Ghostwriting a Powerful Memoir

This eye-opening memoir from a Vietnam POW was written by Robert Wideman, Cara Lopez Lee and Mark Graham Communications

A memoir can be as powerful and moving as any work of non-fiction and more compelling than any novel. There is nothing like a true story, and it is very likely that you have an event or series of events in your life that have the potential to entertain and exhilarate readers of all ages.

At Mark Graham Communications, we have helped hundreds of people bring their memoirs to life, and there are several rules that we always share with our clients and make absolutely certain are part of their books.

First. It is important that you know the difference between a memoir and a biography. A biography covers a person’s life from beginning to end. A memoir narrows the focus on to a snapshot, if you will, from your life. This event, or events, may cover a month, a year, or five years, but there is generally one theme that carries the story. Think of it like this: if you were taking six months to tour the European continent, your memoir would focus on the most exciting, compelling week.

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A Great Idea Doesn’t Necessarily Make for a Great Book

#5 Samaritan Court

This moving and powerful biography was written by Maria Mai-Thuy Swenka and Mark Graham Communications.

Everyone has said this at one time or another: “I have a great idea for a book.”

The percentage of those people who actually follow up on that great idea is, well, practically none.

Writing is work.  Hiring a professional ghostwriter is work. Both take time, commitment, and resolve.  Starting isn’t necessarily the problem. Many people with a great idea have actually picked up a pen and written a few words.  Many people have actually placed a call with a professional ghostwriter. Starting is not the problem. Finishing is.

If your goal in writing that amazing book is to make money, you might start, but you probably won’t finish. Why? What’s missing?  Answer: passion. Answer: the desire to see that wonderful idea in print with your name on the cover.  Now that is a great feeling.

At Mark Graham Communications, we always ask our clients: Why do you want to write this novel, or this biography, or this business book? If the answer comes from a place deep in the soul, then we’re onto something special. Continue reading

WRITING AN EXCEPTIONAL BUSINESS BOOK

Wow Moments

This engaging how-to business book on customer interaction is a collaboration between Mark Kent and Mark Graham Communications

There are literally thousands of business men and women with proprietary knowledge and years of experience in their particular field worthy of a business book.

This is knowledge you should share for several reasons.  One, there are many entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs who would benefit from your knowledge and experience. Two, the workplace is starved for innovative thinking, and successful business people need to share such thinking. Three, your legacy as a successful business person deserves preserving.

You may be asking: what do I know about writing a book? Even if the answer is absolutely nothing, there are means available to you that many others in your position have utilized.  As a successful business owner or manager, you have always hired the best people and allowed them to do their jobs.  Writing a book is no different. Hire the best ghostwriter you can; let him or her shape your knowledge and experience into something very special.

Let’s start with things you need to know.

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The Questions Every Great Ghostwriter Asks

This wonderful self-help book on teaching horsemanship to children with autism is a collaboration between Nacon Wilde and Mark Graham Communications.

This wonderful self-help book on teaching horsemanship to children with autism is a collaboration between Niki Wilde and Mark Graham Communications.

Whether you are hiring a Ghostwriter to assist you in writing a novel, biography, business book, or self-help book, the ones who really know what they are doing will ask a number of very important questions. If they don’t ask them, then they are probably only in it for the money, and if that is the case, keep looking.

At Mark Graham Communications, our first question is always, why? Why do you want to write this novel or biography? Why is it important to share your business acumen or your self-help message? If there is passion in your answer, we always hear it, and we always tap into that passion. If you’re only writing your book hoping for a big payday, we hear that too and understand that the key element in creating a special book is missing.

Our next question is about your audience. Who are you trying to reach?  Who are you trying to entertain or instruct?  Your answer affects everything moving forward.  We tailor the voice, tone, and style specifically to that audience. We find out what about your story or your message, your life lessons or business lessons appeal to that audience. We consider ways to broaden your audience without diluting the core message you’re delivering.

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The Importance of a Great Author Bio

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This self-improvement book was written by Jason D. Tuzinkewich and Mark Graham Communications.

Writing an impactful author bio is important on a number of fronts.  Whether you’ve authored an article or a book, this is your opportunity to give the reader a small but vital snippet about who you are.  It can be frustrating, because your space is limited. In an article, you have a very small paragraph.  For your book, it’s not much more.  The idea, of course, is to maximize every word, so it’s actually a good exercise.  It is also an opportunity to invite readers to your author website or your social media presence.

At Mark Graham Communications, we don’t take the creation of your author bio lightly.  Here are a few rules that we generally employ:

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Finding the Right Ghostwriter for Your Novel

This page-turning historical fiction was written by Kirk Raeber, Mario Acevedo and Mark Graham Communications.

This page-turning historical fiction was written by Kirk Raeber, Mario Acevedo and Mark Graham Communications.

When you are looking for the absolutely best ghostwriter to help create the novel you have been dreaming about for all these years. Finding exactly the right ghostwriter or professional editor for your novel is like choosing the right tree for exactly the right spot in your yard.  It’s a critical decision.  One thing our years of experience at Mark Graham Communications has shown us is this: Before you truly commit to your book, the more you have finalized the plot of your story, the further down the road you will be; the better developed your cast of characters, the more memorable they will be; the more committed you and your ghostwriter are to the voice, tone, and style you decide on, the more you’ll be able to dive in head first without second guessing yourself.

As a ghostwriter, there are four key elements that we want to consider up front.

  • Creating a storyline that fits your audience.
  • Developing characters that your readers find exciting and worth investing their time in.
  • Making certain a story arc that has exactly the right flow, pacing, and emotional appeal.
  • Writing dialogue that fits your characters and sound authentic.

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What Makes a Great Biography or Memoir?

#5 Samaritan Court

This moving and powerful biography is a collaboration between Maria Mai-Thuy Swenka and Mark Graham Communications.

First things first, please understand that a biography and a memoir are NOT the same thing.  A biography is about your life, more or less from beginning to end.  A memoir is a snapshot from a particular time in your life.  A biography allows you to explore all aspects of your life, while a memoir gives the reader a picture of who you are based upon a finite timeframe.  Both are very effective, and we at Mark Graham Communications have written many successful and well-received books in both genres.

Remember that both a memoir and biography weave other people into your story, and the reader wants to know how these people influenced your life. Family, friends, associates.

Enemies, adversaries, competitors.

Always be forthright and honest with your readers. The truth is what they are looking for. You can be colorful and dynamic, funny and poetic, longwinded or brief as long as you tell the truth. Yes, you are looking at your story through your eyes, but that does not give you license for bending the truth. Your story is unique; let that be enough.

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How to Start Writing a Book

This wonderful self-help book on re-partnering is a collaboration between Deborah Potashnik Hecker PhD and Mark Graham Communications.

This wonderful self-help book on re-partnering is a collaboration between Deborah Potashnik Hecker PhD and Mark Graham Communications.

You have a book you’d like to write.  A novel, a biography, or a self-help book; a business book, health book, or philosophical masterpiece.  Where to start?  How to start?  Those are questions that go through every first-time writer’s head.

The key word is “start.”  Yes, you can read all you want about the process that famous writers take or study step-by-step hand-holding guides, most of which are written by people who don’t really want to “start.”

You can wait for inspiration to strike, but writing a book is more about hard work than inspiration.  It is more about sitting down at your desk with a pad and pen or opening a blank page on your computer and getting down to business.

You “start” with idea. Specific or fuzzy, it does not matter.  You may have a plot line or a character in mind. You may have a new diet you want to impart to the world or a business model that you think will help others succeed. You may want to put your life story down on paper to establish your legacy.  Whatever it is, believe in that idea.  If you feel passionate about your idea, then it is a good idea. Write it down. Create a premise.

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How Ghostwriting Works

This unique self-help book on realizing your dreams as a reality is a collaboration between Jason McKinney and Mark Graham Communications.

This unique self-help book on realizing your dreams as a reality is a collaboration between Jason McKinney and Mark Graham Communications.

Please do not be intimidated by the ghostwriting process. It is as straightforward as picking up the phone or drafting an email. It begins with an idea and finding the best possible fit for your idea.

For us, it normally begins with an initial inquiry, normally through our website and normally with a simple email requesting more information or a phone call asking how the process works. A simple note to info@markgrahamcommunications.com will get the ball rolling.

An introductory phone call comes next.  For us, this is such an important step. It allows you to describe the book idea you are working on or thinking about working on. It allows us to walk you through the process.  How will we gather the information we need to get the ball rolling?  Do you have material already written down or research we might do? Are face-to-face interviews best for our launch?  We talk about the genre of your book, the audience, even the tone and style we think might be most appropriate.

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Are You a Storyteller

Inspired by real life events, this fascinating story is a collaboration between Gretchen Wiegand, Anna McDermott and Mark Graham Communications.

Inspired by real life events, this fascinating story is a collaboration between Gretchen Wiegand, Anna McDermott and Mark Graham Communications.

Not everyone is a storyteller.

Not everyone wants to be a storyteller. But it is my contention that everyone loves a good story and have since the beginning of time.  We love to be swept up in what is the heart and soul of any good story: conflict.  Make no mistake, there is conflict in everything that we do because conflict is second nature to human beings.  We are blessed with two primary instincts: fear and survival. There is no way that those two words don’t imply conflict in its most primal way. Conflict is filled with emotion. Conflict is filled with jeopardy.

The best storytellers have a gift for tapping into our emotions and letting us inside the jeopardy that is inherent in most situations and every relationship.

Books are my favorite vehicle for storytelling, though not every book represents good storytelling.  The movies attempt to convey a story in two hours.  Some are successful, some are not. The theater is much the same.  Art?  Well, there are lot of artists who proclaim themselves storytellers, but not every painting, sculpture, or piece of pottery rises to that level.    For my money, it doesn’t matter. If you make the attempt to write a book or a poem, create a script or produce a movie, act in or direct a play, pick up a paint brush or mold a piece of pottery, you’ve taken a risk in the creative world and ventured into the realm of storytelling. That in its own right is a success.

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