The Process

© Mick Stevens/The New Yorker Collection/

© Mick Stevens/The New Yorker Collection/

For a Commissioned Memoir (aka As-Told-To Memoir),  we interview you after creating an outline of the main events and themes in your life that you want to cover. During the recorded interviews, we keep you on track, actively listening to you and taking notes. We encourage you to share your stories, observations, and reflections; at the same time, we respect your feelings, your secrets, and your privacy. The transcripts from our interviews will evolve into the substance of your memoirs—your manuscript.

Upon completion of the interview transcript, or if you have already written your memoirs and hired us for an Assisted Memoir, the remaining steps of the process are the same: editing, design and formatting, reviews and alterations, printing and binding, and delivery to you. 

Here's a little more detail:

Letter of Agreement:  First, we discuss your needs, including health and time-frame, and think about whether we want to work with each other; if the answer is yes, we send you a letter of agreement outlining our mutual expectations and responsibilities. The letter goes back and forth between us for alterations, as desired by you, until accepted and signed.

Commissioned Memoir begins with interviews, transcriptions, and editing:  We interview you in person, usually at your home or office. Typically the interviews are done over two or more 2-day sessions for a total of about 15 hours. Then we transcribe the recordings and edit the transcript for clarity, logic, accuracy, and voice. We make sure that your personality comes through and the narrative is authentic. Light fact-checking as needed can be part of the process. The text goes back and forth between you and us for alterations.

Assisted Memoir begins with editing:  If you've already written your manuscript, we edit for clarity, logic, accuracy, and voice, depending on your wishes and your budget. The text goes back and forth between you and us for alterations. If you do not want your manuscript edited or proofread, we will not read it. We then handle all of the details of design, formatting, and printing/binding.

Design and formatting:  You can request a custom design for your book interior or select from one of our template designs to use as is, or with modifications. We then flow your text into the design of your choice and make adjustments wherever needed. The formatted "galley," or draft, goes back and forth between you and us for further alterations, and then we send it to one or more eagle-eyed proofreaders to catch remaining problems.

Image processing, Genealogies:  You provide the images/photos and captions you want in your books. We can touch them up, adjust their color and contrast, and even provide heavier photo-editing services, according to your desires.  We also provide other memoir-related services, such as well-designed genealogy charts and professional translations. Please see our Book Design page, for examples of our image processing and genealogy charts.

Print and bind:  We explain your options for printing and binding. We clarify terminology like digital and offset printing; glued and Smythe-sewn binding; softcover and hardcover materials; interior text materials; dustjackets, headbands, endsheets, and ribbons. You decide what you want and we make it happen.

When you are ready, we send the files to our trusted printer and bindery. We work with them closely and preview your book to ensure accuracy and quality before they ship the books to you.

Once the books are delivered to you, it will be your time — time for the thrill and satisfaction of inscribing and distributing your own books!

For more details on these and related services, see Services.


We provide you with an itemized estimate of costs, based on a word count of your manuscript and other details. We charge flat fees for processes that are measurable and predictable, such as editing (per word), standard design (per page), and image processing (per image). There is an hourly fee for processes that depend on you, such as Author Alterations, proofreading, and as-needed research.

Typically, an Assisted Memoir that has received our personal attention costs at least $7,000 to service and $3,000 to print.

A set of personal interviews (10 to 15 hours), transcribed, typically costs $8,000 including travel.

A comprehensive, well-written Commissioned Memoir typically begins at $40,000 to service and $3,000 to print.

Please contact us for an estimate.