Review: Secrets of a Ghost Writer training course

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Ghost writing takes a bite out of career insecurity

It’s a scary time for writers. Pulitzer Prize winning authors are looking for work; established writers are laid off in droves, and publishers bite the dust daily. But ghost writing is a writing niche in high demand and growing fast. As publishers and agents get pickier about what they accept, and editorial gigs dry up for writers, ghost writers — skilled ghost writers who know the publishing business — find themselves busier than they have ever been. That in mind, I took Claudia Suzanne’s unique ghost writer certification training, Ghostwriter Certification Training.

About Claudia Suzanne and her training approach

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Claudia is a well-known ghost and book industry authority. She wrote a definitive text on the business (used in major universities worldwide) and has ghosted more than 100 books and novels including medical, academic, history, bereavement, romance, action/adventure. She learned from the ground up, and promises to help students avoid her errors.

Her background and expertise drew me when I decided to explore the field of ghost writing. Her book  SECRETS OF A GHOSTWRITER: Your New Career on a Silver Platter, the foundation of the course, is the only book I could find on the realities of ghosting and the bottom-line skills needed to enter or move ahead in the field. Her training class is the only one that provides recognized certification. Those who complete the rigorous, university-quality course receive a certificate that only an elite group of writers hold. Claudia is a skilled teacher and communicates clearly and patiently.

She allowed me to audit her course for review. By the third of fourteen weeks, I sent her a check for tuition. The class is that valuable. Claudia holds class via telephone for three hours each week. Enrollment is limited so each student gets personal attention. Though skeptical at first about a three-hour phone conversation, I quickly got comfortable and found it almost as effective as a classroom setting, and more convenient.

The workload is about what you would expect from a masters level course. You must be self-motivated and self-directed. Students reluctant to put in homework time (about five hours per week) soon found they had to do the reading and exercises or get left in the dust.

Some of the topics on board:

  • How to do an A&R and what it is
  • How to find the “gold” in any manuscript
  • How to determine BISAC selection
  • How to advise the three types of authors on publishing options
  • The variances between the author’s writing process and the ghostwriting process
  • How to chart nonfiction and map fiction
  • How to find customers, market your business, and make money.

We ghost wrote selections from actual manuscripts. We learned concise line-editing and substantive editing processes. We learned to dissect a manuscript, evaluate content and writing, communicate strengths and weaknesses to the author, and prepare for successful submission. Claudia focused on maintaining the original author’s voice and showed us precisely how to identify “tells” that define each author’s voice. Lectures are supported by the textbooks Claudia uses in her on-site classes at California State – Fullerton. The textbook is a galley proof and needs some editing, and some of the reading material is repeated in the lectures. But overall, the repetition helps underscore concepts, and the material is so solid typos don’t matter.

I enjoyed Claudia’s professional, conversational style peppered with entertaining yet helpful anecdotes. Her knowledge of the subject is impressive. If her classroom performance has a weakness, it is that she goes off topic fairly easily. That’s balanced by her ability to come back and control the discussion as needed. Out of 14 weeks, not one session seemed weak. I don’t recall any questions Claudia couldn’t answer effectively.

Bottom line

If you need a step up in your writing career – if money is coming in more slowly than it once did and jobs are tougher to find – I recommend this course. The tuition, at around $900, can be paid in installments. There are sometimes significant discounts available on Claudia’s website. Claudia’s ghost writing training moves writers ahead of competition as the publishing industry morphs. The next session begins January 2010. Claudia promises to change the way you look at the written word, to expand your career, and increase your revenue streams. I believe she keeps her word.

Claudia’s book is SECRETS OF A GHOSTWRITER: Your New Career on a Silver Platter

Claudia’s course is Ghostwriter Certification Training

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