If you’ve lived an exciting life full of adventure and have learned many lessons along the way, it might be time to tell your story. I’ve helped dozens of authors share their life stories with their readers. I can tell you in each case it was very fulfilling. My clients agree that there’s nothing more rewarding than receiving feedback that says, “Reading your story really helped me. Thank you!”
If you have decided to tell your story and publish the book, you have a few options.
Tell Your Story: Hire a Ghostwriter
If you have an incredible story to share but have no experience writing a book, you might consider hiring a ghostwriter. With this option, you will simply need to provide your writer with all the necessary information, and they will form it into a book that readers will want to read.
You’ll start the process by providing all the notes you can about your life story. Then your ghostwriter will interview you to dig in and get the details. This is the research phase. Plan to spend about two hours each week for the first few months. Once the research phase is complete, you will need to devote much less time as the writer will have what they need to create the first draft.
Hiring a ghostwriter isn’t the cheapest option. Professional writers do come with a hefty price tag, charging somewhere between fifty cents to two dollars per word. Personally, I charge one dollar per word. However, with this option, you can sit back and watch the book unfold, putting minimal time and energy into the project.
Tell Your Story: Hire a Consultant
If the price tag for a professional ghostwriter sends you reeling, another option might be to hire a consultant to walk you through the process of writing a book. If you don’t have any experience completing a book, you may need to lean on your consultant a little more. It will still be less expensive than outright hiring a ghost because you pay by the hour. So you set the price.
When someone hires me as a consultant, I always start by helping the author write an outline. That becomes our roadmap for the entire project. Then I will guide you to write the first draft. When you tell your story, I know it can be difficult to share intensely personal incidents, so if you wish me to write certain segments, I can do that.
I charge $145 per hour and ask that you purchase time in 10-hour blocks.
Write it yourself
If you have a super tight budget and feel you have the experience to write the book yourself, that’s an option. For instance, if you’ve ghostwritten prior or worked as an editor for a publishing house, you probably know what’s required and can handle the workload. Or if you’ve self-published a few novels, that will come in handy as you set out to tell your story. After all a memoir follows many of the same rules as writing fiction.
If you aren’t experienced but still wish to give it a try, I’d recommend that you read a few books on writing. There are many good ones out there! You can also go to the library and pick up a few memoirs and autobiographies to see what style you enjoy reading. Most likely that will be a good choice for your memoir. Read each book a few times. Study how the author communicates their messages, handles dialogue, describes the characters and environment, etc.
Start with a good, detailed outline, then use that to bang out a first draft. Don’t stop to reread and edit. Just continue until it is complete. Then, and only then, read it over and edit. Once you are happy with the draft, find a good, experienced editor to help you polish your manuscript.
I applaud you in your endeavor to tell your story. It’s a brave decision, one that will most likely help others. If you need my help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.