Diana Renn Coaching and Editorial Services

MYSTERY WRITER, EDITOR, BOOK COACH

Coaching Services

As your book coach, I am your partner in crime.

I offer editorial feedback, project management help and emotional support. I’m committed to helping you tell the best story you can, working with you week after week to get it where it needs to go . . . and helping you to level up your writing along the way. My coaching style helps writers become better sleuths of their own stories, identifying their own writing patterns and using mystery writing tools and other craft strategies more effectively. 

Coaching is a good option for you if you:

  • are at the start of a draft or revision
  • need a partner to keep you accountable and moving toward a deadline
  • like having a sounding board for ideas and brainstorming help
  • like to revise as you go or get feedback as you write
  • struggle with perfectionist tendencies or overthinking
  • want help researching comp titles or thinking of how to position your book
  • want to improve your writing skills and process in general, or have not written a novel before

I offer three coaching programs:

Puzzling and Plotting: $1,200

Plan a draft or a revision and get ready to write forward with confidence.

We’ll use Jennie Nash’s 13-step Blueprint for a Book system combined with my own mystery-focused pre-writing exercises (Demystify Your Mystery).

Time Commitment: 

This program typically takes 4-6 weeks, using four, five, or six deadlines, depending on how quickly you wish to work.

You will need a minimum of ten hours a week to work through the process and finish in six deadlines.

Program Includes:

Written feedback on workbook exercises – inline comments and a feedback summary (2-3 page editorial letter) with suggested next steps.

90 minutes of verbal coaching support: Two 45-minute coaching calls (or three 30-minute calls) on Zoom.

A digital copy of Jennie Nash’s Blueprint for a Book and her accompanying workbook.

A PDF of my Demystify Your Mystery workbook with planning and troubleshooting exercises

Customized writing exercises for your topic as needed.

Takeaways:

I will help you to think through foundational decisions about your book’s audience, structure, characters, plot, and mystery ingredients, so that you know your sleuth, victim, suspects, and other crime details well enough to write forward. If you’re not writing a traditional genre mystery, this process still works for you, as the exercises can all be modified. 

You’ll finish with a working outline and some possible scenes from your novel already written — including the opening scene. 

This is a great way to test the waters with book coaching! You can continue on into one of my ongoing coaching programs if you want continued support, or go off and write independently, knowing you have a road map.  

EXTRAS AVAILABLE:

Course access: Add Jennie Nash’s self-paced Blueprint for a Book course or her How to Revise a Novel course.

These courses, offered by Author Accelerator, give you more in-depth explanations and examples of some tools we’ll be using. You have lifetime access to the course you select and can use it for future projects. Click on either of the courses mentioned above to learn more about them and preview the curriculum. 

Additional cost for Jennie’s courses: $169 each.

($30 savings with coaching discount; each course is normally $199) 

“Initial Investigation” — 50 page (or three chapter) manuscript audit: $299

Do you have a complete or partial draft? I will review up to three chapters or 50 pages of your manuscript, providing inline comments and an editorial letter, at the start of your planning program. I will also start you off with my Question Outline and Clue Tracker organizing tools, and instructions for how to continue both systems on your own. 

Coming in 2024:

I will be offering an option to purchase my Demystify Your Mystery workbook for self-study, with the option to pay for one round of written feedback or a 60-minute zoom call. If a 4-6 week planning package doesn’t fit your needs right now, this option may work for you. Please check back here for details, coming soon! 

Story Sleuth 12-Deadline Book Coaching: $3,000
(or payment plan of $1,000 / month for 3 months)

Time Commitment: 

Requires a 3-month minimum commitment. Deadlines are typically scheduled twice a month to complete the package in six to seven months, but you can work faster (weekly) if needed, or push deadlines out to three weeks if you need to work around schedule conflicts or work / life events. The deadlines expire one year from purchase date. You can purchase additional deadlines after this program ends if you are not yet at the end of your draft.

You’ll be handing in up to 20 double-spaced pages (up to 5,000 words) for each deadline, so you’ll need to budget time to write that amount — or close to it — every two weeks. The pace can feel a little intense if you are scheduling twice a month, but you will make rapid progress. 

Program Includes:

12 deadlines of up to 20 double-spaced pages (5,000 words) for each deadline. Submissions can be all new material, revised material, or a mixture of revised and new material. (Deadlines expire one year from purchase date).

Extensive written feedback on material submitted for each deadline, specifically:

1. Extensive in-line comments (margin notes) — I read with an editorial eye and a reader’s eye; 

2. A 4-6 page editorial letter with suggested next steps / project management assistance, and suggested resources;

3. Select, suggested line edits, depending on the stage of the draft, to help demonstrate a craft issue, highlight grammatical or word choice patterns, and offer instruction as needed. 

Four hours of verbal coaching support: Four 60-minute Zoom calls (these can be divided into smaller, more frequent increments if desired).

Accountability and accessibility: Email support between deadlines, an accountability check-in email between deadlines if you need it.

A list of mentor texts and potential comparative book titles, specific to your topic. (Helpful for marketing, down the road!)

Midpoint progress check. About midway through your program, I’ll read quickly through the first third to first half of your book so far to see how it’s holding together, looking particularly at pace, flow, voice, chapter and scene management, and overall structure. 

Takeaways:

By the end of twelve deadlines, you will have written 200-240 pages of your novel, which might be a complete draft or a draft with the finish line in sight.

If you choose to do some revising along the way, or if you use deadlines at the start of the program for planning, you may come away with somewhat fewer overall pages but greater insight into your book and your process, saving yourself revision time down the road. You’ll still likely have close to 200 pages done and a way to get through the toughest part of the book: the middle.  

You’ll get organizational tools such as my Question Outline and Clue Tracker spreadsheets, select planning exercises from my “Demystify Your Mystery” workbook, and customized exercises as needed.

You’ll get a list of potential mentor texts and comparative titles relevant to your book.  

And you’ll have a system for troubleshooting mystery issues and thinking through decisions that you can use on your own for subsequent drafts or your next project. I love helping writers be better sleuths of their own stories, which is why I named the program “Story Sleuth.”

This program can be used for drafting or revising (or starting over, if you’re stuck). I highly recommend doing my planning program first, but if you have a project underway and feel reasonably sure of the direction, you are welcome to start here. We can also use the first couple of deadlines to do some intense, targeted planning exercises from that planning package, or to work on an outline. 

Discount available: $100 off the 12-deadline coaching price for clients who have completed the planning package with me or who have already completed a 12-deadline program with me and are continuing on).

Sidekick 12-Deadline Book Coaching – $1,500

(or payment plan of $500 / month for 3 months)

Time Commitment: 

Requires a 3-month minimum commitment. Deadlines are typically scheduled twice a month to complete the package in six to seven months, but you can work faster (weekly) if needed, or push deadlines out to three weeks if you need to work around schedule conflicts or work / life events. The deadlines expire one year from purchase date.

You’ll be handing in up to 10 double-spaced pages (up to 2,500 words) for each deadline, so you’ll need to budget time to write that amount — or close to it — every two weeks. Depending on what else you have going on, this is a more “relaxed” pace than the Intensive program that still offers some structure and feedback. You’ll make progress, but it will take you a little longer to get through your book.

Program Includes:

12 deadlines of up to 10 double-spaced pages for each deadline. Submissions can be all new material, revised material, or a mixture of revised and new material adding up to 10 pages. (Deadlines expire one year from purchase date).

Written feedback on material submitted for each deadline, specifically:

1. Extensive, targeted in-line comments (margin notes);

2. A 2-4 page editorial letter with suggested next steps / project management assistance, and suggested resources;

90 minutes of verbal coaching support: You will also receive some verbal coaching on Zoom, which can be divided into three 30-minute calls, two 45-minute calls, or a 60-minute and a 30-minute call, at any point in the program.

(Additional calls can be purchased for $100/ hour).

Minimal email support between deadlines (quick questions can be answered).

Takeaways:

You will have written 100-120 fresh or revised pages of your novel within around three months’ time: measurable, steady progress! 

If you choose to do some revising or course-correcting along the way, or if you use some of the deadlines at the start of the program for planning work, you may come away with somewhat fewer overall pages but greater insight into your book and your process, saving yourself revision time down the road. 

You’ll get my mystery planning exercises (Demystify Your Mystery) and the “Mini-Blueprint,” a condensed, one-page version of Jennie Nash’s Blueprint for a Book planning system. 

You’ll have a system for troubleshooting mystery issues and thinking through decisions that you can use on your own for subsequent drafts or your next project. 

This program can be used for drafting or revising. I highly recommend the planning program first, but if you have a project underway and feel reasonably sure of the direction, you are welcome to start here.

On the fence between Story Sleuth and the Sidekick coaching programs? Consider:

The Sidekick Book Coaching program offers less support than the Story Sleuth Book Coaching program. The Sidekick package does offer editorial feedback, accountability, planning / troubleshooting support with targeted exercises, and project management assistance, but it’s overall a less high-touch program.

Sidekick Book Coaching is great if you mostly need some steady deadlines to keep you accountable, you already have a good outline or plan and some writing systems that work for you, and perhaps this is not your first novel.

If you know writing up to 20 pages for a deadline is simply a stretch for you at the moment, this may also be a good choice.

You can start with the Story Sleuth Book Coaching program and downshift to Sidekick after your first twelve deadlines, or start with Sidekick and accelerate into Story Sleuth later. However, shifting between the two levels of coaching programs midway is not permitted. Once you choose, I do require a commitment to that package for the duration of the twelve-deadline program. I’m happy to discuss either option in detail on a complimentary phone or Zoom call to be sure you are choosing the best-fit package for you!

Discount available: $100 off the 12-deadline coaching package price for clients who have completed the planning package or who have completed a 12-deadline coaching program with me and are continuing on).

I offer both standalone editorial services and ongoing coaching programs.

Editorial Services

As your editor, I’m a keen-eyed and tireless detective.

I’m investigating your draft for revision priorities and anything that might distract or confuse your readers.

Standalone editorial options are great if you:

  • have a complete draft
  • are gearing up for a big revision
  • have a long draft and need to streamline, but you’re not sure how
  • have a short draft and need to develop, but you’re not sure how
  • are good at revising on your own with some direction
  • have had beta readers or writing group readers, but need fresh eyes
  • are querying and getting rejections from agents, but you’re not sure why
  • are getting ready to share your new book with your agent and editor

Standalone editorial services are priced at a per-page rate. A page is double-spaced, 12-point font, about 250 words.

If I am interested in your project, I will ask you to submit the manuscript before I quote a final fee, so we can be clear about the level of edits needed. Please note that I do not provide copyediting or proofreading services. I do not typically offer a discount for a second pass through a manuscript. 

 

Manuscript Evaluation - $8.00 / page

  • 7-10 page letter identifying a manuscript’s strengths,  revision priorities, and suggested next steps.
  • This evaluation can be done on a partial manuscript, but if it is 50 pages or fewer, see my 3-chapter audit service.
  • One-hour Zoom call to discuss the feedback. 
  • No in-line comments or edits.

Developmental Edit - $10.00 / page

  • 5-7 page editorial letter identifying strengths and revision priorities.
  • Editing for story structure, plot, character development, scene and chapter management, pace, point of view, logic, clarity, genre conventions, length (areas to cut and/or develop), and overall reader experience.
  • Extensive inline comments.
  • Some line edit suggestions to illustrate patterns, show how to revise craft issues, or demonstrate how to tighten.   
  • One-hour Zoom call to discuss the feedback.

Line Edit - $10.00 / page

  • Some attention to lingering big picture issues, with the focus on tightening up scenes, paragraphs, and sentences.
  • Editing for logic, clarity, consistency, voice, style and grammatical issues.
  • Line edits can be provided on partial manuscripts (e.g., first 30-50 pages) if you are preparing to query agents.
  • A combined developmental and line edit may be possible, at my discretion. 

Three-Chapter Audit - $299

  • In-line comments and edits on the first three chapters or up to 50 pages.
  • 3-5 page editorial letter
  • This is a great way to get a sense of my editorial feedback style!
  • Also great for writers who are querying and want to see how their opening chapters are holding together.
  • Includes my Question Outline and Clue Tracker graphic organizers, with instructions on how you can continue those systems!

Interested in working with me?

Tell me about your project and what kind of support you’re looking for.

The Intake Process:

Please fill out my intake form and tell me about you project, goals, writing background, and any deadlines you may have. (If you are a referral from Author Accelerator and have already filled out their Q&A form, you may skip this step).

Once I receive your inquiry, you can expect to hear back from me within 7-10 business days.

If I think we might be a good fit, I’ll send you a Calendly scheduling link so we can set up a complimentary call and discuss your project and my coaching / editing options in more detail. This call typically takes place over Zoom. I like to meet people face to face on Zoom, but it can be audio only if you prefer. Sometimes these calls only take 15-20 minutes, but please budget 30 minutes. I like to spend this time upfront to make sure I understand your project goals, to answer questions you have about my programs, and to make sure we both feel that it is a good fit. 

If we decide we both want to move forward and work together, I’ll then send you my Terms of Agreement, payment links, a Welcome Packet, and we’ll be on our way!

If you are booking a program or service that will begin more than four weeks after our phone call, and wish to reserve a specific start time, I require a nonrefundable $200 deposit to hold the space in my schedule.  

Sign up for my Newsletter

I have a monthly newsletter on Substack, “Mysteries that Matter,” I share thoughts about mysteries I’m reading, mysteries I’ve enjoyed in the past (including childhood favorites!), the craft and process of mystery writing (from tracking down ideas to polishing for publication), and real-life mysteries that spark my curiosity. I also have occasional writing prompts, craft tips, special offers, and updates about my books. If it’s not your thing, you can unsubscribe any time! You can also read it on the Substack website or app.

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