that intake is so important. People will say, this is where I am. I have a full draft and got feedback from wherever. This is what I need. We’ll match you with someone who will give you that. A lot of times what people want help with is polishing their manuscript before they go to pitch because as you just said, there’s a really big difference between a good manuscript and a great one. We can help you bridge that gap if that’s what you need. Whatever you need, we’re going to meet you where you are.

Zibby: Wow, amazing. This is great. This is so great.

Jennie: You know now, right?

Zibby: I know, I know. When we worked together, I got so discouraged because I couldn’t see a way to use the input at the time to make it better.

Jennie: I want to say something about that because I actually did the thing that no writer ever wants to hear to you. I said, “I don’t think you can write this book the way you’ve conceived it. I think there’s a fundamental thing missing.” I just believe in telling the truth. I believe in telling the truth, but with compassion. So many writers never hear the truth. That’s the thing. They never hear that. What is the truth? Was that my opinion? Well, of course. There’s part of it that’s my opinion. There’s that sense of what the market wants or is looking for or just a knowledge about what gets picked up, what doesn’t get picked up. I gave you that news, which was terrible to have to tell you that.

Zibby: It’s okay.

Jennie: It’s the worst part of being a book coach, is to have to tell somebody, I think this is not working. Here’s the reasons why. This is maybe what you need to do. From the writer’s perspective, sometimes you’re open to hearing stuff. Sometimes you’re not. Sometimes you have to hear it ten times from ten different people. You’re in your process. You’re in your journey. You’re in your way. Hopefully what happens, which I know is what happened to you, is you wrote the book you needed to write and that you wanted to write and that you’re proud to write and that you’re proud to bring into the world. I’m sure, and I’ve just heard you talk about it a little bit, that there’s hundreds and hundreds of people that helped you along that path, whether it’s a simple conversation or an intensive editor by your side or somebody one day telling you, maybe this isn’t the right path, which was the tiny role that I played.

Zibby: It ended up that, yeah, I didn’t end up writing the book that ended up selling until I sold the proposal and wrote it with the editor at my publishing house. Not my own. The one at Little A who bought it. Had I not tried all those different iterations, I never would’ve ended up here. It didn’t make me cry or anything. The feedback you gave was accurate. What the book needed, I didn’t want to give it. There are elements of my life I don’t particularly want to write about, so I had to rethink it. That’s fine. Thank god I didn’t spend any more time on that version. I think it’s all worthwhile. It was very worthwhile. I knew it before I even wrote that draft, that it probably wouldn’t make sense, but I still had to write it for me. That’s another thing. It’s fine to do that. Sometimes the first draft or the second draft or the third draft, you have to get it off your chest. That’s why when people are like, my first novel didn’t sell, or whatever, it’s like, yeah, you experiment. You try. You test. What are the odds? It’s not because you’re not a good writer. It’s that it’s a journey. You know this more than anybody.

Jennie: What you just described is what you’re doing with your business. It’s what I’m doing with my business. You try. You test. You do it again. The product that is going to hit the shelves that people are going to love and talk about and buy might not be that first widget you make. With a book, the widget takes years.

Zibby: I think basically, it’s that we invest in authors the same way you do. We invest in the author. Books, you can improve. Books, you can refocus and structure. Books can shift, but you can’t change the person. If you love a person and you love the way they write, you can work with them to write something amazing.

Jennie: That’s a powerful, powerful position that you’re taking.

Zibby: I hope so.

Jennie: I think what you’re doing is going back to the way — we romanticize the past a lot of times. Maxwell Perkins, I’ve read a lot about his work with Hemmingway and Fitzgerald. There’s a woman named Ursula Nordstrom who was a children’s book editor who worked with E.B. White and Maurice Sendak and even Laura Ingalls Wilder, just incredible writers. You read about those editors and the work that they did and the relationship that they had with those writers. I just swoon. I think, wouldn’t that be amazing? Those editors were involved in those writers’ lives. They were loaning them money. They were writing them these incredible letters of encouragement. They were saying, send me a page at a time, that intense investment in them. I say we romanticize the past. There were a lot of people who couldn’t get through the door as a writer back in day, particularly women, particularly minorities, people of color. That’s not so great. I think, I hope, things are changing for the better. That one aspect, that nurturing aspect, I think was real based on what I’ve read and seen. It feels like what you’re doing is going back to that, which is, I just think, beautiful. Writers need it. We’re trying to be the first part of that process before you get to the publisher, the nurturing that you need and that results in powerful work.

Zibby: Excellent. I’m definitely looking to you as a pipeline for books and manuscripts to come. Make sure that when you finish whipping books into shape you have them send them to us.

Jennie: We well. We’d be delighted to do that. Thank you. Thank you for letting me talk about book coaching and Author Accelerator and all the things.

Zibby: I think it’s really important. If anybody listening is interested, reach out. Mention that you heard it here or that I recommended you just so that Jennie knows I’m sending good people her way.

Jennie: Yes, please do. Thank you.

Zibby: Jennie, thanks so much.

Jennie: Thank you.

Zibby: Take care.

Jennie: Bye.

Zibby: Bye.



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