How Can a Ghostwriter Help Write My Family History?

06 Mar 2019


Have you ever considered writing a book about your family’s history, but don’t know how or where to get started?

Perhaps you have a great concept in your mind, but are struggling to put the words on paper. Or, like many people, you would love to have your family story written, but you just don’t have the time to do it yourself.

Whatever your reasons may be, it is likely that you have at least contemplated the possibility of hiring a ghostwriter. But, can a ghostwriter really help write your family history?

The short answer is, yes.

Now, as in any profession, different ghostwriters have different strengths. So, you will want to find the right ghostwriter for your project.

Once you have found a qualified family history ghostwriter, though, there are many ways in which they can help turn your book dream into reality.

The Nitty Gritty Research

If tracing your family roots and learning details about your ancestors is an important part of your family story, then it is imperative that you look for a ghostwriter who has experience with genealogy.

While many ghostwriters can turn your family stories into a great book, you will need someone who is also skilled at the kind of in-depth research that is needed to trace your family history beyond what your grandparents’ memories could reach.

Not only will this ghostwriter need to have the ability to research information about your family’s history, they also will need the necessary resources to check (and double-check) the facts and information that they find. Along with genealogy research, your ghostwriter will be able to research additional details about what was going on at a certain point in history, or what life would likely have been like for your ancestors.

Once the research portion of your family history is completed, your ghostwriter can work with you to find the best way to showcase their findings within your book.

Living Interviews

While you may know most of your family’s stories, and could probably provide enough content for an entire book yourself, it is always recommended to hear those stories (and more!) from the perspective of other living family members.

That is where your ghostwriter steps in.

They have the experience and know-how to get your family talking. They also have the skills to ask the right questions, and dig into the meaty heart of a story.

Along with great family stories, your ghostwriter can also work on collecting old photographs to include in the final book. And once all of the interviews have been completed, your ghostwriter will be able to organize the information and weave it into the most appropriate parts of your book.

Keep in mind, though, that you will want to make sure that the ghostwriter you choose is likeable and has good people skills. Afterall, grandma is not going to want to tell her best stories to someone who isn’t friendly.

Writing and Editing

This is where your ghostwriter’s storytelling and writing skills come into play.

Your ghostwriter will work closely with you to find out how you imagine your story should be told, as well as the specific style and format that you want.

Don’t worry if you are not quite sure what it is you want. An experienced ghostwriter will be able to walk you through the process of figuring out what will work best for your family’s story. They will also be able to explain your options to you, and make personalized recommendations.

And once you figure out what you are looking for in your book, your ghostwriter will be able to make the magic happen.

Publishing the Final Product

Once all of the research has been done, the interviews have been collected, and your book has been written, you will want a way to publish it.

Whether you are hoping to publish just one copy for your own personal use or several copies to give as gifts to family members, you will find that there are many publishing options available.

Depending on the ghostwriter that you choose, they may be able to take you all the way through the publishing process.

It is important to remember, though, that most ghostwriters are not publishers.

Most experienced ghostwriters, however, have a working knowledge of the publishing process and will be able to educate you on your publishing options. Also, it is likely they will be able to help you self-publish, or connect you with a publisher who can take care of your final product for you.

Jennifer Rizzo 
Jennifer Rizzo, also known as "Rizzo," is a Denver-based writer with a passion for writing, genealogical research, travel, and languages. She studied Spanish at the University of Guadalajara in Guadalajara, Mexico and also lived and studied in Ancona, Italy. She also holds a certification for International Tour Management through the International Guide Academy. Since joining The Writers for Hire, Jennifer has written on vast array of topics and has done many in-depth genealogical research and family tree projects. She has worked as Project Manager for various client projects, including: family history books, websites, RFPs, blogs, autobiographies, and SOPs. She enjoys working closely with clients, and loves any opportunity that allows her to indulge her creative side.

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