MY PROMISE

I want to invite you to work with me, but first I want to start with a promise:

When you choose me to help write a book for you or for your cause-driven organization, I promise to deliver a story that will change hearts. This is a promise I’m confident I can keep.

Why? Because together we will find the story that people want to hear, and that you want to tell.

In the same way your organization changes lives, the story we tell about it will change hearts.

What a book will do for you

There is plenty of bad news around. I believe people are hungry to hear good news stories.

You only need to look at bestselling books like Adam Braun’s The Promise of a Pencil, or Daniel Lubetzky’s Do the KIND Thing, both about social enterprises and the people who founded them. They have had a huge impact – and by the way, both of those books were created in collaboration with professional writers.

In the same way, readers will be inspired by your story, whether it is about how your founder made a start, or a collection of impact stories from your work, or a thought leadership piece to show the way.

Here’s an analogy: let’s say I devised an elixir that made people fall in love with your mission. They are so intensely attracted to what you do, they give anything to support it: generous donations, substantial investments. What’s more, this elixir is delicious, a true pleasure to consume. Some people compare it to a fine wine. For that reason alone, people tell all their friends: “You have to try this! You’ve never tasted anything like it.” Word spreads, and more and more people flock to your cause.

That’s what we will do together through your book. People will fall in love with your mission.

They’ll tell their friends. Those friends will read your book and get the love too. And so on.

That’s just the start of it. Here are six ways you will benefit from writing your book:

  1. Tell your story on your own terms – you get to call the shots on how your history, ideas and achievements are presented.
  2. Create shareable content – this book will be a well that you can draw on for social media, video scripts, blog posts, media releases and more.
  3. Attract new supporters – you know you’ve got a great story. But there are people out there who haven’t heard it yet.
  4. Gain street cred – your book will position you as a thought leader in your field. It’s the ultimate calling card.
  5. Boost revenue – a book may not make you rich, but it can become a new revenue stream for your organization.
  6. Create partnership opportunities – send your book to people and organizations that you would like to connect with, and let your story do the talking.

Who I Am

I’m Sally Collings, and I help people write books.

I do that through my work as a co-writer, ghostwriter and consultant.

I’ve written six books under my own name and ghostwritten more than a dozen other books in the last decade or so.

bookblock8

Before writing full-time, I spent several years as a senior editor with HarperCollins, and prior to that a stint as editorial director with leading UK book packager Amber Books, and back before that I was executive editor with Websters Multimedia in London.

None of that matters, really.

What matters is that I’m very good at what I do.

And what I do is write stories that change hearts.

I’m an artist

There, I said it.

You know what? You are too.

You are the creator of your life, your memories, and your stories. The very process of taking an idea or a memory or a random sequence of events and finding a thread to tie it all together, that’s art. And that’s what we will do together. The process of making art can be boisterous and absurd and at times frustrating, but do it right and it will always have an impact.

I choose to work with people like you, people who can collaborate creatively and openly. People who want to make a positive impact on the world. And I think they—you—choose me for the same reasons.

Who I Work With

A father-son weight-loss memoir, a “simple living” handbook, a brain surgeon reflecting on his own mortality, an actor’s long road to “overnight success”, impact stories from an HIV advocacy group.

Over the past ten years I have written on a huge variety of subjects, but now I focus on writing stories with a purpose: a social entrepreneur’s memoir, the book that describes a charity’s mission, impact stories for a non-profit.

Here’s just one example to show what that might look like.

I recently worked on a book by Michael O’Brien, an executive coach who had a life changing experience. From a cycling accident that left him near death, Michael learned hard but valuable lessons that he wished to share with others, turning them into a book that he could use as a fundraiser for World Bicycle Relief. When we started working together, Michael did not know where his story should end.

“It’s still going,” Michael explained to me. “I’m still living this!”

Together, we brainstormed a list of possible end points. Should it end when he finished his medical treatment? Or the first day he went back to work? Maybe his first big conference after his recovery? None of these felt quite strong enough.

The end point we chose was the very first time Michael got back on his bicycle after his accident. We added a “postscript” section that flashed forward to his return to racing, and offered a collection of 19 key insights he had gained through this traumatic yet profound experience. This solution felt satisfying to us all.

Michael’s story resonated far wider than he had first thought: Shift reached bestseller status on Amazon’s Management & Leadership lists.

Testimonials

Debra Meyerson

“Sally took on a very difficult project – co-authoring a book with me after I suffered a stroke and have limited communication. She has been fantastic to work with. Great communicator. Great writer. Has become a great friend.”

Debra MeyersonStanford professor and stroke survivor
Suzanne Stroh

“Sally is among the best. I learned straight away that Sally is an excellent interviewer and a great storyteller who can find the crux in almost any story. She is a pleasure to work with: always prepared, courteous and dedicated.”

Suzanne StrohCambridge Institute for Family Enterprise
Pamela Williams

“I will always remember our collaboration as a wonderful highlight of my writing career. I remember all of your amazing work and your resilience with a fairly determined author … and how I came to trust you implicitly. You gave me so much and it was such a reward for me to work with you.”

Pamela WilliamsAward-winning journalist and author
Shane Jacobson

“We began as collaborators, but I ended up a fan. I had the absolute pleasure of having Sally Collings work with me on my memoir, Shane Jacobson: The Long Road to Overnight Success. Her ability to organize, structure, and polish my stories was astonishing.”

Shane JacobsonAuthor of Shane Jacobson: The Long Road to Overnight Success

How I Work

You and I will talk a couple of times a week.

This part of the process—listening to you retell your stories, thoughts, and ideas—it doesn’t get any better than this.

One hour at a time, you talk about whatever’s on your mind—your history, relationships, ideas you’ve never told anyone, business and personal victories, and of course, I want to hear all about your fears—past and present—those intangible terrors that at some point have kept you from reaching your dreams.

For most clients, I’ll need up to 30 hours of interviews.

We’ll also spend some time talking about how best to structure the material. Is this a chronological tale, a book of ideas, or something more challenging? Is there other material we can draw on, such as speeches, or stories from your supporters, or photographs?

Then we start the writing process—turning that mishmash of stories, notes, and journals into a cohesive narrative so good it’s impossible to put down.

You and I will send drafts back and forth until the story structure and tone and pacing is just right.

Our goal is beauty personified, and I’m unlikely to settle for anything less, partly because I know you won’t either.

Nuts & Bolts

Put it all together and the book writing process is no more difficult than following a well-defined plan.

My plan looks disarmingly simple, I know. But there’s power in simplicity.

  • Interviews

    One month. Or, it takes as long as it takes. In addition to recorded interviews, we’ll gather all of your notes, journals, emails, photos, old videos and anything else you care to share.

  • Transcription

    I’ll have the audio recordings professionally transcribed into a Word document.

  • Outline & Story Structure

    One month. A great story is more than a retelling of factual events. A great story requires a great story structure, and a great structure takes time to develop.

  • CREATIVE WRITING

    Five months. It took you forty or sixty or eighty years to create your memories, and it will only take me around five months to get it all down on paper.

  • EDITING & PROOFREADING

    Two months. I don’t rely on just one editor and one proofreader, but at least two of each.

  • Delivery

    Total elapsed time: Nine months. And what you get for all your effort is a compelling story in the form of a polished document for you to deliver to your publisher or prepare for print.

Offer & Pricing

Choose me to help write your story and I’ll deliver 200 pages so good readers will forego sleep rather than stop reading.

That’s what your readers get.

What you get is much more valuable.

Imagine if people would sit and listen to you tell your story, for between 5 and 10 hours. That’s a long time, right? Common wisdom is that a 90-second video stretches most people’s attention. But with a book, people will willingly stay with your story for hours on end, often over a period of a week or more. Imagine the power that has to embed your story in their hearts and minds. And if they like it enough, they will lend it to their friends, or gift it, or recommend it.

This is the power your book will have to communicate your value to the world.

Like most everything else I do, I aim for simplicity in my offering. I offer two services, writing and consulting.

I can write your book-length story for you.

Or I can guide you (or your team) in telling your own story. I will give you the kind of help you need, whether it is structuring your material, conducting interviews, or navigating the many options for publishing.

Every client is different, every book is unique, so contact me to find out more about packages and pricing.

Are you ready to get started?

If so contact me via the form below to start the ball rolling.

CONTACT ME

Every great story starts with a conversation.

Let me leave you with one last thought.

Cause-driven organizations, whether they are nonprofits or “not-just-for-profits”, face the difficult task of telling stories that hit an emotional chord, but don’t teeter into guilt for their audience. Together we can write a book that may be heart-wrenching and even uncomfortable at times, and yet still uplifting. The kind of book that stirs people to action. Because sometimes one person’s story can help you give a voice to millions.

If you are ready to start telling your story, let’s have that conversation soon.

Sally

Sally Collings
Writer & Consultant
PO Box 1014
Palo Alto CA 94302
+1 (650) 308-9068