I ghostwrite memoirs

Dear Friend,

My name is Ruby Peru and I craft ghostwritten memoirs for a living. I am the very best at what I do for one simple reason: I'm the only memoir ghostwriter I know of who uses humorous ghostwriting to heighten and explore the events of your life.

I don't write stand-up routines.

I don't write jokes.

I ghostwrite memoirs in an easy-going, novel-like style that brings out the best in your personality. This style is also termed "narrative nonfiction." I use humorous ghostwriting because it keeps readers reading, and it's the most natural style for me. In fact, I consider this humorous ghostwriting style a strength of mine—a unique take on the world that few other writers have mastered.

Events of the past can't be changed, yet how we look at those events can. By taking a lighthearted view of life's ups and downs, we insulate ourselves from the tendency to let triumphs go to our heads and failures, to our hearts. That said, I don't know of another memoir ghostwriter working for the public who exhibits my unique understanding of irony and playfulness. This style elevates the meaning of each scene, enabling readers to laugh even as they cry.

Ruby, you listened, really listened, and told my story back to me in a way that was insightful but also really entertaining.  Sometimes I laughed and cried on the same page.  Having you tell my story as an epic romance, which it really was, made me feel like everything I have been through was for a reason.

Martin Kraidin, Broken Contract: A Love Story

My humorous ghostwriting work is rooted in compassion for people’s life stories and in understanding that those who have led unusual lives are the dreamers and the searchers of this world. I believe the search for truth often leads us down unexpected, sometimes dangerous paths, but, in such a life, there’s no room for regret. In my work with ghostwriting clients, I strive to ensure that every moment of a life is celebrated by discovering and revealing the incredible transformations we have along the way.

With over a decade of ghostwriting experience, I’ve studied with masters including the great Kurt Vonnegut, best-selling novelist David Foster Wallace, award-winning memoirist Thom Jones, actor Alan Arkin, and New York Quarterly founder William Packard.

I’ve learned from these exceptional authors that when the most heart-breaking scenes of your life are depicted with subtle wit and strong emotion, readers intuit that hindsight has given you perspective, perhaps even a new philosophy. Here lies the difference between autobiography (little more than a recounting of life's events) and true memoir, where the writer reveals insights upon a theme in his or her life.

I always knew that I've had unique life experiences, which could be hard to capture because my journey has been a very long one. When I met Ruby here in NYC, I instantly sensed her talent as a writer, and she captured my journey and life experiences. Now, I am publishing a book with the most prestigious publisher: Knopf A. Alfred / Random House Kids. Thank you my friend, Ruby.

Ger Duany, actor, UNHCR goodwill ambassador

Who Hires a Ghostwriter?

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My clients have included:

  • immigrants
  • artists
  • actors
  • journalists
  • entrepreneurs
  • gamblers
  • athletes
  • ministers
  • spiritual seekers
  • adventurers
  • human rights activists

Each client offers a unique viewpoint of life's risks and revelations. Over my years of writing humorous memoirs, I’ve created a wide range of narrative voices in order to tell these true-life stories, taking on the viewpoints of men and women from different religious traditions, social classes, countries of origin, and political viewpoints. My goal is always to ensure that your message is clear, experience-based, and heartfelt. After people read your book, they should understand what makes you tick.

My approach to story development ensures your memoir will build, through action and suspense, to a dramatic ending that shows how you’ve changed and what you’ve learned, and leaves the reader with a strong emotion—be it happiness, inspiration, gratitude, a call to duty, or a sense of wonder at life’s mystery.

Clients often worry their memoirs won’t sell unless they’re already famous, but the truth is, memoir readers aren’t drawn to fame so much as unique stories and insights. If you’re able to talk about the way life changed you and the way that you, perhaps, changed a little piece of the world, you’re well on your way to keeping readers riveted.

One benefit of choosing me as a ghostwriter is that you’ll come away from the ghostwriting experience feeling that, finally, you have been understood. People who can laugh at their triumphs and wrong turns show a hard-won maturity, and that’s the "you" readers will finally meet.

Ruby, I feel like you really understand my Arabic-speaking voice. The coarseness. And I’m very blunt. You got that. These chapters sound just like the way I would write if English was my first language, instead of the third. And you really bring across the way we live, always in the moment, always celebrating. That's a very Lebanese thing.

Elie Nakouzi, TV news anchor, producer, CEO

Memoir Help: Finding Humor in your Life Story

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Here's why I’m one of the best ghostwriters out there.

I spend my time writing memoirs and performing comedy. You heard me right. In ghostwriting, as in comedy, my work is about revealing everyday truths in new and exciting ways. In my experience, readers yearn for an author insightful enough to inject appropriate levity into a difficult or frightening situation. In doing so, a memoir writer helps make the experience both more memorable and more meaningful, but never makes fun of real tragedy. For instance, using humor in memoir involves, first, observation of life's little quirks. Sometimes when I'm interviewing clients, they'll make seemingly small, inconsequential observations and then just keep talking, but I stop them, asking, "Wait, what was that, again?" People often don't know when their observations are so insightful as to be funny, so it's my job to listen carefully. 

Sometimes humor lies in the way a relative talks, the content of typical family conversations, or a child's sometimes questionable logic. Often, the things we grew up assuming to be true seem very funny in the cold light of hindsight, but it takes stopping and looking at our preconceptions to really notice that. That's where my listening skills come in. You may have told your story a hundred times before, but when you tell it to me, I guarantee I'll hear things in it you never thought about before. I'll ask what led you to make a certain decision or why your perception of a person or event was that way. In re-examining these things from the past, clients often find that what seemed perfectly sensible then is actually pretty ridiculous, now. A lot of memoir humor comes from these observations about the past.

I’ve ghostwritten more than fifteen memoirs, and if you’ll allow me, I'm ready to offer memoir help by honing the poignant, powerful, and hilarious moments of your life into a focused story.

 

Ruby is really tapping into my sense of humor in writing this book and has definitely gotten what am looking for here. . . really fun!

Kim Whiteford, Wink and a Smile: True Stories of Online Dating

Memoir Help: The Memoir-Writing Process

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If we work together, my first task will be to find the core of your story. I'll listen, ask questions, and prompt you to remember the pivotal moments of your life. Together, we’ll uncover important details that reveal your life as exceptional and unique. The interview process takes place over the course of one month, and after that, you get to relax and go about your usual business, while I take care of plotting, outlining, determining character arcs, building suspense, proofreading, editing, and all that good stuff. At the end of six months, you’ll have a publication-worthy memoir.

Typically, we'll start the memoir writing process on the first day of a month that's convenient for you. During the course of that month, I'll need you to be able to give me thirty to forty hours of interviews. The process can be a bit intense, but it's also fun.  I'll record those interviews and have them professionally transcribed for the next step in the process: developing your writing style.

As you talk, I'll listen to your patterns of speech so that I can develop a writing style that sounds like you, only better. Oral speech sounds very different from a written story, so there's quite a bit of translation necessary to turn your stream-of-consciousness storytelling into a narrative nonfiction-style memoir. In the meantime, I'll also take care of the most technical aspect of the work: putting the events of your life into both their real order and the order I'd like to use to tell the tale. As i outline the memoir, I'll select the sequence of events that tell your story best and bring out what made you who you are, today. Sometimes, especially when the beginning is quite dramatic, it's best to tell those stories in the order that events happened, but often, for the sake of drama and suspense, we have to start the story in media res, or in the middle, then backtrack. There are innumerable ways to structure a memoir, so I'll give you my recommendation, take into account your ideas, and then we'll have our story outline. 

Next, I'll spend three months writing the text of the book. At the end of each month, you'll receive a set of pages, and it's up to you whether you want to be highly involved in the editorial process or not. But don't worry, any editing you do will pertain to the storytelling only. I have a professional copy editor who double checks to make sure there are no technical errors. In the end, I'll make the edits you give me, but I'll also hand the manuscript to a professional called a "developmental editor" who takes a very careful look at the story and lets me know if she thinks I need to increase suspense here, develop a character more there, or flesh out certain aspects of the plot. Every writer needs a second pair of eyes that are trained to spot anything needing attention, especially when writing a book in just six short months. Having these professionals on board-- a copy editor for technical editing, and a developmental editor for top-level editorial polishing-- ensures your memoir will be publication worthy as soon as I hand you the final manuscript. 

I am the only memoir ghostwriter working for the public who includes this level of editorial oversight into a memoir writing package, thus ensuring that you walk away with a memoir worthy of mass-market publication. 

My brother and I were a couple of unsavory characters, growing up, but we had a hell of a lot of fun. Ruby brought out the fun and danger of growing up on the streets and in the back woods of the deep south. 'Bama Blues could be the next great southern novel!

Carson Whit, 'Bama Blues

Memoir help: The Interview Process

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In our interviews, it's important that we identify the critical events of your life. Interestingly, those moments are not always the most dramatic. They are, however, the most emotional.

These emotional events could include a moment of heartfelt advice from your mother, the day you got married, an injustice you witnessed, or the day you met your spiritual guru. As a ghostwriter, my job is to find the story within the story.

Through our interviews (in person or via telephone or Skype), we'll uncover the central message of your memoir.

Writing memoirs is all about what to put in, what to leave out.

As a ghostwriter, I work with the clay of your life experiences—selecting the telling moments, leaving out the boring stuff, plumbing deeply for meaning, and working it all into a can't-put-it-down book with your name proudly splashed across the cover.

Ruby, This has been quite an adventure: spiritual, physical, emotional, and everything. I have a strong feeling we'll be working together again on another book after this one makes the best seller's list!

Durg Stan Singh, God's Little Brother

Finding the Right Ghostwriter for You

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Are you asking yourself, “What should I look for in a good ghostwriter?”

Your ghostwriter should not just listen to your story but also ask the right questions to bring out the deeper meaning. After all, any writer can regurgitate a recorded story, but a good ghostwriter does a lot more than that. She listens for the gaps in your tale, asking why you made your most unusual choices, what thoughts and feelings drove you to success, and what doubts you had along the way. And if, as you talk, you keep skipping over a crucial part of the story, it’s her job to gently guide you to the sticking point and pull out that difficult memory, which is often crucial to the story.

It’s part of your ghostwriter’s job to work with you to determine which events represent major turning points. That’s how she builds the plot progression and the story’s suspense. Furthermore, If you wish to use a “narrative nonfiction” or novel-like style, your ghostwriter must write dialogue that’s unique and true to each character in the story, based upon your best recollection. So, she should ask you penetrating questions about the other important characters in your story, in order to fully flesh them out in the memoir.

My childhood during the war was magical, horrible, heroic, and not really a childhood at all. Early on, I learned to laugh at the most horrible things, because how else can you live? Ruby wrote a book that made people understand my dark sense of humor.

Dao Chien, Burning Bright

The Nitty Gritty: Ghostwriting expense and the timeline for writing a memoir

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If you’ve read this far, you probably have both a unique story to tell and a compelling reason to tell it. That means you and I should have a conversation. I’m happy to listen to your story and let you know if I think it’s memoir-worthy, so let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

I charge a flat rate of $40,000 per memoir.

I’m neither the least nor the most expensive memoir writer you’ll find, but I am very experienced, specifically in writing humorous memoir. Again, that doesn’t mean I turn life into a joke, but that I use metaphor, dialogue, and a unique voice to make your story a fun page-turner that gets giggles in all the right places.

Feel free to call or email so that we can talk in detail about your story, your unique needs, and the ghostwriting process.

Ruby, I just went off! I said everything on my mind, everything from my heart, and you took those ideas from raw recordings to organized chapters. You treated my experience of coming up from nothing with a lot of love, and wrote a book with great insight.

Charles Major, Become a Mogul

The founder of Pangloss Press, I recently published my first novel, Bits of String Too Small to Save (available at all the usual online booksellers and numerous real-life bookstores, too). It’s a fantasy more in the tradition of Lewis Carroll than Anne McCaffrey. In Bits of String, our heroine, young ElizabethAnn, her hot-rodding Grandma, and a reluctant young queen must save a dystopian woodland, where magic and technology have become diabolically intertwined.

To me, the difference between writing fiction and memoir isn't as great as you might think. I think when people say, "Write what you know," that doesn't mean certain people, places, and events, but the emotional realities that you know. So, whether a book takes the shape of a novel, traditional memoir, or piece of narrative nonfiction, my clients and I are always writing about emotional journeys.

I grew up in a family where dinner table conversation wasn't about how your day was, or what's going on in the news. It was about telling true stories. Us kids always wanted our parents to talk about the things that happened before we were born and the adventures they went on in their youth. This was how we, as a family, learned who we were and where we fit into society, or why we sometimes didn't. So maybe that's why I'm so interested in helping others tell their stories.

I’d like to pass on my coaching system, which really teaches kids the meaning of teamwork. Ruby helped me do that in a way that's fun to read and also very informative about coaching, baseball culture, and the changing culture of California high schools, as well. Hopefully, one day, the true spirit of teamwork will return to baseball. This book might help, so thanks for listening, Ruby.

Ron Standard, Just Call Me Coach