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Book doulas: the new way to push your writing into the world

7 September 2017

From The Guardian:

“Are book doulas a thing?” asks a writer I know. “I’d love to get one.”

Book doulas are a thing, because where there is a need, there is a service. Traditionally, they were non-medically trained professionals who cared for the emotional wellbeing of women in labour. These days, doulas are used in many other contexts where you may need someone to ease you through a process and provide emotional support, for instance abortion, divorce, death – and, now, for writing books.

Distinguishing themselves from agents and editors, book doulas offer a sort of coaching service, a kind eye to reassure nervous authors who are having trouble getting their book published. Ariane Conrad, who calls herself an “editorial coach and consultant, AKA book doula”, refers to her services as “bookbirthing”.

“I take my time getting to know you, your project and your voice. I listen and focus deeply. Committing your ideas, experiences or life’s work to writing can be intimidating. I will reassure you,” writes Ariane on her website, in the warm and fuzzy tone common to many birth doulas.

Editor, writing coach and book doula Ali Lawrence says the service involves: “Meeting my clients where they are most vulnerable – needing guidance, support, encouragement, empowerment, accountability – and helping them to achieve their book goals.”

Lawrence, who says the term “really resonates for me when thinking of the creative process of book writing”, stresses: “I’m not a publisher, I’m not an agent. I’m a partner in reaching your book goals.”

. . . .

But is it all marketing rubbish? When I describe book doulas to other writers, most take issue with the basic analogy. As a mother and writer myself, I agree that giving birth is most definitely more painful than producing a book.

Link to the rest at The Guardian


12 Comments to “Book doulas: the new way to push your writing into the world”

  1. “But is it all marketing rubbish?”


    Comparing writing a book to grieving the death of a loved one? Honestly.

    I wish I could be amazed at the number of people who find new ways to take money from writers (or wannabe writers) or the number of writers willing to part with cash to have someone stroke their feelings, but I guess I’ve hit my cap.

  2. For me, Holly Lisle has always been the definitive authority on this topic:

    Unlike babies, books will not arrive if you sit around on your butt watching soap operas or reading the funnies or talking on the phone to your girlfriends. Books arrive only if you expend concentrated effort over a long term.


    • I read the post, and I have to say that I don’t think she’s run a marathon.
      Running a marathon is very much like birthing a baby (although of course with the marathon you have the option of quitting)
      Writing a book isn’t like running a race, it’s like training for one. Every day you have to get up and train. Despite not really feeling it. Despite crap your life throws at you. You roll out of bed and take that run. And you might swear the whole time, but you do it, because you know it’s stacking, if you skip or take it easy the next day is that much harder.
      But not every day is that. If you actually enjoy running most days it’s a struggle to wake up and get out the door, but once you’re running it’s the best feeling in the world. Your body feels good and your creative brain is buzzing.
      That’s what writing a novel feels like to me

  3. “But is it all marketing rubbish?”

    Yes, and sadly new and not so new writers will fall for it.

    And we must keep warning other writers of this and other ‘rubbish’ when we or they trip over it.

    Someone I know online bragged that they’d gotten a ‘royalty check’ from Author House. Yeah, as of Author Solutions Inc. Seems they’d been with them a few years and this was the first time they’d gotten a check in the mail for any of their three books.

    The check? Under $10. How much had my friend paid to get those three books on Amazon and they claimed in B&N? Over $4,000. Not the best return on an investment I fear.

  4. Al the Great and Powerful

    I just don’t see how money flows from the doula to the writer. Can someone ‘splain that to me?

    • They do stuff. If you’re very lucky, some of your books sell. It may be because of the stuff they did (they will claim the credit).

      If enough books sell to pay for their service, some money will flow to the writer.

      We hope.

  5. One more artifact of the snowflake generation.

  6. aside from borrowing the word ‘doula’ which follows many a ‘coach of writers’ moniker of ‘midwife’ also… and both those functions being about as close to writing, as being an md is to putting a band aid on a paper cut… I agree with others here: keep warning the young and the inexperienced. Give them a one page handout on how to do ebk formatting, upload and do marketing.

    Doula my horse’s last feed bag.

  7. Some people just won’t put in the time and effort to learn how to get their book out. They won’t research anything, or if they do, they stop at the first link (usually the best-paying scam site) and count their lucky stars. They need and want the handholding, and are willing to pay for it.

    The warnings are out there, if they’ll look and listen. Otherwise, that old saw about a fool and his money applies.

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