By Marie Fricker
If your life is a story just waiting to be told, wait no longer. Writer/editor Stephen White, 66, of Hanover, takes pride in ghostwriting autobiographies, memoirs, and business-to-business books for fellow baby boomers and clients of all ages.
A former concert promoter and film critic, who interviewed such A-list celebrities as Sally Field, Michael Douglas, Ron Howard and Tom Cruise, White recently published his first novel, Time Passages, the tale of five classmates at a small Vermont college who were tossed into the social, political and cultural firestorm that epitomized the late 1960s.
If you have lived to witness the events of more than half a century of dramatic changes in this country and the world, you may have a firsthand account that needs to become a literary legacy for generations to come. Whether you have kept a diary for years, have made a few notes, or are starting from scratch with just the nugget of an idea, your story can and should be shared.
“First-time authors no longer have to beg the big publishers like Random House and Simon & Schuster to accept their manuscripts,” said White. “With some guidance, you can literally do it yourself for a modest cost and in a relatively short period of time. I particularly love working with older seniors to self-publish their books. They have seen so much and have incredible stories to tell. It’s an honor to help them record them for posterity in the form of a published book.
White’s services to his clients include writing, proofing, cover design, formatting, and uploading the completed manuscript to Amazon, where it is available for ordering. “Some people have already written their memoir, and I simply edit it for them, and get it published,” said White. “Others have nothing, so I interview them on the phone and write their story with their input and approval each step of the way.”
White’s latest client is longtime Boston radio personality Jordan Rich, 66, who is writing an autobiography on his life and career in broadcasting. “Jordan’s book starts when he was nine,” said White. “He remembers so much about his early years, even the first tape recorder he purchased by cashing in S&H green stamps. It’s going to be a great read.”
For Rich, the experience of working with White has been easy and fun. “Steve and I started with an outline back in January, and I told him about key milestones in my life,” said the WBZ talk show host. “I tell him my story, and he sends me a rough draft of each chapter he’s written. Then I edit or add to it to keep it in my own voice. Writing an autobiography gives you a great sense of accomplishment. You’re forced to remember all the experiences you’ve had in your life—good and bad. I’m doing it for my family, but if others want to read it, that’s nice too.”
Books that are self-published through Amazon.com remain available for ordering indefinitely with the “print-on-demand” option, which allows readers to order one book at a time, and eliminates the need for large stockpiles of printed copies.
In addition to helping people write their bios or memoirs, White also offers his literary services to corporate or non-profit professionals, who are seeking to promote their businesses. Two of his recent clients are: Elder Law Attorney Patrick Kelleher of Hanover and Braintree, who wrote How to Avoid the Four-Headed Monster: Probate Court, Estate ‘Death’ Tax, Financial Creditors & Predators, and Mark Friedman, Owner of Senior Helpers Boston and South Shore, who has just published A Guide to Excellent (and Successful) Aging. Both authors are columnists with South Shore Senior News.
“Business-to-business books have become popular as marketing tools for people in any industry,” said White. “Whether you’re a Realtor making a listing presentation at a seller’s home, or a manager addressing a packed corporate seminar, having your own books on the table adds a lot of credibilitie.”
White urges his clients to learn from his own mistakes. He actually began writing his novel, Time Passages, on an IBM Selectric typewriter when he was a junior in college in 1975. After a few rejections from traditional publishers, he decided to put the manuscript aside for a few weeks. Those “few weeks” turned into more than 40 years. Last November, he found the 300 dusty pages in an old box and had his daughter type it into a word document. No longer at the whim of the giant publishing houses, he self-published the novel in 2020, and made it available on amazon.com.
“I really hope people don’t wait as long as I did to get their stories out,” said White. “If you’ve ever thought to yourself, ‘I should really write a book,’ now’s the time. It may not be a New York Times best seller or make you rich, but your family, friends, and business clients will have something they can download or hold in their hand. And you will have a legacy.”
If you’re ready to scratch one item—“Write a book”— off your bucket list, contact Stephen White at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marie Fricker is a local author, realtor, and editor of the South Shore Senior News.