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How My Life Got Remarkable

You know that scene in The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy opens a door and suddenly her black-and-white world turns Technicolor? Well, that’s what happened to me this year.

There I was, cheerfully copyediting memoirs (and other things) but, I admit, feeling that something was missing. Monochromatic, you might say. I would have soldiered on forever, except that I met Susan Hood. And then my work life just kind of . . . bloomed.

If you’re reading this far, you probably know I’m a proud word person. I love everything about language and the way people use it, even the really annoying, geeky parts. (But not diagramming sentences, obviously. I’m not a monster.)

With that said, even I know that a memoir can be more than words. Sure, antique photos, handwritten ships’ manifests, and family trees are important. But I’m talking about the craft of book design and what it can add to a personal history.

Too many indie authors take their painstakingly written and lovingly edited manuscript and just ship it off to the printer. It’s tough enough to write a memoir, never mind learn the ins and outs of graphic design. So, the thinking goes, let the printer just pour it into a magic cauldron and it will be fine.

And that’s a pity, because design communicates a message as surely as words. Is a book a scholarly tome or a breezy, comic sketch? Is it the epic story of an extended family or the intense examination of two years of wartime? You’ll probably know the answer within seconds after picking up a book that’s well designed. The cover typefaces, the color palette, the weight of the paper, even the white space on the interior pages—everything provides a rich layer of visual clues.

Which brings me back to Susan Hood. She is a book designer, and she makes good books glorious. I’m talking “go on and open that door, Dorothy” glorious. She’s designed memoirs for major publishers like Random House, and she’s designed memoirs for writers you’ve never heard of. She’s been doing it for more than 30 years. She is a boss.

And now she’s my business partner! I’m very proud and excited to announce the launch of our new venture, Remarkable Life Memoirs.

Our complementary skills mean that this partnership is greater than the sum of its parts. We can now offer our clients a soup-to-nuts product: a memoir that is edited thoughtfully, designed beautifully, and printed and bound to our meticulous standards. More than that, we let you do what only you can do—tell your story—while we take care of everything else.

This blog post was originally published on on October 22, 2016.

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