This is not one of my usual blog posts. It’s a special note for people who want to write a bestselling book. If that isn’t one of your career or life goals, you can drop off here and return to your regularly scheduled programming...
But if you know that you have a book inside you, a book you have to write, keep reading. Allow me to share with you a project that I’ve been considering for many years, one you could have the opportunity to be a part of.
Here’s the concept I’ve had rumbling around in my mind…
I’m looking for a small but dedicated group of aspiring writers (no more than ten), who want to become Padawans with me in the Jedi temple of writing – to experience a one-year apprentice program, where you will actually conceive an extraordinary book concept, create a proposal, title, and table of contents, write the entire manuscript, then birth it into the world.
Of course, this is subject to change (and likely will), but here’s how I’m envisioning it at the moment…
We will begin with a three-day writing lab on August 16, 17 and 18 in San Diego. I want to meet everyone face-to-face and make sure you begin this important project on the right track. (If it’s not possible for you to attend in person, you will be responsible to arrange logistics for streaming in.)
Day one I will share my best creative writing tips, explain what a book birthing process looks like, teach you what makes a book marketable, how to settle on a theme, chunk it down to a table of contents, and create a proposal for a publisher or agent.
Day two you’ll be doing creating writing exercises, to teach you the best way to open chapters, weave in humor and stories, create “bucket brigade” copy flow, and convey your thought process in a compelling way that readers can understand and identify with.
On day three, you will actually create your proposal, table of contents, and begin the writing process of your manuscript. I want the book kickstarted before you leave town, so you can even be writing it on the airplane home.
Ongoing: September 2019 through August 2020, I will be doing a ZOOM broadcast each month, giving you instructions and your writing assignment for that month. (These will be recorded if you are not able to be on live. Obviously you’ll benefit from more individual guidance if you are on live.)
Ongoing: September 2019 through July 2020, you need to submit your writing assignment. Sent in a Word document, so I can read, critique and return to you. And by “writing assignment," I don’t mean exercises. These will be chapters from your actual book.
Ongoing: Where appropriate, I may facilitate introductions to my editors, agent, or publishers. The key words here are “where appropriate.” This is not a given, and not a service you are promised, as my reputation and relationships are not for sale. I don’t recommend work I don’t believe in, for any price. But where I feel your book deserves it, I will be delighted to connect you and some of the professionals I work with, as they are always on the lookout for breakout new talent.
In January, there will be an optional one-day workshop in Miami (or wherever I am that month) to check your progress. We’ll be reading chapters out loud, measuring progress against the table of contents, and deciding if you need to make any course corrections.
In September, 2020 will conclude with a two-day graduation workshop in San Diego. Some of you may have some writing to tie up, depending on the length and number of chapters in your book. Most of you will be finished with first draft or even the final draft, and we will be looking at getting agents, selling to publishers, creating launch campaigns and other promotional activities.
Like I said, this outline is subject to change. No one has ever done this kind of in-depth, literary apprenticeship before and frankly, some things will have to be figured out on the go. But if you’re considering applying, here are some other important details to consider.
In terms of the book, I’m not interested in mentoring you to write a book that quotes or summarizes lots of other books. The world doesn’t need more summarizers; it needs more critical thinkers and thought leaders.
I want to help you to write the book only you can write.
You have to be willing to write a book with a theme, and a point of view that you can make a compelling case for. No vanity projects will be accepted. Don’t apply if you’re interested in writing a book of pithy quotes or other such nonsense. (Or because someone sold you the chance to write one chapter in an anthology with one celebrity and a dozen other victims.) All great books have a central theme and are written in a way that shows you can organize your thoughts around that theme.
This apprenticeship program is for aspiring authors who want to write timeless, evergreen books. Not a trendy book that gets you two months of buzz to impress your clients and then dies, but a book that is still in print a decade from now. Let me be absolutely unequivocal about a few other things…
Then get lost right now. This is not a program for hacks. This program is for serious students of writing who desire to write a book that can create real change and transformation. You’re writing it because you actually have something to say and believe the world needs to know it.
Let’s look at some questions you might be thinking:
Q: I have no training or education in writing. Can I really write a book?
A: Absolutely! I can teach anyone to write. Really. And I’ve proven it at more than 15 copywriting colleges and Boot Camps. If you can speak, then you can write. The best writing is never stilted or stuffy, it’s conversational. I will give you opening template processes to follow that will allow you to get into the writing flow immediately.
Q: What if English is not my native language?
A: Doesn’t matter. If your English is good enough to understand this note, then I can teach you how to write. And then you can write in your native tongue.
Q: What is I don’t yet have a title and the concept for my book?
A: I’d almost prefer you don’t. We’ll explore your particular expertise and experience and come up with a concept that is perfect for you.
Q: Is this a program that covers all the marketing to become a bestseller.
A: No, this apprenticeship is primarily about writing an extraordinary book. But every one of my 11 books have been bestsellers (and number 12 already has enough preorders to qualify) because I have a gift for sensing what works. If we do the concept and proposal right, and then you actually write a great book, the sales will come.
Let me share with you my qualifications to lead this apprenticeship program…
Actually, that’s a joke. I have no desire to pitch you on my qualifications. Read my books. Look at how they sold, if they’re still in print, and how many languages they are translated into. You’ll know the answer to this question.
Let me clarify something important…
This apprenticeship program is not guaranteed to take place. I will wait to see who and how many people respond and then I will make a final decision. But if it does happen, it could become the greatest opportunity of your career. You could go from someone who talks idling about writing a book “one day,” to someone who has actually written and published a book, with a huge shot to becoming a bestseller.
What’s the investment?
The investment to participate is $10,000. It requires $1,000 deposit to lock in your place, and then 12 monthly payments of $750. (Or you can prepay the year for only $9,000.) Keep in mind you will also have expenses for travel, hotel, and meals when you attend the workshop portions of the program. So this apprenticeship is only for those willing to make a serious commitment of time, money, and passion to their dream of bringing an extraordinary book into the world.
I’m providing one scholarship, to a high school or college student who is 25 years old or younger. You must provide a writing sample to be considered and cover your own expenses for attending the workshops. This person will be the luckiest aspiring author on earth and the choice is totally my prerogative.
How can you apply?
We’re not building a website or shopping cart for this program or promoting it to the outside world. It is only being offered to the people who follow my work. To be considered, you must apply by email to Lornette (at) randygage.com. Lornette will send you a credit card form where you must make a good faith deposit of $1,000. Depending on how many responses we receive within 48 hours, and the quality of them, I’ll make a decision on whether the program goes forward.
If there are enough for a workable group, we’ll process your deposit and begin the program. If there aren’t enough credible people, we’ll let you know and not process your deposit. Because of the unique one-on-one and interactive nature of this apprentice program, the maximum number of writers I can accept is ten. The slots will be filled on a “first come, first served” basis.
What’s the refund policy?
There is none. I’m not selling vacuum cleaners here, I’m offering to be your mentor in birthing an amazing book. However, if somewhere along the way you decide not to continue, notify us in writing and you can cancel the remainder of your apprenticeship. I only want to work with committed authors.
That’s all I have to tell you about this opportunity. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time and I’m excited to see if the world is ready for it. If you are, email Lornette immediately and get in the queue. I’m hoping we can work together and I can help you bring the next extraordinary book into the world!