Tag Archives: Bookwriting

For A Memoir It’s A Limitless Sky

As a ghostwriter, I’m always getting phone calls, letters, and E mails from people sharing their thoughts about books they wants to write on every subject imaginable.


For example, a woman who lost her leg in the Bosnian war wound up having a prosthetic made by the same company that made an artificial tail for a famous dolphin named Winter, a popular attraction at the Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, Florida. She received so much publicity for her bravery during the war and remarkable recovery, that she’s now launched a speaking career. And she’s about to write her memoir, an inspirational story about how a dolphin  helped her make it through her own struggles .


Then there was the call from the millionaire marketing executive who was exposed to poverty and extreme domestic violence as a child. He’s now created a foundation to help adult survivors of childhood abuse recover from trauma and has now written a book all about it.

And I just heard from a trial attorney, describing his 30-year history handling criminal cases, from FBI espionage to Mafia hits,  including the so-called “body parts” case, the story of two funeral directors convicted for removing body parts from the deceased and selling them for transplants! You can’t make this stuff up.

I really believe that everyone has a book inside them, just waiting to be written. It might be a memoir, a motivational guide, a family history, or a book about your hobby or life work. It might be focused on one individual subject. Countless physicians have written books about losing weight or diabetes or the secrets to stress reduction. No matter what your profession, you can definitely write a book about it from your unique perspective. And so often, people tell me they feel passionately about a subject that should become a book. But how?

Once you’ve decided that you want to write a book, and if you don’t have the time or the expertise to write it yourself, the next step is finding a collaborator, someone who can make the book come to life with no time wasted.

Over the years, I’ve constructed a system for writing a book in five months or less, from beginning to end, adding in a few extra weeks for a book proposal–and then you’re ready to meet an agent and get that book published. It’s a limitless sky. One of my favorite projects was working with a Chicago Pastor who brilliantly blended life lessons with scripture, his unique storytelling leading to a self-help book, The Power To Change Today.


So if you have a great book idea, don’t procrastinate about it. I think the best stories come from real life, driven by true heart and passion. Here’s a few ideas about how to make your book become a reality:

Top 10 winner

1.Begin with a compelling hook or concept
2.Include an Introduction that seduces the reader
3.Capture a unique writing voice
4.Be concise
5.Create a sequence of short chapters that keep the reader’s attention
6.Use vivid imagery to paint a picture, language that’s punchy and descriptive
7.Keep the action moving, one chapter building to the next
8.Be specific and non-repetitive
9.Delete the sections readers skip
10.Create a climax, the book’s message carrying you to the end


Proximity – The Messenger of Fate – A Key Element To Every Memoir

Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins

As you begin working on your memoir, no doubt, you’ll start wondering why things unfolded in your life exactly as they did. Can what happens to us be controlled and planned, or is much of it mere accident, fate, destiny–or is there perhaps another greater force at work as well?

The  peak performance coach and bestselling author Tony Robbins, who has worked with three million people in 80 countries (including heads of state, professional athletes, and corporate executives)–has much to say on our collective Date With Destiny, the title of one of his most captivating seminars, offered a few times each year in exotic locales such as Bali.

Tony believes that our peer group–who we choose to associate with and come into contact with on a daily basis–very much determines the course of our lives. I can tell you that in my work with ghostwriting clients, we spend considerable time talking about the sequence of life events and why they seemed to happen exactly as they did.  I sometimes ask: “Do you ever play this game: ‘If I hadn’t just accidentally found myself in that elevator (or in that classroom, gym class, subway car, or party) at that exact moment in time, how would my entire life have been different? Maybe I never would have met my mate, or a key business connection, or a lifelong friend.’ Right?!

Sometimes sheer accidents leads to great things. Here’s a small example: Last week, I was dripping wet in our building’s elevator, having just finished swimming laps, when I “accidentally” ran into one of my neighbors, Russ, a movie producer. Earlier that morning, in the New York Times, I had read an article about Wendy Diamond, the editor of Animal Fair magazine, hoping to meet with her to discuss the possibility of her covering my last book, KATIE UP AND DOWN THE HALL, a memoir about my dog. Just at that serendipitous moment, as I was standing in the elevator, I happened to mention my new “dog” book to Russ, who then told me: “There’s somebody you really have to meet–one of my best friends!” And it turned out to be magazine editor Diamond, who generously ran a 4-page story about my book.

Animal Fair Interview



Close Proximity Inside Our Elevator

“You’ve got to be kidding,” I told him. I just couldn’t believe the coincidence. Sure this seemed accidental–but as I’ve learned from Tony Robbins, what happens to us is greatly a product of what he has insightfully described as THE POWER OF PROXIMITY.

Simply put, it’s so often the people in our physical orbits–those in closest proximity–who will become the people most important to us. When you’re around someone in your environment, day after day, you notice their insight, humor, and unique talents–and the needs in them that call out to you for fulfillment. When we look to each other for companionship, love, and connection–we often get what we need.

So as Tony often says to seminar participants: “Who, in your environment is nearby? Who’s literally in your field of vision? Who do you keep bumping into, over and over again?”

In this way, as he wisely concludes: “For most of us, proximity is the messenger of fate.


In my life this is absolutely true, and every memoir writer recognizes this key principle which harkens to the motivation behind events. Start thinking about this domino effect, of one thing leading to the next. And you’ll soon notice that maybe thing aren’t so accidental at all. I believe that pondering all this is great exercise in the memoir marathon, making your book as compelling as it can be.