Personal Histories

Book Services Personal History Project 150

Preserve your heritage!
by Betsy Feinberg

Personal Histories are created from our á la carte services like editing, proofreading, and layout, and can encompass the full production of your book from scratch, utilizing interviews, photographs, and other resources. Your finished book will have a Library of Congress ISBN number and be available for purchase on Amazon.

We help people create:

  • Personal histories
  • Community histories
  • Military service histories
  • Autobiographies
  • Biographies
  • Oral histories

Your own personal story, or the personal story of an older relative, is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, your family, or your community.

The philosopher Nietzsche said:

“At bottom, every man knows perfectly well that he is a unique being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is, ever be put together a second time.”

In all my years of interviewing “ordinary” people, I have never met a person who didn’t have a story. Sometimes that story was buried deep and nearly forgotten, but when the gates of memory were gently opened, the story that emerged was remarkable. We are exposed daily to dramatic stories of celebrities, but someone who crosses our path every day may have an untold story that is far more inspiring than that of any celebrity.

If personal stories are so important, why don’t more people share their stories? Here is what I hear:

  • I don’t have anything interesting to share.
    Everyone has an interesting story, and we can help you find yours. It may be a funny story, a sad story, a story of adventure and excitement, a story of facing adversity, or simply a warm and happy remembrance, but it is there.
  • It’s so much work! I don’t have the time.
    We will help you publish your story, at whatever stage it’s in, from a dim memory to a draft or outline you’ve already written. We can work from interviews, documents, old letters, and photos.
  • I don’t have any expertise in writing or publishing.
    Don’t be intimidated by logistics! We can help. Stories needn’t be the autobiography of your entire life, although they can be. They might be the story of just one especially meaningful episode, like Ralph Freund’s “A Wing and a Prayer.”
  • I’ll do it later/I’ll do it when I retire.
    As John Alston said, “The only thing you take with you when you’re gone is what you leave behind.” Far too many stories die untold. The time to tell your story is now. Sometimes seeing the path you’ve taken in print can help you see more clearly the path to take in the future. Or you might leave your story as a legacy to a historical society, so that future generations can learn from your experience.
  • Who could possibly care about my story?
    My paternal grandparents died very young, and my father became an orphan at the tender age of four. One of my treasures is a copy of a scrap of paper with handwritten notes by my grandfather. These brief notes gave me only a tiny window into my grandparents’ homesteading life, but they helped me understand that life better than any history book could have done. More importantly, that little piece of paper helped me understand myself better, as I realized that I had something unexpected in common with my grandfather.

Preserving your story for future generations

If you elect to assign the proceeds to an established non-profit organization we can configure the on-demand printing accounts so the book survives your death, remaining available for as long as the printers and distributors remain in business.



  • Up to one-hour consultation to determine the book focus, title and layout, graphic design, typefaces, dedication, chapter titles and breaks, picture captions, and table of contents.
  • Up to two interview sessions, with a total of no more than 6 hours.
  • Audio recording of the interview.
  • Help with selecting photographs, letters, and other documentation to be included in the book. Includes scanning of up to ten items. Additional items are $10.00 each.
  • Color cover or dust jacket design and layout.
  • Preparation of the draft of the book for your corrections. Books exceeding 100 pages will be charged at $2.00 for each additional page. (Industry standard pages are 250 words.)
  • Proofreading of the final draft.
    Digital files of the book for offset, digital printing, and e-book.
  • Two ISBN Library of Congress numbers for the book. One ISBN number is needed for each format of the book. Additional ISBN number for e-book is $20.00.
  • Delivery of one hardcover and one paperback version of the book. Additional copies of the book may be ordered at cost. Price is dependent upon book size, number of pages, and printing format (Hardcover/Paperback, B&W/Color/Premium-Color).
  • Placement of book with online distributors, such as, Barnes & Noble, and more.

Non-local travel and lodging extra.


  • Additional photographs, letters or other documents: $10.00 each.
  • Additional interviews: $30.00 per hour.
  • Original art from your photographs, suitable for framing: $800.00 – $1,500.00 each, depending on the size and the media selected. (Black and white or sepia pen and ink or colored pencil. All artwork done on archival paper.)
  • Equipment (inventions, vehicles, memorabilia), house, building, and garden portraits from photographs or from life, starting at $800.00. Price depends on size, medium, and complexity of subject.