By Les Goldberg
Have you ever been told by family or friends that you should write a book? Maybe you have spent your whole life accomplishing or experiencing interesting things but you’ve never considered writing a book about them. Some people are reluctant to tell their stories because of one reason or another. On the other hand, there are those who are flattered by the idea that their story is worth sharing, either for historical sake or inspiration.
If you are in the latter group, then you must ask yourself, do I want to write it myself, or do I want to hire a professional writer to do it. Where to start? What is involved? Who will publish it?
Wait a minute: For straight answers to these questions, you can ask Jill Amadio, 68-year-old author, screenwriter, ghostwriter, collaborater who works out of her home in Dana Point. During her long and impressive career she has ghostwritten or co-authored several books, mostly autobiographies of interesting people who would rather have someone else write their book for them.
What drives her to write without the credit that usually accompanies authorship? She usually answers that question this way: “I leave my ego at the door.” She is comfortable being anonymous.
“I love a good mystery, and when I work with a subject I become a detective,” she says. “No matter how humble my subjects might be, I can always find a story – whether it is in their life’s experiences or among their relatives or ancestors. I do a considerable amount of research and always uncover information that makes for a good read.”
Amadio’s resume of ghostwritten or co-authored books include: Help! I’ve Hired a Lawyer, The Gloria Balaban Story, Günther Rall: Luftwaffe Ace and NATO General, My Vagabond Lover: An Intimate Portrait of Rudee Vallee, and others.
Her Rudy Vallee book, for instance, was based on extensive interviews with the wife of the famous crooner whose popularity peaked during the Roaring 20s era. In one of the book’s passages, the 10-year-old Vallee tells his mother: “I’m going to be world famous so make sure you keep all these report cards from school.”
Amadio, who also is an award-winning journalist, speaker, panelist and author of crime novels, is always able to capture the essence of her subjects’ character and personality. She adds in the Vallee book that the singer was “a pack rat who saved every document, press clipping, telegram – his fan mail exceeded two thousand letters a day – Rudy’s favorite mug shot among all the rare photographs he saved was an X-ray of his impacted wisdom tooth.”
If you want to find out if your story is truly worth publishing into a book or screenplay, Amadio is the right person to turn to. Here is how she works with her clients:
1). She gathers up as much information as you can provide – written notes, diaries, documents, videos, letters, newspaper and magazine clippings—then conducts further research as needed. After the initial meeting, Amadio continues to communicate at least once per week during the entire process, providing status updates and drafts for review.
2) She writes the manuscript from scratch, and continues her research by interviewing and transcribing the tapes of family members, friends, colleagues, experts and whoever else can offer information or anecdotes about her subject.
3) She edits and structures the manuscript into a book or screenplay that has market potential. In other words, will the book have the necessary ingredients and appeal to gain the interest of publishers. Amadio adds that some of her clients want her to ghostwrite the book so it becomes available only to family and friends. It becomes their memoir.
4) If you decide to self-publish, Amadio will assist you by recommending reputable and successful book designers, production and printing experts, and distributors. Project completion depends on many factors, she says, including her ability to gather information in a timely manner, her clients’ timely feedback on her drafts, the length of the story, etc.
5) And if you are serious about having your story put into a book or screenplay, you should expect to pay for quality work. Amadio’s fees reflect the decades of experience and professionalism she brings to the table. However, the initial consultation is free. “After all,” she says with a chuckle, “we must determine if we like each other.”
So, go ahead, give it some thought. What a better way to have your family and friends remember you forever than with a professionally written and produced memoir. You can reach Amadio by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Les Goldberg, APR is an award-winning, experienced journalist and public relations practitioner. His firm, Les Goldberg Public Relations, is one of Southern California’s pioneer public relations agencies specializing in high technology and consumer electronics.
Throughout his career Les has shared his knowledge and experience as a part-time professor for the marketing and business schools at several Southern California universities, including UCI, Chapman University and California State Universities in Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles and Dominguez Hills.
Today, in addition to his agency and teaching responsibilities, Les is a columnist for senior publications, including his popular “The Gadget Geezer” column which appears in Senior Reporter, Not Born Yesterday, Life After 50, Examiner.com and OCActiveSeniors.com. As a full-time journalist, he was a staff writer for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Glendale News-Press, Culver City Star-News, Stars & Stripes Europe, OC Metro, OC Home & Outdoors and Digital Photographer.
Among the companies that have benefited from Les Goldberg’s brand of public relations include Doctors Telehealth Network, AST Research, Ashton-Tate, US Robotics, Phoenix Technologies, Odetics, MAI/Basic Four, American Home Theater, Inland Technologies; Freedom Innovations, Flex-Foot, Incline SoftWorks, USA Wireless Inc., D-Link Systems, Bell Micro, Seiko Instruments and Etak, Inc., a division of Sony.
Les holds a Certificate in Public Relations from UCLA, bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Northridge and accreditation (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America where he served two terms as president of the Orange County chapter and member of the PRSA National Board of Directors. A past winner of the chapter’s Distinguished Service Award, he has been frequently honored for his achievements and contributions to his profession and his community.
Visit Les’ site at www.LesGoldberg.com