Speak your life story, and we'll make history together

Life story writing and memoir writing in and around Greater Manchester

Write your memoir with life story writing from Elephant Memoirs

My parents and grandparents all died when I was in my 20s. 

I’d always meant to write their stories down, even though I’d heard them so many times. But I never got the chance.

Younger generations always think they’ll be impossible to forget. But I know that first-hand to be wrong. 

No matter how many times we hear the same stories, our memories inevitably fail. We’re left with only shadows of the people who once were. 

That’s why I created Elephant Memoirs. 

I want to record your life in print, so it’ll always be there for future generations.

Grandchildren and great-grandchildren want to know where they came from and what makes them who they are. Future family historians will be curious about mundane details of things you now take for granted. 

An Elephant Memoirs books will be like gold dust for them.

I don’t believe only the rich and famous should have a biography or a memoir. We all have interesting stories to tell, no matter how ordinary we feel our lives have been.

Joss Carpreau life story writer as a child in her memoir
Old man looking to the sky wanting to write his life story

How I write your life story

1. Writing your story timeline

During your free first session, I visit your home (or speak over video chat) and we can spend some time to get to know each other. We’ll discuss your motivation, vision and budget, so I can create a map of your story. If you feel like we’re a good match, you can decide whether or not you want to continue with your book, but you’re under no obligation to do so.

Life Story Writing 1
joss carpreau interviewing a client for their life story memoir

2. Face-to-face interviews

I’ll visit you (or Skype you) regularly every week or two for our informal conversations. I audio record the interview so that I can authentically capture your voice. During the interviews, I also make copies of any photographs you want to be included in your story. At the end of our meeting I let you know what we’ll be chatting about next time, and give you a notebook to write down any ideas you get.

3. Writing and editing your story

I begin writing your book in between our sessions, and show you how it’s progressing at certain key points. Many of my clients feel that hearing their own words and sentences read back to them gives them confidence, especially when they haven’t written a word in years. Then I add the pictures, design the cover, and proof read the book.

Elephant Memoirs author Joss Carpreau writing a memoir for a client
Elephant Memoirs book 'Wartime Memories' with author Betty Walker being delivered by Joss Carpreau

4. Printing and delivering your story

Once I’ve put all my skill and expertise into your story, I mail it to the printers. They’ll send me a single proof, which I show you to ensure you’re totally happy with everything. After that, I send the final version to the printers, and they print as many copies as you ordered. Finally, the exciting day arrives. I hand deliver a beautifully bound copy of your life story in a presentation box, along with your copies for friends and family.

What do the books look like?

(Click the circles to learn more about them)

Write your memoir for your loved ones with Elephant Memoirs life story writing

Choose between hardback or paperback, with a glossy or matte finish.

 

Upgrade to a dustjacket to protect the cover, and make it look more special.

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Pages have a silk finish, making older black and white photos look sharper.

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Your black and white photos are embedded at the ends of each chapter.

 

Your colour photos can be added in an insert.

 

All of your photos are scanned at your home, so there’s no chance of them getting lost.

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You can print as many books as you want. There’s a minimum of 10, and the printing costs are cheaper the more you have done.

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The minimum length is 15,000 words, which is about 50 pages without images. But your book can be as long as you want beyond that.

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Dedicate your book to the ones you love, with a thank you message at the start.

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How much does it cost?

It’s hard to give a flat price because every book and project is as individual as its author. During our first free session, we discuss your budget and how I can give you the most for your money.

It’s important to remember that I put a huge amount of time, money, and effort into making your life story perfect. Prices start around the cost of a holiday abroad.

Ready to start your memoir with a free introductory interview?

Sharing your story with a stranger, and the world, is a big decision to make. That’s why I offer the first interview for free, so that we can get to know each other before you commit.

Frequently asked questions

Price can vary massively. It depends on the length, content, and detail we go into. 

During your first introductory session, we can discuss what your budget is and come up with a plan. I’ll ensure that your book does not exceed this budget.

The starting price for a memoir is around the cost of a holiday.

Yes. Lots of people want to continue to hear their loved ones voices after they’re gone. 

Having an audio recording of their whole life story, told in their voice, is a great way to keep the memories alive. This can be provided on a USB stick or CD for a small fee.

Yes! Your book, its contents and materials are entirely your property. You can do whatever you want with it. I can organise additional printing for you if this is the way you wish to go. I can also assist with self-publishing on Amazon.

We all have a story in us. You started your life in a different
era and people did things differently then. Your childhood might have seemed ordinary and boring then, but it’s
fascinating to young people today.

A lot of people feel this way before starting to write their life story. For this reason, the very first thing we do is map out your timeline. I do this during the free first introductory session. Even though your story may feel incredibly complex in your head, I’m highly skilled at making sense of it.

It’s unusual to have someone take a real interest in your life and ask lots of extra questions to make sure they’ve got it right. It’s a real treat to have the ear of a careful listener.

It’s entirely up to you what you share and include in your story. If you decide to remove anything from your story at any point, I’ll keep it in the strictest confidence. I’ll also never judge you for wanting to share any part of your story.

This is a concern for many people. It’s entirely up to you what details you share in your story, but there is a real risk that some people may be offended. On the other hand, it’s important to share our lowest moments and hardships to help us heal and learn.

Throughout the process, if you’re ever unsure whether to include something, I can advise you how it sounds to an outsider.

It greatly varies depending on many factors, the most influential being the length of your story and your budget. I take on very few clients at the same time so that I can focus as much attention as possible onto each story. A medium sized story may take around 12 weeks.

The past holds painful memories for most people, and many of my past clients have felt the same way. However, they’ve found that sharing their stories and committing the past to paper has eased the burden of the past, and has dulled the pain of past memories.

As we get older, our memory can become a bit of a concern. I’ve found that with a bit of encouragement, past memories can be easier to recall than recent ones.

You can either pay with cash, bank transfer, cheque, or I can take card payments in person using a card reader.

Half is paid at the start of your project, and the other half at the end prior to delivering your book.

I can assist with publishing on Amazon.

The printing house will store the copy of your book for one year, during which you can order further copies for a very reasonable price. After one year, the printers delete the copy of your book, and the printers have to be set up again. If you’d like another copy after a year, they can be ordered at a slightly higher price. I will keep digital copies of your story for as long as possible, to aid reprinting.

Deciding who you want to write your life story is a big decision to make, and having the right ghostwriter can make or break your project. For this reason, I offer the first introductory interview totally free, while we create the timeline of your life. You can try me out, and if you feel like we’re a good match, you can then decide to continue, but you’re under no obligation to do so. You can learn more here.

Yes. I can continue from where you got to. I also offer editing, proof reading and printing services. Just contact me if you’re in need of more information.

Request an information pack

Where shall I send your information pack?

Includes

  • Memoir writing process
  • About me (Joss)
  • About the books
  • FAQs
  • A testimonial

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