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Writing Books/Writing an Autobiography


I would like to know what are the steps and industry best practices as to helping politicians / celebrities write their autobiographies. When does the publishing company come in as a part of this process? What kind of consultants get involved and when?

Dear Sanjive:

As in all professions, the publishing industry would get involved quite early with a politician's autobiography if the politician is very well known/controversial.  In these cases, publishers usually chase down the politican and beg them to write their autobiography and pay them huge bucks to do so.  

But if the politician is middlin' in the celebrity category, he/she will have to go the route of contacting a publisher on their own.  This involves all the usual rules of publishing:  Preparing a proposal, writing a query letter, assembling a list of publishers to approach and writing at least fifty pages or three chapters of the proposed autobiography.

Some publishers have also arranged for ghost writers or 'as told to' authors to help the autobiographical subject with the book.  

If the politician does need help writing the book, just search the web for ghost writers.  There'll be plenty to choose from.  Just make sure you get recommendations from people they've worked with before to assure their professional ethics.

In a nutshell:  Celebrity status greatly enhances the assistance you'll get from a publisher and their early part in the process.  If celebrity status hasn't been achieved yet the subject will have to do a lot of work on their own before a publisher will get involved.

Good luck!  If I can be of any further help, don't hesitate to contact me here at AllExperts.

Liz Aleshire

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Liz Aleshire


What is a book proposal and why do I need one? Do I need a book proposal for both nonfiction and fiction books? How do I write a book proposal? What are the required components of a book proposal? What is an overview? What is a synopsis? How do I find out what other books are available on my topic so I can make my book different? How do I pitch to an agent/publisher? What's a query letter? What's a 30-second commercial?


I am the author of four nonfiction books: Private Lives of Ministers' Wives (with Rev. Sherry Taylor,New Horizon Press, New Jersey, 1991)and currently working on a second edition; Bugs: Stingers, Suckers, Sweeties, Swingers (a FRanklin Watts Frist Book, Chicago, 1993); The Confident Collector Identification and Price Guid to Quilts (with Kathleen Barach, Avon Books, NY, 1992); and, Official Price Guide to Quilts 2nd edition(with Kathleen Barach, Random House, NY, 2003.) I've taught How to Write the Book Proposal for the past ten years at the week long International Women's Writing Guild annual summer conference, and, at the Manchester Community College Continuing Education program. I've taught in many local continuing education programs in central Connecticut. Five authors have sold books using my methods for writing the book proposal. I have spoken at the Big Apple Conference, an IWWG event held in NYC; both Connecticut chapters of the Romance Writer's of America other writing conferences

Internation Women's Writing Guild, past associate member American Society of Journalists and Authors

Books for New Horizon Press. NJ; Franklin Watts (Now Scolastic)Danbury, CT; Avon Books, NYC; and, Random House, NYC

B.A in Economics from the University of Connecticut

Past/Present clients
Carren Strock, author Married Women Who Love Women; Doris Larson, travel writer, Ohio; MaryLou Streznewsi author Gifted Grownups.

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