Erin Lindsay McCabe

Erin McCabe.JPG

I love sharing in the excitement when writers unlock parts of their stories.


What is your favorite part of the coaching process?

My favorite part of the coaching process is the back-and-forth and the exchange of ideas I have with a writer as we work together. I want to know how my feedback is landing to make sure I'm meeting the writer's needs. And I love celebrating milestones.

What's your coaching style like?

I'm honest and kind, straightforward and encouraging. I ask A LOT of questions. I like to keep my feedback positive by providing comments about what the writer is doing well in addition to what the writer can improve upon.

What genres do you love to edit?

Historical fiction, YA, romance, though I've also enjoyed editing sci-fi/fantasy, middle grade, and memoir. 

What do you love most about editing?

I love sharing in the excitement when writers unlock parts of their stories. It gives me a thrill when I can point out things writers are already doing in their writing that they may not have been aware of. And, perhaps most of all, I adore seeing writers progress over time as they master new skills or push their writing further.

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

I love hard workers and triers. I'll go to the moon and back with a writer who is working their darnedest. 

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

I don't think I can pinpoint it—the idea that I could be a book coach has been a long time coming, starting with my days as an English teacher helping high school students learn to write essays, continuing as I learned to give feedback to my colleagues in my MFA program and experienced what it was like working with my agent and editor to polish my own novel, until finally starting to do developmental editing of complete manuscripts. When I made the transition to working with coaching clients on works-in-progress, I really felt like it was an "aha" moment, where I could finally bring to bear all the skills I'd gained to help writers during the most critical part of their writing journey. It feels like being a book coach is the culmination of all the best parts of my previous experiences. 

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

An editor focuses on the manuscript's needs—structure, character and plot development, word choice, and flow of ideas—whereas a coach has a holistic approach that focuses on the needs of the writer (encouragement? motivation? craft resources? writing exercises? inspiration?) in addition to the needs of the manuscript.

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

Probably what has been the most rewarding so far has been helping multiple writers get to completed drafts. 

How did you hear about Author Accelerator?

I learned about Jennie Nash and Author Accelerator from Dan Blank.


What's your favorite word?


What genres do you love to read?

I mostly read fiction for pleasure—especially historical fiction and, lately, YA, though I'm a sucker for a love story (not necessarily romance) and anything with great characters and a fascinating premise.

What are five of your favorite books?

  • Alias Grace

  • Away (the one by Jane Urquhart and the one by Amy Bloom)

  • Station Eleven

  • God of Small Things

  • The Book Thief

  • True Grit (oops, that's 7)

Who are five of your favorite authors?

  • Jane Austen

  • Margaret Atwood

  • Isabel Allende

  • Kate DiCamillo

  • Pablo Neruda

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

I'd love to meet Margaret Atwood, but I think I'd be too intimidated to speak. I think it would be great fun to be at the same party as Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut, just so I could watch them in action. 

What are you most excited about right now?

My current work-in-progress.

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

When I was 10, I wrote out a list of life goals and writing a novel was on it. That said, I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian until the frog-dissection lesson in 9th grade biology, and in 10th grade I decided I wanted to be a high school English teacher.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My days are bookended by feeding horses and goats and chickens. After I take my son to school and walk the dog, I settle in to write and edit.

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

I'd be doing a version of what I do now, but more consistently (militantly?). Which is to say, I'd start each weekday with a writing session in which my goal would be to hit 1,000 words, before turning to editing or any other project.  

What about 5 years from now?

I hope by then I'll have two more published novels to my name.