It is highly gratifying to serve as a legacy book editor. I work with authors and their families as they capture long journeys, adventures, challenges and special moments in time — all unique and all important portals into the past. Memoirs can teach future and inspire generations, instilling family pride and a sense of historical significance. Preserving the stories, the lore, and special slices of life is invaluable for sons, daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who can now fully understand their heritage, thanks to a legacy book.
What are Legacy Books?
When elders chronicle their stories, they bring their own legacies to life. Their memories detail a tapestry of personalities, values and challenges, and preserve stories that are unique to bygone days. Perhaps someone served in the military, farmed the land, worked in a burgeoning industry, or sat on their grandparents’ laps and heard tales from the Old Country. Capturing the nuances of lives well spent can inspire new generations to follow timeless examples of faith, courage and perseverance. Legacy books can also instill family pride and spark a fresh respect for those who navigated the hills and valleys of hardship.
What does a legacy book editor do?
I’m always so excited to receive a manuscript. First, I sign a non-disclosure agreement to ensure the intellectual property of the author is safeguarded. Then I prepare a contract that spells out the timeline and deliverables, often customizing it according to the wishes of the author. As for the editing process, I use the color-coded tracker in a Word document so that my edits, mark-ups and suggestions are clear.
I edit for grammar and punctuation, but also look at the finer nuances within the story arc. The overall scope is important, much like piecing together a patchwork quilt. I examine chronological flow, pacing, and transitions in the narrative. Sometimes more extensive editing is required, such as fact-checking dates. At a client’s request, I can use my own Ancestry.com account and other sites to help dig for stubborn clues or assist in verifying an overseas passage or a ship’s manifest, not to mention military records, Wills & Testaments, marriage records, and births, deaths, baptisms and more.
Collaboration with a Legacy Book Editor
My role as a legacy book editor is to work closely with authors, and often their families, to help ensure a memoir is as compelling as possible, full of anecdotes, recollections and first-hand accounts. Memoirs are among my most favorite genres, and it is an honor to play a small role in making these heartfelt manuscripts ready for publication.