“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.”