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Is a romance oriented autobiography appropriate for this site? I have four degrees from three major universities, I've mounted expeditions to South America and Mexico, taught, discovered ancient marine forms unknown to science, participated in the wild animal trade, and researched sabertoothed tigers: Smilodon fatalis. All this was the result of relationships with four women, especially one. I'd like to tell that story. What do you think?

Dear Stephen,

This isn't the site where you would pitch a story idea, but from what you've told me, I believe this has great potential as an autobiography -- it has action! So many people want to write their autobiographies, and that is all well and good, but they have often led less-than-exciting lives, shall we say -- which really would be of no interest to the general public, but some people enjoy writing their life stories for the benefit of their children, etc.

Yours sounds more market-oriented, and the first thing to do is put the words down -- you need the basic dialogue, narrative, sense of place, tone, tense, voice, a few interesting "curves and twists" to keep people interested, and you would really benefit from using photographs in this kind of book, as well.

Then, hire an editor/proofreader to give the story shape, color, and to provide you with an objective viewpoint and some good, critical analysis. Many, many excellent professionals are listed on sites like and, where you will be able to "shop" for them, essentially, and where you can also post this as a project for which they can place price bids.

If you're going to use personal information about someone other than yourself, in any detail (i.e., the four women), it is best that you either obtain permission from them to use their names and your true experiences with them, or, if you can't get this permission, you will have to change their names and identities to such an extent that they will never be "recognized," so to speak, which will save you from potential libel suits in the future -- particularly if this sells well one day.

Good luck, and thank you for writing.

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.

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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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