Mentoring and coaching for writers

I love working one-on-one with writers, helping them find the way from where they are now to where they want to be. Being a writing coach allows me to help others achieve the dream of being a published author.

And I’ve had some success in doing it, too.

Questions for a prospective writing coach

Coaches and mentors are essential for success in any field. Whether it’s playing the piano, or competitive tennis (two of my favourite things), the champion players typically have coaches not far from their side.

These days lots of people are putting up a shingle online and calling themselves a writing coach.

When you’re looking for a writing coach, my only advice is to make sure that your prospective coach actually has some skin in the same game you’re attempting to play.

  • Where has their work been published?
  • What genre/s have they published in?
  • Whose work have they edited or helped to develop?
  • Who has edited their own work?
  • What level of practical commercial understanding of the business of book publishing will they bring to your working relationship?

If a prospective writing coach does not have experience either working in-house at a trade publishing company, or as a traditionally published author, then I cannot see how they can add the sort of value you need at the point in your writing journey when you seek a mentor.

If you’re looking for someone to keep you on track in terms of a monthly word count, then join a writers’ group. It’s much cheaper.

My ideal students for mentoring / writing coaching

Writers get the most from working with me when they have already been working on a manuscript for some time. It could be months. It could be, well, a lot longer than that.

My best mentoring students know, deep in themselves, that they need something else, something more, to develop their work to publishable level. That’s when your work is ready for submission to a literary agent.

They just can’t figure out what that something is.

Do you need a sounding board for your project?

Having assisted writers of fiction and nonfiction to land literary agents and book publishing deals, and having worked with a mentor on my own second book, I understand the value of a trusted reader for your work and creative goals.

And with experience as an editor and literary agent, I know a fair bit about how book publishing works, and what agents and editors think when assessing manuscripts.

Mentoring with me is a confidential relationship dedicated to your work in progress.

Mentoring/coaching is best for writers who are:
• finding their feet with a project that is underway
• new to working on a book-length project
• getting knocked back by literary agents/book publishers and don’t know why
• need some professional advice to know whether or not their work has the potential to get published

Read what some of my writing mentoring clients say about how I’ve helped them get a literary agent or to reach a publisher-ready standard with their work.


Each author and project is different, so what works for one writer won’t work for another.

Why not contact me for a no-obligation 15-minute call with me to discuss your writing journey and publishing goals?

Jenny Ackland

“I can’t recommend Virginia enough to anyone looking to improve their work and in their efforts to be a published author.”

– Jenny Ackland, The Secret Son (2015) and Little Gods (2018)

Guy Hull

“Virginia has been an absolute joy to work with and she has delivered on her every promise. ”

-Guy Hull, The Dogs that Made Australia (HarperCollins, 2018)

Jane Cafarella

“It took me a long time to choose the person I knew I would need to help me tell my story. I wanted someone who was a published writer, an experienced editor, who understood loss, and who would tell me the truth. I found all this in Virginia –and more. Virginia is intelligent, compassionate, and unflinching in her mission to help you find your story and the best way to tell it. When you’re drowning in a sea of memories, Virginia will throw you a life jacket.” — Jane Cafarella, about mentoring with me

Fiona Higgins

“Virginia is an expert editorial ‘curator’ and a godsend for a first-time author.”

– Fiona Higgins, Love in the Age of Drought, The Mothers’ Group, Wife on the Run, Fearless

Ingrid Du Vernet

“Working with Virginia has been an invaluable experience. Not only is she professional and efficient, but she has a way of immediately identifying what doesn’t work on the page and coming up with wonderful suggestions to make it work. She also excels at being able to pinpoint plot holes and loose ends and ways writing style could be improved. My manuscript wouldn’t be what it is today without her input, and I am so grateful to her for that. If you want to work with someone who will tell you what you want to hear, Virginia isn’t for you. But if you want to work with someone who tells you what you need to hear, then working with Virginia will be the best decision you’ll ever make.” – Ingrid Du […]

Dr Carrie Hayward

“I am so grateful for Virginia’s knowledge and her mentoring around my whole writing project. She is just lovely to work with!”
– Dr Carrie Hayward, clinical psychologist, Author, The Woman Who Lost the Sun


I'm on a mission to help writers and experts maximize the appeal of their manuscript submissions to literary agents and book publishers.

Too many writers send off their agent submissions without getting feedback on their materials. Then when they don't hear back from agents, they get frustrated and disappointed.

As the traditionally published author of two books, as a structural editor, former in-house editor and literary agent, I'll give you the kind of commercial and constructive feedback you'll never get from a workshop or writers' group.

Whatever you need, my team and I are here to help. 

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