“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 ghostwritertraining.com. 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.