Interview with a Ghostwriter: Meet Beth Brand

“I have a friend who’s a prison guard [who] has a Master’s Degree in English. And he’s always like, “You can do anything with an English major.” 

Beth Brand, another of Wambtac’s certified ghostwriters, has certainly proven him correct for almost thirty years. Based in the area she loves—the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina—Brand specializes in nonfiction, specifically business books.

Before she called North Carolina her home, Brand was in Tennessee where her English degree led to writing work. “I worked for a couple tourist magazines, and…for several ad agencies and design firms in Knoxville. I went freelance in ’89, because they weren’t paying DC or New York salaries, obviously.” 

Back to the mountains

Life changes finally brought her to NC. “I moved…and I kept a lot of clients with me. I was doing mostly promotional writing and advertising and PR,” says Brand.

“Then that turned into more long form, just because PR turned into long form. We were doing videos, and then we were doing CDs, and then websites, and then content really came in heavy. I was doing a lot of that and really enjoying it. I [also] got a couple of magazines over here.”

Tiptoeing into ghostwriting

“One of my clients who I’d had forever and ever, wrote a book. And she was working with some publisher, I don’t know who. And she gave it to me,” Brand says, noting, “This is like four weeks before Christmas!” 

“And [my client] said, ‘Could you just read this? Because it’s going to print now. The publisher has seen it, the editors…’.  I got it and I’m like, ‘This is horrible! You cannot put your name on this!’” 

 “What she had done ,” Brand explains, “is taken a bunch of her blogs and just stuck them together.” That’s a fairly common practice nowadays, but it’s very unlikely to sell.

“Each [blog post], on its own, was very good. She was a good writer. But all together they weren’t a book. I mean, there was repetition in it,” she says. 

“So I fixed that for her in [about] three weeks, for some ridiculously low price, like $3000, because I had no idea what I was doing. But I really enjoyed it.”

“Then another person asked me to research and ghostwrite a section of their research book. So I guess I was writing [something like] a 100-page section of the book,” says Brand. 

Yes, I do need training

Brand said she had so much fun doing that second project, she decided it was time to start looking around for info on how to be a true ghostwriter.

“Ghostwriting was a very silly term to me. I’d only heard of it in passing [and] I was almost embarrassed to say it,” says Brand. “But…I started looking around and I found Claudia [Suzanne’s] class. And I thought, ‘Well, I know how to write a book, but what I didn’t know was the business side of it.’” 

“So, I took Claudia’s class, and I thought it was going to be like a night class for adults and not hard,” she says. Laughing, she admits, “It was so hard! But…it was great.”

What Brand didn’t know is that the extensive Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP) is not only about sales, royalties, and other business issues. “What [Claudia’s class] really [gets] you used to…[is] when you’re doing a book, it’s a lot of pages. It’s not like you just write a press release and it’s done, or you just write an article and it’s done.” A book project takes a lot of time “because there’s so much volume. So that was a lesson in itself,” says Brand. “And…her editing… I could listen to her edit all day long,” Brand adds.

Getting Down to Business

Most authors don’t know any of the complex business side , she says. “That’s the reason people come to me. They don’t know [these things], nor should they. It’s very complicated.” 

Thanks to the extensive GPDP class, Brand could offer more than just ghosting a full book. “I start off with a book fundamentals package, and that’s like several thousand dollars, and they get [walked through] everything they need to start writing. Then I sell deadlines as part of my coaching package. The client submits so many pages and I edit them [within] a deadline. They have to start off with a package of 10, and then they can buy five deadlines at a time after that.”

Who did you say you are?

Brand admits she gets one standard reaction when she tells people she’s a ghostwriter. “People are always like, ‘I can’t believe [that]. Don’t you feel cheated? Don’t you want to put your name on it?’ And [I’m] like, “No.” 

It’s that simple, she says. “Even when I’m really proud of the work – and there are some books that I’m very, very proud of – it wasn’t my idea. It wasn’t [even] my voice. It was my client’s voice. All I did was craft it.”

To explore how to be a master crafter in ghostwriting and get the only available certification, sign up for the “Intro to Ghostwriting” course on This six-week session offered in March and May is a prerequisite for the full 13-month Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP) begins in August 2021. 

Ghosting Perspectives: Insiders’ POV

Fair’s Fair: Contract details designed for book deal equality

At Wambtac, we know that a thrilling milestone in any author’s life is creating a manuscript that’s ready for submission to literary agents or publishing house acquisition editors. Generating that readiness is, of course, any reliable ghostwriter’s goal too.

In this next of Wambtac’s advisory series, we offer perspectives on enhancing each side’s contractual savvy to obtain honorable responsibilities and benefits that lead to a win-win working relationship.

“The author using a quality ghostwriter gains professional guidance [that generates] a quality product [with] better marketability,” says Wambtac leader Claudia Suzanne. In return usually for a flat fee and total anonymity, she adds, that author “retains all rights, bylines and profits.”

Let’s start at the beginning

To begin the collaboration, both parties need to lay out the most immediate details: 

  • The book’s subject along with a working title
  • Who has what responsibilities? — Ghostwriters are responsible for interviewing the author to obtain the info they need, creating an outline, writing the chapters, and any added options the author chooses. Depending on the contract, either the ghostwriter or author assumes responsibility for having the finished manuscript professionally edited and proofread. Authors are responsible for giving interviews, relaying honest information, and timely consideration of and response to any written content from their ghostwriter. 

After the manuscript is written, edited, and proofread, the author is responsible for marketing their book or hiring another resource, such as an agent or PR firm.

  • Timeline —Both parties should figure an average of six to eight months for a traditional book of about 85-150,000 words. Shorter eBooks (no more than 5,000 words) can take six to eight weeks, including design. 
  • Cost of project — This is not simply defined but should be transparently stated in the contract. Wambtac’s Certified Ghostwriters are book-industry insiders with the knowledge and experience to make a book a marketable literary property. Book projects are negotiated individually but generally start at $35,000-45,000. 

Some Certified Ghostwriters may lower their fee if they are listed as the ghostwriter, co-author or collaborator. Depending on contract specifics, these ghosts can receive royalties that anonymous ghosts never do.

Authors with smaller budgets can get an Analysis & Recommendations report, coaching, mentoring, or editing to help them through their writing process. 

  • Payments — Each contract is unique, but Wambtac Ghostwriters have a transparent payment where the agreed-upon monthly fee is automatically charged to the client’s (author’s) credit card or other payment methods both sides accept, be it PayPal or newer options. 
  • Rights — Authors own all rights and responsibilities to the work. Even if the book goes to film or enjoys international distribution, a Certified Ghostwriter has no claim to future profits.
  • Confidentiality —This is key to ghostwriter contracts. To create a book that’s truly inspiring, helpful, or taps other emotions, a ghost’s aim is to acquire deeply personal or knowledgeable insights. 

Some authors won’t mind telling family and trusted colleagues about their high-quality experience with their ghostwriter; some will even brag about getting professional help. But many ghostwriters agree to contracts that demand an utter seal of silence. Wambtac Certified Ghostwriters’ first step upon meeting with any potential client is to give them a signed non-disclosure agreement.

Even greater legalese

The following clauses are the ones that a legal expert needs to include or (even when they’re lifted off the ‘net) should review to ensure they meet personal needs:

  • Indemnification— A contractual obligation by one party (indemnitor) to pay or compensate for the losses, damages, or liabilities incurred by another party to the contract (indemnitee) or by a third party.
  • Governance—Both parties ensure they will fulfill their obligations with transparency and by obeying the contract’s agreed-upon rules. This clause declares which rules and laws will govern the agreement if legal issues arise.
  • Arbitration­­—Actual courtrooms (even before COVID) had very booked calendars. The arbitration process is designed to be faster and cleaner for both parties. Qualified arbitrators hear both sides, moderate conversations and negotiations, and determine the outcome of this private resolution. 1
  • Termination—Ending the contract has to follow a clause that stipulates why, when, and how the contract can be ended without any legal backlash.
  • Force Majeure—Literally, a “major force,” this clause defines circumstances beyond one or both parties’ control that forces the unforeseen, but understandable, end of the contract. This pandemic has obviously halted or at least rearranged timetables, payments, and other aspects of a contract. Wars, storms, deaths, illness—anything that either side could not avoid, means the project ends with no legal responsibilities to either party.

Fair and equitable contracts offer protection to both parties, create transparency, and allow the greatest ease with which to accomplish the book-writing project. 

Wambtac Ghostwriter Training teaches even more about the book industry from the inside out—including contracts—so you can gain a new online, lucrative, and creative career!

Check out Wambtac’s 2021 schedule for our 6-week prerequisite “Intro to Ghostwriting” course offered January 4–Feb 15, March 8–April 12, and May 17-June 28 before the full Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP) begins in August 2021. 

1 “What is Arbitration?” World Intellectual Property Organization website: 


Professional ghostwriting is more intricate than merely researching a subject, interviewing an author, and writing a manuscript without taking a byline.

This action step is the first in a six-part series that introduces the analytical skills we use to attract premium clients.

Action Step: Find and read 2-3 uncomfortable nonfiction titles and 2-3 uncomfortable novels.

Explanation: “Uncomfortable” refers to a nonfiction subject or fiction genre you would normally never read or want to read—any subject, any genre you dislike or purposely avoid.

GPDP Candidates: If you are thinking about or have registered for Introduction to Ghostwriting, submit using the information below.

Submit to:

Subject: Interim1

Slug: LM [Fname]/Uncomfortable titles 1 page# RM

Format: Use 1.25” margins on all sides. Apply a Heading to each section. Apply a first-line-indented style to each paragraph. Double space all paragraphs

Parameters: List each title in standard book-industry format TITLE: SUBTITLE, Author (Publisher, year)
(This is NOT standard Chicago Manual of Style format; it is a book- industry exception)


Working & Self- Training Ghosts: Use this exercise to nudge your mindset needle

Six Mistakes That Make Literary Agents Toss A Manuscript

Taking the leap to querying literary agents or publishing house acquisition editors is a milestone in any author’s life. But before hitting the send button, eliminate these common mistakes that could make an agent or editor—who get tons of stuff landing on their desks every day—toss the book instead of scooping it up over other submissions. 

1. Misfocused/lack of focus

Every book has a theme; each chapter must adhere to and support that theme, even if the chapter addresses a counter argument. Manuscripts that digress into associated but irrelevant content easily lose their focus.  

Deciding which BISAC category is a book’s primary one helps an author keep their message/theme strong and on target.  

But how does a writer decide which BISAC category their book fits into? The Book Industry Study Group lists every BISAC category along with its subcategories. Those groupings determine where sellers will position the book for greatest success. Most books fit into multiple categories: a self-help title that fits into a psychological category could also appeal to readers of health-and-fitness, body-mind-spirit, or even social science.

Though your book may have broad appeal, it has to have a clear and consistent focus. If it talks about improving your diet (a hugely sellable evergreen topic), digressing into the history of diets will, in many cases, dilute both the focus and impact. 

2. Missing attributions/plagiarism

It’s one thing to use quotes to enhance your points; it’s quite another to use someone else’s words but claim them as your own. 

Citing an expert can enrich your own message. But those experts must always be credited! Not only does plagiarism rob the original author’s authority and hard work, it’s a dreadful way for writers to present themselves as experts. A lot of money is made with plagiarism lawsuits.

3. Fictionalization of nonfiction content 

In nonfiction—including and especially in memoirs—when the author didn’t actually witness an event or go through an experience, it’s a major no-no to pretend they did. Making assumptions about another person’s thoughts and feelings, or to relaying actions the author couldn’t have done or seen because they weren’t there, can make an agent or editor distrust the manuscript’s other info. Nonfiction material must be represented either by the author’s lived experiences or their research. 

4. Excessive block quotes

Nonfiction writers are claiming to have expertise in their subject. But if an author uses long quotes from other writers to make a point, that tells literary agents or acquisition editors the author isn’t a credible expert.

A short quote to emphasize a point can be a powerful tool. But no matter how perfectly someone else said something, every author should be able to restate it in their own words, thereby demonstrating not only their own expertise but their voice.

Even an author who creates a book from their blog posts can fall into this mistake. Especially with highly successful blog posts, state the point in a fresh way—rather than simply regurgitating it—so it matches their book’s tone and has the smooth “Slinky-flow” dynamic Claudia Suzanne teaches.

5. Missing ultimate takeaway  

Having a takeaway is essential in today’s book industry. That takeaway is what the reader learns or understands; it comes from the book’s central thesis, each chapter’s thesis as it relates to the central one, and the final message. 

Despite lyrical prose or fascinating content, if the reader doesn’t have a clear understanding about the contents, there’s no takeaway. Takeaway issues frequently happen alongside poorly focused or misfocused material.

6. No meat – content too thin 

A short manuscript is usually either an incomplete one or doesn’t have enough info for a full-scale book. An agent or editor can spot this a mile away and may not even bother to read past page number one. 

Some authors are so fulfilled by just having their main thoughts on a page that they forget to expound and expand. Some just don’t want to. Either way, a book with thin content is better turned into an eBook, a long article, or a series of articles/blog posts that could promote the author as a thought leader. 

Having a completed manuscript is fulfilling and thrilling. But part of that thrill is in thinking it’s ready to match the book industry’s vast competition. Give your manuscript its best shot at acceptance and a hefty advance by eliminating these six common mistakes.

Ready to succeed with truly successful storytelling?

Sign up now for the next Intro to Ghostwriting class. Start your New Year and jumpstart your new career with this six-week class starting on January 4, 2021.

Ghosting Perspectives: A Roundtable

Ghosting Perspectives: A Roundtable

Our first meeting:  Getting Started

We love getting insights from those who’ve graduated our GDPD program and gone on to successful ghosting careers. We hope you’ll check out the great in-depth profiles already published, but want to offer you insights from several in a series of roundtables for quick insights from a few of our grads. 

Our first focus was with the most logical question: how did you get started? You’ll find everyone comes to ghostwriting from their own unique life circumstances. Check out what these grads were doing before they came to Wambtac, and what convinced them to explore ghostwriting.

Meet our participants:

Derek Lewis, a million-dollar business grad based in Baton Rouge, LA

Lorraine Ash, a leader in beautiful memoirs based in Northern NJ

Beth Brand, whose main focus is health and tech, based in Asheville, NC, 

Kate Early, works in self-help, business, and fiction, based in the Boston area  

Q: What were you doing before you took

Derek: I was originally a business copywriter.

Lorraine: I was a long-form journalism writer, narrative writer [and later] in the ‘90s, I started writing novels. 

Beth: I worked for a couple of tourist magazines as well as for several ad agencies and design firms in Tennessee, doing mostly promotional writing, advertising, and PR. 

Kate:  I worked for an executive coach who needed help writing her client newsletters and things like that. She just reached out to me and said, “Would you be interested in proofreading my book?” I was a former English teacher, so… . The relationship evolved from there. 

Q. What changed your focus?

Derek: I came across an online ad for somebody who wanted a business book written. And I said, “Oh, well that can’t be that much harder.” (He laughs.) Poor naïve little me.

Beth: One of my clients, who I’d had forever and ever and ever, wrote a book. She gave it to me—and this is like four weeks before Christmas one year—and she said, “Could you just read this? Because it’s going to print now.”

Kate: I worked on a book project with [the executive coach], and that’s how I sort of evolved into more of [her] ghostwriting. 

Lorraine: I was always interested in books and [even] had aspirations in that area. When I was 40…my first child…was stillborn. I say I was ‘rebirthed’ on that day. I suddenly understood the power of telling a story from the inside out. [I wrote] Life Touches Life: A Mother’s Story of Stillbirth and Healing (New Sage Press.) I started understanding the power of narrative for people to heal their own lives.

Q: How did you find Claudia Suzanne’s ghostwriting class?

Beth: I think I was just Googling “ghostwriting.” Now there’s a lot more, but this was [about] five years ago and really, she was the only deal in town at that time.

Kate: I happened to see the course advertised [on a client’s newsletter] and there was [Claudia’s] webinar. I attended the webinar, and at that point I just sort of figured if I’m going to do more of this [ghostwriting] for the woman I work for, I should know more about it.

Derek: On Google [I] looked for ghostwriting coaches, ghostwriting teachers, ghostwriting courses. That’s how I came across Claudia’s website.

Lorraine: I found Claudia on the internet, heard a couple of the talks. She had given an interview to the Publicity Hound, Joan Stewart. That was an excellent talk. And then I enrolled.

Q. What’s your advice for potential ghostwriters?

Kate: Well, if you’re really going to do this well and write, that’s why you should take [the Ghostwriter Training] class.

Lorraine: Someone approached me to ghostwrite a book, and I sat down and I thought about how I’d go about doing that. And I said, “You know, I’m going to get training in this. But I want to get serious, intense training in this. I want somebody fabulous.” Because I saw a lot of weekend things or online quickies. That’s not what I wanted.

Beth: I would tell [them] to take [the] class [‘cause] there’s a lot to publishing. It’s not just writing a book.

Derek: I wish I would have known that people made money writing books for other people! 

Check out these Wambtac ghostwriting grads’ websites:

Derek Lewis

Lorraine Ash

Beth Brand

Kate Early

And once you’re wowed, check out the 2021 schedule for the 6-week prerequisite “Intro to Ghostwriting” course offered in January, March, and May before the full Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP) begins in August 2021. We look forward to showing you the book industry from the inside out and helping you learn a new online, lucrative, creative career!

COVID Mindset Re-set

It’s been a crazy six months with people all locked away together. No one can blame you if your education, inspiration, or motivation has been on hold.

As we wind down into 2020’s last quarter, now’s a good time for a new perspective and gaining momentum to complete an otherwise crazy year. 

Try this COVID re-set for a few quick personal and business perspective shifts that can help move a sad acronym into a glad acronym:

C is for checking your website and other marketing materials to decide what needs updates

O is for outlining 10 blog posts for book or business promotion and scheduling them into your editorial calendar

V is for varying your workout pattern so it stays exciting and challenging

I is for immortalizing your time at home by taking selfies and writing flash fiction about each one

D is for donating your writing skills to help a non-profit, church, small biz, or others 

Want even more inspiration? Create your own definitions for that acronym and share it with your friends, followers, and fans. Who knows, maybe they’ll jump into the game, too!

Need even more help to get moving? Start planning for 2021 now, when our next Intro to Ghostwriting class starts. Great way to get your feet wet.

Battling the Depression Demon, And Winning

Any time one’s out of work, sadness—even depression—can set in. And since COVID? The Pew Research Center did a survey in mid-March, when we were still early in the pandemic and hadn’t yet suffered its many economic or emotional hits. Pew found that nearly one-third of those suffering from psychological issues including depression and anxiety were those who’d already lost jobs or income.

This COVID period is undoubtedly an extraordinary stressor for many. Normally, whether workers wear blue or white collars, they can check out similar environments in their field and find work. But now is very different. 

Retail, for example, is mostly shut down. Since the pandemic’s exploded and government funding is gone, some retail businesses have folded forever. Jobseekers find no replacement positions or face a ton of competition when they’re answering ads. (Let’s not even talk about filing for any assistance.)

Loss of income and stability, loss of future goals, loss of everything we consider normal… it all creates an overwhelming impact. Depression is one of COVID’s most predictable outcomes. 

Here comes Demon Depression

Experts agree depression has different definitions. “I see depression as when you’re not functioning as well as you could be. You’re not hitting on all cylinders,” says Rick Hirsch, LSW, a long-established mental health professional in Pennsylvania. 

The American Psychiatric Society says, “Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act… Depression is among the most treatable of mental disorders.”

California therapist Vicenza Baldino, LMFT, adds that challenges have exploded since the #BlackLivesMatter intensification of cultural change. “Some of my clients that are already depressed [have] gone into such a deep sense of despair. It’s as if they are in bereavement, as if they knew these people, because it’s affecting their community so greatly,” she says.

Facing tricky challenges

The unemployed now face outstanding challenges. “Where I would go with a person like that is maybe…have them spend some time…reviewing what they feel their strengths and weaknesses are,” says Hirsch. “Who they are as far as a person at their core.”

He offers this example: “I would have them reflect on what they liked about their job when they were performing at their best. And then maybe pull that apart a bit to learn what it is they actually enjoyed and valued about that, and see if that’s a fit for what they’re looking at in terms of [any] class.” 

“We can get depressed no matter if we’re fragile or not,” says Baldino. “If you’re going to work for yourself, can your personality tolerate the disappointments that will be many before the successes?” 

Yes, I can conquer!

Being pragmatic helps. Review your budget and figure all expenses, including training fees, new software…all the details that any smart budget includes.

“I’m a believer in someone remembering what it feels like to have some success,” says Hirsch. “Sometimes that requires taking a step back and succeeding, and then taking the next step after that. [Give] yourself goals that you can actually attain.”

Success may not even mean earning dollars immediately. “So maybe somebody invests in [ghostwriting], but not for the outcome,” says Baldino. “[It could be] for the process, or the journey of learning something, and saying, “Hey, you know, I do have this skill. Maybe it’s ____.” Then you fill in the blank. 

Remember, that filled-in blank could range from “It’s a great hobby,” to “Let me see how I feel about that first project,” to “I’m ready to focus on that training,” and beyond. 

When you envision your future, the world is still your oyster, so dream big! Becoming a Certified Ghostwriter takes time, passion, and dedication. But when you finish and are ready to start your lucrative, online, and creative career, the world will be waiting—healthier and stronger than when you began.

Ready to explore a ghostwriting career? Come to our site!

And don’t forget to check our other blogs about getting started as a ghostwriter.

 1 Pew Research,

Gain Ghostwriting Recognition via a Cost-Effective Media Outlet

Say “marketing” to many small business owner and they’ll say, “I don’t have an advertising budget.” But every business should have a marketing budget. More importantly, they should understand that marketing and advertising are not synonyms; ads are just one form of marketing.

One truly cost-effective outlet for marketing your ghostwriting business is radio. Most guest spots will cost you (Are you ready?) ZERO. That’s right—zilch, nada, nothing!

If you think radio as a marketing tool has died, think again.

In one survey, Nielsen found that 93% of Americans tune into AM/FM stations.

Radio had strong listening trends during the 2016 election and the first Trump term, but after that Nielsen found audience numbers were still solid; in fact, they’d risen—7.4% of listeners ages 25-54 in 2017 rose to 8.3% in January 2018.

Getting past ghostwriting’s restrictions

Certified Ghostwriters who successfully completed the GPDP program with Claudia Suzanne know that signing an NDA is the first step in developing a client’s trust. Once you’ve signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with your author/client, you’re legally bound not to reveal anything about the project.

So, be careful how you promote your ghostwriting business. It’s tempting to talk about a fabulous life story or business method your client has, especially when a good interviewer asks probing questions. But resist!

Instead of talking about specific projects, offer listeners insights or tips about what ghostwriters offer, the pros/cons of using a ghostwriter, or how to work with a ghostwriter. How can they get started? How do they choose a ghostwriter? What other writing services does a ghostwriter provide?

Keys to attracting bookings 

You’re used to doing the interviews but getting others to interview you successfully requires other skills. Here are five simple points to get you on the air and make your advice worth listening to:

  1. Go looking for the gig—Sounds obvious, right? Yet many potential guests dismiss radio, even though it’s an extremely cost-effective way to promote their business. 
  2. Focus on local markets—Unless you’ve penned a major leader (and have permissions to name it), you’re not going to be immediately picked up for key shows like Ellen or The 11th Hour with Brian Williams. It’s usually easier to find local outlets interested in interviewing someone in their market. 
  3. Pick a SPECIFIC topic—The contact person gets too many calls with generic pitches, like, “I can talk about social media.” Yeah, so? Pick a platform you’re good at and can easily discuss, like LinkedIn or Instagram. What about it? Starting and moderating a LinkedIn group? Easy tips for getting LI news noticed? Know how to gain Instagram followers?
  4. Get prepped—Even if you’re allowed to prepare questions ahead of time, expect segues, additional questions, perhaps interruptions. Have extra info—like stats or examples—to embellish your talk (and enhance your reputation). And don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” No one knows the answer to everything and being honest increases your credibility. Mention your website and you could build a mailing list. But avoid sounding like a commercial; the moderator will talk about your bio and contact info.
  5. Are you able to provide any offers? Giveaways (like an e-book or a free 30-minute review of what the client needs) can be solid enticements. 

Don’t just walk away

When the interview’s over, find out how to get a link to the show’s recording so you can post your own blog and social media news alerts. Remember to ask if you need special permissions to use the recording as a giveaway.

And make sure you send a thank-you to the host and/or press liaison. You can use eCards; there are quite a few free sites with a great variety. Of course, you can always write and send an old-fashioned paper note.

The bottom line: As we teach in our Ghostwriter Professional Designation Program (GPDP), no matter how good a ghostwriter is, they can’t just expect clients to come to them. Every business needs to reach far and wide to link with potential authors and writers.

Radio’s great promotional potential helps authors and Certified Ghostwriters unite! ###

 1 “New Radio Trends and New Momentum for the New Year,” 3-1-18

An Eye That Landed on the Ghostwriting Prize

“I was originally a business copywriter,” says Derek Lewis, Certified Ghostwriter, “and I came across an online ad for somebody who wanted a business book written. And I said, ‘Oh, well, that can’t be that much harder.’ Poor naïve little me.” 

We’re not in Kansas anymore

Ghostwriting and regular journalism, says Lewis, may both be “black words on a white page,” but that’s about all they have in common.  As he progressed in his original project, he came to realize that [these types of writing were each] a different skill set, a different mindset,” and ultimately, “a different business altogether.”

“I stepped back and said, ‘I probably need to learn what I’m doing.’ So I went on Google and looked for ghostwriting coaches, ghostwriting teachers, ghostwriting courses. And that’s how I came across Claudia’s website.” 

He ultimately became a ghostwriting success story after taking Claudia Suzanne’s ghostwriting course. 

Facing ghostwriting challenges

 “I just didn’t appreciate how much emotion is tied to a book,” Lewis confesses. “And how it’s one thing to copywrite a blog post or a magazine article for somebody. I mean, of course they come up with the content and they approve it, but there’s not an emotional attachment to it. 

“With a book, there is so much more scrutiny on getting it right. Because a book just naturally carries more weight than a blog post or a magazine article.”

Lewis says he welcomed the more in-depth author involvement but didn’t expect the painstaking process of book writing. “Fifty thousand words of a manuscript is not the same as a 5,000-word article ten times. It’s not a commensurate amount of labor—it’s far more.

“I didn’t know there was going to be that much back and forth,” he says. “I didn’t even appreciate that it was a different writing skill altogether.” 

Gearing up the skills set

“Claudia taught me how to be a real ghostwriter,” says Lewis. He loved the challenges and the way it stoked his own insights. “I don’t say ‘quantum leap’ very often, because that’s over-used and it sounds a little hyperbolic.” But that’s how strong a transformation process he experienced as he moved from traditional copywriting into ghosting.  

“With Claudia’s course, I realized that I was severely undercharging,” Lewis says. “I immediately raised my prices, on a scale of five or six times. I realized that I was in a whole new industry. It was a whole new craft.”

“I could mark the [class segment] where I [first realized I] had the confidence, I had the knowledge, I had the tools, I had the craft, to appropriately quote my value,” says Lewis. “In fact, with just my first project, I made more on that than my previous year and a half of copywriting put together.” 

What makes Claudia so good, and how do you work through a class like that? “Just her sheer amount of experience and industry insider knowledge. I think the way she says it is, ‘I’ve done everything you can do wrong, at least five different ways.’”

The dream didn’t wait too long

“I guess [it’s] probably true in just about any business or career, but…you [can’t] just hang your shingle out one day and be making money the next,” Lewis advises. “It takes a little bit of time to establish yourself…to get the sales and marketing parts kind of up and running. I tell people if I had to do it over again, I would have been a lot smarter about it.”

Lewis does have one regret: “I wish that I would have come across [Claudia’s] ad probably six months, eight months earlier. I was in a position where I had a full-time job, but I could have moonlighted as a ghostwriter and established myself, and made a smooth transition of going from being employed full time to being self-employed full time.” 

“Of course, this was 11 years ago,” he laughs. “I was younger and full of vim and vigor.” ###

Not Your Father’s Ghostwriting

A lot of people still think “Ghostwriting is when someone writes a book for the author.” That’s a rather misleading and old-school definition. When the print world imploded in 2009, ghostwriting was compelled to expand its parameters to help fill in the gap left in traditional publishing houses. Ergo, while there are many writers who still write books under other people’s names and consider that ghostwriting, today’s professional ghosts work intimately with their authors to:

  • Focus and position the book before writing
  • Apply creative analysis to discern the nonfiction thesis, the objections to counter, the missing dots, and the market-expansion potential
  • Apply creative analysis to discern the fiction premise, plot-character integration, implausibilities, and character-study PMA to remedy those issues 
  • Develop and structure the content 
  • Write the content
  • Restructure the first draft for Slinky flow
  • Revise, expand, and refocus a second draft for reader satisfaction 
  • Musically line edit the third draft for impact and energy
  • Incorporate all third-party copy edit/proofreader corrections
  • Code the manuscript to industry specifications, whether traditional or self-publishing
  • Prepare book proposals and bestseller strategy plans

It’s a big job, it takes in-depth industry knowledge, and it costs between $35,000 and $120,000 per project, depending on the content, the focus, and the author’s intentions.

It’s also what I teach in Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program every year. GPDP’s six-week prerequisite class, Introduction to Ghostwriting, gives people the chance to see if they really want to invest in making this career move, because, frankly, it’s a huge life change.

Bottom line, GPDP amounts to a masters-level course in creating Marketable Literary Properties out of great ideas.