WRITING IS TOUGH WORK, BUT I CAN HELP
I enjoy helping people tell their stories and try to make the process as painless as possible.
With decades of experience as a journalist covering breaking news and writing for magazines, I have developed many techniques for getting a story. My main method is interviewing, something for which I have a natural talent. Many of the people I’ve collaborated with say that working with me is less like the frenzy of a deadline project, and more like having a conversation with a close friend. Together my collaborators and I explore that person’s past, go deep into the turning point moments, and produce a final product that is both a reflection of that time in his or her life as well as an entertaining, involving and well-paced story told in my collaborators’ voice.
Often a book also requires that I use my extensive reporting background to uncover additional facts that help place the story in a broader context and bring it to a larger audience. I’ve had great success in developing book proposals that get high prices from publishers by writing a knockout first chapter and positioning the book’s message in the right spot in the marketplace.
People ask me to help them at various stages of the book-writing process, from the very beginning of reading initial pages of their writing all the way to collaborating with them on a full manuscript
Book proposals: A book proposal is a 50 to 80 page document that includes the sales pitch for the book, an estimation of the potential audience and a detailed marketing plan. The proposal also describes the author’s unique ability to tell the story well, includes a sample chapter in the voice of the book and an extensive outline of its scope. This is the basic blueprint for the book. Writing the proposal can take a weekend if the story is very far along in development, or several months if there are still many aspects of it to explore. Price range: $5000 to $10,000
Reading fee for advising on works in progress: $100 an hour with a five-hour minimum
Structure check – Structure can be intimidating. When a story has been in a writer’s head for months, or even years, many times the writer doesn’t know where to begin. He or she may have a lot of written material in some great scenes, but not a scheme to tie the discrete elements together. I’m very good at structure. I’ll read the manuscript and advise on how to pull the story together. Basic charge is $2000, depending on length.
Developmental Editing/Coaching: After the high of selling a book to a publisher, sometimes the author doesn’t know what to do next. The task of putting a book together and sustaining the momentum consistently can be difficult. As a coach, I’m on call to help break the work into simple, doable tasks, enforce deadlines and read and advise on first drafts of chapters. Often this means late night phone calls about the bigger questions at the center of the book, which is something I enjoy. Fees vary depending on time required and proximity to deadline.
Book Rescue – Even the most well-written books sometimes get into trouble. When a publisher is threatening to cancel publication of a book, I’ve been called in to address the fundamental problems in the manuscript. This usually is after deadline, so a quick turnaround is necessary.I wrote one of my bestsellers in eight weeks, so this is an important skill I bring to a crisis. Fees vary depending on work involved and tightness of deadline.
Collaboration on full book – please call my agent Linda Loewenthal@ David Black Agency–Black Inc. Direct Line: 718-852-5523