Legacy Writing

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The Process

Each life story project is custom designed to meet your needs. Creating an individual’s biography can take a considerable amount of time. The length of time depends on several factors, including the number of interviews, the promptness in which you provide photographs and other memorabilia, and how long it takes you to review the drafts. The more people involved in the project, the longer it will take. For a point of reference, an heirloom book can take several months to produce and typically goes through the following phases:


During this phase I work with you to determine the scope of your project. Do you want to cover your entire life or just an important period or event? At this time I also identify any unique needs that might affect the project and do any research that is needed.

Gathering Information

I will meet with you in a quiet environment that is relaxed and comfortable—usually your home.  If you contracted to tell your entire life story, we will meet for a total of about 12—18 hours. I schedule this in several sessions to suit your individual needs.  I do like to keep your initial interviews on consecutive days if possible. Follow-up interviews can be done over the telephone after our initial session.

Don’t worry about the interview sessions. I will ask questions to help “jog” your memory.  These questions are usually chronological, but they don’t have to be. And don’t worry about the flow or if you repeat stories or specific details. When I edit your manuscript, I will make sure your story flows nicely.

Even though I call this time an interview, it is just a time of friendly conversation. You don’t need to worry about preparing anything. Remember, I am in this business because I enjoy people and enjoy learning his or her story.

Manuscript Development

During this phase I have your interview transcribed verbatim. I then take this word-for-word text and organize and edit it for clarity and flow. Since your book is a first-person narrative I am careful to keep your "voice” throughout the manuscript. The ultimate objective of editing is to maintain the meaning and intent of the Narrator (you) while making a readable manuscript.

** Click here to see an example of edited text  **

You will have the opportunity to add, delete, or change your draft copy. I then incorporate your changes to create the finished manuscript. During the manuscript development phase, I will work with you to gather supplemental material.

Supplemental Material Development

Memorabilia, or supplemental material, is very helpful in telling your story. You can provide me with scanned documents (minimum 300 dpi) or send me your original documents and I will scan them and return the originals safely to you.

Here are some examples of what can be scanned and added to your book to help tell your story:

      • Photographs
      • Birth certificates
      • Letters
      • Drawings
      • Songs
      • Quotes
      • Poems
      • Awards
      • Newspaper articles
      • Family tree
      • Recipes

I also offer a photo retouching service to repair your important damaged photos.

Book Design

During this phase a graphic designer integrates your text and supplemental material into a book form. You will receive the galley, or final, proofs for approval before your book goes to print.

Book Printing

There are many different methods to use to print your book. They are listed here in order of longevity and cost.

      1. Offset printing, or letter press
      2. Digitally-based printing
      3. Laser printing
      4. Print On Demand (POD)

Binding Styles

Hardbound and Sewn—This method offers the most durability. The pages are stitched then glued. The hardback cover, also known as case-binding, is usually covered with cloth or leather. The book’s title can be heat imprinted in brilliant gold foil, and a picture can also be permanently inset into the cover. Customization doesn't end there... these books can also have designer end sheets, marker ribbons, slip boxes, clam-shell cases, etc. These books cost more and have an aura of quality.

Hardback and Glued—This method is less expensive than the sewn method. This is a good choice when cost is a factor while still wanting a very attractive binding.

Perfect Binding--This book has a soft, wrap-around cover. It utilizes a hot glue process. The cover can be printed in color, and it can be laminated for extra sturdiness.

Spiral Binding—This is an inexpensive binding method that utilizes plastic coils. This type of binding allows the book to lay completely flat when open. Many styles of covers may be used, and a variety of paper products can be combined within the same book. This type of binding makes it an excellent choice for cookbooks or any type of book that needs to stay open, leaving both hands free.


The price to produce an autobiographical book varies with each project. We charge expenses plus an hourly rate.


Here is a review of the steps to your Legacy Book:

      • Preparation
      • Digitally record interview
      • Interviews are transcribed
      • Transcriptions are edited into a readable first-person draft
      • Draft is approved by client
      • Draft is outsourced for proofreading (this can also be done at an earlier stage)
      • Pictures and other memorabilia are added
      • Draft is laid out in a page design suitable for printing
      • Printing


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