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Biography Writers Have the Right Stuff

Writing your life story can be a challenge. I believe anyone can do it, but not everyone is motivated enough. Some people are afraid; some get frustrated easily. Many "would be" writers don’t have, or won’t make, the time. They want to write a biography (sigh) someday.

The key is finding the right biography writer.


If you want to do the writing yourself – go for it! There is an entire page on Your-Life-Your-Story.com dedicated to the do-it-yourselfers.


On the other hand – if you want to tell your story and you want a biography writer to put it to paper, then we are on the "same page".

Hiring biography writers is not as hard as you might think. If you have already decided what type of story you want to tell (your life events, a special time in your life, your career highlights, military experience, path to faith, and so forth) determining the "right" writer comes down to some basic facts.




• What is the process they use to know your story?

• What will the finished product be like?

• Do they have any references?

• How much will it cost?

• How will your satisfaction be determined?


I have done some research for you. In my surfing on the Web I came across a number of different sites with professional biography writers. The sites are as varied as the people behind them. However, there are some common threads. Let's look at those threads as you consider biography writers.

Before someone can write a biography they need information. Biography writers need to interview you. This makes sense. You want your story to be accurate and the writer needs the details. If the interview is in person, or at least on the phone, you have the opportunity to become familiar with your writer. At the very least, written correspondence, like email or letters, should be exchanged.

A good biography writer will be trained in the interview process and have good questions. They will also understand the intimacy of a life story and so, be sensitive to your memories and feelings. It helps if you prepare in advance, too, by gathering letters, diaries, journals, memorabilia…and your thoughts :-).

The finished product can vary. Decide whether you want nice leather bound books or something less fancy. Think about how many copies and how often the books will be handled (better binding holds up over time and use). If you don’t see options featured on the site be sure to ask.

All good biography writers with experience will have some references or testimonials. You probably will see them. Often there will be samples of their work available. A tremendous source of biography writers, as well as a site to learn much about the field of personal history is the Association of Personal Historians.

My investigations tell me the costs and pricing vary widely depending on what you want from the finished product and the qualifications of the writer. Along with what they think is a fair price. Shop and compare. The higher-end quality might seem steep, but remember what you are dealing with. This is your story. It will remain a legacy for loved ones long after you are gone.

Now about satisfaction. Personally, I want any service I provide to be the best I can make it. Writers are proud of their work. They will want you to be happy with the finished product. Typically, you can expect a collaborative process. You will see what they’ve written and get an opportunity to give feedback and make changes. Of course, there will be a limit to re-writes, so make sure you are clear on the review terms. If you don’t like something be sure to voice your concern. At the same time, be sensitive to the time and effort writers put into crafting your story.

Ready to check out some options? Visit the links below. If you have questions about any of them feel free to drop me an email and I’ll do my best to help you find the right writer.

Chapters of Life
Julie McDonald Zander is a Personal historian and owns and operates the Chapters of Life Memory Books business where she is dedicated to "Preserving the Past — One Family's Story at a Time". She is based in the Pacific Northwest, has been a member of the Association of Personal Historians since 1998 and has created many wonderful memoirs and life stories for her clients.

Dan Curtis - Professional Personal Historian
This Canadian specializes in video and oral history, but also writes very well and can help you craft your biography or legacy book, ethical will or other life story project. He also has a terrific blog.

Your-Life-Your-Story.com
Yes, I write life stories, biographies and memoirs, too. Since the projects vary the end product will vary as well. Read my samples and send me an email to discuss the best option for you.

History from the Heart
Annie Payne is an excellent personal historian and biography writer located "down under" in Australia. She's honed her skills from multiple careers to become an excellent teacher, interviewer and writer. Her method of preparing you for your story is quite insightful.


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