America's No. 1
Give me 60 seconds and I’ll reveal the secret to turning ordinary stories into extraordinary memoirs.
I’m going to tell you the two main reasons most people never write their memoir. But before I do, let me tell you something about myself.
I’m Latham Shinder, author of the novel The Graffiti Sculptor (available at Amazon.com), and a full-time ghostwriter and editor. I ghostwrite books for CEOs, entrepreneurs, national speakers, or just about anyone who seeks a good story well told.
I specialize in memoirs, what I think of as “personal experience / lessons learned” books.
These are books with a personal narrative—a fatherless boy growing up in a depressed area of Chicago, a doctor struggling with a callous health care industry, a Houston entrepreneur who fulfills a life-long dream of building the region’s newest general aviation airport—and I blend these personal stories with the lessons learned along the way.
Praise for Austin Executive Airport by Ron W. Henriksen.
“TERRIFIC STORY. I LOVE AIRPORTS SO MUCH I TURNED MY HOME INTO ONE."
You know it takes knowledge, dedication, and effort to write a memoir. You know it isn’t going to happen overnight. And anybody who tells you so shouldn’t be trusted.
I’ll bet you know a lot of people who want to write a book, but it just doesn’t happen.
The writing process is slow.
The first reason most people never write their memoir is this: it takes time.
The book writing process is slow. It takes time for planning, research, interviews, reading, writing, editing, and polishing that final draft. More than any other resource, it takes time to turn the most interesting events of your life into a marketable memoir.
That’s why I’m offering to help. I’ve found a way to shorten the process . . .
You talk. I write. It's that simple.
"FOR 13 YEARS I DREAMED OF WRITING A MEMOIR. THEN WITH LATHAM'S SUPPORT MY STORY QUICKLY BLOSSOMED INTO A TWO-VOLUME WORK."
President, Geo-Literal Inc.
Author of Dear Laura: A Memoir
"LATHAM LED ME ON A FASCINATING TOUR OF THE BOOK WRITING PROCESS."
Founder, Timeline Recruiting
Author of Success Undressed
It's that simple.
My well-defined ghostwriting process guarantees a finished, print-ready memoir in exactly six months.
In the first month, I’ll need an hour or two of your time several days a week.
We’ll talk on the phone, you’ll tell me your story, and I’ll ask some questions. I’ll prompt you for details you thought were long gone, but suddenly become clear.
I capture your voice and your words, and I restructure the material into a compulsively readable book. I remove all the boring parts, fill in the gaps, and craft a story around a single clear message.
“LATHAM TURNED MY AFRICAN TRAVEL JOURNAL INTO A DEEPLY PERSONAL MEMOIR BY RECOMMENDING I WRITE A LONG, INTIMATE LETTER TO MY HUSBAND TELLING HIM ABOUT MY LIFE AFTER HIS DEATH. I CAN'T THANK HIM ENOUGH."
Author of Letter from South Africa
With my help, you become an irresistible narrator sharing a courageous story that provides readers with a new understanding of themselves. You share your hardships and successes and the lessons learned along the way. And in doing so, your personal story reveals universal truths.
Bottom line: you don’t write a word.
As a memoir ghostwriter, here’s what I’ve learned from helping authors write, edit, and publish their books. Anyone, with the right help, and the right tools, and the right attitude, can succeed.
I take on only one ghostwriting project at a time, which gives me the freedom to take you by the hand and literally lead you through the book writing process.
Many authors like you have someone like me in the background coaching, writing, and editing. I can promise you that Lee Iacocca didn’t write those two best-sellers by himself. Iacocca was the author, but he wasn’t the writer.
Read what some of my editing and ghostwriting clients had to say.
President, Mom at Last
Author of Mom at Last
“Working with Latham was easier than I thought possible. He made the interviewing and writing experience unforgettable—imaginative, insightful, and fun. I received a well-crafted and suspenseful memoir in a voice readers love.”
ROB TENERY, M.D.
Author of Dr. Mayo's Boy
“To me, an editor’s two most important responsibilities are to preserve the author’s message and keep the story line on track. Latham does both with sensitivity and deftness.”
Choose me to ghostwrite your memoir.
Choose me and I’ll show you how to:
—MAKE YOUR BOOK STAND OUT
—SPEAK DIRECTLY TO YOUR AUDIENCE
—CREATE READER-FRIENDLY CHAPTERS
—SING IN YOUR OWN VOICE
Whoever you choose to lend a hand, don’t let anything keep you from telling your story.
Picasso was a terrible colorist. Hemingway couldn’t write like everyone else. Bob Dylan can’t sing. But that didn’t stop any of them.
Why should it?
The really good artists and writers and storytellers figure out how to circumvent their limitations. The fact that Hemingway couldn’t adjust his style to please his editors left him with no choice but to improve his novels using a terse minimalist style. Had Bob Dylan been more of a technical virtuoso, he might not have felt the need to give his song lyrics such power and resonance.
These writers and artists learned to sing in their own voice.
They didn’t make excuses. Instead, they found a unique way of sharing their story with the world. And most important, they got to work.
Recent Book Projects
Here are just a few of my recent editing and ghostwriting projects:
a construction memoir about a real estate developer who honors his grandfather by building Seattle's first green high-rise
a war memoir about seeking peace
a medical memoir that reads like a thriller
a remarkable book about justice for a California supreme court judge
a business memoir about the founder of a Houston telephone company, a surprisingly humble leader with the stoic determination to do whatever needed to be done to make his company great
Not long ago I edited a handful of other books: a 9/11 memoir about the connection between a father and a son, an architecture memoir about what it means to live small, and a coming of age memoir about a young boy whose father murdered his mother and how forgiveness has become the guiding principle in his life.
“LATHAM'S KNOWLEDGE OF STORY DESIGN EXCEEDED MY EXPECTATIONS."
Author of Forgiveness: A Memoir of Faith
And that’s not all . . .
More recently I edited a work about retirement planning for a financial advisor and Dallas-area television personality, a book about achieving peak performance for an executive coach, a book about competitive advantage for an HR consultant, and a book on how to hire superstars for the CEO of an executive recruiting firm.
I believe we all have a unique story to tell.
So my purpose, my mission, my inspiration is to help you tell yours.
I helped the following authors identify the memorable scenes, polish the dialogue, and heighten the emotion by taking readers through a transition in values.
"I'M GRATEFUL TO LATHAM FOR HIS RESEARCH, WRITING, AND NUMEROUS INTERVIEWS—IN COAXING PILOTS AND SKYDIVERS AND OTHERS TO RECALL LONG-FORGOTTEN STORIES."
RON W. HENRIKSEN
Former Chairman, Logix Communications
Author of Austin Executive Airport
These authors created remarkable books by writing about the honest struggles of life. They produced lasting narratives by understanding that life isn’t about subtle adjustments to stress nor is it about the hyper-conflicts of master criminals.
Life is about the ultimate questions of finding love and self-worth, of bringing serenity to inner chaos, of time running out.
And they shaped these stories around a perception of what’s worth living for, what’s worth dying for, what’s foolish to pursue, the meaning of justice and truth.
“I HAD FRIENDS READ THE BOOK BEFORE AND AFTER EDITING. THE FEEDBACK WAS NOTHING SHORT OF EXTRAORDINARY.”
MARK M. TAVAKOLI, M.D.
Author of Dead Man’s Alive
More books and some kind words.
Praise for Ebby Halliday: The First Lady of Real Estate by Michael Poss.
"THIS STORY READS LIKE AN ADVENTURE TALE."
"A BUSINESS BIOGRAPHY OF INTENSE VITALITY AND AUDACIOUS COURAGE."
Perot Systems Corporation
Dr. Mayo’s Boy: A Century of American Medicine
by Rob Tenery, M.D. is a medical memoir that traces the experiences of three generations of Texas physicians in small town Waxahachie and big city Dallas.
“TO ME, AN EDITOR'S TWO MOST IMPORTANT RESPONSIBILITIES ARE TO PRESERVE THE AUTHOR'S MESSAGE AND TO KEEP THE STORY LINE ON TRACK. LATHAM DID BOTH WITH SENSITIVITY AND DEFTNESS."
ROB TENERY, M.D.
Author of Dr. Mayo's Boy
Searching for Dad: Nine Side Effects of Growing Up Fatherless
by Byron Ricks is a coming of age memoir that will help absentee fathers, single mothers, and sons survive a fatherless childhood.
"LATHAM SAW THE BOOK WITHIN THE MANUSCRIPT AND IN NO TIME, WE WERE READY FOR PUBLICATION."
President, BRS Seminars Group
Author, Searching for Dad
What does it take to write a book that touches audiences?
Keep reading and find out . . .
How to Accomplish Greatness
The second reason most people never write their memoir is this: you get what you expect.
Another way to say this is: you get what you believe.
And I’m willing to bet you don’t believe you can write this book. You may not believe you have a compelling story. You may not believe you have the talent. You may not believe you have the wherewithal to sit for weeks, months, years, and actually finish writing your book.
The way to overcome these beliefs is to work with someone who can coach you through the process.
“LATHAM SHINDER GOT ME UNSTUCK. HIS POSITIVE PERSONALITY AND WRITING SAVVY HELPED ME FINISH MY BOOK."
Author of Selling Strengths
I’m looking for people who have a burning desire to tell their story. I look for people who understand the enormous value of working closely with a successful professional, and are willing to be led, step by step, through the book writing process.
You don’t need to have the intelligence of Einstein. And I don’t care if you don’t know anything about writing—story structure, controlling idea, scene design, story conflict, progressive complications, turning points, grammar, or even spelling.
If you can listen, learn, and apply the information we will share, then I will guarantee this book is written on time and on budget.
A memoir based on your life experiences, the good times and the hard times, of approximately 250 pages, will take me six months to ghostwrite and edit.
My fee is $400,000.
I believe your project calls for extra time and attention to achieve the quality you deserve.
That you’re still reading means you know this can work. I typically conduct a series of meetings, either face to face, or more commonly over the phone. I record the calls and have the audio transcribed by a professional transcription services firm. My fee covers all transcription costs, story consultants, researchers, editors, and proofreaders.
Here’s what I expect of you.
You must be open, coachable, and ready to begin. You must be willing to be interviewed, to review the drafts I send you, and to make constructive comments to improve the manuscript. You must be ready to write this book.
"LATHAM HAD THE COURAGE TO REWRITE WHOLE SECTIONS KNOWING I WOULD BE A TOUGH CRITIC."
President, Alpine Link Corporation
Author of Activating Your Ambition