The Hills are Alive…With a Book’s Music

How Musical Line Editing makes it sing

If you’ve never heard the term “Musical Line Editing” (MLE), you are missing out on the proprietary, lift-every-author’s-voice-and-make-it-sing editing technique of Claudia Suzanne’s Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP).

“Musical line editing uses an array of techniques to tighten, strengthen, and dynamize our clients’ second drafts,” says Claudia. “It’s kind of a real ghostwriter’s superpower.”

Finding true musicality

All line editors check punctuation, eliminate ineffective non-sentences, and ensure the copy flows. Simply cleaning up a book’s copy is okay—but it doesn’t make it sing.

Every manuscript should go through three drafts: the author’s first draft, the edited second draft for readers, and the third draft that conforms to industry formatting standards. Musical line editing uplifts a manuscript’s second draft by getting rid of stuff that makes the author’s voice pedantic, repetitive, or passive by increasing the weight, rhythm, speed, and energy of each and every line.

Check out this example of MLE’s transformative powers:

Pedantic voice: “Serious consequences have happened by not paying attention to the climate change indicators.”

MLE singing voice:  “Not addressing climate change indicators creates serious consequences.”

By deleting “to be” verb forms, the edit changes passive voice to active voice—a key skill for MLE professionals.

Though you may have to reword any piece a bit, you cannot—and must not— change your author’s message or voice. That is a skilled ghostwriter’s mission and focus.

Editing makes things active, but…

This example from Claudia illustrates how editing for action can inadvertently shift an author’s intended focus:

Passive 1: “Molly was singing as she was hanging up the laundry.”

Passive 2: “I heard Molly singing as she was hanging up the laundry.”

MLE Active: “Molly sang as she hung up the laundry.”

Yes, #2 is more active, but suddenly we have a POV (point-of-view) shift where Molly is no longer the key character. Instead, “I” has become the narrator of the scene, thereby becoming the main character, and changing author intent.

Learning when to embrace passive voice

Even though it’s stated in passive voice, this famous line from Star Trek’s creator, the late, great Gene Roddenberry exemplifies that to every rule there is an exception: “To boldly go where no one has gone before.”

Imagine if the show’s intro was: “The Federation must explore!”  Though it’s definitely active, it’s not nearly as evocative. Sometimes—but rarely— passive voice is the perfect one.

That’s just the beginning

This post is a mere introduction to the musical line editing you learn toward the end of Wambtac’s Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP). All essential ghostwriting skills are taught in the same order you will eventually use them: first-draft skills then second-draft ones.

When you are a Certified Ghostwriter working on client manuscripts, you will first use the many formatting, organizing, book industry, and ghostwriting skills for their first-draft manuscript before implementing musical line editing to raise the quality of their second draft. Your MLE edits will guarantee the reader never has cause to stop reading, never needs to pull back and reread, never puts the book down because a line made their eyes cross.

If you really want to generate not just a basic percussion beat but enhance it with a rock ‘n roll rhythm, start exploring basics with the new asynchronous version to be ready for the full 13-month Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP) course with The Ghostwriting Expert, Claudia Suzanne, in August 2022.

8 Easy Memory-Gathering Steps for Family Memoirs

How to start creating your relatives’ memoir

How many times have you thought a birthday, special family event, or some other holiday would be a great time to gather memories for family memoirs—like Grandma’s history as a Rosie the Riveter patriot working in factories during WWII or Grandad’s motorcycle trip across the country?

And how many times have you pushed it aside saying, “But I don’t know how to get started”?

Or maybe you just figured, “Well, it’ll work better when we gather for the next event ‘cause we’ll have more people.”

If there’s one rule we’ve all learned from this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic disaster it’s that—unlike for Scarlet O’Hara—tomorrow is not another day. At least it’s not guaranteed.

So instead of waiting to gather family memories, start now to implement a few simple steps. When you do, who knows how many of your family members will jump in and start adding even more ideas?

Start communications

  1. Connect with emails or phone calls—It’s that simple. Start by reaching out to just a few key loved ones—e.g., your sister, oldest child, one of the grandkids—and tell them what you want to do. Then ask: “What’s the first step you can help me with?” Consider setting up a specific email address just for family messages.
  2. Be honest—Speaking of emails, don’t be afraid to admit if you’re not a techno guru. Ask for help from the generations that grew up with computers and the ‘net, ever-more sophisticated cell phones, email and text messages, and more.
  3. Explore other technology— It’s not just about recording audio. Have you been part of selfies, but really can’t do them yourself?  Are you going to need help making videos? What about uploading photos? Do you need a more sophisticated four-color device for printouts?
  4. Do your homework—No, it’s not about helping your grandkids with their sentence syntax or algebra—it’s doing your homework before getting started. Any good memoir developer researches and organizes questions ahead of time. That way, when the person you talk to not only answers your first question but wants to keep chatting, you’ll be ready to ask even more. Remember, good memoirs don’t just recite chronological facts—they have emotions and reflections for each event.

“Wow, Grandma, how did you feel when you first walked into the factory?” or “Hey Gramps, what did you discover in that defunct mining town in the desert?”

Get more personal

  1. Seek depth—Don’t just accept, “Our greatest family event was being in the Civil Rights movement of the 60s” or “Well, we were on the winning side of the Civil War.” That’s just the first sentence; you need more details. Your extra questions from #4 will help the family reminisce.
  2. Look for special family photos or a journal or other objects—Pictures speak a thousand words. Use them to help evoke even more memories—not only in others, but yourself.

Glean insights at events

  1. Decide on individuals or groups—Now that travel has opened again, are you seeing one or more loved ones at a special event? If more than one, can you handle it if, after each question, folks chime in together, talking over each other and interrupting so you only get snippets of real information?

Or are one-on-one interviews more likely to gain truly personal insights? Try breaking the group up by finding a quiet spot for individual interviews.

  1. Don’t limit memory gathering to just one day—It’s unlikely you’ll gather enough memories from any one event. It could be even harder in 2021 when everyone’s delighted to finally be together again. There could be the kind of excitement—even frenzy—at reunions that can make calm memory-gathering challenging.

To learn more, keep gleaning remembrances at other holidays and events, like Thanksgiving and noteworthy birthdays—but don’t wait for such gatherings.

Use the email connections you already established and ask them to keep sending you memories; encourage them to exchange insights with other. Set up regular phone calls and/or Zoom meetings to keep the project going. Hearing and seeing each other helps family members feel connected and builds trust—a crucial bond for talking about sensitive subjects.

For more ideas on how to interview, check out websites like and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. For even more help, learn how to ghostwrite memoirs and other materials by taking Claudia Suzanne’s Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP) and becoming a Certified Ghostwriter.

While the next Intro to Ghostwriting class begins in January 2022, you can always take the new asynchronous version to be ready for the full 13-month Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP) course with The Ghostwriting Expert, Claudia Suzanne, in August 2022.

Best Practices for Remote Work

Enhance productivity at home, outside, and far away

Both staff employees and ghostwriters think that working from home is a pandemic-generated innovation—but it’s not true. One Gallup poll found that, even before COVID, the rise of home-based employees rose from 39 to 43 percent between 2012 and 2016.1

There are no real stats on ghostwriters per se, but according to the last Freelancers Union’s report, 57 million Americans were freelancing.2 The odds are a fair number of those work remotely.

Just like the rest of employment (and life!), working remotely offers a variety of positives and negatives. While Wambtac leader Claudia Suzanne has long touted that her ghostwriting grads earn at least $35,000 per book, she also notes that such earnings are only achieved by hard-working professionalism. Success means overcoming challenges—including those imposed by a remote location.

“What’s stopping me?”

If you hear those words in your mind once in a while, it’s probably not too negative. Your brain recognizes an issue and is seeking options to overcome it. But finding yourself dead in the water every day is a whole different kettle of fish.

The good news? You’re not alone. Even before COVID’s lockdown, the social isolation that can come with being home-based or working remotely (in a shared office space, for instance) was challenging.

Here are a few recommended practices for fighting remote isolation:

  • Set normal work hours—This is one of ghostwriting’s great advantages. A night-owl ghostwriter can start work at 11 a.m. and not go to bed ‘til 3 a.m. An early bird who needs flextime to help children or older loved ones can be a “work in very early morn” lark.

    But set specific “business hours” and (barring unavoidable outside life demands) stick to them. Make sure family/friends know your official work hours and know not to knock on your office door (or table) or call during that period.
  • Schedule exercise—It’s so easy to keep sitting…and sitting…and … . The average American gained over 20 lbs. thanks to COVID isolation. And when the temperature skyrockets or rain gushes or snow piles up, it represses folks’ outdoor movements like walking and jogging, even around their own homes.

    Surprisingly, indoor exercise has actually been easier since mid-2020. Folks have saved travel money and have purchased indoor equipment like an exercise bike or treadmill. 

    But if your budget’s tight, go online. You’ll find TONS of free exercise blogs and vids (both sitting and standing versions) using little or only modest equipment. Some suggest lifting canned goods instead of buying dumbbells to release your shoulders, pump up your biceps, or increase your stamina. With all the options available, there’s no reason not to exercise.
  • Team up—Arrange with a colleague to give each other the boot twice during whatever workday you’ve each scheduled. Schedule reminders on your phone for a quick chat or even a text message. Just get each other moving! 
  • Get dressed, really—Clothes change our sense of self, so present your best self in online meeting. Get out of pjs, sweats, and other leisure apparel. You needn’t be too dressy; just something that makes you look good on Zoom and feel like a real biz owner. Someday, there will be a library of funny pandemic pictures of people dressed professionally for the camera but wearing their slippers or bathing suit outside the camera’s frame.

Consider moving out

No, we’re not suggesting running away from home. But you might want to consider working at some other locale, even if just a few hours every weekday hooked up to Wi-Fi at a Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, or your favorite local cafe.

If you want a true office, check the ‘net to find ads for offices as well as in-depth checkpoints on what to consider, like location, costs per square footage, available utilities and their costs, and even parking availability.3

Being truly remote

Even before instant communications made sending a message a 2-second task, writers worked remotely—beyond the USA (think Hemingway). 

Current technology allows a ghostwriter to work from anywhere—and who knows where your author might be? Just a few of the European locales recommended to freelancers are Barcelona, Spain; Prague, Czech Republic; Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Berlin, Germany.

The benefits cited among these locales:

  • Better help for start-ups
  • Easy transportation
  • Fast internet
  • Cheap cost of living (in some!)
  • Learning new languages and cultures

And these don’t even cover finding other places to locate your new career. Is it Australia? South Africa? Greece? Where else in the world do you dream of working?

Wherever your remote goal may be, once you’re trained as a Certified Ghostwriter, establish your daily discipline for success, no matter where you may be sipping your latte.

While the next Intro to Ghostwriting class begins in January 2022, you can always take the new asynchronous version to be ready for the full 13-month Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP) course with The Ghostwriting Expert, Claudia Suzanne, in August 2022.

1“You want to work from home, but your boss wants you back in the office. Here’s how to meet in the middle,” L. Curry, Anchorage Daily News, 6/721 

2“Freelancing in America,” Freelancers Union, 2019

3“Find and Lease Office Space for Rent in 6 Steps,” K. Treece,, 8/31/18

Appreciating All Sexes and Cultures

Becoming a diverse ghostwriter expands your outreach

Every year, June’s LGBTQ Pride month brings diversity issues to the forefront, recognizing broader and more inclusive sexual diversity. Ghostwriters, like corporations, do better with a diverse client base.

At Wambtac we know that diversity—not only relating to sexuality, but also America’s amazing scope of religions, cultures, and races—is important all year long. But it’s only recently been explored, much less openly accepted.

Reaching out to groups outside your comfort zone or normal connections creates more opportunities for work, for building community, for understanding your world.

Ghostwriters often deal with a variety of clients, which leads to questions like:

  • How do ghostwriters handle authors who are different than they are?
  • How do you craft characters with different regional and cultural voices?
  • What can make nonfiction more representative?

Diversity is expanding across publishing

Sangeeta Mehta, Diversity Chair for the Editorial Freelancers Association, notes how important diversity acknowledgment is in the editorial world. “Our goal is to support a more diverse membership and promote equitable access for all. We do this by offering a communications platform, resources, events, and a ‘Welcome Program’ specifically with a diversity focus.”

In her thirty years of experience in the book publishing industry, Wambtac’s founder and The Ghostwriting Expert, Claudia Suzanne, has worked with a huge breadth of authors on diverse manuscripts. She always encourages ghostwriters to be broadminded enough to accept projects outside their norm or comfort zone.

Let’s take a brief look at some of the benefits—and challenges—exploring diversity truly brings.

Broaden your market focus

One of Suzanne’s key rules is that even solid authors and ghostwriters should take time every year to read at least one fiction and one nonfiction book in a genre they don’t like…maybe even hate.

“It leads to better critical thinking,” she emphasizes, “and that enhances a ghostwriter’s problem-solving abilities and strengthens analysis,” of character impact, memoir insights, or nonfiction messages.

Kids learn more

Since 2012, the founders of Multicultural Children’s Books Day (MCBD) have shown an amazing number of diversified reading lists for kids.

But they’re not just for kids—these ideas will help expand your own thoughts and perspectives:

  • Diverse Biography Picture Books
  • Diverse Graphic Novels
  • Diverse Fantasy & Science Fiction for Kids
  • LGBT Book Lists for Kids of All Ages
  • American Indian Books for Kids of All Ages. 1

Lee & Low Books, a specialist in children’s literature, is also trying to ensure that diversity is understood by leaders in the publishing industry. It admits it didn’t always recognize that “people behind the books serve as gatekeepers.” So in 2015, they started their first Diversity Baseline Survey 2(DBS 1.0). It revealed that their participants largely fit into mainstream categories: 79 percent of respondents checked themselves as White, 88 percent were straight, and 92 percent were non-disabled.

The one possible plus? Close to 80 percent of respondents were women. That, though, could reveal a reverse prejudice—that it takes women to judge and edit children’s literature. In the last six years, the DBS showed some progress in that the number of white executives dropped from 86 percent to 78 percent, and leaders with disabilities rose from 4 to 10 percent. Such leadership changes bode well for bringing more diversity into the book industry.

Diversity leads to profit

This is not just wishful thinking. One McKinsey study found that companies with more gender diversity are “21% more likely to experience above-average profitability.”

Among companies that diversify their leadership, McKinsey found “33% [were] more likely to see better-than-average profits.”3

Diversity and inclusion are here to stay

All that said, every ghostwriter is entitled to set their own boundaries. Some refuse to write books that promote violence; some refuse book projects that offend their morals.

Whether you’re simply interested in profits (Suzanne’s students earn a minimum of $35K per book) or expanding literature by having a broad outreach, your expert ghostwriting skills apply to more than just book writing, they help you attain your objectives and increase your affinity with the world around you.

While the next in-person Intro to Ghostwriting class begins in January 2022, you can always take the new asynchronous version to be ready for the full 13-month Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP) with The Ghostwriting Expert, Claudia Suzanne, in August 2022.

1 “Diversity Book Lists & Activities for Teachers and Parents,”
2 “Where is diversity in publishing,”, 2019 Diversity Baseline Survey, 1/2/20
3 “More Evidence That Company Diversity Leads to Better Profits,” K. Strauss, Forbes 1/25/18

Gathering Your Guy’s Memories

Keys to creating a loving memoir

How many times have you thought a birthday, special family event, or a day like Father’s Day would be a great time to capture your dad’s memories? Or maybe that’s the time to gather not only Dad’s memories but also those of other male family members?

 Or maybe youre the dad…would you like this for a present?! (Beats a tie, right?)

Whoever you are, or whoever is on your list of special men whose memories you want to gather together, don’t wait!

Instead, put a few key actions into play:

  1. Prepare questions— In the hopes of gleaning as much feedback as possible, a good memoir developer researches then organizes their questions ahead of time. Use old photos or a journal or objects that are special to the men in the family, letting those items help you lead the conversation. This way, if you get extra interview time, you’ll have ways to evoke more memories.
  2. Choose a gathering tool—Always record your interview sessions instead of relying on your notes. Small and unobtrusive technology is less intimidating during interviews where emotions may be high and people could feel vulnerable, so decide if you want the recording on your phone or a small digital recorder.
  3. Gather memories outside of specific events—Besides asking about questions that relate to a special event like Father’s Day, Christmas, or graduation, ask loved ones about Dad or Uncle Jack, or Grandpa. If he likes to cook, what are/were his best recipes? Anyone learn any driving tips from him? Any great stories he wrote, dancing you saw, or brilliant home remodeling—especially on a budget?

As you get responses, ask follow-up questions like: Was this [recipe] something he brought from the old country? How’d he learn remodeling?

  1. Start small—Family and friends could get intimidated when you suddenly announce, “I want to capture our family history!” Thinking about—let alone remembering—the whole history seems daunting to most people (especially with no warning!). Collect many insights and you’ll find you have a revealing compendium. 

Instead start by suggesting smaller and more specific ideas in an email or phone call before the event. Explain what you’d like to do, ask if they want to be included, and if they have photos, etc. to share. For example:

“I’ve been wanting to capture loving/funny/important memories about Dad (or Grandpa, or Uncle Jack) for a long time, and I think this event gives us a great time to start. Would you be willing to share your favorite story when we meet?” Or “I’d love to hear your favorite memory about [a special day or event]. When would you like to talk about it?” 

  1. Decide on individuals or groups—Now that travel has opened again (to some degree), are you seeing a loved one or several at a special event? If more than one, can you handle it if after each question folks chime in together, talking over each other and interrupting so you only get snippets of real information?

Or would one-on-one interviews give you more? Try breaking the group up by finding a quiet spot for individual interviews.

When those are finished, go back to the full gathering and let everyone listen to each other’s comments. Get ready for a lively conversation! That’s when others are likely to yell things like, “No, that’s not the whole story!” or “Yeah, I remember that. I saw it happen, too!” and you can add their insights. 

  1. Be friendly—This isn’t investigative journalism, so don’t push. Watch for signs of fatigue, especially with older family members. When stories arouse buried emotions, ask interviewees if they need water, a bathroom break, or anything else—including a hug.
  2. Will you limit memory gathering to just one day?—It’s unlikely you’ll gather enough memories from one event. It could be even harder in 2021 when everyone’s delighted to finally be together again. It’s been a year since loved ones have seen each other and there could be the kind of excitement±—even frenzy—that could make calm memory-gathering challenging. 

To learn more, wait for other holidays and events, like Fourth of July and noteworthy birthdays. Set up phone calls and/or Zoom meetings to keep the project going. Or just ask family members to email their memories—you can even create a specific email address to collect them.

For more ideas on how to interview, check out websites like and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. For even more help, learn how to ghostwrite memoirs and other materials by taking Claudia Suzanne’s Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP) and becoming a Certified Ghostwriter.

While the next Intro to Ghostwriting class begins in January 2022, you can always take the new asynchronous version to be ready for the full 13-month Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP) course with The Ghostwriting Expert, Claudia Suzanne, in August 2022.

Gathering Mom’s Memories on Mother’s Day…

…and throughout the year

You keep thinking you’d love to gather your mom’s memories, so why not use Mother’s Day as a great time to start? How about gathering insights or tender memories not just from Mom, but from other loving family members? 

Or maybe you’re the mom (or Grandma or Auntie who plays the mom role) and you’ve decided it’s time you started gathering remembrances!

Whoever you are, Mother’s Day is a great time to begin collecting stories, either about or from Mom. Just keep a few key actions from Wambtac’s  Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP) in mind:

1. Start small—Family and friends could get intimidated when you suddenly announce on Mother’s Day, “I want to capture our family history!” Thinking about—let alone remembering—the whole history seems daunting to most people (especially with no warning!), so start with something smaller and more specific. 

Tell your loved one(s) something like, “I’ve been wanting to capture loving memories about Mom (Grandma or Auntie) for a long time, and I think Mother’s Day is a great day to start. Would you be willing to share your favorite story today?” Or “I’d love to hear your favorite Mother’s Day (or family) memory.” 

Collect more than just Mom’s (or Grandma’s) insights and you’ll find you have a really nice compendium.

2. Determine your gathering tool—Choose recording on your phone or a small digital recorder. Small and unobtrusive technology is less intimidating during interviews where emotions may be high, and people could feel vulnerable.

3. Prepare questions—A good memoir developer—like all ghostwriters—researches and organizes questions ahead of time, in the hopes of gleaning as much feedback as possible. Look to old photos or a journal or objects mom collected to help you devise and organize your questions. This way, if you get extra interview time, you’ll have ways to evoke more memories.

4. Decide on individuals or groups—Now that travel has opened again (at least to some degree), are you seeing a loved one or several at a special event? If more than one, can you handle it when folks chime in together after each question, or do you believe that one-on-one interviews might glean more?

If you have a group, try this: First, find a quiet spot for individual interviews. When they’re completed, go back to the full gathering and let everyone listen to each other’s comments. That’s when others are likely to yell things like, “No, that’s not the whole story!” or “Yeah, I remember that. I saw it happen, too!” and you can add their insights.

5. Be friendly—This isn’t investigative journalism, so don’t push. Watch for signs of fatigue, especially with older family members. Ask interviewees if they need water, a bathroom break, or anything else—including a hug when stories arouse buried emotions.

6. Gather memories outside of specific events—Besides asking about Mother’s Day (or Christmas, graduation day, etc.) pass around index cards and ask loved ones to write down other types of knowledge about the person you’re focusing on. What were her best recipes? Anyone learn any great cleaning tips from her? Any great stories she told you, songs sung, or brilliant home decorating—especially on a budget? 

While they’re writing, ask questions like: Was this [recipe] something she brought from the old country? Where did she get it from back there? Was it created in America? Why?

7. Will you limit memory gathering to this day?—It’s unlikely you’ll gather enough memories from just one event, like Mother’s Day. It could be even harder in 2021 when everyone’s delighted to finally be together again. Since it’s been a year since loved ones have seen each other, there could be the kind of excitement, even frenzy, that could make calm memory-gathering very challenging. 

So what can you do to learn more? Wait for other holidays and events, like Fourth of July and noteworthy birthdays? Set up phone calls and/or Zoom meetings to keep the project going? Or just ask family members to email their memories—you can even create a specific email address to collect them.

For more ideas on how to interview, check out websites like and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Learn how to make a living writing memoirs by taking Claudia Suzanne’s Intro to Ghostwriting to become a Certified Ghostwriter.

Get started now! The  6-week “Intro to Ghostwriting” course starts May 17th, prepping you for the full 13-month Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP) certification beginning in August.

The Early Ghostwriter Catches Success

Kate Early admits that a set of accidental circumstances brought her successfully into the world of ghostwriting. Like many, it wasn’t her start-up career.

“I happened to meet [an executive coach] by accident, when her son and my son were in an activity together. At one point she just reached out to me and said, ‘Would you be interested in proofreading my book?’”

Early had been an English teacher, so she figured, “How hard could that be?” She came on board, the collaboration worked, and she segued into writing other materials—like helping with the client’s newsletters. “Then I worked on a book project with her. And that’s how I sort of evolved more into the ghostwriting,”

It’s time to go back to school

When Early quickly discovered she needed more training about ghostwriting books, vs. just writing some marketing materials, the teacher decided to become a student.

“I happened to see the [Wambtac] course advertised……and I attended [the webinar].  At that point I just sort of figured, ‘You know, if I’m going to….do more of this for the woman I work for, I should know more about it.”

“I took the Intro course and learned how much I didn’t know!” laughs Early. “[When I] finished that, I signed up for the… year-long one.” That’s the Wambtac Ghostwriter Professional Designation Program (GPDP).

“I tell you, as hard as it was, I’m grateful for it. And particularly grateful that [Wambtac teachers] were ready to be there with you, to help you…every step of the way. You could reach out to them…and they were wonderful about providing… support. Throughout, I appreciated …moments where Claudia would just say, ‘Relax, you can do this. You’re going to get this.’” 

“Thankfully I hung in there. And I’m very grateful that I did,” says Early. 

Choosing categories you enjoy

Early helps authors write books in the self-help or business genres, and memoirs. “Self-help, I worked with a man who ran a drug and alcohol facility and wanted to put a book together to help people recovering from addiction. 

“[Then] I worked with an executive coach. [That book is] more the business-y end of self-help, whereas the others were different kinds of niches in the self-help world. 

“And now I’m working on something that is kind of like a memoir, but it’s a bit of a unicorn. It doesn’t fit neatly into any real category. It’s interesting and kind of an original thing, but I can’t really talk about it,” she says, laughing again.

The word gets around

“I already described how I had the one client…,” Early says, “[and] that’s an ongoing relationship. The other book project…came from a friend of mine [who] just decided he was going to do this. Then he found out…what I do and that’s how we connected.”

Referrals are the major source of her projects. “I have a good relationship with another woman who writes blogs for business schools – for MIT and Wharton. Occasionally she gets those entrepreneurs who want to write a book and she doesn’t do that,” so that’s one resource, says Early. Her original source, the executive coach, “… is very connected to other consultants. [She] has a pretty wide network and so she gives my name out. 

“So I’ve really been lucky. I’ve sort of been in a stream where [I’m] connected with a network of people who know consultants,” says Early, noting that this network is  a major author pool. “Consultants are the audience, really, for ghostwriters. They really want, usually, to establish their credibility with a book in some kind of way.” 

“If you’re really going to ghostwrite the right way, you should take the [GPDP] class. If you’re really going to hang out your shingle and tell people you’re going to help them with their books, you should know what you’re doing,” Early concludes.

To train for Early’s kind of success, sign up for the final “Intro to Ghostwriting” course for 2021, starting May 17th.  This six-week class is a prerequisite to the full Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP) beginning in August 2021.

Make Your Clients and Yourself Happy

Remember the Five Rules of Ghostwriting

When you come on board the Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP), you will regularly hear one of Claudia Suzanne’s key selling points: “Our students, on average, start with fees of $35,000 for their first book.”

That sure gets a potential ghostwriter’s heart pounding! Making the big bucks is based on remembering the Five Rules of Ghostwriting:

1. Make the client happy—You’ll learn that when ghostwriters get an author’s manuscript, they find tons of issues—like characters with no depth or nonfiction that doesn’t address key BISAC niche markets. Claudia repeatedly emphasizes that no matter how unsaleable a book seems, it’s your job to find the gold that’s there in any first draft. And it’s up to you, once you’re a Certified Ghostwriter, to make that book stand out in a way that entices— even excites—potential markets. Make your client happy by listening to their vision, explaining how to accomplish it, and working closely with them through the chapter-by-chapter method. 

2. Get paid—Throughout class, Claudia emphasizes that her Certified Ghostwriters get the right fee because they are book industry insiders who conduct their business professionally: They have a signed NDA with the client and a signed contract that transparently states the total project cost—paid through regular monthly payments until final manuscript delivery—along with the writing process, duties of each party, and legal minutia. 

3. “It’s not my book”—In GPDP you will learn to practically become the author and to adopt their voice whenever you make necessary changes.

But here’s a predictable scenario: You start your own business as a Certified Ghostwriter, get your author’s materials, and confidently deliver your revised Chapter One to them. When you get it back, the author hasn’t agreed to a single change. “I don’t know why you changed this,” their email may say. “Anyone will be amazed to see how important  __ is.” 

Having a close relationship with your author is key here. Try a few times to explain why you made the changes you did. But if your author is unmovable or angry or depressed, simply agree and include the information.  As Claudia explains, “You can try to change their minds once. You can try again. And you can even try one more time. Three strikes does not mean you—the ghostwriter—are out. It means you must provide your author with some finished product. If it’s not what you’d try to sell, so be it. You’ll learn to just keep repeating, ‘It’s not my book. It’s not my book. IT’S. NOT. MY. BOOK!’” (Consider it the professional ghostwriter’s mantra.) 

4. Never quote before reading—Certified Ghostwriter Beth Brand tells the story that before she took GPDP, she took a job from a friend who was on the verge of publishing her book and had asked for Beth’s insights. She charged that last-minute author only $3,000 for reading the manuscript, explaining why the book wouldn’t work, and making the many changes it needed. Even then, Beth sensed it was not the right fee. 

Many authors will push for “just a ballpark fee” quote before the ghost has seen the author’s material. But simply saying, “I guess between $10 and $150,000” shows an author you’re seriously not going to quote a price before you know what material you’ll work with. For Beth, it was live and learn. When she discovered Rule #4, she already had real-world experience in the importance of never quoting before you read—in GPDP, she learned she had charged one-tenth of what she should have. 

5. Always analyze for the positive—It’s very easy to guide an author with “helpful” analyses like, “Your protagonist won’t generate reader empathy if he stays such a crass yokel” or “These are great blogs, but they really don’t meld together to offer an overall theme.” 

Such critiques are much too general and brusque. They won’t help gain your author’s trust or make you a true companion for your author to help them turn straw into gold (a primary goal in GPDP training). Claudia teaches to empathize with your author and analyze for the positive, framing manuscript’s faults as improvement opportunities (addressing no more than three at a time) and assuring the author you’ll work with them through the changes. 

Using GPDP’s Five Rules of Ghostwriting creates happy clients and happy bank accounts!


To become a Certified Ghostwriter and put these rules to work, check out the 2021 schedule for the 6-week prerequisite “Intro to Ghostwriting” course. Last-minute March enrollment is still open, and the next course opens in May before the full Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP) training begins in August. We look forward to showing you the book industry from the inside out and helping you learn a new online, lucrative, creative career!

Five Templates to Enhance a Book’s Slinky™ Flow

Crafting nonfiction is more than just splattering the words onto the page. A critical key to success is figuring out what format—aka which template—will best fit your book’s message.

That’s why one of the early lessons in Wambtac’s Ghostwriter Professional Designation Program (GPDP) is about the five manuscript templates that determine a book’s structure. Choosing the correct template gives the book what our founder, Claudia Suzanne, calls “Slinky™ flow,” which easily takes your reader from page to page and concept to concept.

Choose the best template for your book:

1. Linear template—This template has the simplest, most straightforward, flow. Decide on your key points then organize them in a structure that flows easily from point to point. 

Claudia points out, “This template is perfect for linear material like biographies, histories, true-crime exposés, or technology and engineering titles that naturally unfold in a sequence, be it chronological or otherwise.” By the way, fiction usually goes in a straight line, too. 

2. Modified straight-line template—This is a little more complex than the linear template. Your material still needs to flow from A to B to C, but the material includes key digressions, like flashbacks, that take the main focus a bit off the straight-and-narrow.

 “This structure is great for memoirs, humor, and creative nonfiction,” says Claudia. But she warns it works best “ONLY if…transitions or subheads let the reader move smoothly off and [then] back onto the main track.” 

3. Cloverleaf template—Books developed with this template take a more circuitous route. Your thesis is the center and different theories flow from it, eventually wrapping back to validate the primary thesis.

Claudia says this kind of premise-then-prove construction is “useful for possibly the widest number of titles.” First among them, as she puts it, are “Business books, business books, business books. Did I mention business books?” 

Health, fitness, and self-help genres also use a cloverleaf template, as do “written debates, legal briefs, scholarly/academic papers, advertorials, and any sort of entrepreneurial book trying to hammer home a specific principle.”  

4. Radial template—This is also somewhat circular, but there’s a major difference between this structure and the cloverleaf. In the Radial template, the main concept is still central, the rest of the book demonstrates how the concept actually helps. 

 “A lot of books,” Claudia says, “could use EITHER a clover leaf OR a radial template.”

 More than simply saying, “I think everyone should learn how to fast twice a week,” or “Smart business leaders know they should interface with their staffers on a regular basis, and blogs are a great tool for this,” a book fitting a radial template offers steps or examples that prove how fasting twice a week could help or why blogs are a good biz tool.

5. Pyramid template—This is the least commonly used template and works best when a single theory becomes more and more complex. It’s ideal for books about any aspect of STEM subjects—science, technology, engineering, and math. 

“Think of every math book you ever read,” says Claudia. “If you don’t get the ideas in the first chapter, the equations in chapter 6 will likely make your eyes spin in the back of your head.” 

This quick summary of nonfiction book templates is just a tiny insight into what makes a book as enticing as possible. 

You’ll learn far more about templates, establishing flow, finding a book’s audience(s), and much more in Wambtac’s “Intro to Ghostwriting” course offered in March and May.  This 6-week class is a prerequisite to the full Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP) beginning in August, 2021. 

We look forward to showing you the book industry from the inside out and helping you learn a new online, lucrative, and creative career!

A More Hopeful New Year’s Resolution

As 2021 stares right at us, who isn’t exhausted or burnt out? Thankfully, we’ve started a new year and that’s just what we all need to begin again, better than ever. Remember how you’ve always wondered about ghostwriting? Wambtac’s Intro to Ghostwriting class and thought-provoking Interim Steps will help you decide if ghostwriting is the career path for you in 2021.

Take the career advancement route 

The good news during this new year with Covid is the number of positive changes we can see. Many companies are finding new ways to sell and deliver their products. Many are moving to online training, which helps everyone find new careers, money-making paths, and new creative outlets.

At Wambtac, we know quite a lot about online training. We started our ghostwriter training more than two decades ago, educating ghostwriters across the USA and beyond, including Europe, Australia, and South Africa. 

We offer the only comprehensive ghostwriting certification course in the world—Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP). In this knowledge-packed program, students learn the book industry from the basics of what our profession was to what it’s become. They learn manuscript analysis, how to ghostwrite to maintain an author’s voice, and setting up a business. Graduates earn a professional certification (the highest certification one can earn from a non-accredited program) through Cal State University Long Beach.

Professional ghostwriting is a lucrative, recession-proof service career that engages a ghostwriter’s creativity and intelligence in helping others write their books, tell their life story, or send their message out to the world. Even if an author is still in the “I want to write a book but just can’t get to it” stage, has only notes or a half-finished manuscript stuffed in their desk drawer, Certified Ghostwriters are trained to interview the author and draw out the story they have always wanted to tell.

If you are a writer and member of a marginalized community or group, your skills are even more necessary: elders are more likely to write their memoir with someone who speaks their language or understands their culture. As the American culture changes this year and into the future, understanding the viewpoints of POC or marginalized people will become ever more important. 

What could be better than discovering THEIR book has potential? 

Every author wants to hear their writing has great possibilities.  

As experts in the ghostwriting field and book industry, Wambtac Certified Ghostwriters  can create an in-depth Analysis & Recommendations report of an author’s manuscript. No matter where an author is in the writing process, this supportive analysis guides them towards success, showing them where their book would be most successful in the marketplace and giving recommendations for fixing the weak spots.  

First: Remember the distance past

For some of us, it’s hard to remember 2020 without slipping back into depression. Business books, self-help, and memoirs are the top three book-selling categories, no matter what year it is. Instead of dwelling on a radically difficult time, start off your new year by setting your sights high—focus on gaining the skills to make $35,000+ per book project. 

As baby boomers age, many of them have a lot to offer the world and want to write their memoir. Memoirs help readers learn from the experiences of authors who share their wisdom, something everyone can use no matter how old they are.

Such stories could contain lessons on how they (or their family or their business) survived this pandemic or any other crisis. But did they learn those survival skills through childhood experiences like special family gatherings where the adults told their stories or offered their wisdom about their lifestyle or work experiences? Tapping into elder wisdom has given many a young person the role model they need to keep pushing forward. Did the author learn resilience and survival because they immigrated and learned to adjust to a new culture? What an accomplishment! 

No matter where it starts or ends, Certified Ghostwriters know how to help tell that story. 

Second: Now move forward

Maybe that initial memoir continues into the author’s latest experiences in 2020 and can work as an epilogue, a simple add-on briefly noting where they landed. But if the author has a lot to say about surviving the pandemic, that could lead to book two: relating their actual COVID experiences, including lessons on how they coped and readers can, too. Creating two books gives the author more visibility, of course, but also increases their authority, which then increases potential book sales.

More than once Wambtac ghostwriters have received massive tomes that are simply too long and rambling to be marketable. Certified Ghostwriters work with the author to craft a story that reads better and therefore has a better chance of success in the book marketplace.  

Third: Truly boost 2021

Who knows? Depending on the length and where their insights lead, a ghostwriter might even be able to create a trilogy for the author, with their third book offering post-pandemic guidance. Books are creative projects that can lead to other acknowledgment or revenue streams: bestseller lists, movie remakes, international success, or simply satisfying a long-held dream to tell the story.

Wambtac wants to help you turn the 2020 doldrums from negative into positive by seeing the opportunities 2021 offers. We believe this year will be full of renewal, creativity, and community.

For a solid overview of a true career in ghostwriting, sign on to the next Intro to Ghostwriting class. Options to start the process to be certified in our Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP) are available in March and May this year via It’s an easy way to discover if this is what you can truly do.