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It was suggested 4 me to write a book concerning caretaking for our love ones since I have been my mom's caretaker for 5 years. Dealing with hospitals and nursing homes. How do I try to assemble material for this? Would I need a co-author as well? thanx Yes, have a title already.

Dear Jim,

Thank you for writing.

This sounds like a marvelous idea and something that you'd also likely find personally fulfilling and likely quite cathartic, as well.

If you don't have much experience with writing in general, it's best that you hire either a freelance editor/writer or even a ghostwriter (kind of the same thing, in some cases), but you'll pretty much have to have a prepared manuscript to be able to give them to work on, because it's really tough for those outside the realm of someone's personal experiences to work from scratch, so to speak.

The best way to start is just that -- start writing. It really doesn't matter if you want to write this chronologically or not; there are no rules regarding how one writes -- that's why it's so freeing and often such a rewarding personal experience. Just gather your thoughts as you go along -- it's good to include anecdotes, certain people who are important to you and your mother and who have been integral in her care in this capacity, etc., and if you want to dig a little deeper and make it more of a biography instead of "One man's story on parental caregiving," etc., you could include other information about not just her time spent in nursing care as an elderly person, but more about her entire life, such as when and where she was born, when she married, where she lived, you and her other children, etc., if there are any -- just the basic "life story" -- I say this because the book would likely do better in the marketplace if you turned it into more of an indepth biography; people really love to read about other people's lives. That's one "trend" that will never end, for certain.

So once you've assembled a pretty thorough manuscript, you can then decide whether you want to include photos (this always helps sell a book), and when you feel like it's pretty well in place, and you've done as much as you can with it, turn it over to a professional editor/freelancer to tighten it up and make it a better overall read, etc.

You can post this as a project on websites that freelancers frequent, two of which I can recommend and have worked with in the past:, and There are also many others that are just as reputable. This way, you can set the price you feel comfortable with, the deadline, and any other essentials, etc.

Also, when you post the project, you're in "control" in that you're offering freelancers the option to bid on your manuscript, meaning you'll get a pretty thorough list of proposals that you can then go through and determine whom you might want to hire.

Sometimes freelancers also have publishing contacts such as agents, etc., but don't count on that: Just make sure that whomever you hire has at least a BA in Journalism or English and at least 10 years' professional experience in the field -- and also ask to see samples of their previously published material, as well, so you can get a feel for their writing style and if it resonates with your own.

So just start writing -- don't worry about things like dialogue or characterization -- just write it as if you were composing a letter to a friend or writing in a journal, etc. Don't put any pressure on yourself -- remember, there are no rules here -- and good luck!

All Best,
Catherine Van Herrin  

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Catherine Van Herrin


I am an American-born, native English speaker with a BA in English and more than 26 years of professional editing, writing, and proofreading experience. I have edited several books and book-length manuscripts. References and titles available upon request.

For further work or assistance with larger projects, see my profile here, with 190 excellent reviews: WordChannel Professional Reviews, Ratings

I can use British-English or American-English, and I am very familiar with Chicago and AP style.


More than 26 years' U.S. publishing industry experience, editorial (print). I provide crystal-clear, clean grammar; strict attention to style, consistency, flow, logic, accuracy, and spelling, and I work quickly and efficiently.

I do not format or provide technical assistance in publishing books. I use MS Word only.

If I can help you further, contact me at the website above (create a job request) or write to me at My rate is $0.008 per word. Send requests/inquiries to I accept currency only through PayPal, with 50% of the total at project initiation; the balance is due upon project completion.

Editorial Freelancers' Association, USA

AA, Liberal Arts, Anderson College, Anderson, South Carolina. BA, English, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia. Post-graduate concentration: Post-war Irish poetry and early 18th century English fiction, Angelo State University, San Angelo, Texas.

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I have worked with authors in the UK, Canada, the US, and several other countries. References and titles available on request.

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