A life story begins with a blank canvas. My measure of success is to exceed your expectations. Here are the basic steps to create a life story book:
Step 1: Planning
A planning session is scheduled to define the scope of your project and what you want to achieve. For example, do you want to create a legacy book that covers all the aspects of your life, or a memoir that is more reflective and topical? Is it a book for one person, or a book for a married couple? Will family members such as children be interviewed? To what extent do you want to cover your family history, or your career or other facets of your life. A schedule of interviews is created with topics to be covered in each session. The need and availability of photos are discussed.
Step 2: Interviews
Interview sessions typically run for two hours. A life story book takes at least 6 to 10 hours or more of interviews. Every effort is made to make the interviewee feels comfortable and relaxed. A list of areas to be covered is provided before each interview.
Step 3: Preparing the Manuscript
Interviews are transcribed and serve as the foundation for the book. The manuscript is drafted in a way that retains the voice of the interviewee. Historical research is done to augment key events and facts in the story. The manuscript is edited and fact-checked and then ready for your first review. Any revisions are incorporated and then manuscript is finalized. The book moves into layout and design phase.
Step 4: Book Publishing
The manuscript is brought into Adobe InDesign, which is used to create the actual book. Text is formatted, a table of contents is created, photos are gathered and scanned, captions are written. A cover page photo is chosen and a title is created. Once it is in book format, it is ready for your final review. After that, the book undergoes final editing and proofing and is ready to be published.
“Linda Abbott created a wonderful life story book for our family. A skilled interviewer and gifted writer, she wove an insightful narrative that was beautifully illustrated with family photos. We treasure our keepsake book, and even my college-age daughter read it cover-to-cover.”
- Doug, retail CEO, Pennsylvania
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