Home of young adult fiction writer Rob Costello

Book  Coaching

Despite popular assumptions to the contrary, writing a book is not a solitary endeavor. Any writer worth their salt will tell you that one of the most critical elements of producing good work is having access to knowledgable, trusted readers. Yet, it can often prove challenging to find those readers. Family and friends may want to help, but they don’t always have the skill and expertise necessary to help a writer take their story to the next level. Critique groups can be amazing with the right mix of people, but can also be hard to organize and a lot of work to maintain. For many writers, especially those just starting out, it can be nearly impossible to identify fellow writers with the time, expertise, honesty, and willingness to assist with shaping a manuscript to its fullest potential.

That’s where I can help. 


As your book coach, I offer nearly a decade’s worth of experience critiquing, teaching, and working closely with writers just like you to improve their books. I specialize in brainstorming solutions to problems such as flat or passive characters, gaping plot holes, sagging middles, and inconsistent pacing, with an emphasis on helping you figure out the best way to tell the story you want to tell. I believe writers need to be encouraged, not brow-beaten, and so I will be your cheerleader as well as your sounding board, a confidence builder, and, yes, occasionally a task master, too. 

That said, I will always be honest, even if that means telling you things about your book you may not want to hear. Being a writer means developing thick skin and learning to take constructive criticism with aplomb.

I encourage, not coddle. 

My approach focuses on craft rather than marketability. I am neither an editor nor an agent, and I cannot help you sell your book. I don’t do line edits, nor will I guide you in perfecting your query letter. What I can do is point out what is and isn’t working in your manuscript, while providing knowledgeable, craft-based advice on ways to improve it. I can teach you useful revision tools and techniques, and offer tips on time management, overcoming writer’s block, and building a lifestyle more conducive to creativity. But most importantly, I will help you see where you and your writing shine, because I believe overcoming self-doubt is essential to every successful revision.

In short, I’m here not only to help you write a better book, but to become a more self-assured writer.


The Process

The process begins when you send me your manuscript*, along with a one page, single-spaced synopsis of the book. We will schedule an initial Skype or phone conversation of between 30 and 45 minutes in which we will discuss the origins of your story, your concerns with the manuscript, and your goals for revision. We will also set a date for receipt of my editorial-style letter.


Next, I will get to work on my critique, providing a letter of 5 to 10 single-spaced pages in which I will discuss my general impressions of the book, areas of key concern, and strategies for revision. I will also address any specific questions or concerns you brought up during our initial consultation. 

We will then schedule a follow-up Skype or phone call (of up to 90 minutes) for about a week after receipt of my letter. This is to answer any questions you have about the letter and for us to brainstorm together a strategy for your revision.


*Please note: submitted manuscripts should be Microsoft Word documents in 12-point font, double-spaced.

The Cost

The fee for this service is $500 for manuscripts up to 80K words, and $750 for manuscripts between 80K and 125K words. (Please contact me if you are interested in working on a book of greater length.)


Subsequent Skype/phone coaching chats can be scheduled during your revision at the rate of $35 per hour. 

Although I specialize in all genres of young adult and middle grade fiction, I have experience writing and critiquing adult horror, thrillers, fantasy, science fiction, and literary fiction.

(Please note that adult westerns, romance, experimental, military, and historical fiction are generally outside my wheelhouse. Though I’m happy to work with you on these kinds of books, you might be better served finding a coach with more experience in these genres.)

If you’ve already decided you’d like to work with me or would like more information, please contact me. Once we’ve agreed to work together, I can accept payment via personal check, PayPal, or @Cloudbusterpress on Venmo.