Your Website Migration from HTTP to HTTPS

If you have browsed the internet lately, you have probably noticed that when you attempt to access HTTP sites, you get a scary-looking warning about possible security risks.

You have also probably noticed that more and more companies are switching from HTTP to HTTPS.

But what is the difference? And why is it such a big deal?

Well, we found a great article from online.marketing that explains everything you need to know about HTTP and HTTPS.

In the article, they explain the differences between the two, the security risks you are taking when you are accessing an HTTP site, and how moving from HTTP to HTTPS can influence your site’s SEO and Google rankings.

They also provide detailed instructions on how you can move your site to HTTPS.

Words of Wisdom from 10 Great Writers

Some people are naturally gifted writers. They don’t have a fancy education. They haven’t spent endless hours and money taking classes to learn how to write well. They are just good. They simply have an incredible talent for the written word that the rest of us can only sit back and envy.

But have you ever wondered what those amazing writers would say if you had the chance to sit down with them and ask for advice?

Well, this great article from Bookstr does just that. They have taken small pieces of writing advice from 10 highly successful authors and compiled them for our reading pleasure.

We hope you enjoy these as much as we have!

Picking the Best Format to Write Your Life Story

You’ve had an interesting life, and you want to share your story with the world. You want to share lessons learned, leave a legacy for your family, or preserve favorite memories. You’ve thought about writing a book more than once, but you’re not sure where to start.

In fact, you’re not even sure what kind of book you should write. Should you tell your story in chronological order, starting with the day you were born? Should you aim for a series of “snapshots” of important events in your life? Do you want to focus on one aspect of your life, like your career? Do you want to write about a challenge you’ve had to overcome?

We know. That’s a lot to think about. First of all, don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed.  A book is a big project, and there are several great options for writing your life story. In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular options, and help you decide which is best for you.

Autobiography or Memoir?

Although you’ve probably heard these two terms used interchangeably, there’s actually a difference between an autobiography and a memoir. Both are great options for telling your story, but the option you choose will depend on things like your goals for the book, the focus of your book, and the types of stories you want to share.

The Autobiography

An autobiography is a sweeping factual narrative of your life. It’s written in chronological order from your birth to the present moment. It is based on factual events rather than memories and emotions, and highlights the experiences and accomplishments throughout your lifetime. All autobiographies are written in first-person, typically by the author themselves, but can also be written by a ghostwriter.

While this format is normally used by famous people who have a lot of accomplishments and experiences to document, anyone can write an autobiography

Within the autobiography format, there are two main approaches.

  1. You can write your life story strictly based on your history and accomplishments, listing the events of your life in consecutive order so your readers can learn about you and your life experiences.
  2. You can write your life story based on a particular theme. How would you define your life in one key message? Maybe it’s the idea that love conquers all, or a theme like overcoming adversity and never giving up. By determining one main theme and weaving it through the all facts of your life, it makes for a more interesting story and creates a better flow.

In fact, many of the best autobiographies out there have a central idea that blends with the author’s entire life story throughout the book.

Pros: This is a little easier to write, due to the chronological and factual nature of the format. Unlike some of the other options available, an autobiography can be straightforward and simple; there is no need to use literary devices or embellishments.

Cons: Presenting your life story in a strictly factual, linear way can be less interesting than a memoir. The “just the facts” approach also means you’ll need to do lot of fact checking and research. Also, it can be difficult writing about yourself, especially in the first person, without it feeling stilted. You might find that you sound too humble or even too arrogant — it’s hard to strike the right balance.

Suggested Reading:

Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela

Cash: The Autobiography by Johnny Cash

Life by Keith Richards

The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt by Eleanor Roosevelt

The Memoir

Unlike an autobiography, a memoir focuses on a more specific point in time based on your memories and the feelings of that time period. It is meant to re-create the past instead of merely record it, which makes for a more interesting read. This format is also written in the first person but is less formal. Instead of emphasizing factual events, a memoir is focused on how you remember or were affected by these events.

One of the great things about this type of format is that it gives you, the author, great flexibility. You can write about anything. This is also a great option if you find that you really enjoy writing:  because a memoir covers only one aspect, event, or time period in your life, you can write numerous memoirs about other experiences.

You can write a memoir about your childhood, your travels, your family, your career, or anything else. Think about a key theme or lesson and how it affected or shaped you then and now. You can write about a single personal event that happened; a single historical event; a series of connected events that have a common thread; or an external person or event to you and how it/they affected or shaped you, your life, and your outlook on life.

Pros: You can write  about virtually any topic, theme, experience, or event. Plus, because you’re writing about your own memories and events in your life and not about your accomplishments, it’s easier to write without sounding stilted or over-indulgent. And if you love to write, you can write numerous memoirs.

Cons: Writing a memoir takes a little more writing skill to make the story flow in an interesting way. Also, your memories could be less clear than the real events which could possibly open you up to liability issues. Other things to consider are privacy of others and the potential of alienating yourself from friends or family depending on your subject matter.

Suggested Reading:

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

Runaway Amish Girl: The Great Escape by Emma Gingerich

Drunk Mom: A Memoir by Jowita Bydlowska

Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt

Many Ways to Write Your Life Story

Now that you know the difference between an autobiography and a memoir, it’s also important to know that these aren’t the only two ways to write your life story. Consider these optional formats:

The Diary or Journal

Many people regularly journal or keep a diary to chronicle their life’s experiences. If you have kept a journal over the years, then you are even closer to writing your life’s story.

If have never journaled before, you can start right now to keep track of your daily life and use that as a springboard to writing your story. Using a theme or single topic as you journal can be a good way to get started.

Plus, if you do it in this format, you can take a mix of both the autobiographical format and the memoir format by doing it chronologically but with more emotion and not as much fact.

You can also simply intermix the memoir and diary formats together and write your memoir as if you were doing journal entries.

Pros: You may have already been keeping a diary or journal throughout your lifetime, so it makes a great format to start with as much of the writing is already done. You can also still build around a central theme or simply write your memories out in this format.

Cons: Many diaries or journals contain mundane thoughts, feelings, and daily events that aren’t interesting to write about or read. It can be harder to go through each entry and extract the interesting parts from what is probably not all that interesting. Oftentimes, keeping a diary or journal will lead to a lot of rambling and usually there isn’t a cohesive theme or event to it.

Suggested Reading:

Oregon Trail Journal of Medorem Crawford by Medorem Crawford

Written on the Knee: A Diary from the Greek-Italian Front of WWII by Helen Electrie Lindsay

When Will This Cruel War Be Over?: The Civil War Diary of Emma Simpson, Gordonsville, Virginia, 1864 by Barry Denenberg

Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose by Gillian McCain and Legs McNeil

The Biography

A biography is the telling of person’s life story, typically a famous person, by another author. It is written in the third-person voice (he/she) and is also factual in content and written in order from birth to the present moment, just like an autobiography.

But just because biographies are normally written by someone else, there is no rule book that says you can’t write your own biography! All you need to do is take your story and write as if it happened to someone else. You can also write your memoir this way using a he/she form of writing.

Pros: Writing in the third person vs. first person can help you detach from your story so you can see it more objectively. Also, much like an autobiography, this format is based on facts and an easy to follow timeline, so you can write in a more direct way without a lot of added fluff like you would in a memoir or autobiographical novel.

Cons: Writing in the third person form can be difficult when writing about yourself and your achievements. You also must still focus on the historical events of your life and the facts which means a lot of research and fact checking is necessary.

Suggested Reading:

Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different: A Biography by Karen Blumenthal

Robin by Dave Itzkoff

Ernest Hemingway: A Biography by Mary V. Dearborn

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler

The Autobiographical Novel

Another way to present your life story is writing a fictionalized book based on the true or remembered events of your life.

Why write your life story as if it were made up and put it into novel form? Certainly, there are risks when you write your life story and present a factual (autobiography) or semi-factual (memoir) account. Liability, privacy, protecting other people who are still living, and a sensitive subject matter are all good reasons to choose this format.

Of course, writing in a fiction format can also be a good way to embellish on facts that aren’t quite so interesting. Just remember to never make up facts and portray them as truth within your life story. You can use truth within your fiction, but not the other way around.

Pros: By choosing this format, you can avoid hurting family, friends, and other people that are a part of your story. You can also protect yourself from liability issues by presenting sensitive topics and information as fiction. Plus, if you don’t fully remember all the events you’re writing about, it might be better to present them as fiction. And writing in novel form allows you to embellish on the facts that aren’t quite so interesting.

Cons: Presenting the truth as made up doesn’t give the healing or closure on certain events or topics in your life which is something many people try to do when telling their life story. Also, you want people to know it is your story and writing in fiction can cause confusion to your audience.

Suggested Reading:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Contents May Have Shifted: A Novel by Pam Houston

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolfe

Alternative Formats

Want to do something completely unique? The great thing about writing your own story is that, well, it’s yours. And that means you can tell it any way you choose. The only limit is your creativity.

Here are some ideas of other formats you can try:

  1. Like almost everyone, you probably have a phone in your hands at any given moment. Start taking video of important experiences and events to create a video autobiography.
  2. Create an audio or oral autobiography by voice recording yourself talking about your life, history, events, or anything you want to talk about to your intended audience.
  3. Take a series of photos of you with captions and create a digital photo autobiography that chronicles your life by placing it online, CD, or another digital format.
  4. Using photos, letters, certificates of achievement, journaling, and paper, make a one-of-a-kind keepsake scrapbook that tells your life story. It will be visual, unique, and something you and your family can treasure.
  5. Do you like to take your own photos? Create a digital memoir using photos you have taken across a life event, experience, or topic.
  6. Maybe you’re an artist and have created paintings and drawings over the years. Consider putting them all together into book form that helps tell a story of your life, similar to a memoir or across your life like an autobiography.
  7. If you are an avid social media user, you could consider taking your social media conversations, social media posts, even your text conversations and compile your life story around these things, even using a similar format. Group them together by topic or theme to make for easier reading. If using text messages or comments made by others, be sure to get permission from them before you publish in any sort of way so as not to plagiarize.
  8. Write a series of short stories and put them together into a book, like an anthology. They can be stories about similar topics or events or can be completely separate and random.
  9. Create a book of poetry with each poem detailing aspects of your life or memories.

Pros: You can present your life story in anyway you choose! You can be as creative as you want while possibly even starting a new niche in this genre – you could be a trendsetter!

Cons: You have fewer examples to follow to help you along with telling your story, especially if you are a new writer. You’ll have to be extra creative and make up your format as you go which might extend the time it takes to get your project completed.

Suggested Reading:

Crack Street Victim Lane: Addiction memoirs / poetry, written in the Crack House, and while sleeping on the street by Samuel Arcelay

Jean Howard’s Hollywood: A Photo Memoir by James Watters (Author), Jean Howard  (Photographer)

Scrapbooking + Memoir = ScrapMoir 7 Steps to Combining Your Photos, Your Memories, Your Stories by Bettyann Schmidt

Our Writers’ Favorite Word of the Week? Synesthesia!

Today we found a new word! Synesthesia!

Synesthesia is a rare neurological sensory phenomenon that causes people to experience unique perceptual cross-overs.

Do your numbers or days have colors or personalities? Do certain words taste sweet to you, while others are bitter or sour? Or do you see colors when you hear music, see abstract concepts like time projected in the space around you, or feel a tingly sensation when you smell certain things?

If any of these apply to you, you may have synesthesia!

This interesting article from MNN.com dives into the fascinating minds of synesthetes (people who have synesthesia) and how their views of the world around us, and the way they process information, differs from the average person.

They also explain how synesthesia is diagnosed, genetic components of synesthesia, and the reasons behind why only up to 4 percent of the population has synesthesia.

 

Etymology of Orange- What Came First, the Color or the Fruit?

Have you ever wondered where colors get their names?

Why is yellow called yellow? And why is red called red?

The answer is that they are just basic words. These words were given to each color, in order to describe a whole range of shades associated with them. And the different shades associated with each color generally get their names from things that are that particular shade.

For example: Hunter green comes from the shade of green worn by 18th-century hunters in England. And it’s pretty clear how “fire engine red,” and “midnight blue” got their names. Canary yellow comes from the color of canary birds, and emerald green gets its name from the emerald gemstone.

There is one color, however, that does not seem to have just been assigned a random name—Orange!

Up until the 17th century, it appears that orange did not even have a name. A description of the color was found in several pieces of literature, but the word “orange” was nowhere to be seen.

According to this fascinating Literary Hub article , it was not until oranges became readily available in Europe that the color finally was given its own name.

So, it seems that the answer to the question is, it was the fruit that came first!

Now we just need to find an article that solves the “chicken or the egg” conundrum!

 

The Harvey Memory Project

It’s hard to believe that it has already been more than a year since Hurricane Harvey dropped more than 30 trillion gallons of water along the Texas Gulf Coast, causing immeasurable amounts of destruction and devastation.

To those who experienced the disaster firsthand, memories of those days (and the months of recovery after) are burned forever in their minds.

In an effort to preserve, protect, and archive those memories, Rice University, Houston Public Library, Harris County Public Library, and the University of Houston Libraries have teamed up to form the Harvey Memory Project.

The project, which is funded by the Rice Houston Engagement and Recovery Effort and by the Rice Humanities Research Center’s Public Humanities Initiative, aims to collect various stories, pictures, and audio-visual recordings from people who survived the epic hurricane.

The contributions that are collected will be held in a memorial repository, which will be available for use by both the general public and by researchers and students studying the history of Hurricane Harvey.

For more information, to make a contribution, or to browse stories and pictures that have already been submitted, just click here: Harvey Memory Project.

 

 

Don’t Forget to Hit “Record”

If you have ever interviewed someone for a book, you know that it is nearly impossible to take thorough enough notes to catch everything that is being said.

Even if you are an ace on the keyboard, something is bound to be missed.

For this reason, we always recommend recording all of your interviews, so that you can go back and re-visit key points of your interview later on.

But, what if they interview is being done over the phone?

Well, this great article from Gadget Hacks takes you through the simple steps of recording phone calls on almost any Android device.

Just follow their simple steps, and you will no longer be left trying to decipher the chicken-scratch notes you took during an over the phone interview!

Record*Before recording an interview, be sure to check out your state’s laws on recording conversations. Also—check out this great blog for more interview tips and suggestions!

 

 

 

The Dangers of Mixing Languages

I have always been anti-Spanglish.

I don’t know exactly why, but mixing two languages at one time is a big pet-peeve of mine.

And watching “Dora the Explorer” with my kids drives me completely nuts.  Come on Dora, please just pick a language! Spanish or English!

Well, it turns out that I am right!

This fascinating article from the BBC explains how switching back and forth between languages during a conversation makes it hard for your brain to stay on a single linguistic track, when required.

Plus, it can  actually impede your ability to full grasp a new language.

While it is possible, in certain circumstances, to completely forget your native language (check out the BBC article to find out how!), mixing languages is probably not going to have that effect.

It can, however, cause you to lose certain distinctive traits of your native language.

So, let’s just agree to stick to one language at a time!

A Survival Guide to Writing a Company History Book

Your company is getting ready to celebrate its 50th anniversary, and the higher-ups have decided that a book will be the perfect way to commemorate the occasion.

They’ve also decided that you are the perfect person to act as project manager, writer, and editor.

And they want it ready to send to clients, investors, and employees by the end of the quarter.

But is that a realistic deadline? Where will you get your information? How do you even start on a project like that? How do you know what information to include? What do you do about publishing and printing? What if you’re not really a “writer”?

Company HistoryOur team of professional ghostwriters and editors have helped dozens of corporate clients research, organize, write, and publish books. We understand the unique challenges that come with writing corporate books, and we know how to keep large projects moving forward.

This guide will give you an in-depth look at the process of writing a company history book, from planning and research to writing, project management, and final proofreading.

Big-Picture Planning

Starting a book without planning is like setting off on a cross-country road trip without your trusty navigation app.

You might have a general idea of where you’re going, but you don’t really know how to get there: Are you going to take back roads, or stick to the highways? Are you going to make any stops along the way? Are there any detours or major construction projects that could slow you down?

Before you write a word of your company history book, you need to have a clear sense of where you’re going with your book and how you’re going to get there.

This is the time to sit down with all of the project stakeholders and decision makers and answer the following questions:

Do you have a specific publication date in mind?

Do you want to release the book on, say, your company’s 50th anniversary? Are you planning on giving it out for a holiday gift? Did you want to have it ready for an upcoming conference, trade show, or convention?

Is this date realistic?

Books are big projects — and although every situation is a little different, you should expect the process to take a minimum of six months. Have a tight deadline? Not sure if your target date is actually possible? Now’s the time to start checking with printers and self-publishing companies.

Who will read this book?

Are you publishing this for the general public? Longtime customers or potential clients? Employees only? The intended audience for your book will help you determine everything from the writing style to the type of information you include to the length and format of the final manuscript.

What will the finished product look like?

Is the goal to create a downloadable eBook? A beautiful, heirloom-quality coffee table book, with lots of pictures? A paperback? Do you want a short booklet or a meaty 150-pager?

Are there specific stories that you need to include?

Any interesting stories about how the company got started? How about important milestones in the company’s history? Are there any anecdotes that would be especially interesting to the book’s target audience?

Is there anything you should not include?

Before you start gathering information and conducting interviews, ask about any sensitive stories, proprietary information, trade secrets, and other details that might be best left out.

Who will be responsible for providing final feedback along the way?

Will you submit chapters to the company CEO? To a team of executives and key decision makers? To the VP of marketing? To avoid massive rewrites, you’ll want to make sure that anyone who gets a say has plenty of opportunity to review your work as you go. 

Start Researching

Now that you have some of your big-picture details mapped out, you can roll up your sleeves and start gathering information for your company history book.

The good news: You probably have more resources than you think.

In-house records/archives/databases

You may not have to go far to get your hands on some great resources. Some companies make a point of keeping copies of past newsletters, magazine or newspaper clippings, and even old brochures. If you have a marketing department, you might want to start there.

Personal interviews

Talk to current and former employees, retired C-level executives, and current leadership. If your company is relatively young, you might be able to speak with company founders.

New to interviewing? You don’t have to be a seasoned journalist to conduct a great interview. Here are a few ways to make sure it’s a success:

Set a firm -- but flexible -- deadline. Your interviewees are busy people, and they have full schedules. To ensure that they are able to make time to speak with you, send them an interview request as far in advance as possible. Give them a few options for days and times, but don’t give them an indefinite amount of time (else they may reschedule until the end of time). Try something like, “We need to have our interviews wrapped up by MM/DD, and I am available on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from  8 AM to 3:30 PM -- what works best for you?”

Respect your interviewees’ time. Dial in or show up for the interview at the scheduled time. Share your list of questions at least a day before the interview so your interviewee has time to gather his or her thoughts. Tell your interviewee how long you think the interview will take (this will depend on the questions but you might want to block out 45 minutes to an hour). Don’t go over your allotted time. If you have follow-up questions you can always email or call. And be sure to thank them for speaking with you.

Ask open-ended questions. The goal is to get your interviewees talking. Avoid asking questions that your interviewee can answer with a single word or a simple “yes” or “no.” So, for example, instead of asking “Have you worked here long?” try something like, “Can you tell me about your history with the company?” Or instead of “When was the company founded?” you could ask, “How did the company get its start?”

Prepare your questions ahead of time. Write down at 5 to 10 good questions that will get your interviewee talking. More than likely, the conversation will spin out naturally from there, and you’ll add questions as you go (in fact, this should be the goal of your interview) -- but written questions will help you stay focused if you’re nervous or and it’ll give you a way to keep the conversation going if your interviewee is a bit reserved.

Record the interview and take detailed notes. Record phone calls and face-to-face interviews (ask permission, of course!). Take written notes, too -- it never hurts to have a backup.

The internet

You might be surprised by how much information you can get with a quick Google search. Be sure to check your company’s website (especially their “About” page), and check out the digital archives of local newspapers, too (many newspaper archives have paywalls, but there are a few decent resources out there, like this one and this one). If your company is very large or very well-known, it wouldn’t hurt to check national publications like the New York Times. A larger company may also have a Wikipedia page.

The local library

It’s kind of old-school, but the library in your company’s city can be an excellent source of background information. Most public libraries have extensive digital (and even microfilm!) newspaper archives, and some even have books on local history, which can provide a snapshot of what was going on in the community when your company got there. Since many libraries have massive newspaper archives, it might be helpful to start your search with a few key dates (like the date the company was started or any significant anniversaries or milestones) or names (the founders’ names).


Company HistoryTip: Don’t forget the visuals! When you start doing your research, you should also start keeping a file of photographs and other visuals (tables, infographics, etc.) that you might want to use in your book. One great potential source of photos: Interviewees. Ask everyone you interview if they have any relevant photos that they’d like to share. And remember, the publisher/printer will need high-quality, digital copies of all images. If you’re working with hard copies of old photos, make sure you have access to a scanner.
 

Create a Timeline

Once you’ve knocked out the bulk of your research, it’s time to put it all together and see what you have.

Gather your interview recordings, news stories, and handwritten notes, and start putting everything together in chronological order.

This will help you get a big-picture sense of important dates, major events, and key turning points in your company’s history.

Creating a chronological timeline will also help you identify any major gaps that may require more research — for example, you might realize that you don’t have any information about, say, the early 1980s or that you have no idea when the company’s last big merger happened.

And don’t worry, it’s totally normal to find small holes in your timeline, even if you’ve been incredibly thorough in your research.

The good news is that any additional research you do will be very specific, so you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for.

Once you’ve got a solid timeline, run it by all of the decision makers and stakeholders on your “final approval” team to make sure you’re all on the same page and to give them the opportunity to weigh in and suggest events to add, remove, or change.

It’s never too early to think about printing and publishing

Our clients are often surprised to learn that it can take several months to get a book printed. That’s why you should start considering your options as early in the process as possible. If you’re planning to work with a specific publisher or designer, it’s a good idea to start communicating with them early about timelines, pricing, and options for things like design and layout.

If you’re planning to self-publish, start narrowing down your options: There are a ton of self-publishing companies out there, and they vary in price, quality, turnaround time, and the level of service they provide (some are pretty bare-bones -- they print what you send them, with no bells and whistles; others provide design services, editing, and proofreading). Whatever publishing option you’re considering, it’s not a decision you want to make at the last minute.

And if you have a specific budget in mind, it’s important to remember that pricing can vary widely, depending on several factors: In general, hardcover books are pricier than their softcover counterparts. Color photos are more expensive than black-and-white. You’ll pay more for thicker, glossier paper and unusual sizes.

Decision time: How will you tell your company's story?

There’s nothing wrong with telling your story chronologically, starting from the company’s founding and moving forward from there until you get to the present day.

But that’s not the only option.

Here are a few other options to consider:

An oral history

This type of book is typically less chronological and feels more like an anthology of collected personal narratives – but if you ended up with a ton of amazing interviews after your information-gathering phase, consider using large, verbatim portions of the interviews and letting your interviewees tell the company’s story in their own words.

A series of vignettes

Again, this is more like a set of standalone stories than a traditional chronological approach, but a collection of vignettes — focused on key people, important milestones, and fascinating bits of company history — is a great way to keep things interesting.

A coffee table book

Larger and more image-heavy than a traditional book, a coffee table book is ideal if you want to showcase iconic products or designs. Coffee table books are typically less reliant on text, too, which makes them a good option if your research didn’t turn up as much information as you’d hoped.

Write a Sample

Now comes the fun part. You’re ready to start writing.

We suggest starting small, with a single story.

Pick something that feels self-contained; something that you can write about in three to five pages — and make sure it’s something that you’ve got a ton of information about.

Write three to five pages, and then share it with your stakeholders/decision makers. Ask them to weigh in and provide feedback. Here are a few things to ask them:

Do you like the writing style?

Do you feel like the writing “flows” — meaning, did you enjoy reading it? Did it sound natural?

Is it easy to understand?

Is it clear?

Is there anything you’d change? 

And don’t get discouraged if your team has a lot of feedback and suggestions for you at this point!

We’ve been doing this for years and we’ve learned that the “sample” phase can often involve two or three rounds of back-and-forth edits and rewrites before everyone is happy with the draft.

But the good news is that once you’re all on the same page, style-wise, the process tends to pick up considerably.

Keep going -- and bring reinforcements

Company HistoryOnce you’ve worked through any feedback and edits from your team, you can dive into the actual writing. In general, we suggest aiming for at least a chapter a week until you have a complete draft — but you should check with your team and your publisher/printer first. And if you find that the chapter-a-week schedule is a bit overwhelming, don’t be afraid to bring in help!

Writing can be a full-time job (trust us, we know).

If you’re having trouble adding a company history book project to your already heavy workload, consider hiring a professional ghostwriter or editor to help you keep things on track and ensure that you end up with a complete draft by your target date. (Not sure what to look for in a ghostwriter? Here’s a guide to help you get started.)

Whether you decide to fly solo or bring in a ghostwriter, here are a few tips to help you soldier on to the end:

Get feedback every step of the way

Make sure that your team has the opportunity to review each chapter – that way, everyone has a chance to weigh in, and everyone will know what to expect from the completed draft.

Stay focused on the big picture

Now is not the time to channel your inner high school English teacher. Don’t worry about correcting typos or hunting for grammar or punctuation errors. At this stage in the process, it’s more important to get the story down on paper and ensure that all of the pieces are in the right place. You can go back and proofread once you’ve got the big stuff worked out.

Don't be afraid to leave placeholders

As you write, you’ll likely come across a few missing details. What was the original CEO’s first name? What year, exactly, did your company expand into the Midwest? How many widgets did your company sell during its first decade in business? You’ll have plenty of time to hunt down stray facts once you have a complete draft. For now, use a placeholder — like “XX” or “INSERT INFO” — and move on.

Read your draft front-to-back

Once you’ve got a complete draft, make sure that you and your team members and decision makers have a chance to review it as a single, front-to-back book. You might find that it makes sense to flip chapters around, delete repetitive sections, or even expand sections that feel a little skimpy.

Printing and Publishing

Once you have a complete, approved draft of your company history book, it’s time to need to hand it over to the publisher/self-publisher/printer.

By this point, you’ll probably have worked out most of the details — such as hardcover vs. softcover, color vs. black-and-white, and so on.

But here are a few tips for ensuring that this stage goes smoothly:

Talk about proofreading

Don’t assume that your publisher or printer proofreads the manuscript. Some publishers and printers — especially the higher-end options — offer proofreading services, either as part of their publishing service or as a separate, standalone service. But if you go with a more bare-bones self-publishing or printing service, proofreading might not be a service offering at all. Either way, we suggest two rounds of proofreading: First, proofread your final Word document before you send it to the publisher/printer. Then, proofread the formatted, pre-print PDF after you get it back from them (but before you give the approval to go to print).

Provide all materials on time

This sounds really obvious, but it’s worth mentioning: If you want to ensure that your book is finished on time, you’ll need to make sure that the publisher has all of the files they need — including final Word documents, photos, and graphics — when they need them.

Keep the lines of communication open

Make sure to respond quickly to any communications from the printer/publisher. Typically publishers are on really tight deadlines; responding to their inquiries quickly will help ensure that things stay on track. And, if you have questions or concerns during any part of the process, voice them right away.

Six Books Everyone Should Write

Are you the kind of person who constantly has a million ideas in your head?

Or maybe, instead of letting those ideas cloud up your head, you write them all down on paper.

What if those ideas were not ideas, but were actually just an ongoing diary of everything (and I mean everything) you see and do on a daily basis?

Or, even better, a journal compiled of all of the gossip and actions of those around you.

Have you ever taken a look at your life and thought to yourself “I should write a book about this!”?

Well, maybe you should!

This great article from The Paris Review discusses 6 types of books that everyone can (and should) write.

Now, they are not suggesting that just anyone can write a great piece of literature.

But who knows- if you follow their suggestions, you may find that you have something worth writing about!