Process and Pricing


Everyone has a story to tell–but how to get started?

Often my work as a writing partner begins with helping my clients define their objectives. Defining the steps of the process gives us a project blueprint to follow. As we proceed, we attach deadlines to these steps.

Here are the steps I would follow, and the costs involved, in creating a memoir with you, using either the Writing Partner or Conversation approach.

Collaboration and contracting

Each job begins with discussion; it is important for me to know how my work fits into your overall life goals. I’m happy to offer a free project consultation. During an introductory conversation I learn about what you want to accomplish, and you learn about me and my work. We decide together whether we are going to be productive collaborators.

Sometimes the person whose story I’m capturing is the one who contracts with me, but it’s not unusual for adult children to be the ones who realize the importance of these stories and contract with me to preserve a parent’s story. A meeting with the whole family can be useful to convey the value and scope of writing a life story.

Once I understand the nature of your project, I offer a simple Memo of Agreement that we both sign, which spells out what we each are responsible for in terms of deliverables, milestones and payments. The project may be cancelled or its scope amended at the conclusion of any milestone by agreement of both parties.

We follow a “pay as you go” plan that keeps the creative process flexible, while maintaining accountability.

Creating a manuscript

You choose the product and the writing approach that works for you. We schedule the working sessions that will take us from idea to completed project. Together we collect the stories and other information that will go into your book or other product. You enjoy a series of relaxed interviews or writing-partner sessions in the comfort of your home or office. Photos and other memorabilia can be added; we will write captions that help others understand how these images reflect your life’s path.

Each project is unique; the number of visits or interview hours needed to tell your story might range from 6 to 20 or more. The working sessions can be conducted over the course of a few days, weeks, months, or more  — you decide the pace of your project. You have complete control the timeline and the content of your manuscript.


Producing a book means formatting words and images into page layouts which are then printed and bound in hardcover or paperback. Words–in the form of chapters, plus perhaps an introduction or preface, appendices, and book jacket copy about the author–are written during our manuscript process. Photos and other memorabilia join the words through scanning or photography, often with retouching to repair and enhance damaged documents. I call on my experience as a graphic designer to find out your preferences in book design, then produce layouts for the cover and interior pages of your book. I work with a copy-editor and proofreader to make sure the final product meets professional publishing standards.

All typing, copy-editing, and proofreading is included in the price you pay for production.


Typically I produce a small number of high quality books for you to cherish. You choose whether you receive hand-crafted leather-bound books, hardbacks, or paperbacks. You decide whether you’d like full-color or black-and-white images in your book.

The quantity and format of your book is your decision, and because of the way I produce books, you can come back again and again for repeat orders. Your books can be made available to the public through or kept private, as you wish.

Launch Celebration

Whatever format your personal history project takes, a Launch Celebration honors its completion. We’ll plan a memorable occasion for you to present your family and friends with the gift of a lifetime.

Pricing options

I have found that, since writing a book is a very creative and personal endeavor, it’s best to keep pricing options flexible. I like to offer a pay-as-you-go approach to completing the manuscript and a package price for the final layout and printing. Here’s how I typically work with my clients:

  • We begin with meetings at a fixed rate. 
    • Take as few or as many meetings as you need, using either the Writing Partner or Conversation approach.
    • With the pay-as-you-go plan, costs are spread throughout the course of the project
    • You are always in control and can stop or pause the process at any time. No surprises!
    • Meetings are typically 1.5 hours to a full dayMy preparation and follow-up is included in the price I’ll quote you. Travel time within 2 hours of Madison, Wisconsin, is included in the full-day fee.
  • I produce your book layout ready for printing, 
    • Pricing is based on number of pages and number of images included.
    • I design an attractive front and back cover that captures the spirit of your life story.
    • A manuscript of about 150 pages (45,000 words) with photographs will typically become a 170-page book at the 6×9 trade paperback size. More words and photographs can be arranged. Cover design fees are included in the price I’ll quote you.
    • No job is considered ready to print until I’ve established you are satisfied with a final prototype of your finished book.
  • I order printing and delivery of your book.
    • I recommend you order one or two archival leather-bound copies of your book to serve for generations.
    •  Small runs of hardback or paperback books are typically ordered as well.
    • When we use print-on-demand production, you can order more books at any time, in any quantity, even one book at a time.
  • We plan your Launch Celebration.
    • Invite your friends and family.
    • Include the local media if you like.
    • Make the gift of your book a special occasion for all involved!

Payment schedule

Payment for meetings are due at the conclusion of each meeting. Production fees are typically divided into a deposit and a balance due at milestones. Book printing fees are due at the time the print order is placed. All estimates are based on initial conversations; I will keep you informed with updated estimates if your specifications change. If at any point you discontinue a project we’ve started, I will bill you for work performed to date.

Let’s talk! Contact me, Sarah White, at 608-347-7329 or

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