Writing Memoirs for Others
By Eric Hammer
(A business idea for writing memoirs as a service.)
According to surveys, about half of all Americans believe
they have "at least one book" in them, with many of
them wanting to write their memoirs. So why dont more people
try their hands at writing that memoir they wanted to put down
into words? Surely they have something of interest to say about
their own lives.
Reality Sets in When People Try to Write that Book
The reality is however, that while many Americans believe
they have "at least one book" in them, "in them"
is exactly where it ought to stay. Writing a book is hard work,
much harder than most people realize and when people do sit down
to try to write their memoirs, they quickly realize that they
simply dont know enough about the mechanics of writing
a book to actually get their ideas out on paper so that they
will sound like something worth reading. This conundrum however
leads to an interesting concept for those of us who do know how
to write and who in fact write for a living writing custom
books for hire.
Ghostwriting, with a Twist
Now, if youve been around the writing world for a while,
youre probably thinking that this is nothing new
ghostwriting is as old as the publishing industry and there is
nothing special about someone hiring a ghostwriter to help them
write a book that they simply feel incapable of writing themselves.
True enough, but weve come up with a twist that you may
not have thought of.
Most Peoples Lives Are Interesting to Family and
Heres the reality of the fact: if you didnt have
a terrible childhood or do something particularly interesting
or noteworthy with your life, then your life story may be fascinating
reading to future historians wanting to know what everyday life
was like in our times but other than that, it will be of interest
primarily to family and friends who would enjoy a written record
of their loved ones lives. When people realize this, the
idea of spending the $10K+ a professional writer will charge
for ghostwriting a memoir rapidly becomes unappealing. The twist
on traditional ghostwriting then is to allow people to create
a memoir that can be quickly deployed without a writer spending
six months or a year working on the manuscript.
How it Works
In essence, instead of the usual interviews with clients and
follow up interviews, you would have clients write their own
life story. You create a web form with a series of probing questions
it should consist of at least several dozen such questions
(ideally over 100) which you ask the client to answer in paragraph
form. Questions that are not relevant would be ignored, however
you should get a good base of material to work with. Questions
might include, "your happiest childhood memory" or
"your favorite place to go as a child that no longer exists."
Let them tell you in their own words about what they want
to say. Then, you as the writer simply organize the text and
edit it for clarity and flow. In other words, you create a custom
made memoir without the usual style of creating a custom made
Now will this necessarily create the Great American Book?
Probably not. Then again, youre not trying to create something
that will be read and enjoyed by millions of people. This is
a personal memoir so it needs to simply guide your client on
their way to creating it. You stand in the background and help
it along, in much the same way that tax preparation software
helps you prepare your taxes and then you can opt to have a human
being read it over and check for mistakes.
How Much Can You Make?
This is, needless to say a bit more complicated than tax preparation
software and will require a little more work on the part of the
writer, but instead of the usual ghost writing fee in the tens
of thousands of dollars, a project like this can conceivably
be edited and prepared for your client inside of a month, sometimes
less, thus allowing you to charge a fee many middle class Americans
could afford, for a book they can pass down through the generations
and call their very own.
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
You might offer to include photos for an extra charge.
Qualifications / Requirements
No formal requirements, just the ability to write and convince
others of the quality of you writing.
Practice that writing by starting your own memoirs.