"Anyone who believes you can't change history has never tried to write his memoirs."

    - David Ben Gurion, former Israeli Prime Minister

 


How much does a personal history cost?

That really depends on what you want. Producing a personal history can be quite time consuming with interviews, transcriptions, editing, proofreading and other steps. Costs can be a few hundred dollars for a short, simple project to thousands of dollars for more elaborate projects, depending on what you wish to do.

The price of a book, for example, can depend on such factors as:

  • the amount of interview time
  • the time needed to transcribe interviews
  • the time required for editing, revisions and proofreading
  • the number of photos and illustrations and how many are in colour
  • whether a graphic artist is required for design purposes
  • the actual printing and binding process and materials used
  • the number of books produced

Each project is tailored to what you want so the time involved can be a few days to several weeks to even months. We will design a project within your budget and time frame. We’ll do an initial consultation and provide a free estimate.

What is a personal history and what can I do with it?

It’s the story or stories of your life in your words. It could be your official memoir or autobiography or it could be a recalling of certain events, themes or special memories you wish to preserve. It could be certain wisdom, advice or messages you wish to pass on. It could even be one particularly important event or experience. But it’s always your story in your words.

Your life story is something you can leave as a legacy to family, colleagues and friends. It’s something that says, “This is me.”

How is this different from a genealogy?

A personal history records a person’s life stories, experiences, beliefs and feelings. A genealogy records a person’s descent from his or her ancestors. Personal histories can add to a genealogy or stand alone as a legacy to pass on.

How is a personal history produced?

We will start with a no-obligation, informal chat. This lets us describe in more detail what we can do. It also lets you outline what you are looking for and ask any questions.

If we agree to work together we will draw up a formal agreement detailing our mutual commitments and the costs involved.

The work involves a series of taped interviews done in your home or some other place where you feel comfortable. An interview session takes about one hour at most and the number of sessions depends on the amount of material being covered.

The interviews are transcribed and turned into a manuscript which can then be produced in book form.

How long does it take?

It depends on what you want. A book can take several months from the initial interviews to the finished project. The more elaborate the project, of course, the longer it takes.

Some smaller projects, such as simple transcriptions of interviews, can be done more quickly.

What about incidents, events or parts of my life I might not want to talk about?

We will discuss ahead of time what subjects or events to cover. If there is something you don’t wish to talk about, that’s fine. If you don’t wish to answer a question we might ask, that’s your right. This is your story, you decide what to tell and what not to tell and we respect your privacy. And if you change your mind afterwards and want to take something out, that’s fine, too.

Why hire someone to write my story? Can’t I do it myself?

You can do it yourself. You can sit down and write or dictate your thoughts and memories. You can find books and other sources that can help.

But there are good reasons to hire a personal historian. For one thing, your story gets done. We’ve all said, “It would be nice to do this,” but things happen, plans get delayed and often the story does not get told. And it’s often easier to talk to someone who is interested in your story but not directly connected to it. They can help with context and perspective and all those things that help make good stories.

Personal historians can get your project started and finished. They can do all the stickhandling for you. You don’t need to know any computer programs, editing, proofreading, production or any of those other techniques. The job gets done!

What’s your background for doing this?

We have decades of experience as professional writers, interviewers, editors and communicators. We would be pleased to work with you to help you tell your story.