Libby M Iriks
Romance Book Coach
Helping romance authors write stories with heart.
Why did I become a book coach?
I fell in love with story as an eight-year-old, when I sat wide-eyed, listening to my teacher read Charlotte’s Web. Even then, the aspect of the story that had me most engrossed was the off-the-page romance developing between Fern and Henry Fussy. I absorbed every word of that book, and ever since, story and the romance genre have been my passions — passions I combined when I became a romance book coach.
When I embarked on this career, I worked for a boutique publishing company and spent three years as the Commissioning Editor of Romance. During that time, I coached authors through every stage of the book production process, helping them to develop and polish their manuscripts from early drafts through to the final proofread. However, I discovered that story development is where my passion as an editor lies.
With a background in education, I channel my teaching skills when working with clients to ensure they understand the why as well as the how, and to let them know what they’re doing right as well as where they need to improve. I provide honest and constructive feedback, but I always deliver it with compassion and understanding.
I decided to focus my efforts on helping authors with story development because I noticed that many of my clients were hungry for ongoing support; they wanted to be guided through the process of improving and strengthening their stories. So I trained as a book coach and tailored my services to the meet needs of my clients. Today, I’m a book coach who helps romance authors write stories with heart.
What makes me a good book coach?
I’m a lifelong avid reader. I’ve spent my life immersed in story — from devouring the works of Beatrix Potter as a child to Francine Pascal as a teen to Sally Thorne as an adult (how good is The Hating Game!) — so I have an innate understanding of what makes a good story.
I understand what it takes to pour your soul onto the page. Truly, I do. Like you, I’m a writer, and I know the courage it takes to share your work with others and how difficult it can be to receive feedback. This is why compassion is one of my core values; I will always treat my clients with courtesy and respect.
I understand the creative process. As a published author and as an editor, I know that great stories aren’t written overnight. No matter the author or how experienced they are, first drafts are often messy, but with a little know-how and an outsider’s perspective, beauty can be coaxed from the chaos.
I see both the little details and the big picture. From broad themes to sneaky little plot holes, I can discern what areas of a manuscript can be improved, where the gaps are and how they can be filled in.
I have confidence in managing a big project. During my time as a commissioning and publishing editor for a traditional publishing house, I worked with several authors on a number of titles, from early draft or concept to the final proofread. I know how to set deadlines and keep authors on track — if accountability is what you need.
I understand the marketplace. I bring the perspective of both a reader and a commissioning editor, so I know what hooks readers and what publishers are looking for when they sift through the slush pile. I also spent years working as a sales representative for an international publishing house, so I understand what factors may cause booksellers to decide to stock a title or reject it.
What do I believe?
I believe that stories have the power to change lives. When a story is written and constructed well, it speaks to the heart and soul of the reader. It helps them make sense of the world in which they live, gives them courage to face life’s challenges, and, in the case of romance stories, inspires hope that everyone is deserving of love and respect.
I believe that romance novels make the world a better place. They bring readers joy, happiness and connection. They provide an escape from the everyday, bringing light where there is often darkness.
I believe that romance writers are destined to take over the world. We are a fierce bunch; incredibly loyal to our own kind and protective of our genre. It is this fire and grit that I believe can drive any aspiring or emerging author to establish a long and successful career in the romance writing industry. Sometimes they might just need a helping hand to get there.
My mission statement
I’m on a mission to help aspiring and emerging romance authors write stories that have the power to change lives. I want to provide support and guidance to authors and help them fill the world with the kind of books that bring readers joy, happiness and connection. I want to help romance authors build a strong foundation for a long and successful career in the publishing industry — I want to help them take over the world!
I will strive to achieve my mission by guiding my clients to a deeper understanding of how stories work. I will support them as they develop their craft and grow as authors. I will help them to cultivate their ideas and shape their manuscripts into stories of which they can be proud. And I will always advocate for romance writers and the romance genre in my personal and professional life.