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For the last six months I've been working with a fellow Princeton classmate Scott Slocum, a retired naval commander who brought me a rough draft of his 'save the seas' novel DEEP PERIL. I helped him edit and publish his novel, then dug in to create a feature screenplay of his truly remarkable story - a murder mystery imbedded inside an urgent exposé of the hotly-contested deep-sea mining controversy. The DEEP PERIL novel and film aim to highlight an important ecology cause while also spinning a great international sabotage tale. We're now taking the film property to Hollywood, plus seeking funding from several 'save the seas' nonprofits. 

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Taking an original theme or story from concept to publication or media release requires talent, original material, vision, determination, a bit of luck - and often some experienced professional support. A top author coach will nurture and guide their clients realistically toward the fastest route to success and fulfillment.


With my background in psychology, my author coaching began with fellow professionals - but recently I’ve also coached and ghostwritten novels, autobiographies, memoirs, business books, and inspirational texts.  

A number of my author-collaboration projects have begun as memoirs, novels or non-fiction books, and evolved quite naturally into screenplays aimed for either feature or cable-series production and release. Click on SCREENPLAYS  for more about this screenplay dimension.


Note On Confidentiality


Often my clients prefer that I remain anonymous, and my lips are sealed forever regarding my participation in their project. This is especially true with memoirs and autobiographies. However, some clients are happy to reveal my coaching and ghostwriting collaboration.


Below you'll find sample recommendations from these authors. But first here are some notes on the coaching/ghostwriting process as I see it.

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What Is An Author Coach?

I’m often asked what an author coachcollaborator or ghostwriter actually does – why are we needed, and how do we work with clients? Here are beginning points on the author-mentor relationship:



Author Coaches must of course be very good with words – able to take written material and significantly improve it. Most top-notch author coaches have a publishing track-record plus valuable ties with literary agents. They are friendly, honest and supportive – and maintain the author’s unique voice and thematic integrity.



In earlier publishing eras, an author pounded out a rough draft, sent it off to a publisher – then a house editor worked over the manuscript. But these days, publishers and agents expect authors to have already polished their manuscript. An experienced author coach makes sure all phases of manuscript preparation are successfully completed.



An author coach/collaborator  will 1) help you develop your book concept, 2) help generate the original rough draft of the book, 3) participate in content editing, line editing and polish – and 4) send the manuscript to a reputable agent. Fees depend on overall time needed, experience of the coach, and needs of the author.

Financials:  I usually work for $600/day. Most often I work with two clients at a time, 2.5 days a week for each. I'm known for very rapid progress. I aim to bring in each project, from initial idea to submission for publication, for between $12K and $20K. I work with several agents and publishers who eagerly consider books I've helped to manifest.

Free Consultation: If you’d like to have a phone discussion about your project, email me and we’ll set up a time to talk about how we can work together to manifest your book or screenplay.

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Client Recommendations

"As a child I was a Vietnamese refugee. Friends have often encouraged me to write my life story - but writing is not my forte. Luckily I found John, a fellow Princeton alum who has now guided me through a remarkable manifestation process ... and we've ended up with a well-received book that has fulfilled my deepest dreams. We're now working on the miniseries pilot screenplay and treatment of my story, which is really very exciting. And best - John has become a dear friend as well as my writing mentor."

Mai Le

MedTech CEO, author of Worlds Apart


"John and I were classmates at Princeton and then went our separate ways. Now we're working together after many years and have just finished editing and publishing my novel DEEP PERIL, and John has also written the feature screenplay adaptation and pitch deck which we're shopping in Hollywood. John has been both a pleasure to work with and a deep writing mentor - plus a supportive friend all along the creative path. I strongly recommend him if you have a book or screenplay pushing for expression."

Scott Slocum

retired naval captain and author of DEEP PERIL

“John has written numerous novels, screenplays, and psychology-meditation books which collectively have sold in excess of one million copies. As John's long-time literary agent, co-author and friend, I recommend him with complete enthusiasm and confidence. John is a talented writer for both novels, screenplays and non-fiction, and also a wonderful mentor, researcher, editor, sounding board - and friend.”

Bill Gladstone
President, Waterside Productions




“Investing in the help of John Selby to coach me and ghostwrite my Spiritual Psychology book was one of the best professional decisions I've made. I came in with only a general idea and John brought me to clarity, commitment, and action. We met twice weekly by phone. John then advanced this raw material into the final manuscript. I couldn't be happier with the outcome – John is kind, timely, responsible and a consummate professional, while also easy-going and friendly. 5 stars!”

Renee McKenna
Therapist, author of Demons & Allies




“John stepped in and completed the ghost-writing phase of my book Voice: How to Share your Message, Products and Business with the World. The results were wonderful - the book has earned a number #1 bestseller ranking on Amazon. John is articulate, diligent, an accomplished editor and writer, and prolific author. I enjoyed working with John personally and look forward to using him on future book projects. Please feel free to call me with any additional recommendations as needed: 505-660-6622.”

Kristen White


"Last year I felt the strong urge to write a personal account of my long-term struggles to recover from a terrible brain-damage accident. A friend recommended John Selby as ghostwriter and literary mentor - and we teamed up for 6 months of phone-based recording, rewriting and editing. The result is the book “My Path To Healing” which John also helped me publish. On all fronts John’s participation was experienced, professional, supportive, insightful, respectful, challenging - and ultimately satisfying and enlightening. Both thumbs up for John!”

Keith Kuegel

Author: My Path To Healing



"To my rewrite editor John Selby - thank you so much for your major ghostwriting contributions to making my book SHARP a success, and for your mentoring and guidance in helping me live more fully what I teach through this adventure."

Heidi Hanna

Corporate Consultant

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"I am Swiss/French and luckily found John Selby in California to transform a very bad English translation of my inspiration-book into a truly wonderful expression. His expert knowledge of psychology and meditation enabled him to advance my writings into new realms. John is also now building me a special app. He has the ability to raise an author's writings into a higher level of expression, without altering the tone and message - we're lucky he's now sharing this gift and helping writers manifest their highest vision.

Nassrine Reza
Author: Accepting Who You Really Are

"John Selby took me from a wannabe writer to a published author. Through John's patient professional mentoring, expertise, diligence, and industry-relationships I've now accomplished my goal. What's remarkable is how structured the process was, and how gracefully the manuscript unfolded.  As a result, we're now working on additional books - and have just completed the pilot screenplay and series proposal for what looks like a lucrative Cable TV project. The entire process has been an insightful joy. If you have the opportunity to work with John - go for it!"

Robert Khoury

CEO, Agile Rainmakers Inc.


John Selby's recent author coaching projects:


The Wisdom Of Transition  (corporate consulting, Cheryl Benedict)


Worlds Apart (life adventure, Mai Le - both published memoir and Cable TV Series screenplays and proposal)

How To Intern Successfully (student guidebook, mentor guidebook, plus Cable TV Series screenplays and proposal - Robert Khoury)   

    Tapping The Source  (spiritual guidance text, Bill Gladstone)

    Voice  (business success, Kristen White)

    My Path To Healing  (medical memoir, Keith Kuegel)

    The Seventh Mindset  (novel, Jeffrey Frick)

    Sharp: Managing Your Brainpower  (self-help, Heidi Hanna)

The Quantum Mindset  (science, Rick Thompson)

    Power To Bloom  (inspirational, Nassrine Raza)



One of my mentoring projects was with a highly-successful corporate consultant in Denver, whom I coached for six months from initial concept to published text, website, webinars, podcasts and in-person presentations - and her book, The Wisdom Of Transition, has won the 2020 SABA Book Award!

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She offers these words of recommendation:

"About 9 months ago, I felt a strong calling that NOW was the time to write my book. My husband, a lifelong fan of John's books, discovered that John had become an author coach. I was delighted, as it had never occurred to me that I could be coached on the practicalities of how to write a book. From day one, I was incredibly impressed with John's mastery concerning all aspects of manifesting a book: creating the beginning structure and then step by step generating a rough manuscript and polishing it for publication. John is a master coach and it was a thrilling and immersive collaboration. "

Cheryl Benedict 

Author of The Wisdom of Transition,

2020 SABA book award winner! 



Along with my own books and screenplays, over the years I've enjoyed supporting successful authors with their new writing projects, and also coaching aspiring authors with a great book or screenplay inside them pushing toward completion. My history of 32 books published in my name and two dozen ghostwritten books enables me to help fiction and nonfiction authors, plus budding screenwriters, to envision, structure, write, edit and present their projects.

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