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author guidance programs

Paula Coomer has been a teacher of writing at both the university and community level for nearly 30 years. Her classes and workshops are at once challenging, humorous, serious, informative, and nurturing, and her approach is deeply intuitive. Ms. Coomer’s teaching and coaching philosophy are best depicted by this quote from author Marilynne Robinson: “I try to make writers actually see . . . where the strength is. Usually . . .  there’s something that leaps out—an image or a moment that is strong enough to center the story.” That same process applies to examining a life. Finding a central image for the choices we’ve made in life is a place to begin understanding ourselves, which is also the perfect place to begin mapping a new journey, in life or in writing.



NOTE: Ms. Coomer is not accepting book development clients at this time. Please check back or reach out to her at for a referral. (04.24.2024)

Creative coaching is like private lessons in creative writing. As such, it is suitable for writers at all levels of ability, whether you are just getting started, have a project in mind, or whether you have a project in process and are stuck in the storyline and can’t see a way forward.

Creative coaching can be long or short term. Some writers might have their problems resolved in a few meetings and some writers might engage a coach for years. All of that is up to the writer.

Ms. Coomer’s rate is $50 per hour for creative coaching, billable monthly. The recommendation is 8 hours per month for meetings, emails, reading of chapters or segments, or simply encouragement and insight. How much and how often depends on what works best for the writer.

Some writers like to have pages reviewed as they are written. Whether writing fiction or nonfiction, some writers need help understanding what makes a compelling story, or they need help brainstorming plot points and/or characterization or help understanding the elements and conventions of writing. Some need help with style and tone. Some need help writing believable dialogue. Some have missed the research train and need to turn back before they can tell the tale they are trying to tell.

In short, hiring a creative coach is a way forward.

For more information, reach out to Ms. Coomer at to schedule a free consultation.


NOTE: Ms. Coomer is not accepting publication coaching clients at this time. Please check back or reach out to her at for a referral. (04.24.2024)

The road to publication is mysterious, illogical, and frustrating. We hope for the ultimate boon: a finished book in our hands to share with the world, but often writers don’t survive the process (figuratively speaking, of course), meaning they give up before they arrive at publication or they arrive at publication and then don’t have a clue as to how to get the word out to the world that they have a book.

Hiring a publication coach, like hiring a creative coach, is an excellent way to learn about the publishing industry, and to acquire help in looking for an agent or an appropriate publishing house, a process that can otherwise take years.

Once a book is accepted for publication, the job of the author becomes that of small business owner. The writer is now an author with a product to promote and sell. How is this done? What is the timeline? Much book marketing these days is done online. Blog tours, social media posts, a website, podcasts, interviews, book trailers, newsletters, book clubs, booksignings, public readings, library events: all of these are part of the journey.

We dream of having our books in brick and mortar bookstores, but booksellers can and do turn up their noses at books from small independent presses. How is that circumnavigated? Is it possible to balance book promotion with writing the next book? How? How does a new author get themselves known?

None of it is easy, and none of it is quick. Once the writer has signed a publishing contract, a 2-year journey lies ahead, which, in addition to what we’ve already mentioned, has to do with getting advanced reader copies (ARCs) into the hands of reviewers and early readers and awards organizations. Who are these people, and how are they found?

Short of hiring a publicist, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars with not much return on the dollar, a writer must also do the marketing of the book. Rare is the author who has a large marketing budget, flying to cities to hold events. And then there is the inevitable night when the author faces empty rows of seats, because they’ve planned an author event and no one has shown up. At that point, counseling and encouragement is needed. A contract has been signed. The author has an obligation to continue, and must pick themselves up and keep going. Again, how?

Guidance from an established author and experienced coach can make all the difference. Publication coaching is $300 per month and includes Zoom or phone meetings, emails, and assistance at every stage of the process, including the search for agents, publishers, and reviewers. The recommended duration is 6 months, however, new authors might benefit from a longer period of support.

For a free consultation, reach out to Ms. Coomer at


Book draft review and feedback; suitable for any type of book, including poetry

    • Feedback is via Zoom meeting plus written feedback on the draft, depending on the level of response solicited

    • Rates for prose manuscripts vary based on level of review

      • Beta reading: Quick global readthrough of an early draft; no editing; verbal feedback only via Zoom meeting–$500 for up to 70,000 words; $0.10 per word for longer manuscripts

      • Interim draft reading: Quick global readthrough of a nearly final draft with revision suggestions, some editing recommendations–$0.15 per word

      • Developmental edit with revision recommendations–Good choice for writers who are on draft 2 or 3 but are stuck in plot or character development or story arc–$0.25 per word

      • Detailed line editing of final draft–$0.30 per word

    • For poetry manuscript rates, please contact Ms. Coomer at

    • Turn around time is usually 4-6 weeks, depending on level/type of review; must be scheduled in advance

    • Prose manuscripts must be provided in hard copy (global and developmental) or electronically (line editing); poetry manuscripts should be provided in hard copy AND electronically

    • 50% downpayment due with manuscript

    • Final 50% of payment due at completion of work but prior to final Zoom meeting

    • If you need help financing or need a sliding scale, please ask!

    • Important note: Please click here for manuscript formatting requirements.

    • Email Ms. Coomer at for a free consultation.


Read more about Literary Representation services here

Please email Ms. Coomer at for more information.

Paula Coomer writes poetry, literary fiction, and non-fiction about food and health. She is the author of eight books, including Jagged Edge of the Sky, Blue Moon Vegetarian, Dove Creek, and Nurses Who Love English. Her newest book, a collection of short stories, Somebody Should have Scolded the Girl, was recommended by Wendy J. Fox on BuzzFeed. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Idaho and has been a nominee for the Pulitzer, the Pushcart, and the National Book Critic’s Circle Award, among others. A former long-time university writing instructor, Ms. Coomer lives in southeast Washington State, where she advocates for writers, teaches writing in the community, and facilitates retreats and workshops.

For a list of books Ms. Coomer has edited, coached, or with which she has otherwise been involved, click here.