“IF I COULD ONLY WRITE, WHAT A STORY I’D HAVE TO TELL!”
I can't tell you how many times someone has said that to me. Thing is, writing — even your own memoir — is hard work. And not everyone is cut out for it.
Still, so many people I speak with have terrific stories to share. Stories that others would want to read. For inspiration. For excitement. For the sheer pleasure of getting to know the writer and what he or she has experienced. What you have experienced.
That's where I come in.
My name is Tom Parker and I’m a New York Times best-selling memoir ghostwriter/co-author and I am ready, willing, and eager to help you put your unique story on the page.
It’s what I do for a living and what I’d like to have the opportunity to do for you, whether yours is an inspirational rags-to-semiconductors story, a shocking expose of industry or government shenanigans, or an inspirational, lovingly rendered family history for your kids — and their kids — to read.
Memoirs can take many shapes.
And I can help shape — and write — yours. In fact, the only writing you’ll have to do is to sign our agreement. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.
My highest-profile success as a ghostwriter was with Hall of Fame and former New York Yankee superstar Dave Winfield in Winfield: A Player’s Life, “In Winfield: a Player’s Life, the challenge was to select and dramatize scenes from Dave’s near-photographic memory of his experiences both on the field and off, including his dealings with George Steinbrenner, Ray Croc, Roy Cohn, Billy Martin, and the New York media. The result? A widely read and commented-upon book that spent almost an entire baseball season on the New York Times bestseller list.
Another major commercial ghostwriting success was with Silicon Valley entrepreneur and ASK Computer Systems founder Sandra Kurtzig. In CEO: Building a $400 Million Company From the Ground Up, the challenge was to capture Sandra’s unique, quirking speaking style, her unerring business acumen, and her unbridled optimism in a serious, believable book. The result? A best-seller that was ultimately reprinted by the Harvard Business School Press as a case study of entrepreneurial savvy and success.
I'm just as proud, however, of the less high-profile memoirs — and in some cases, novels — I’ve worked on as an editor, teacher, and coach with a host of other extremely talented and dynamic individuals over the years:
the notable trials, tribulations, and top-secret courtroom revelations of one of America's most famous high-profile trial lawyers
a dramatic, up-close-and-personal look at the two years preceding the Vietnam War as seen through the eyes of a highly connected, Saigon-based USAID worker
the compelling, sometimes heart-wrenching story of seven generations of women from the mid-1800s to the present
a faith-based crime and love story
a funny, bittersweet book about a grieving, young woman married only a few months before she is widowed and working to put together her shattered life
a rich, multigenerational family history that takes place largely in pre- and post-war Chicago
a collection of deeply resonant tales about women in arranged marriages
a geopolitical satire featuring a Starbucks-like corporation meddling in Central American politics
the disquieting story of an uncommon man — doctor, lawyer, MBA, and Ironman competitor — and his debilitating experience with a severe, little-known illness and the arcane actions of the governing bodies of his various professions
and dozens more…
My guess is, though, as provocative as some of these stories and lives might be, your story is just as compelling. Or is one that could win a sizable audience were it told in a way that captured your unique voice, the power of your imagination and creativity, and the sum and substance of your experiences.
Again, that's where I come in. I can bring those experiences to life. Have them read like scenes in a novel. Give you a starring role. Whatever the story you want to tell, I’ve got the credentials, the track record, and the talent to turn it into a page-turner.
For example, beyond my work as a memoirist, I’ve:
taught writing at Stanford University and at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as teaching many private writing classes, workshops, and seminars
written presentations and speeches for top executives of major corporations
co-authored two successful business books, one on corporate leadership, the other on one-size-fits-one customer service
Which is to say, I know how to write.
And just as important, I’m good at getting people to open up and express the deeply-held feelings and convictions that make for the best memoirs.
I’m also certain that if we spent some time talking together in person or over the phone, I could help you put your story on the page in a way that evokes powerful feelings in your readers — as powerful as they were to you when you first experienced them.
No need to take my word for it.
Here’s what just what a few of the authors I’ve worked with have to say…
“Working with Tom Parker was a pleasure. He helped me dig down, analyze, and develop my story into a bestseller. I enjoyed working with him.” Dave Winfield, baseball Hall Of Fame superstar and author of Winfield: A Player’s Life
“Working with Tom Parker on my book was great fun and a truly rewarding experience. He's smart, sensitive, interested, and has a terrific sense of humor. I'm hoping we can do another project again soon.” Sandra Kurtzig, founder, ASK Computer Systems and author of CEO: Building a $400 Million Company From the Ground Up
“I’m so grateful to Tom Parker and his guidance… His humor and insight make him a joy to work with.” Lolly Winston, New York Times-bestselling author of Good Grief
“Tom Parker's insistence on economy of language and dramatic tension and his unwavering commitment to each sentence moving the story forward has taught me more about writing than any program — including my MFA in creative writing.” Joan Gelfand, past President, Women's National Book Association and author of Seeking Center
“Tom Parker is simply the best partner I've ever had on a project. His ability to make the complex understandable is pure genius. Simply put, he's the best.” Gary Heil, founder of the Center for Innovative Leadership and author of One Size Fits One: Building Relationships One Customer and One Employee at a Time.
Interested in working together? Here’s how.
We begin with a preliminary conversation — or two or three. You tell me your goals for the book and give me a rough idea of what it might include.
Next, I come back to you with one or two creative approaches for telling your story in an unforgettable way.
We then get down to a serious 2-3 month schedule of phone interviews. I ask a lot of questions, you provide a lot of answers, and together, we sketch out key scenes, identify major characters, unearth revealing details, and explore the story’s deeper meaning and messages.
After that, it’s up to me to write your story and make it irresistible. I send you pages every few weeks to review, with a full draft by the end of the 7th-9th month of our collaboration.
We then discuss any edits or revisions you and I might want. I make the changes, and deliver a publication-quality memoir ready for you to do with it as you see fit by the end of month 10-11.
Sound like a plan?
A few words about cost.
Surfing the Internet, I found dozens of websites touting one ghostwriter or another for incredibly low as well as astronomically high fees. I'm sure you've found the same.
If cost is your primary concern in finding someone to help tell your story, read no further. I can’t compete with the lowest of the low. Nor, however, do I aspire to be the highest paid ghostwriter on the planet.
Rather, my sometime-flexible/negotiable fee falls approximately in the middle of the professional ghostwriting pack, with the average memoir I take on costing between $95,000 and $120,000 — depending on the length and complexity of the book — payable in monthly installments as it is being written.
My goal, in any event, is to be able to provide you with the attention you and your story deserve while providing myself with the time I need to bring my New York Times best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-nominated writing skills to work on your behalf.
To help you decide...
… whether to give me a call, here are a few more reviews from those I’ve worked with in the past:
“Tom Parker is a wonderful and engaging teacher... he gave me excellent advice that helped me put together my first collection, Arranged Marriage, which went on to win an American Book Award. I encourage you to work with him!” Chitra Divakaruni, author of the best-selling Mistress of Spices, Sister of My Heart, and Queen of Dreams
“Tom Parker is a remarkable editor. He brings to each manuscript he edits a deep understanding of drama and a natural sense for teasing out meaning, always with an eye toward helping the writer achieve his or her own vision.” Karen Bjorneby, author of Hurricane Season
“It’s rare to find a wonderful writer who is also a marvelous reader and editor. Tom Parker is exactly that.” Ann Packer, author of the New York Times best-selling The Dive From Clausen’s Pier
“Writers working with Tom Parker discover that he has an intuitive sense of what makes a story sizzle and a master teacher's capacity to render those perceptions into words.” Kim Wolterbeek, college professor; author of The Glass Museum
“Tom Parker is a quick study, has a great sense of humor, related exceptionally well to our top executives, understood our audiences and our culture, and met our every demand and deadline.” Sandra Miley, former Director of Corporate Marketing Communications, Adobe Systems
“Tom Parker combines incisive perception and insight, long experience, and a compassionate desire to be constructive. Not only can I recommend Tom as a writing teacher but I believe an apprenticeship is incomplete without him.” James Kohlberg, Managing Partner, Kohlberg & Company; board member, The New York Times; producer of the Sundance Audience Award-winning film, Two Family House
“Tom has been immensely helpful to me. He is a fine writer and identifies problems with manuscripts in a constructive fashion that makes you feel good about fixing them. He also inspires you when you get it right.” William Davidow, Principal, Mohr, Davidow Ventures; former Senior Vice-president, Intel and author of Overconnected: The Promise and Threat of the Internet
“When it comes to working with and writing for senior executives, Tom Parker ranks among the very best. He is a business-savvy strategic thinker who is both highly personable and a quick study.” David Samec, Principal, DSA Creative
You've lived a rich, exciting, fulfilling life. You’ve also likely made a difference in the lives of those you love and who love you — and in some cases the lives of dozens, hundreds, thousands, even millions of others.
The question is, are you going to let that life and those accomplishments go unchronicled?
Or will you leave your story for others who don't know it as intimately as you to pull the pieces together?
Or, are you going to tell that story yourself, as only you can?
My suggestion — not surprisingly — is to take authorship, tell it yourself. It is your story, after all.
And since you’re not a writer — since making words come alive on the page is not what you do, and since you probably don’t have the desire or temperament to spend the next half-year staring at a blank sheet of paper or an iPad screen every morning — let me be your ghost.
And together — from your memories, and the scenes and the feelings and the characters we evoke in our discussions — we will craft a rich, rewarding memoir that will deliver an unforgettable experience for all who read it.
If working with the best sounds good to you…
… if you’re truly committed to getting your story told, can spend the time to talk, and can afford the price-value in the professional memoir ghostwriting/co-authoring field, please give me a call, and let's get to work.
My number in Palo Alto, California is 650-321-6120. I look forward to talking with you and to our future collaboration.