The Master Wordsmith Apprentice Author Program

A 5-month group program to write the best damn book for your business

Can I be real a second? (For just a millisecond?) Writing a business book is hard. If it were easy, you’d have done it by now. 

Seriously, what’s up with that? You’d think that once you’ve built a six-figure business based on your own expertise and skill set, that writing a book about it would be the easiest thing in the world.

But when you actually sit down to write it, you feel like you’re Bruce Banner in Infinity War and the book is your Hulk: Noooooooooooo!

Why You Haven’t Written An Amazing Business Book Yet

Maybe you have no idea where to start.

Maybe the blinking cursor on a blank page paralyzes you with terrified indecision.

Maybe you know exactly what you want to say, but you can’t get the words out of your head and onto the page—or when you finally do get them out, they don’t sound right after all.

And maybe you know the book can make or break your business’s reputation—and you’re scared it won’t be good enough.

Because you know what a great book can do for your business! You’ve mapped out the strategy already—this book will double your rates, 10x your email list, pack your pipeline, get you on Seth Godin’s podcast or Marie TV, take you from regional to national stages, sell out your mastermind, establish you as the sharpest tool in your particular shed, and be the foundation for going from 6 figures to multiple-6 or even 7 within the next 3 years. (And that’s without even selling the book to speak of—you can do all those things just by giving it away!)

Not to mention the part where it will help transform your readers from struggling stragglers to confident commanders of their own lives.

But you also know that none of those amazing things will happen if the book sucks.

You’ve built your business by being as good as your word. But what if your words aren’t as good as you?

At best, you’ll have wasted a bunch of time and money on a failed project you just want to forget about. More likely, the book will actively work against you, telling those prospective clients and event planners and mastermind members (and let’s not forget Mr. Godin and Ms. Forleo!) that your business is like a German sausage joke: literally the wurst.

That’s really freaking scary. (And I’m not just talking about the dad joke!)

You probably perform perfectly under that kind of pressure in your business, because you already know how to do it.

Writing a book, though, that’s not something you know how to do. And for an expert like you, not knowing what to do might be the most frustrating—and frightening—feeling in the world.

So instead of handling this book project the same way you handle all your other business endeavors—confidently, expertly, joyfully—you find yourself struggling to make progress at all. You’ve got the strategy for the book in place, you’ve got the drive to make the book happen, and you’ve got the desire to make the book great…but you don’t have the tools, the expertise or the support to create a written result that lives up to those standards.

No wonder writing a book is hard.

If you’re smart, right about this time you’ll start looking for help. And that’s exactly what you should do! Trying to write a book alone is one of the biggest mistakes business owners don’t know they’re making.

But beware: not all help is created equal.

The typical book-creation solutions don’t actually solve the problem.

There are a lot of self-publishing programs out there that try to make writing a book easy. And hey, after dealing with crushing self-doubt around your ability to write a good enough book for your business, the promise of making the book process easy can feel like a huge sigh of relief.

But what does easy book creation get you?

Rush jobs and human error. Most programs preach finishing and publishing the book as fast as possible--in 90 days, 30 days, or even over the weekend. But have you ever noticed that the faster you try to do something, the more mistakes you make and the crappier that thing turns out? 

Crap quality. Saving money and cutting costs is big in self-publishing these days. But guess what? Just like in everything else, you get what you pay for. Bare-bones investment leads to bargain-basement quality. 

A one-size-DOESN’T-fit-all system. Most self-publishing schools and author incubators churn through dozens if not hundreds of authors a year. The creators say "do what I did, and you'll get the success I've got!" But you're not them--how do you know their plug-and-play system will work for you? To them, you’re nothing more than one more credit card. And you can forget about flexibility, adaptation, or personalized support. 

DIY-induced exhaustion. Lots of programs are heavy on the rah-rah inspiration and light on the individual support--some have one coach for every 50-60 authors. (Not to mention it's completely up to you to hold yourself accountable or dig up your own accountability partner.) Write a whole book with 1/60th of a coach for guidance and DIY accountability? I’m getting tired just writing one paragraph about that. Imagine trying to do it for weeks on end!

All work and no play. Because they usually present writing as something people hate, suck at, don't have time for, or otherwise really don't want to do, these programs tend to teach their authors to push through the writing as hard and fast as possible to minimize the effort. But if you hated writing your book, you'll also hate promoting it...and your readers will hate reading it. And most of all, you’ll hate the whole, massive waste of time and money.

Disconnection from your own book. Whether they rush you through a halfhearted effort at writing or remove you from the writing process altogether (usually by having you outsource the writing to scribes), most of these programs minimize the connection between you and your own creative process. But wait, it’s YOUR book! Shouldn’t you be part of the whole process? And don’t you WANT to be?

Okay, so let's recap: in most book programs you get to be one of a faceless mass of people getting rushed through a depersonalizing, disconnected, nose-to-the-grindstone, cheerless process, with minimal support and no strategy beyond getting to say "I'm an author now!", and you're supposed to be happy about it because it's cheap and easy?

In what universe does that sound like a good idea? Or that it could actually help you write a good book for your business?

You need a program that matches your quality standards.

If you've grown a business to six figures or beyond, you know damn well that the solution to "this is hard" isn't "let's make it easier."

No, the solution is "let's do the hard thing and do it well.”

Why? Because it's worth doing. And because in the long run, it’s easier to do it right the first time.

And if you're reading this and nodding to yourself, I'm guessing you're already fed up with get-rich-quick schemes, one-size-fits-all BS, and bad investments masquerading as the answers to all of your book problems.

You're not a typical entrepreneur, and you're not looking for a typical book creation program.

Which is why the book creation program I'm about to tell you about is anything but typical.

Introducing The Master Wordsmith Apprentice Author Program.

What's different about this program? 

Well, for starters: instead of quick and cheap book creation, it’s focused on quality writing and long-term book strategy for business owners.

That’s because it's designed and hosted by a book coach and author who values quality books, not a marketing guru trying to build a nine-figure company.

That's me, btw. I'm James Ranson, The Master Wordsmith™, and for five years I’ve helped entrepreneurs like you write the best business books they can. Not the fastest, not the cheapest, not the most. The best.

Why? Because you've built a six-figure business by prioritizing quality. So when you write a book about that business, your words must reflect your value. Otherwise you might as well not write it at all.

For me, taking your money to teach you anything less than how to write a freaking amazing book would be a disservice bordering on fraud.

So as you might have guessed, I do things more than a little atypically for this industry. While most self-publishing program creators focus on quick and cheap book creation, I focus on quality writing and long-term strategy. While they herd hundreds of first-time authors through their programs, I work with only a handful of clients a year. While they evangelize meaningless bestseller labels and scattershot Amazon campaigns, I help business owners write books so good they don't need to sell them--they'll make more money giving them away.

When you join The Master Wordsmith Apprentice Author Program, here’s what will happen.

You’ll write a quality book that boosts your business and reputation.

Specifically, you’ll:

Write a fantastic final draft. This is the first step to every fantastic thing that can come later – like speaking engagements, high-quality clients, booked-out programs, and more. Everything you want this book to accomplish comes back to the quality of the text you start with, so our top priority is to help you do everything YOU can to make that text amazing.

Write (and rewrite) without feeling rushed. This program is not accelerated, dizzying, or otherwise on speed. When you rush a miracle worker, you get lousy miracles. This program is five months long. There's a schedule, but there's also flexibility to adapt--and time to focus on the deep work of writing. Plus, this is the only program on the market that builds in time to rewrite, not just time to write. Rewriting is the stage where your book gets super-focused and clear, becoming a great book rather than just any old book.

Receive personalized attention. This is not a self-publishing seminar with 574 students, 3 overworked TAs, and a guru you never see. You'll be one of no more than 12 authors, and you'll have personal guidance from me every step of the way. This program is designed to maximize the attention I can give my authors, while also keeping all the benefits of group accountability and camaraderie. This means you’ll be seen as an individual author, not an interchangeable cog--and you can develop and explore what you learn in your own way.

Understand the ROI. The goal isn't to write a book that gets a flashy launch and then disappears. The goal is to write a book you'll be proud to use as a business foundation for the next several years. So we’ll talk about what that foundation will look like for you and your business—and help you write the best book to make that foundation a reality.

Enjoy the process. A choir director once taught me “hard work is fun when improvement is evident.” That idea is a pillar of this program—we’ll work hard together because our hearts are in the work and we’re learning to create something excellent, not because we have to slog through a tedious, drudging process in the hope of getting cake when we’re done. (The cake is a lie!) Seriously, if we're not feeling accomplished, finding excitement, and having fun, we're doing book creation wrong.

Feel supported from beginning to end. The most frustrating thing about writing a book is feeling like it’s an insurmountable task. That’s why I won’t leave you alone to implement what I teach. You’ll get accountability, regular writing time, and Q&A sessions as part of the program, so you'll never feel like it's all up to you. Plus, I'll bring in guest experts who know more about certain areas of book creation than I do, just to make sure you get the best training and guidance possible.

Have a true partner in book creation. This program isn’t all about me. I don’t stand up on some pedestal, dispensing divine wisdom to the peasants. I'll be right there in the trenches with you, guiding YOU to write the best book for YOUR business. And if you're struggling, I'll be there to help you--if you don't finish a final draft that you're proud of, I haven't done my job.

Atypical? You bet. I can't think of a single self-publishing guru out there who would teach a program like this--they'd be cutting their own throats!

But for business owners like you who have put years of effort into making your businesses awesomely atypical? This program is for you.

"When you dedicate your heart and soul to a book, you want someone who is going to be there with you every step of the way—through the good, the bad, and the ugly. James has proven to be such a mentor. His greatest strengths are his ability to see the project from start to finish, his clear sense for exactly how to get you to that finish no matter how fragmented things may feel at times, and his iron will to hold the line for what is truly best for the book, even when you can’t see it yourself."

Justin Patrick Pierce

The Master Wordsmith Apprentice Author Program contains 5 comprehensive training modules.


The goal of this first module is to give you a rock-solid foundation for your book before you ever start writing it. Getting super clear on the who, what, how, and why of your book at the beginning will stoke the fire of motivation for the entire project—and prepare you to write a book you’re seriously proud of. Not to mention that getting the strategy right on the front end can save you weeks of reworking things on the back end.

We’ll start by asking and answering the BIG questions for your book, like:

  • Why is a book right for YOUR business?
  • Who's the book for, and why do they need it?
  • What's the big idea for your book?
  • What makes you the right person to write this book?

  • Why does this book need to exist?
  • What does success look like?
  • What mistakes might you make, and how will you avoid them?
  • What’s the right mindset to write this book?

Duration: 2 weeks

Guest expert topics:

  • How to grow your business with a book (without having to sell hundreds of copies)
  • Mastering the author mindset (without meditating 2 hours a day)


Outlining is the business author’s secret weapon. This module will take you from basic book idea to ridiculously-detailed point-by-point layout of your book, so that when you sit down to write you’ll know exactly what to say. Key points include:

  • Outline slowly now to write fast later
  • Find answers by asking questions
  • Make it personal with stories
  • Include the "just right" amount of content

  • Use (or don’t use) content you've already written
  • Flesh out your skeleton
  • And more...

Duration: 4 weeks

Guest expert topics:

  • Titles, subtitles, Tables of Contents, and book descriptions: making your book readable before you write it

Beyond the main text: why front and back matter matter.


In this module, you’ll take your in-depth outline and turn it into a finished draft. This is the meat of the program, where you’ll spend nearly all your program time putting butt in chair and hands on keyboard. There will be some instruction, but most of your focus (and my support) will be around getting the writing done. Key points include:

  • Understand that your first draft's job is to suck
  • Write the most important chapter in your book last
  • Find the writing schedule that works for you (and stick to it)

  • Write in (or out of) order (and know which is best for you)
  • Write with confidence (and without editing as you go)
  • And more...

Duration: 8 weeks


This is where the program goes further than most other programs. Most self-publishing programs have you write the first draft, do a bit of self-editing, and then move on. Not this one. In this module, you’ll get feedback on your writing from me and from two of your fellow authors. You’ll also give feedback on two of your fellow authors’ writing. And you’ll learn about other types of feedback that you’ll want to get after the program is finished. Key points include:

  • Understand the role of feedback in the writing process
  • Experience and provide peer reviews
  • Learn to judge your own work without hating yourself

  • Deal with constructive criticism without hating the critic
  • Prepare to work with your editor

Duration: 2 weeks

Guest expert topics:

  • The 3 different types of editing—and why you need all 3
  • Finding and working with your editor


This module is the capstone of the program, where you’ll do a comprehensive rewrite of your first draft based on the feedback you received during the previous module. Like Module Three, you’ll spend most of your time focusing on writing. The goal is to have a finalized draft that’s ready for an editor by the end of the module. Key points will include:

  • Understand how self-editing works (and how to do it effectively)
  • Make helpful changes to your book's content
  • Learn how rewriting is quicker than writing

  • Master writing for people who don't live inside your head
  • Determine how good is good enough

Duration: 3 weeks


In this free bonus module, you’ll hear from five guest experts on the next steps in your book journey. Their topics will include:

  • Quality cover and interior design: make your book look as good as it reads
  • Using Amazon with integrity: be honest, be visible, be credible
  • Marketing your book without wanting to curl up and hide

  • Page to stage: turning your book into a keynote speech
  • Audiobooks: another secret weapon for business authors

Duration: 1 week

Who are the guest experts and what will I learn from them?


Dale L. Roberts, founder of Self-Publishing With Dale and author of over 40 self-published books. Expert Topic: Using Amazon With Integrity

M. Shannon Hernandez, author, speaker, and marketing consultant. Expert Topic: Joyful (And Successful!) Author Marketing

Guest Experts are being added to the program as we speak, so check back here every few days to see the new ones!


"I had all the information in my head, but getting it into book form and getting that book out into the world took know-how that I didn’t have. James helped me outline and organize my ideas, which made writing the book so much easier, and his editorial guidance helped polish my draft into a final text I'm proud of."

Dixie Tenny


As we work through these modules, we'll assemble for two weekly calls, which are the foundation of the program. 

Weekly Call #1: Teaching, training, hot seats, and Q&A (2 hours). This call is where you'll learn the week's lesson, discuss it with me and your fellow authors, get hot-seat attention and guidance from me, and ask any questions you might have. The goal of this call is to get you ready to implement that week's assignment. These calls will be recorded and available for rewatching for the length of the program.

Weekly Call #2: Scheduled writing time and office hours (2 hours). This call is for you to have a secure, scheduled space to work on your week's assignment. I'll be on the call to offer support and answer questions as needed--and I'll be working right alongside you if there are no questions! Think of it like a virtual coworking session already built into your weekly schedule, where you don't have to hold yourself accountable because I'm there to do it for you.

(This is the program's biggest secret weapon, btw...when I started using this scheduled coworking idea with my 1:1 clients, their productivity and progress more than doubled.)

These calls will not be recorded.

In addition to the two calls, there will be a dedicated Slack channel for each cohort of the program, where all 12 members will have access to me and to each other.

Also, each week’s lesson will have written PDFs to follow along with, including fill-in space to complete assignments.

And of course, you’ll be in a group with up to 11 other business owners just like you who are ready to work alongside you and support you as you write your high-quality business book. Your fellow authors are a big part of the group’s support system! At least one of them will be an accountability partner for your writing assignments; at least two will give you feedback on your first draft; and all of them will be there to ask and answer questions, compare notes, grill you in hot seats, and challenge you to grow with them. Keith Ferazzi said to never eat alone; this program makes sure you never have to write alone.

Your book can change everything. Are you ready to write it?

If you’re a coach, you know a great book can drive traffic to fill your next course or mastermind program. If you’re a consultant, you know a great book can help you book out your pipeline for months (at a higher rate than before!). If you’re a speaker, you know a great book can move you toward bigger, more lucrative stages and make you money at the back of the room. If you’re a trainer, you know a great book can open doors at higher-profile companies with bigger education budgets. And if you’re any kind of business owner, you know a great book can help you uplevel your authority from local to regional to national to global.

Are any of these results guaranteed? Of course not. But you’ll have a stronger chance of making them happen with a book than without one—and you’ll have a much, much, MUCH stronger chance if that book is the best book you can write.

"James helped make my writing clearer, more cohesive, easier to grasp, and more entertaining to read. His wordsmith skills improved my book in ways I didn’t know existed before I hired him."

Steven Daar

Secure your seat in The Master Wordsmith Author Apprentice Program for only $4,999.
(Or 5 payments of $1,199.)

Value & Bonuses

This program is a $14,999 value.

That’s how much 5 months of 2 weekly calls with me costs my 1:1 clients – the ones I’ve been serving for 5 years. I’m taking everything I teach in my 1:1 book coaching and offering it in a group setting. And because this is my first time putting all of my experience and expertise into a group coaching format, you can get in at 33% of my usual rate.

And that's not all, either. The Apprentice Author program comes with several free bonuses that will help make your book even higher quality:

  • A 1-day Virtual Kickstart Retreat with the whole group, where we'll get to know each other and set up our foundational book strategies ($2,999 value)
  • A personal outline review from me, where I'll set your writing up for success by evaluating your outline first ($1,499 value)
  • 2 30-min 1:1 calls with me, usable at any time during the course, to answer individual questions and help with deeper strategy ($1,999 value)
  • A $1,000 discount on any editing or DFY rewriting (aka “book doctoring”) services you hire me for after completing the course ($1,000 value) 

That's $7,597 in bonuses, for a total value of $22,596!

Still for only $4,999 or 5 payments of $1,199.

Get VIP Attention

Now I know that some of you love the group idea...but really thrive with some extra 1:1 attention throughout the process. So if you know some more personal help would rock your world, there is a Journeyman Level to The Master Wordsmith Apprentice Author Program that you're gonna love. It includes:

  • Everything from the group program as listed above ($22,596 value)
  • A half-day 1:1 virtual retreat with me during the first month of the program to help with your individual strategy and outlining ($5,999 value)
  • 3 additional 30min 1:1 calls with me during the program, for a total of 5, to answer all your burning questions and get additional support and/or feedback from me ($2,999 value)
  • A full manuscript evaluation from me during the feedback module, which gives you an in-depth analysis of your first draft covering what works well, what needs work, and what specifically to work on in your rewrites ($2,499 value)
  • A personal introduction to people in my network who can help your book grow your business ($1,499 value) 

The Journeyman Level has a total value of $35,592.

But your investment is only $7,999, or 5 payments of $1,799.

“How do I know if this program is right for me?”

If you're…

  • Tired of the same quick-and cheap, impersonal, ineffective book programs
  • Looking for a program that treats you like a person rather than a credit card number
  • Ready to write a truly excellent book for your business
  • Excited to work with a master wordsmith (and take the first steps toward becoming one yourself!)

Then the Master Wordsmith Apprentice Author program is for you. Apply below to get on a call with me, and join the first-ever Master Wordsmith Apprentice Author Program cohort.

Remember, only 12 people get to be part of this program at a time. And I'm starting the program on July 1, so I will be taking applications until June 25...or until the right 12 people apply.

After that, the program won't open again until 2020—and the cost will never be this low again! 

So if you know writing a great book is a top priority for you in 2019, fill out your application today.

I look forward to working with you soon!

"James understood exactly what I was trying to do, and gave my book exactly the support it needed. If you're writing a book for your business, he's the best out there."

Noah Rasheta


Weekly group training call
Weekly office hours
At least 4 guest expert training calls
Dedicated group Slack channel
1-day virtual group retreat
Personal outline review from James
2 30min 1:1 calls with James
$1,000 discount on editing services*
Half-day personal strategy retreat
Full manuscript evaluation
3 additional 30min 1:1 calls with James
Intro to ppl in James' network

Apprentice Level

(or 5 payments of $1,199)
Weekly group training call
Weekly office hours
At least 4 guest expert training calls
Dedicated group Slack channel
1-day virtual group retreat
Personal outline review from James
2 30min 1:1 calls with James
$1,000 discount on editing services*
Half-day personal strategy retreat
Full manuscript evaluation
3 additional 30min 1:1 calls with James
Intro to ppl in James' network
Value:: $22,596

Journeyman Level

(or 5 payments of $1,799)
Weekly group training call
Weekly office hours
At least 4 guest expert training calls
Dedicated group Slack channel
1-day virtual group retreat
Personal outline review from James
2 30min 1:1 calls with James
$1,000 discount on editing services*
Half-day personal strategy retreat
Full manuscript evaluation
3 additional 30min 1:1 calls with James
Intro to ppl in James' network
Value:: $35,592


Who's this James Ranson guy and why should I listen to him?

That's me! I'm The Master Wordsmith, business book consultant for entrepreneurs (and business author myself!). Over the last five years, I've helped over 200 authors write everything from 1000-word chapters in business anthologies to Wall Street Journal bestselling business books.

I've been a recommended editor and writer for Scribe Media (formerly Book in a Box), Self-Publishing School, Thanet House Books, My Word Publishing, BrightFlame Books, and several other book creation companies. My most recent book, Don't Write A Crappy Book! 17 Mistakes That Will Kill Your Business Book (And How Savvy Authorpreneurs Avoid Them), was published in October 2018 and has over 50 Amazon reviews across 4 countries.

Do I know everything there is to know about book creation or self-publishing? No way, hahaha. I'm always learning, just like you are. But like the folks at Farmers Insurance, I know a thing or two because I've seen a thing or two. And I'll put my dedication to quality books up against anyone else's in the industry any day of the week.


Who is this program for? How will I know if I'm a good fit?

If what you've read on this page resonates with you, you'll probably be a good fit! But here are some other criteria to help you decide if The Master Wordsmith Apprentice Author Program is right for you.

  • You've built your business to 6 figures and want to use a book to keep it there (and grow it further through speaking engagements, high-end clients, sold-out programs and more!)
  • You're comfortable working with coaches and group programs (and have likely invested in them before)
  • You value quality over speed and price
  • You want to do your own writing (rather than hire a ghostwriter)
  • You're willing and able to commit at least 4-6 hours a week to writing a book for the next five months
  • You think long-term rather than short-term
  • You do what you say you will do
  • You're personable, friendly, and like to have fun while you work

If that sounds like you, you'll do great in this program! If any of those traits give you might not. Feel free to apply and we’ll talk about your questions or hesitations on our call. I solemnly swear to be honest, transparent, and upfront with you.


What if I don't have a six-figure business yet?

This program is specifically for people who have been in business for a while, are well past survival mode, and have the resources to both write a great book and use that book strategically for business growth. Most of the time, the authorpreneurs who fit that mold have six-figure businesses (or are pretty damn close).

If you're within striking distance of six figures and you want to use the book to help get you over the hump, that's probably fine. But if you're just starting out in business, or you're wanting a book to get you from zero to six figures without any work, this program is not for you.


Did you say 4-6 hours a week? How much time should I dedicate to this program?

The Master Wordsmith Apprentice Author Program includes two 2-hour calls each week. That’s 4 hours total. Outside of the calls, you will typically have some program time you'll schedule yourself--this will vary from week to week. Some weeks you may have an hour or less, most you'll have 1-2 hours, a few weeks (especially during Module 3) you may have more. Due to the individual nature of book projects, no two program members will likely spend the exact same amount of time. So 4-6 hours per week average is a good ballpark to plan for. (And no matter how much extra time you need, you'll be free to complete program work on your own schedule.)


What if I want to write a novel or a memoir?

Sorry, this program is a business book program only. If you write fiction or want to write your memoirs, please look elsewhere.


What if I've already started writing my book?

That's fine! Well, let me clarify that.

If you've got some content that you know will be part of your book, or a partially-finished draft you want to hit restart on, you can definitely bring it to this program. Just know that you'll be starting from the beginning, same as everyone else. (You won't get to skip the first month of the program or get a discount, sorry.)

If you have a finished draft that you want help rewriting or editing, that won't really fit with the program format, but you're welcome to talk to me about supporting you 1:1.


What if I don't know what to write about?

In the immortal words of Douglas Adams, “don't panic.” If you have a developed, secure business that brings value to your clients, you will have good things to write about (and things you'll actually enjoy writing about!). The strategy and outlining modules of the Master Wordsmith Apprentice Author Program will help you figure out what those things are.


What's a final book draft? How is that different from a finished book?

You’ve written a final draft once you've done absolutely everything YOU can do to make your text awesome. That includes at least one rewrite based on external feedback, as well as some informed self-editing.

A final draft is not quite ready for publication because it still needs (at least some) editing and proofreading, a cover design, interior formatting, and some technical pieces to get it uploaded to Amazon and/or available to sell on your website. (You may also decide the draft you have at the end of this program needs additional rewrites beyond the one in the program. If so, I'll be happy to discuss options for helping you complete them.)


Wait, you mean I won’t get a finished, published book during this program? Why doesn't the program include things like editing, design, formatting, or publishing?

Full disclosure: this program will not get you 100% of the way to a finished book. It will, however, get you about 97% of the way there. Think of it like setting up a long chain of dominoes (think the domino design in V For Vendetta). The setup is 97% of the work. But it all pays off when you place the last domino and topple it to set the whole chain off.

Why have I set the program up this way?

First, I'd rather teach you one thing well than a bunch of things kinda-sorta. And aside from editing, none of those skills are within my zone of knowledge or expertise. (I couldn't teach you how to design your book cover if I tried, hahaha!) So I'm doubling down on what I CAN teach and giving you a ton of extra value in that area...and bringing in guest experts to give you at least a good overview and sense of direction on those other areas. That’s what the Bonus Module at the end of the program is for—to help you get clear on all the next steps you can (and in several cases need to) take.

As far as editing goes, the feedback and rewriting modules will cover a LOT of your editing needs—enough that you'll have a major head start on editing by the time you finish the program. And as noted above, joining this program gets you a sizable discount on working with me as an editor afterwards (should you decide to do so).

Most importantly, all those things take time. The more time I give to anything that isn't writing a great book, the less time I can give to writing that great book. Copy and proof editing, design and formatting, keyword and category research, logistics of website sales...all these things can happen just as well after the great book is fully drafted. But they can't happen before then--not without making the book crappy rather than great.

Tl;dr: Writing a solid final draft is the first and most important step. The rest can fall into place quickly once you’ve done that.

What if I don't finish my book draft by the time 5 months are up?

Well...if that happens, one or both of us haven't done our jobs. If I've dropped the ball somewhere, I'll make it up to you and make sure we get your final draft finished (even if we need extra time). If you find yourself struggling during the program itself, I'll help you stay on track. If an emergency comes up, of course I'll be flexible. But full disclosure: if you fall off the face of the earth or stop completing assignments, I will remove you from the program.

The Master Wordsmith Apprentice Author Program is for people who want to pull their weight and do their homework. If that's not you, you’ll struggle to complete your book draft within the 5-month timeframe—but it’s also unlikely you’ll fool me into letting you in to begin with.


Can I dictate or speak my book in this program?

Probably not, unless that’s how you typically write due to accessibility issues. For one thing, "speaking your book" is usually pitched as a "let's make the writing process stupid easy" hack, and that's not what this program is about. For another, dictation and transcription are much more common in ghostwriting programs where someone else does the writing and/or editing for you, and that's not what this program is about either.

In the Master Wordsmith Apprentice Author Program, each member needs to do their own work—and in that context, "speaking your book" creates as much work for you on the back end as it saves on the front. If you want to give it a shot, I won’t stop you – but I also won't do your scribing work for you.


How much personal attention will I receive? What if I want extra help?

As one of no more than 12 program members, you will receive the same amount of personal attention from me as everyone else in the program--which is designed to be, and this is a technical term, "a good bit." Most of that will take place in a group setting, but I'm keeping the program small to make sure that everyone gets fair access to me. You will also receive two 30 minute 1:1 calls with me and an outline review from me, the same as everyone else.

If you find you want more personal attention from me than that, you can join the program at the Journeyman Level, which comes with three additional calls with me, a half-day virtual retreat with me, a manuscript evaluation from me, and personal introductions to helpful people in my network. That membership costs more, but it gets you access to and attention from me that other program members won't have.

Also, if the group aspect of the program just isn't doing it for you but you like the idea of working with me, you're welcome to reach out to me about becoming a 1:1 book consulting client! I only work with 6 of those at a time, so you'll get plenty of attention from me that way.


Why don't you talk about Amazon in this program? And what's your beef with writing "bestselling" books?

Oh man...I could go on about this one for a while.

To sum up: most business owners will make WAY more money giving away their books (or using them in external platforms like speaking) than they will selling them on Amazon. This is the strategy I’ve used, my clients use, and you should be open to.

While Amazon is a great search engine for books, it also takes 30%-65% of your sales revenue without giving any kind of guarantee for those sales--and the best way to sell more copies there is to make the books free or $0.99. Bottom line: making money from Amazon sales (especially from only one book) is a huge crapshoot.

Plus the Amazon "bestseller" label can apply equally to a book that's sold 10 copies as a book that's sold 10,000 because it all depends on what book category you shoot for. This makes the term meaningless--and as more and more people learn that, its days of free authority and credibility are numbered. So as a business strategy, trying to sell lots of copies on Amazon or become an Amazon bestseller isn't all that reliable, and may end up hurting your business more than helping it.

You can totally list your book there for visibility's sake (Amazon is the third-biggest search engine on the internet, after all), and get some good reviews there for credibility's sake...but in my considerable experience, anything more than that is very hit or miss when it comes to real results in your business. So if you want to do Amazon stuff with your book after you finish this program, knock yourself out (in fact, I do plan to have a guest expert about using Amazon reliably and with integrity), but the program itself won't teach you how.


Why does this program take so long?

Quality takes time. If you're looking to write a book in the time it takes you to rewatch all 14 episodes of Firefly (too soon?), this is not the program for you.

That being said, five months isn't actually all that long--and there's more than enough material to make that time go by pretty quickly!


Tell me about the investment again.

I'm pouring everything I've learned in five years of 1:1 book coaching, editing and ghostwriting into this program, all with the goal of giving you and eleven of your new besties some amazing value you won't get anywhere else. With a value of $22,596, you’re getting a 67% discount as an early adopter of the program. Your total cost is $4,999 (or 5 payments of $1,199). Click here to apply.


Is there a money-back guarantee?

We do have an agreement that goes with the program that says, in essence, that if you hold up your end, I'll hold up mine. If you do the work and put in the effort to complete the program, I will work just as hard to support you and make sure you're happy with your results. So in that sense, there is a satisfaction guarantee.

That being said, the nature of the program is such that you'll be paying for my time, expertise and support more than anything else. So program membership is non-refundable.


Why do I have to apply for the program?

Because the Master Wordsmith Apprentice Author Program isn't for tire-kickers, lookie-loos, half-assers, start-but-never-finishers, or people who aren't damn serious about writing an awesome business book.

This is a program for people who are ready to rock, roll, and write. If you're one of those people, an application won't be a problem for you--and if you're not, the application is an invite to self-select out.


What happens after I fill out the application?

  1. First things first, I read every application personally.
  2. If I feel like you’ll be a good fit for the program, I’ll invite you to a 1:1 call with me where we’ll discuss your needs, review the program details, and answer any questions you may have.
  3. If we both feel like the program is an awesome idea, I’ll take a $1,000 deposit and add you to the program roster. (I may recommend a 1:1 consulting package instead if I feel like that would be a better fit for you.)
  4. Then we’ll get ready to start work together in July!

"James treated our book as if his name were on the cover, and I know he will treat your book the same way."

Londin Angel Winters

"Clarity is everything, and James was to my book what BRITA is to my water."

David Hrostoski


Weekly group training call
Weekly office hours
At least 4 guest expert training calls
Dedicated group Slack channel
1-day virtual group retreat
Personal outline review from James
2 30min 1:1 calls with James
$1,000 discount on editing services*
Half-day personal strategy retreat
Full manuscript evaluation
3 additional 30min 1:1 calls with James
Intro to ppl in James' network

Apprentice Level

(or 5 payments of $1,199)
Weekly group training call
Weekly office hours
At least 4 guest expert training calls
Dedicated group Slack channel
1-day virtual group retreat
Personal outline review from James
2 30min 1:1 calls with James
$1,000 discount on editing services*
Half-day personal strategy retreat
Full manuscript evaluation
3 additional 30min 1:1 calls with James
Intro to ppl in James' network
Value:: $22,596

Journeyman Level

(or 5 payments of $1,799)
Weekly group training call
Weekly office hours
At least 4 guest expert training calls
Dedicated group Slack channel
1-day virtual group retreat
Personal outline review from James
2 30min 1:1 calls with James
$1,000 discount on editing services*
Half-day personal strategy retreat
Full manuscript evaluation
3 additional 30min 1:1 calls with James
Intro to ppl in James' network
Value:: $35,592