Appreciating All Sexes and Cultures

Being 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 companies, 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

You learned one of Claudia’s key rules: 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 or want to expand the 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.

Help us grow by telling others about a new option for taking Wambtac’s “Intro to Ghostwriting” course. Instead of waiting until January 2022 to begin this prerequisite to the full Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program, take the Intro class asynchronously via LearnDesk.

1 “Diversity Book Lists & Activities for Teachers and Parents,” www.multiculturalchildrensbookday.com
2 “Where is diversity in publishing,” Leeandlow.com, 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 you’re 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 the 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 Geneology.com and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Help us grow by telling others about a new option for taking Wambtac’s “Intro to Ghostwriting” course. Instead of waiting until January 2022 to begin this prerequisite to the full Ghostwriting Professional DesignationProgram, take the Intro class asynchronously via LearnDesk.

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 you’ve learned 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—Remember, this isn’t investigative journalism, so don’t push. Watch for signs of fatigue, especially with older family members. When you see that the stories arouse buried emotions, ask interviewees if they need water, a bathroom break, or anything else—including a hug.

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 Geneology.com and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Then add these pointers to what you’ve learned about making a living writing nonfiction—including memoirs—when you took Claudia Suzanne’s GPDP to become a Certified Ghostwriter.

Remember: you can get insights from the Wambtac team and your fellow Certified Ghostwriters through certifiedghostwriters.com. And please remind colleagues that if they’d like to do this, they should start now! The  6-week “Intro to Ghostwriting” course starts May 17th, prepping them 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 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,” 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.

REMINDER

Remember to check the blogs on our certifiedghostwriters.com site and to reach out when you need consults to get a client on the right track, help with MLE, or business advice. Help us grow by reminding others about Wambtac’s “Intro to Ghostwriting” course.

Last-minute enrollment is still open for May 17th, the final Intro course prior 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 came on board the Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP), you regularly heard one of Claudia’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! But making the big bucks is based on remembering the Five Rules of Ghostwriting:

1. Make the client happy—As a GPDP grad, you’ve probably already experienced the tons of common issues in first-draft manuscripts—like characters with no depth or nonfiction that doesn’t address key BISAC niche markets. Remember that simply telling your client about their book’s issues doesn’t help anybody. Claudia repeatedly emphasizes that no matter how unsaleable a book seems, it’s your job to find the gold hidden in any first draft. To make that book stand out in a way that entices— even excites—potential markets, first make your client happy by listening to their vision, then explain how to accomplish it by turning issues to improvement opportunities and work closely with them through the chapter-by-chapter method. 

2. Get paid—Certified Ghostwriters get high-endfees because they are book-industry insiders who conduct their business professionally by having 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. Demonstrate your authority through A&Rs, mentoring, or wowing your client by MLEing their manuscript.

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

But here’s a predictable scenario: You’ve startedyour own business as a Certified Ghostwriter, gotten your author’s materials, and confidently delivered your Chapter One. But then you got it back…and the author didn’t agree 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 to include the information, just the way they want it.  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. Try simply saying, “I guess between $10 and $150,000.” Such a witty reply 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, and 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 gain your author’s trust or make you a true companion to help them turn straw into gold. Remember Claudia’s teachings 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 every change. 

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

REMINDER

Remember to check the blogs on our certifiedghostwriters.com site and to reach out when you need consults to get a client on the right track, help with MLE, or business advice. Help us grow by reminding others about Wambtac’s “Intro to Ghostwriting” course. Last-minute enrollment is still open for March, then there’s a final May Intro class prior to the full Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP) beginning in August 2021. 

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 you learned in GPDP was about the five manuscript templates that determine a book’s structure. Choosing the correct template gives the book what Claudia calls “Slinky™ flow,” which easily takes your reader from page to page and concept to concept. Here’s a quick reminder for choosing 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. 

REMINDER

Remember to check the blogs on our certifiedghostwriters.com site and to reach out when you need consults to get a client on the right track, help with MLE, or business advice. Help us grow by reminding others about Wambtac’s “Intro to Ghostwriting” course . Last-minute enrollment is still open for March, then there’s May prior to the full Ghostwriting Professional Designation Program (GPDP) beginning in August 2021. 

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

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. As one of our Certified Ghostwriters, you’ve learned savvy contractual behaviors, but everyone needs solid business reminders.

“The author using a quality ghostwriter gains a 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, the 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 by assuming the marketing tasks or hiring another resource, such as an agent or PR firm.

  • Timeline — On average, 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.

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

  • 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 are sent 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 some kind of 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 all the contract’s 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.

Since you are already a certified ghostwriter, don’t forget to contact Wambtac’s leaders and your colleagues on our certifiedghostwriters.com site anytime you’d like insights on contracts—and other—questions. 

 1 “What is Arbitration?” World Intellectual Property Organization website: https://www.wipo.int/amc/en/arbitration/what-is-arb.html 

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? Remember to check the blogs on our site. And yell when you need any consults to get a client on the right track.