Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How do I get started with you?
We have a conversation about your goals. What do you want readers to learn? Who's the audience? We can research and write a hardbound book that looks like what you would buy at a store—a History Saga. We can interview you or your family to create an oral history—a Memory Book. Sometimes a book serves as the script for a video, or we create from scratch a video documentary.
What’s the price?
Each book has a different price based mainly on the number of words. We will talk about this with you in a private conversation. A work of history, by its nature, takes time and expertise, and prices begin at $12,000 and end in the $100,000 to $200,000 range.
Are there other expenses associated with the book?
There are usually no added costs of significance other than printing and, if necessary, travel.
Do you do genealogy?
Tracking down your ancestors is part of any family history book. That's the foundation, then we discover their stories and write compelling tales about their lives. We don't research family trees as a stand-alone service.
How long does a book take?
A typical book takes about six months to write, then several months to design and print. Naturally, the length of the book influences the time it takes.
How many books do I get?
You get as many as you would like. The more you order, the cheaper the cost per book.
Do you sell my book at stores or online?
No. It is a private book. Some people choose to donate copies to libraries. Your local library or historical institution is probably eager to have your history, if you choose to share it.
Who owns the rights to the book when you are done?
I am not ready to commit to a whole book. Are there other options?
There are as many options as you can think of. History does not have to be contained in a traditional book. We can tell your story through a book of photographs with captions, a collection of correspondence, or a volume of images of your artwork, hobbies or other creations. How about a book of your essays? Thoughts on life? Childhood memories? Sometimes a book is not even a “book,” exactly. History can live in an interactive website we create for you, or in a video….
What about a video?
A book can serve as the foundation of a video. Or we can forgo the book and make a stand-alone video documentary. Capturing a company founder or family members, especially the matriarch or patriarch of the clan, on camera is a wonderful way of preserving not only their deeds and ideas, but their faces, voices and gestures.
This sounds interesting, but I’d like to talk more. Can we just have a conversation?
You can always reach Private Historian's owner, Matthew Nickerson, using the following contact information.
Let’s work together
Private Historian has published not only histories of companies, but family histories, neighborhood histories, a collection of letters, and a memoir. One client relationship started with a conversation about a Virginia ancestor; the job turned into a website that advocates reform of financial laws. The Private Historian, with a deep background in history, journalism and academia, can help with any kind of research or writing.
Private Historian offers a generous fee to anyone who refers future clients.