FAQs | Your Life In A Book - Your life. Your story. Your legacy.


Q. How much will it cost?

A. We don’t have ‘standard’ or ‘package’ pricing [read more]

Every ghostwriting project we take on is on a quote basis. The main things we take into consideration are the length of your story (which determines the amount of interview, writing and editing time), how many photos to include and how many copies of the book you want. To take one example… ten copies of a 40,000-word book including 40 photographs will cost in the region of £5000-£5300. 40,000 words translates to a book of roughly 150-180 pages, depending on type size, layout, position of photos etc. 

Q. How do I work out how long my book should be?

A. We recommend something in the region of 40,000-60,000 words [read more] 

This will capture somebody’s life story very well. That kind of length will include plenty of detail, background, context, stories and anecdotes. This is shorter than a celebrity biography or memoir as we are unlikely to include analysis of reviews, interviews with other people or ‘padding’ that can swell a celebrity’s story. 40,000-60,000 words would end up being around 150-220 pages. Think, initially, in terms of the number of pages that would work for your book. We can work to any length of manuscript but suggest not going under 15-20,000 words if you really want to capture your story in detail.

Q. How long will the whole process take?

A. From when the client signs the agreement and pays the deposit it should take about 12-15 weeks [read more] 

There are three sign-off points for the client (at around 5000 words, completed manuscript and final proof). Providing the client approves each part in a reasonable period of time (a schedule will be included in the agreement) the 12-15 weeks’ timeframe is achievable.

Q. What if my story is uneven? There may be things in my life I want to leave out.

A. You can include or leave out whatever you like [read more]

It’s your life story, your memoirs. We are not looking to write a hard-hitting, revelatory exposé of your life – unless you want us to! People’s lives don’t often fall into neat little packages of a decade per chapter. You may want to focus on or emphasise a particular period, with other times in your life warranting just a brief-ish explanation or acknowledgement. It’s about including what’s important to you, not everything that has happened. 

Q. How will it read? Like I wrote it, or in the third person?

A. We recommend writing your story in the first person [read more]

It’s your story after all. Your voice and your perspective are key to the end result. When your friends and family read your book, we want them to hear your voice. If there is a particular reason why you may want to take another approach, we can discuss.

Q. I’m concerned I might forget some things. How should I prepare for telling my story?

A. At least a week in advance of your first interview we will send you information on how to prepare, what to prepare, how to jog your memory etc [read more]

Our information includes lots of prompts. However, even if you are only in the initial stages of thinking about getting your story published (and you’re not quite ready to proceed) start making some notes now. As a starting point make a list of all the people you’d like to mention in your book – people who are important to you. Also make a list of some of the places you’ve been – different countries, cities, a favourite restaurant, an art gallery or museum. Think of big events or experiences – weddings, starting a new job, births and deaths, a son or daughter’s graduation, a holiday or moving house. You’ll have a few lists. Start mentally cross-referencing between them; things you’d forgotten will start coming back.

Q. What’s the copyright situation?

A. The copyright in the finished manuscript will be jointly owned by the client and YLB Publishing [read more] 

This protects both parties. It is your story, but it has been written by Your Life In A Book. Should there be any interest from a mainstream trade publisher, TV or film company to commercially exploit the published work then any rights or licensing agreement with that third party would need to be agreed between the client and YLB Publishing. YLB Publishing would not seek to unreasonably prevent any potential commercial exploitation of the manuscript.

Q. Can I sell copies of the book?

A. Of course [read more]

We can supply you with as many copies of the book as you like to then onsell or give away or distribute as you like. If you need to, you can re-order in any quantity you like – even a single copy.

Q. Can I order extra copies of the book in the future?

A. Yes. You can order as many as you like – even a single copy [read more]

They can be delivered to you, or they can be sent direct to a friend or relative from the warehouse – although this would mean you can’t add a personal note or inscription. 

Q. Can I put it online?

A. No. Copyright restrictions prevent you from posting the whole manuscript online [read more]

However, the agreement between client and YLB Publishing will allow small extracts to be posted on social media in order to generate interest amongst your friends and family. Posting text on some social media channels effectively means you are giving up ownership of the copyright. So preventing this protects both parties who have ownership in the copyright. See also copyright question above regarding potential commercial exploitation of the manuscript.

Q. What about the copyright of the photos in the book? Who owns that?

A. YLB Publishing is effectively licensing the photographs that will be included in your book from the copyright holder for the sole purpose of publishing your story [read more]

YLB Publishing will not take or seek to take ownership of any photos supplied by the client. Copyright of photos is generally owned by the person who took the photograph. The vast majority of photos featured in YLB Publishing biographies and memoirs come from family collections. Copyright owners are acknowledged when known.

Q. What if I don’t like the way it’s written?

A. After the first 5000 words or so have been written we will send you that copy so you can assess the style of writing, tone and to see that we have captured your voice effectively [read more]

Any concerns can be discussed and addressed at this point. You will also see the full manuscript at a later stage giving you the opportunity to correct or amend anything. 

Q. Will I get the photos back? They are treasured family mementoes.

A. Yes of course [read more] 

And we will provide you, free of charge, a copy of the digital images we have captured. In many cases – particularly if the photo is old or damaged – the digital version we provide will be of an enhanced quality. Feel free to use and circulate the enhanced digital copies of photos that we send back to you.

Q. I’ve already written a family history. I just need a publisher. Can you help?

A. To a degree [read more]

We can work on your manuscript and provide advice. We can edit and/or proofread it. We can take it on as a project and publish copies through our normal process which you can then sell or use as part of your proposal submission to a trade publisher. We can’t find you a mainstream publisher, licensing or distribution agreement though – that is not our area of expertise. 

Q. I want something on a different scale to your standard book formats. Can you do this?

A. Depends to what degree [read more]

If you want a paperback that is a standard kind of size then yes. If you want something radically different – leather-bound with gold embossing on the cover then no. If you want something published in a different language, no. Contact us – if we can’t help, we’ll try and point you in the right direction.

Q. What happens if I want to update my book in a few years? Do I have to start from scratch again?

A. Depends what you mean by ‘update’ [read more]

If you want to rewrite some of the existing text, we can help with that. We would start by providing you with a Word document of the manuscript to assess and amend. We may do this via email or arrange an interview to discuss what change of route you want to take. If you want to simply add a chapter or two and not revisit any of the existing text that can also be done – that would be an easier, less costly process. 

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© Your Life in a Book 2020