What We Do
A leading writing and editing service, Windword helps people turn great ideas into bestselling books, dynamic blogs and compelling articles. Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, our team can help. We provide a full range of professional editorial, coaching and promotional services. And if you’re too busy to do the writing or promotions yourself, we’ve got you covered.
Windword was the editorial collaborator with Louanne Brizendine, M.D., for The Male Brain, an international bestseller published by Random House. The book made The New York Times' bestseller list just three weeks after it was released.
We worked with Jeff Corwin of The Jeff Corwin Experience and Corwin’s Quest (Animal Planet, National Geographic Channel) for 100 Heartbeats: The Race to Save Earth’s Most Endangered Species, published by Rodale Press. We were also the literary team for Dr. Walter Crinnion’s book Clean, Green & Lean: Get Rid of the Toxins That Make You Fat, published by Wiley, and Stacey Halprin’s Winning After Losing: How to Keep the Weight Off Forever, published by Warner Wellness and featured on The Oprah Show the day after it was published.
Who We Are
My lifelong affair with words started in first grade, the day I wrote my first poem. “One, two three, what do I see? A happy anniversary for both of thee.” It wasn’t an award-winner, and my older sister had to tell me how to spell anniversary, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was how I felt while I was writing it. My mental wheels were spinning with words, glorious words!
I went on to devour the Scholastic Books catalogs, reading every book description and circling the dozen or more books I wanted. That was the fun part. The painstaking part was paring the list down to the three books my parents allowed me to order. The process took hours, and the best I could usually do was narrow it down to four or five. That’s when the negotiating occurred, which often included whining, begging and the occasional meltdown.
And then came the day my dad introduced me to the public library. I couldn’t believe it—thousands of books for the borrowing. I started with an armful that day, and from there it was just a matter of time till I was writing poetry, crafting short stories and creating scenes for my dolls to act out. I got A’s on my essays and book reports and was delighted to be so good at something I loved doing. Writing was easy and fun!
Or so I thought until my eleventh-grade English teacher gave me a B- on my first essay. I might as well have gotten a D. A mere B- felt like a slap in the face. And it was. When I calmed down and rewrote the paper, incorporating her suggestions, I had to admit it was better. Much better. And that’s when I learned that there’s a big difference between talent and skill. I had some of both, but becoming a great writer would mean learning new skills and continually honing the ones I had. Thank you, Mrs. Simmons!
When I was in college, I experimented with copying the styles of authors I read in my literature classes. I tried writing like Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck and found I had a knack for it. And after mimicking dozens of greats, I realized that I wasn’t just imitating their voices—I was getting into their heads. I was imagining that I was them and typing what I thought they would say the way they would say it. It was a favorite pastime, but it didn’t occur to me that it would be of any practical use in my writing career.The Evolution of a Ghostwriter
When I started my first business, I wanted to help writers to improve their articles and manuscripts with my suggestions and editing. I wasn’t planning to write their books for them even though I ended up rewriting many pages of those books. And then one day on a flight from Cairo to Abu Simbel, I sat next to an astrologer I’d recently met and she asked me if I might consider ghostwriting her book.
I said yes without having any idea how to write a book! I just knew I could do it well. That book led to another and another, and with each book I strengthened my skills, fine-tuned my methods and streamlined my process. The rock-solid foundation that I began building in high school English class was providing me with the luxury to write about a wide range of interesting topics with intricacies and details that aren’t always easy to convey with words (at least not words that are fun to read). Transforming important information into explanations that are engaging and easy to understand fans the flames of my literary passion. It’s this alchemy that turns difficult-to-read manuscripts into award-winning page-turners and New York Times best-sellers.
Over the course of writing eighteen books, I’ve developed a process that’s effective and efficient and produces excellent results, even for people who aren’t great writers when they start the program. Teaching aspiring authors to write their best books is even more rewarding than writing the books myself because it gives me the opportunity to help authors strengthen their skills, develop their talents and share the pearls of wisdom I’ve found along the way.
Toni Robino began her career as a feature writer and reporter for the Tribune Review Publishing Company in Pennsylvania. After several years in the news industry, she joined the Ohio State University staff as the assistant editor of the faculty and staff newspaper. The articles she wrote about fundraising led to her recruitment by United Way of Franklin County as director of print and media relations. She also scripted and produced the organization’s annual fundraising film, which inspired a two-year foray into the film business.
Fascinated by the vast human potential she witnessed everywhere she worked, Toni completed the rigorous certification process required to teach the Breakthrough Experience and facilitate the Demartini Method. Today she uses that knowledge and experience in Windword’s private coaching practice for writers and authors. As a ghostwriter and book doctor, Toni's projects include memoir and nonfiction in subjects as diverse as relationships, endangered species and the workings of the male brain. In fiction, she specializes in science-fiction and fantasy and is particularly passionate about the hero’s journey.
When she’s not writing, coaching or teaching workshops, Toni is most likely exploring the wonders of nature with her husband, marveling at wildlife, dancing, daydreaming, talking with her cats or reading.
I’ve been on a literary course ever since I won a contest to see who could read the most books outside of class in third grade. (I read thirty-eight, exactly twice as many as my closest competition.)
After that, there was always a stack of at least fifty books against the wall next to my bed—books borrowed from anyone willing to lend them to me. I had no reservations about raiding the libraries of friends’ parents for titles I’d never heard of by authors I’d never heard of. And I didn’t read just for pleasure—Uncle Tom’s Cabin is proof. I was also driven by some sense of obligation, though I couldn’t have explained what the obligation was or where it came from.
I think I get it now. I think I wanted to know all the possible ways to tell a story. All the setups and all the voices that could be used. On some level, I must have known that one day I’d be so immersed in stories that I’d better be in possession of every tool available. That would explain the devotion to words that led me to a career as a newspaper copy editor, a career that would ensure that I worked with the voices of at least ten writers a day. All those stories. All those approaches to the craft.
Eventually—inevitably—I wanted in on the ground floor of the storytelling process and I branched out into writing feature stories and film reviews. And by the time that newspapers were beginning their death march, I was moonlighting as a ghostwriter for experts who had important stories to tell and important messages to impart but didn’t have the writing skills to tell them because they were too busy being doctors and scientists and professional athletes.It was a perfect union. Experts who’d devoted their lives to mastering their vocations needed someone who’d devoted his life to mastering storytelling, someone who could turn their facts and figures into compelling reading. I was the vehicle for disseminating information that could enlighten, entertain and even play a role in saving the planet from the threats that seem to be multiplying. Obviously, this was the calling I’d been preparing for since third grade. And the icing on the cake is the opportunity to share what I’ve learned along the way, as a writing coach. Now I can show others how to use the tools I’ve spent all this time gathering. The Sharpest Tool in My Shed
As for those tools, the one I use most as an editor, ghostwriter and coach isn’t what you might expect. It’s not what I’d expected. It’s not my grasp of techniques like story development and scene-writing. It’s not my organizational skill. It’s not my command of grammar. It’s my ear. The authors’ voices that have crowded my head for all these decades have helped me to acquire an ear for the subtlest of nuances that go into each writer’s unique voice. And this allows me to be true to that voice to the point of knowing whether or not to use a comma to signal a pause.
My mission is to make authors’ work shine rather than to impose grammatical “rules” at the expense of style or to re-create their voices in the image of my own. Of course, if you need help finding your voice, I’m more than happy to help with your search. But in the end, rest assured that it will be your story in every way.
Doug Wagner began his career as a copy editor for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Florida and Colorado. He also specialized in film criticism, feature writing and local travel stories, and he was named to the Scripps Howard Hall of Fame for his headline-writing skills. He still takes on the occasional freelance project, most recently for USA Today and HGTV.com.
As a ghostwriter and book doctor, his nonfiction work has encompassed subjects as diverse as wildlife biology, weight loss, business advice and personal memoir, and his fiction work has included mainstream fiction, science fiction and fantasy, and historical fiction.
When he’s isn’t writing or editing, Doug is likely to be listening to something from his vast collection of vinyl, hiking the Rocky Mountains with his wife or preparing for a visit from his two daughters (and thanking the universe that they go to college only an hour away).