About Us | Your Life In A Book - Your life. Your story. Your legacy.

About Us

Your Life In A Book was set up to tell real people’s stories, in their words, in their voice [read more]

In a time when many people’s lives are being captured extensively in detail digitally on social media there are some gaps.

Simon Wooldridge, founder of Your Life In A Book: “Older people, many people born before the 1960s, don’t always have a lot of photos of themselves or their families. They have memories. Those memories and family stories have largely been passed down verbally in the past. But families aren’t always as closely knit as in the past – geographically and in some other senses. There are also bigger age gaps between generations now. Grandparents, generally, are not spending as much time with their grandchildren as in the past. It means that some family stories are in danger of being forgotten.”

Your Life In A Book offers a professional ghostwriting and publishing service to capture family stories and histories for posterity. 

Wooldridge: “About 15 years ago in Australia I met a woman who’d had a challenging but fascinating life. She was in her 80s by then. What struck me was her resilience and good humour in the face of a fairly torrid family life over a few decades. Moving from England and never seeing family again, alcoholism, gambling, domestic violence, loads of children, family break-up. It wasn’t quite ‘Angela’s Ashes’ but hers was a fascinating story that I would’ve loved to have helped tell. But for various reasons – I was busy trying to climb the slippery corporate ladder and she passed away not long after – it didn’t happen.

“As time went on I kept thinking about this and all the other ‘normal’ people I’ve met over the years who have great life stories to tell – stories that are in danger of being lost, stories that will fascinate family and friends.

“One time I was talking to my mother – then in her mid-80s – and she told me about seeing a German fighter plane fly over the New Forest in Hampshire when she was about six years old. Her mother was walking her and my uncle home from school. These kids waved at the pilot who waved back. When my mother told me this story it brought me back to thinking about ‘normal’ people and their extraordinary stories. Stories to be both told and preserved. These memories are priceless.”

Your Life In A Book will be exactly that – your life in your words, polished, presented, published and delivered by us. It’s the perfect family keepsake, something for posterity that will fascinate future generations. 

Everybody has a story.

Simon Wooldridge has worked in different roles in the publishing industry since 1990 in both the UK and Australia. He is a published author and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines. He is a qualified editor and proofreader and has also worked in copywriting across different industries. 

With that lengthy background in publishing and writing, and a fascination with people’s lives (“I love to meet people and hear their stories.”) the idea of Your Life In A Book germinated over a number of years. Combining his interests, passion for writing, professional skills and experience, Wooldridge set up YLB Publishing and Your Life In A Book. 

“What better or more rewarding job…?”  

Your Life In A Book utilises a team of experienced professional writers, editors, proofreaders and designers to bring your story to life in a book.

Why choose Your Life In A Book?

We want to tell your story, to help create your legacy. We are small. We listen. We are responsive and consultative. We want to grow our business through recommendations and referrals – that means getting your book right and having satisfied clients [read more]

We are not in the business of:

  • Vanity publishing. 
  • Making unrealistic promises about sales potential.
  • Producing glorified photograph albums.
  • Just churning out information in book format. We’re ghostwriters and we help tell your story
  • Rushing you or compromising on quality to just get the job done.

We are a small company and our aim is to do this well, to do it right. We want to grow our company and get new clients through recommendations, not by just spending the most on marketing and advertising. We are storytellers and we’re pretty fastidious about what we do! Books published bearing the YLB logo will meet high standards in terms of writing, structure, editing, layout, typography and printing/publication. 

We’re professional. And we care.

We publish books in two standard formats, both hardback with dust jackets. Both formats are professionally designed and typeset, printed in colour and include photos.

Our ‘YLB Memoir’ size/format is 216mm x 140mm. We generally recommend this for shorter, more anecdotal style books in the region of 30-50,000 words (approx. 140-230 pages). 

Our ‘YLB Biography’ size/format is larger at 234mm x 156mm. We recommend this format for longer books (60,000 words or more) and particularly if the writing style is more formal and the life story is presented chronologically. 

We can print in other sizes and formats and are more than happy to discuss your requirements.

We can include as many photos as you like, but in terms of balance and keeping the book firmly focused on your story, we recommend one or two photos every eight or nine pages. 

We will develop a draft design for your book cover after initial discussion with you and then further develop it in consultation with you. 

We can print as few or as many copies of your book as you like. We can send copies out on your behalf (though you wouldn’t be able to include a personal note or greeting).

Upon receipt of your signed agreement and deposit, we will start working to a timeline something like this:

  • Week 1: Interviews completed. Photos scanned and captioned. Cover design discussed.
  • Week 2 or 3: We will send you a sample 5000 words (or chapter) for you to review and sign-off. This will likely only be a relatively small part of your book, but it will give you the opportunity to review the writing style and ensure that we have captured your voice. 
  • Week 4: Once the sample has been signed-off we will continue working on your manuscript. Depending on the length of your story this could be another 4-6 weeks. 
  • Once completed, you will have the opportunity to review the whole manuscript and provide feedback and amendments. At this point we will finalise the placement of photos and images.
  • Once received, any changes will be made and then your manuscript will be typeset (with photographs included). At the same time, your cover will be finalised. This will take approximately 3-4 weeks.
  • You will then see a final, fully typeset version of your book before it gets printed. Once you have ok’d this expect to see copies of your book within 2-3 weeks. (Books scheduled for delivery in the second half of November and up to Christmas will take longer.)

How and why Simon Wooldridge started Your Life In A Book

“Since my late-teens I’ve had a passion for books and writing. Somewhere I have several half-finished manuscripts, collections of short stories and assorted ‘writings’. As I got older, I became far more interested in real stories – biographies, memoirs and non-fiction [read more]

“I worked in publishing for many years. Writing has always been a major part of my work and something I have pursued outside of normal working hours – I wrote a travel memoir a couple of years ago, and have published hundreds of reviews and previews in newspapers and magazines. I’ve been a copywriter. I’ve organised spoken word events and interviewed writers at literary festivals. The beauty and power of words fascinate me.

“At different times I’ve been talking to people and thought ‘that would make a really good story’ or thought that someone’s resilience in the face of adversity, or their love for someone else, or their travel experiences would fascinate other people. A friend told me some colourful stories about an older family member who’d been mixed-up in some dodgy criminal stuff in the 1960s. I heard about a man who pulled himself out of some farming machinery after he’d just lost his legs in it. My mother told me stories about her childhood during the war and my father told me about his travels as a journalist. I realised that many ‘normal’ people had some interesting and sometimes extraordinary stories to tell. I wondered how these sorts of stories would be handed down in a time when we communicate less verbally. I realised that everybody has a story. Putting those life stories and family histories into a book preserves those stories for their family, for posterity. And preserves them in the words of the ‘central character!’

“Importantly also, a book is a document – one that provides a legacy for family members, a history of a loved one’s life. Something to read, re-read and pass on to future generations.

“Changes in printing technology has meant that people who want to publish their memoirs or family histories no longer have the worry and cost of printing in large quantities. The print-on-demand industry has revolutionised niche and private publishing. We can print one copy of your book if that is all you want.

“And at the end of it, at the end of our involvement in helping bring someone’s story to life, and getting it onto the page… well, to see the client’s face when they open the book. That is very rewarding. Very special.”

© Your Life in a Book 2020