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Memoir

A memoir is a collection of true stories, or memories, from a person’s life, written in the first person. It’s not necessarily for large audiences — the writing may only be intended for family members or friends. It may be a way of documenting a part of their lives, too.

Autobiography

An autobiography, also written in first person, is a piece that reflects the timeline of the author’s life. It should be treated like any engaging story, with you as the protagonist, a compelling narrative, and a cast of interesting characters.

Corporate Histories

A corporate history is a chronological accounting of a business or other co-operative organization, written for the archives of founding families or for established organizations celebrating an anniversary or milestone.

Editing & Other Services

As a ghostwriter, I write traditional works as well. My book editing service includes proofreading your work, correcting spelling errors, correcting wrong words, correcting typos, correcting grammatical errors, ensuring clarity and reworking sentences or complete sections while preserving your unique style.

Self-Publishing – Memoir/Autobiography, Nonfiction, Business Books

A published memoir typically runs from 250 pages (62,500 words) to 400 pages (100,000 words). An experienced, professional ghostwriter charges a minimum of $15,000 to write a manuscript of this size and scope.

Typically, a self-published author’s goal is either to sell books or establish credibility as a subject matter expert. It is a strategy for attracting new clients or securing speaking gigs.

The big question is, is your idea marketable? Without pulling any punches, if you want to succeed as a self-published author (however you define success), your story has to be utterly captivating, unique, or have a powerful new insight that will educate, motivate or uplift people.

If you think your book’s story has the potential to help you achieve your private or commercial goals, give me a call and I’ll give you loads of free advice, industry information and my personal opinion on the marketability of your idea. I’ll lay out the realities of self-publishing, the process of publication, marketing and sales, and how to build your platform as a self-published author. Whether you decide to work with me as your ghostwriter or not, it’s my pleasure to help you with the knowledge you need to get started.

If you decide to move forward with me as your ghostwriter and/or book coach, we can discuss pricing at that time. Since everyone’s book project is unique, there is no cookie-cutter pricing.

Corporate Histories

Successful organizations chronicle their histories for a number of reasons. A corporate history is a singular opportunity to share your mission, vision, and your “why.” It captures your organization’s spirit and unique culture for current and future employees. It helps familiarize current customers and prospects of the scope, quality, and innovation of your products and services. Your readers will enjoy reading your stories of struggle through times of great challenge and the joy of periods of exceptional growth. These tales, well told, remind your readers that you are here to stay.
It is, of course, to your advantage if your internal and external audiences, including analysts, institutional shareholders, joint venture partners, and media have a thorough understanding of your company. There is a direct correlation between positive public perception and shareholder value . Through the voices of your leadership, key employees, and key customers, your positive evolution and current initiatives are together pulled into focus to tell the whole story with a well-illustrated and comprehensive corporate history book. Additionally, it’s important that corporate acquisition candidates understand the positive company cultures, virtues, philosophy, and acquisition history of a prospective corporate parent.

Here is my 12-step process for creating a compelling, comprehensive and well-illustrated corporate history.

1) Discovery Sessions

Our initial discussions are designed to identify, in detail, your goals, audiences and the scope of the project. Every corporate history is unique and special. We’ll explore what resources are available at your end to facilitate access to materials and to identify potential interview candidates, budget, timetable and your internal project manager(s) who will facilitate interviews and approvals.

2) Letter of Agreement

We will summarize our understanding of the project scope, budget and timetable and submit a letter of agreement for your review. Upon consensus, we will co-sign the agreement. Most books require at least 10 months to complete.

3) The Research Begins

I will immediately begin the research process in great depth, poring through your records and the literature at large. For starters, I will review your company’s past annual reports, news releases and articles, and other sources. All the while, I will be searching for images that will bring your corporate history to life. The research process allows me to construct an initial framework that will advise the structural organization of the piece and the selection of interview candidates. My research process is professional and discreet – I keep a low profile.

4) Interviews

I will create a master interview list is created that includes company management, veteran employees, loyal company customers and vendors, retirees, and others. Oral history interviewing is at the heart of my work. Most projects require from 10 to 60 interviews, all professionally transcribed. I’ll help you select interviewees and get them talking. As a former journalist, this is one of my specialties.

7) Outline and Design Concept

Next, we’ll create and submit a written outline with initial design concepts. Our layouts are designed to complement your company’s story with images and graphics that express your company’s unique personality.

8) Manuscript

Within six months, I will submit chapter drafts for your review and approval. It’s a best practice for you to create a review team to provide feedback on tone and style, offer suggestions and make edits and corrections. Please submit this feedback via one master document. Chapter edits must be returned to me within specified deadlines to prevent delays in the project.

9) Table of Contents, Index, Bibliography, etc.

When the manuscript is complete, we will prepare the index, bibliography, table of contents, acknowledgements, and foreword, which will be submitted to the review team.

10) Professional Editor

We retain the services of a professional editor who will proofread the work, correct spelling errors, wrong words, typos, and grammatical errors. Additionally, the editor will verify the table of contents, index and bibliography are accurate.

11) Design & Final Proof

The designer will create the layout and cover design. All images are scanned at high resolution to attain the best quality possible. A press-ready proof will be created and submitted to you for one final review.

12) Printing

We will arrange for the printing, binding and shipping of your corporate history books. If you prefer, you may wish to have your own in-house or external agency manage the printing process.

Traditional Publishing – Memoir, Autobiography, Nonfiction, Business Books

The traditional publishing industry has changed radically since “self-publishing” began to lose its stigma as a “vanity” project. In the past, anyone could self-publish a book, and 99 percent of the time, these books were very unprofessionally written and poorly produced.

Many authors believe that having a book published by a traditional publisher carries more prestige. Publishing houses want to work with high quality projects only, with only one aim in mind: to sell books. It is extremely difficult to get signed by a traditional publisher, unless you can convince them, through an agent and a book proposal, that your book will sell thousands of copies. Who are the sure bets of being signed on by a traditional publisher? Celebrities. People who have accomplished remarkable feats. Self-published authors who have sold thousands of books. People who have amassed huge fan bases.

New authors also make the assumption that when you’re signed by a traditionally publisher, their marketing and publicity departments will make your book a best seller. Alas, unless you are a famous person, the publicists will give your book a few weeks of their undivided attention (along with the many other books on their plate), and then move on to something else. YOU are expected by the publisher to do most of the heavy lifting when promoting your book.

If you sell your book to the traditional publisher, they’ll pay you an advance. Most advances are modest. In any case, you are expected to “earn back” your advance by selling lots of books.

With me as your ghostwriter, your non-fiction manuscript will be as professionally worthy as any other book on the market. If you retain my services, I will also write your book proposal at a significant discount and write your query letter to secure an agent.

Book Editing Services

Book editing service includes proofreading your work, correcting spelling errors, correcting wrong words, correcting typos, correcting grammatical errors, ensuring clarity and reworking sentences or complete sections without changing your unique style. The fee for this service is $6.00 per page (calculated at 250 words per page), plus $300.

There are times when a book draft may require significant re-writing or developmental editing. If that is the case, I will mark the pertinent sections and you either may rewrite the sections yourself or I can help at an additional hourly fee.

How to Submit

1. Send me an e-mail to request services.
I’ll need some information about you: your name, address, e-mail and telephone number. I’ll also need to know something about your manuscript—its page length (when formatted as in #3 below), word count and a brief synopsis (one paragraph will do).

2. Pre-pay the invoice I will e-mail to you.
I will estimate your turn-around time and the cost of my services. When you are ready to move forward, I’ll schedule your services and e-mail you an invoice. All services must be prepaid based on this total estimated cost. If you prefer to pay by check, you may make a check out to “Dana Dobson” for the invoice total and send it along with your manuscript via snail mail. My mailing address will be on my e-mail.

3. Mail me your formatted manuscript, with SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) included. You may hand-deliver if you live nearby.

Format your manuscript as if you were submitting it to an agent or publisher:

• 1-inch margins
• 12 pt. serif font such as Times New Roman or Courier
• Double-spaced
• Left justified
• Each paragraph indented with no extra space between paragraphs (unless you’ve moved to a new topic)
• Type only on one side of the page
• Drop down 1/4–1/2 page to start new chapter
• Your last name/title/page number in the header on each page
• Include an SASE for return. I will add any extra postage required by the addition commentary pages.

About Me

Dana Dobson

Dana Dobson

Your Personal Biographer

As a full-time, award-winning freelance writer with 30+ years of experience as a journalist and public relations executive, my ghostwriting assignments have included books, articles, columns, corporate histories, scripts, biographies and speeches for clients ranging from entrepreneurs and consultants to large corporations.

Extremely versatile with respect to writing style, I bring a collaborative and compassionate partnership approach to the author-ghostwriter relationship, and I have a unique capacity for becoming the voice, heart, and soul of the author,

Ghostwriting a book is a complex process. I have the experience not just to write your book, but to manage the process from beginning to end to ensure you receive the best possible manuscript.

“I’ve been scribing the story of my life in China so that it will not be forgotten. A story told is a life lived.”

Mr. Willoughby, Outlander, season 3, episode 9

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Testimonials

Dana has a quick mind and a grasp of what is needed by people at all levels. She delivers her work with integrity, deep knowledge and a sense of fun. I love her work. She is amazing.

Jeanie Brosius

Writing compelling content poses a great hurdle for most businesses, especially financial subjects like banking. I have worked with Dana in several capacities…she has what it takes to capture a reader’s attention and keep it. Creative, personable and understands how to provoke actions with words. You will not be disappointed when tasking Dana with your writing projects.

Tom Gilmour

Dana Dobson possesses a combination of skills that writers spend a lifetime developing. Her two novels are a testimony to her ability to communicate emotion, poise, suspense, timing, and wit, each a skill unto itself, but collectively they are unique. Dana is creative, professional and takes her work seriously. She has a sharp eye for detail, a quality required to be an expert ghostwriter.

Jim Brennan

Dana’s approach is wholehearted and effective. She has a genuine interest in getting to know a person as a whole, will help discover a person’s essence and also stand as a lifelong resource for online guidance. Dana is a unique talent that excels at helping others help themselves.

Courtney Bigony

Not only is Dana a gifted and skilled writer, she is extremely client-oriented and outcome-focused. She takes the time to listen and to understand her clients’ needs, offers keen strategic and tactical suggestions and delivers a very high-quality product on time and at budget. I enthusiastically recommend her services.

Peter Vincent

I’ve known Dana for the better part of six years, as we first met in a writers group designed to improve upon our shared craft. In my post as editor of two monthly lifestyle publications, I thought Dana’s distinctive “voice” and exceptional ability to tell a great story would be highly useful, and she has not disappointed. Her submissions are engaging, cleanly written and reliably effective, and I would not hesitate to work with her again.

Bill Dohonue

I have had the opportunity and pleasure to work with Dana on writing projects and the results were outstanding! She was able to take various sources of information and cut through the clutter and produce a thoughtful, informative, concise and easy to read document that told a compelling story. She consistently gets two thumbs up from me.

Harry Pforzheimer III

Dana is an individual who is an expert in her field. Along with her professional posture, she is also a warm and intelligent person. Her creative capabilities are endless, as is her flawless writing.

Phyllis Smith
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