Dawn Ius

Dawn Ius_full.jpg

When I'm working with an author, I invest fully.


What is your favorite part of the coaching process?

ALL OF IT. This business can be a struggle and I really enjoy connecting with new writers at all skill levels—and then tagging along for their journey to success. Whatever that success is for THEM.

What's your coaching style like?

When I'm working with an author, I invest fully. And if the author is also invested, then I plan for us to work hard. Together we can assess first steps—does the first draft need completing? Is the outline feeling shaky? How is character development? Each stage of the writing process is explored, from big-picture thinking to honing the writer's craft. I like to think I'm constructive but supportive. I know what it's like out there, and I'm dedicated to helping my writers navigate those choppy publishing waters. 

What genres do you love to edit?

I love editing, so I'm open to any genre, with maybe the exception of sci-fi/fantasy, and that's mostly because I don't read enough of those genres to understand what might be problem areas or story gaps. My advice would be something like, "Add more Chewbacca!," which maybe isn't that useful. In nonfiction, I'm fascinated by cookbooks that are more like stories/family histories, as well as anything on true crime, interior design, sports cars, and the craft of writing.

What do you love most about editing?

I love helping authors see their raw thoughts and feelings come to life on the page. Drafting a novel can be cumbersome, lonely. and daunting—but I consider the editing/revision process a reward for getting that first draft down. To help writers through that next step makes me giddy.

Who's your ideal writer match? What are you looking for in a coaching client?

I look for passion and determination, a commitment to learning and being open to feedback. Writerly doubt is a REAL thing, and it's OK to get deflated, but the most successful writers pick themselves up and keep going. I can help, but the heart has to come from the writer. That's who I want to work with. 

What was the moment when you felt like a real book coach?

My "moment" was actually the reason I applied for a position at Author Accelerator—I had the tremendous experience of working with a talented author during Pitch Wars. Being able to take her book from a solid first draft to something that captured the heart of her dream agent was mind-blowing. I want to keep doing that! 

What do you believe the most prominent difference between an editor and a coach is?

A coach is like a cheerleader, pushing you to keep going when the going gets tough, and waving those virtual (or literal) pom-poms at every stage of the process. Your book may not even be finished, and a coach's job is to help you cross that finish line. An editor, also valuable, works with a finished product. 

What's been your greatest achievement in coaching so far?

Too hard to pinpoint. I have some excellent clients, many of whom have become dear friends. To see them evolve and grow as writers is such a wonderful gift. 

How did you hear about Author Accelerator?

My friend and fellow coach Megan Lally introduced me to the program. 


What genres do you love to read?

I love ALL genres, with the exception of sci-fi/fantasy (save a few classics!).

What are five of your favorite books?

  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

  • Spider and the Fly by Claudia Rowe (part memoir, part true crime)

  • Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Who are five of your favorite authors?

Oy. So many to name!

  • S.E. Hinton

  • Sandra Brown

  • Roald Dahl

  • Maggie Stiefvater

  • Stephen King

If you could meet any author, who would it be and why?

S.E. Hinton. I honestly just want to look her in the eye and tell her that The Outsiders changed my life. I remain in awe of that book, and the fact that she wrote it when she was 16. 

What are you most excited about right now?

I am pitching a book to my agent that I am VERY excited about. It's kind of a secret, but I'm writing part of it in second person point of view (a challenge for me) and venturing into teen noir with a retelling of a very famous unsolved mystery. I hope my editor loves it!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A writer. Seriously. My Grade 5 teacher singled me out and boldly told my parents I WOULD be a writer someday...and I never really looked back. 

What does a typical day look like for you?

I'd love to say I get up and write. The truth is, I get up and tackle some freelance work, then I clean my house or play with the dogs, and I do some more freelance, and when my husband gets home from work, I retreat to my office for some writing time. Except on deadline. Then nothing gets done and the dogs whine to my husband that I neglected them. I also love to read, kayak, and go to movies. The scarier the better. 

If you could fast-forward a year from now, what would your writing life look like?

I'd love to be working on my fourth YA with Simon Pulse, and being able to work with a handful of clients on their books.

What about 5 years from now?

Writing full-time—both in the YA and adult genres—and continued coaching work, helping writers get their stories published. 

Any exciting writing news to share?

Yes! Lizzie, my contemporary re-telling of the Lizzie Borden hatchet murders, comes out April 10, 2018, from Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster).