Let’s collaborate on your book


What I Do

Nonfiction book collaboration custom made for just you and your biggest vision for your book and your business.
self-help, health & wellness, mind-body spirit, how-to, endurance sports & fitness, psychology, lifestyle, prescriptive nonfiction

Writing a book is an amazing but complex and difficult endeavor. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in the creative yet monumental process.

If you’re my ideal client, your long-term goal is to help people heal, to inspire insight, or to raise consciousness and grow your own impact by publishing your work—whether that’s through traditional publishing or self-publishing.

My book development process has four phases.

Writers can enter the process at a variety of stages, but if you’re beginning at ideation, the following lays out everything we do together from start to finish.

We begin with the Mastery Book Plan Method that’s designed to guide you through the foundational work if you are still formulating your idea, if you’re not confident that your idea is book-worthy, or if you need major revisions. If you’re not sure how to start or if you need more clarity on your approach, content organization, what to include, or what not to include, the Mastery Book Plan Method will create a solid roadmap for everything about your book, including the audience, structure, and content.

In this phase, you’ll:
+ Get guidance on shaping and honing your idea so it is clear, compelling, and impactful.
+ Learn how to move from idea to manuscript.
+ Gain a big-picture view of the publishing landscape and marketplace.

The End Goal

You can think of this as a “creative brief” for a book. Together, we’ll define every element of your book so you can visualize it on the shelf, know where it belongs in the marketplace, and feel confident in your message and your voice. Most writers skip this step, which leads to wasted time, rewriting, or putting out a book that doesn’t work.

When your concept, audience, content structure, and hook are nailed down, it’s time to work on your proposal—that is if you want to shoot for traditional publishing. If you’re self-publishing, you may opt to skip this step and the next one. If you are seeking a traditional publishing deal, you know your proposal needs to outshine the competition.

In this phase:
+ You’ll learn how to create a book proposal that will catch the attention of literary agents and publishers.
+ We will define a clear, deadline-driven structure to help you manage your time and effort.
+ I’ll keep an eye on the details and big picture so you can focus on doing the work. 

The End Goal
A pitch-perfect proposal (with sample chapters) that makes the case that publishers should invest in your book. You have to know what you care about and why, who you want to impact and why, what the best structure is for your idea and why.  Writing a book proposal is a complex project that can take several weeks to complete.

Unfortunately, I cannot guarantee that your proposal will result in an offer of representation, but I can promise that your proposal will decisively present your book concept and credibly represent your expertise.

The pitch phase begins after the proposal is polished and ready to be sent to agents and publishers. 

In this phase, you’ll learn how to:
+ Research agents and publishers.
+ Write an exceptional query letter.
+ Develop a strategic pitch strategy.

The End Goal
A list of agents, a pitch-perfect query letter, and a strategic plan.

(Disclaimer: I cannot guarantee that you will receive an offer of representation.)

When you have clarity on your vision and are ready for content editing, we’ll move into phase four: Finish Your Manuscript. This is intensive back-and-forth developmental (big-picture) editing supported with phone calls to collaborate on content and work though the blocks and challenges that arise along the way. Whether you are seeking traditional publishing or quality self-publishing, your manuscript must be powerful in order to make an impact. 

In this phase, you’ll
+ Write engaging content that aligns with your readers’ needs and your own goals.
+ Receive support, resources, and solutions.
+ Get extensive editorial collaboration and feedback every step of the way.

The End Goal
An impactful, high-quality manuscript that you love and that is ready for self-publishing or submission to your publisher.

If you’ve made it this far in the book development process, you probably know that there are no guarantees in publishing—of getting an agent, of getting a publisher, of your project’s commercial viability, or of even finishing all four phases. My job is to give you and your project the very best chance at a great start in the world.

A note on pricing and inclusion: The publishing industry needs to welcome and lift up Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and other people of color, in all roles and in all genres. Diverse books aren’t just for the diverse. They are for all of us. Books are more powerful than just a bunch of words. They can help build bridges of cultural understanding, promote tolerance, normalize identities unlike our own, and allow people to develop an appreciation for the cultures of others.

Special consideration, priority, and scholarships are available for BIPOC, underrepresented voices, and marginalized communities. Contact me for more information.

What makes me different

+ I want you to show up as you are. I respect people, diversity, and authenticity. Let’s be humans together.

+ I believe in presence as a baseline. I listen deeply so I can be an empty container that’s free of my own biases and preferences. In this container, my wisdom and experience can arise to serve my clients and their projects.

+ Together, we embrace challenges. We can do hard things, and if we don’t, life is awfully boring and unsatisfying!

+ Results matter. I am motivated by accomplishment—my own and my clients’. But accomplishment does not always have to be something external that the world can see. Increased insight and self-awareness are equally as important.

+ Selflessness is everything. One of my greatest purposes of life is connection, so heart-centered communication and generosity mean the world to me.

Joy matters.

So I want your work to be positively filled with it.

I always felt that Gretel was personally engaged in my book and that it was important to her. She joined with me to craft the book in a way that was not only a piece of art, but also truly beneficial to those reading it. She had a wonderful way of allowing for my own creative process to unfold, while at the same time pointing skillfully to certain blind spots that any author has with regard to their own writing. What I appreciated most, ultimately, was that Gretel really got in there to truly understand what I was attempting to communicate and served as a bridge between myself and future readers, an essential unfolding that I would never have gotten to on my own. Her speed, diligence, friendliness, and insight were so deeply appreciated as I navigated what can be a long, arduous, and difficult process!

~ Matt Licata

Always congenial and supportive, Gretel got the book, but even more, she had helpful suggestions to make along the way, which substantially enhanced and sharpened the text.  I commend her talents to any author with confidence and enthusiasm that they will be well served by her.

~ James Hollis, PhD

I knew I wanted to write a book based on my expertise but I hadn’t crystalized my exact message. Gretel steered me through the rough waters of brainstorming and outlining to a sharp confident proposal that not only succinctly laid out my vision but captured my writerly voice. After I landed an agent and sold the book, she helped me strengthen each chapter, spotting what I’d missed, offering astute feedback, and always pointing out the reader’s needs and wants. Plus, what a steady reliable presence and fun encouraging personality! I recommend Gretel without reservation. Her immense knowledge of editing and the book industry combined with her gentle way of keeping writers on track while maintaining an incredibly high bar is unique among book coaches.

~ Karen Hugg

What surprised us about Gretel’s level of personal engagement in the content, which helped her edit more tightly for our meaning. She embraced being challenged about her editorial decisions and educated us on her position, so that we were able to decide what was best for our book.

~ Kristen Allott and Natasha Duarte

Roar Like a GoddessI have had the honor of Gretel Hakanson being the editor of all three of my published books, all three huge bestsellers in their category, thanks to Gretel being the wind beneath my author’s wings. If that sounds a bit dramatic, that’s only because I feel truly indebted to Gretel for the skilled excellence, professionalism, and honesty that she brings to my every manuscript. At the content editing phase, Gretel adds her high-level recommendations ever so gently, yet her every suggestion is valuable, persuasively defining the landscape of my manuscript for my intended audience brilliantly. As a professional, she is easy to access, and reliable. and friendly. I would recommend Gretel to anyone who is looking for a truly proficient, dependable, and thoughtful editor for their manuscript! ~Acharya Shunya

A Few of the Books I’ve Worked On

Sounds True
Instant Help Books
New Harbinger
Promethus Books
Velo Press
Printer's Row
Baker & Taylor
Reveal Press

Let’s begin, shall we?