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Frequently Asked Questions About No Story Lost

You're interested in a No Story Lost project as a gift for your parent or grandparent - or even for your own life story! Below you'll find answers to our most popular questions when it comes to recording memories and creating our photo story books.


Who are we?

Hi! We're No Story Lost. We realized that our parents and grandparents aren't going to be around forever, and we wanted to write down their stories, memories & advice.

We knew we had something special on our hands when we printed beautiful coffee table life story books for our families. Though most families had the thought of doing this, we realized that almost nobody took the time to actually sit down and do it. Once it’s done, it’s amazing to have.

After making a few books for family & friends over the past few years, we're excited to offer this is as a service for you. We've assembled a great team of interviewers, transcriptionists, writers and designers to pull together amazing projects.

What we are - and what we aren't

We produce a collection of lighthearted stories. We are less history book, more story book. The stuff we love to write is the stuff your parents would gab with their old friends about! More ‘remember when you pushed over the outhouse?’ and less ‘I went to this charter school from 1949 - 1955.’

Typically, we write our books in the style that our storytellers speak. That means we aren't a ghost-written memoir by an award-winning journalist. Those types of professionally written services are available, but they are also more expensive - costing from $5000 to $10,000 or more. Our goal is to make this a little more affordable so that every family can capture the stories from their mom, dad, or grandparent.

How involved am I in the process?

Largely, we are taking care of things! However, we’ll need some things from you to make your story book incredible:
→ A 30 minute welcome call to to learn what you'd like to see in the project
→ We’ll need you to put us in touch with your storyteller, so we can schedule our first interview.
→ Photos! We'll need you to supply us with old family photos to complement the writing.
→ You’ll do a once-over. Checking things like names, dates, etc.
After doing this a few times, we've noticed that some clients like to get their hands dirty once they see the manuscript. They want to edit and add more details to the stories; details that only they would know. That's okay, too. We just want to let you know up front because sometimes it can feel like you’re putting in some extra work that you didn’t anticipate. Please be ready to contribute so that the book is exactly what you want.

Can I see a sample book?

Yes, of course! Email us at hello (at) nostorylost (dot) com (or use our contact form and we'll share a few sample pages from previous clients with you.

Can I order extra copies of my book?

Yes! Absolutely. Extra copies of our Premium hardcover books are $100 USD each, and our Basic books are $50 USD per copy. You'll order extra copies later in the process. This video explains the difference between the two styles:

See here for more options for add-ons to your project.

Do I own the book? Can I publish and sell my book?

You have the rights to use and share the book for personal use, not commercial. We do not accept projects that will be for sale publicly.

How We Write Your Biography

What’s involved? Can you break down the process in more detail for me?

Of course! Here's how the biography writing service works:
1. You purchase whichever package suits you best. If you have questions, get in touch at hello (at) nostorylost (dot) com.
2. You'll get an email as soon you purchase.
3. Book an onboarding call with us. We'll ask you what types of stories you want your storyteller to talk about, what you’d want to know more about and any sensitive topics we should not ask about. And we’ll let you know about the end-to-end process in more detail.
4. Tell your Storyteller about the gift. They might be apprehensive, but we’ve got some advice to give from experience (see next question).
5. Then we’ll set up the interviews with the Storyteller.
6. Meanwhile, you'll send us photos for the book.
7. We'll send you the final manuscript
8. You look over it. You can make adjustments and edits.
9. Then, we’ll deliver the finished product to your doorstep!

But what if my loved one isn’t into it? What if they are reserved, nervous, stubborn or apprehensive about it?

Yeah, we’ve been there too. One of our first clients was our friend, Stef. She bought a project, and she was so excited. Then, her Dad said he didn’t want to do it. Full stop. Talk to someone he didn’t know about his life? No thank you. But she told him he’d be doing it for Stef, and for his future grandkids - and that she wanted to be able to pass down their family stories. That sure got him. He changed his tune pretty quickly! And now her family loves his book :)

It can be tough finding the right gift for grandma or grandpa. If No Story Lost is the perfect gift, but they need some convincing, we'd recommend saying something similar to what Stef said to her dad. And if you'd like some more advice or any additional detail, we're happy to talk to you. Give us a call or shoot us an email.

Who is the ideal Storyteller?

The perfect storyteller is someone you love and whose stories you want captured. Someone who is old enough to have great stories but young enough to be able to tell them - their health and energy allow them to share their best stories with us.
For our regular process, we strongly suggest the Storyteller has following capabilities:
- Can answer questions in full sentences
- Speaks English (we currently don’t offer translation services)
- Has a good memory and can recall stories from all parts of life
- Can hear clearly on a regular phone call and have a conversation
If memory is an issue, interviews can be done with loved ones about the storyteller, instead of directly with the storyteller.
If the storyteller has telephone hearing issues, send us an email about these options:
- Sending us audio clips of previously recorded interviews, or interviews that you record directly with the storyteller in person where hearing is better.
- Have someone sit with the storyteller and relay our questions clearly to them, but have them talk into the receiver.

My loved one has passed away. Can you still do a project to help us remember them?

Yes! We do memorial books and tribute books, where we'll typically interview a few people who knew your loved one to get their stories and memories. We try to get a diverse group of people involved - maybe a child or two, a grandchild and a personal friend or old co-worker. These are a beautiful way to remember someone who has already passed away, and can also be a really incredible gift to their spouse, children, or family. We've done several tributes to dads and moms from sons and daughters.

Do you do in-person interviews?

Unfortunately, we aren’t set up to do in-person interviews. All our storytellers tell their life stories over the phone.

Do you only allow one storyteller per book? Or is there an option to have two people interviewed for one book?

We allow two storytellers per book IF their lives are intertwined - married couples, for example. Otherwise, we suggest separate books.

How fast can you complete a book?

It usually takes us about ten weeks from our welcome call until delivery. If you need it faster, we can definitely talk about how to make it happen. Getting the projects done on this timeline does require that you and your family are diligent with your edits when it's your turn - and that you follow the deadlines we set out for you. We're okay if things go slower, as long as you're okay getting your book a bit later than the normal timeline.

Do you support multiple languages?

Not yet, unfortunately. For now, we only do interviews in English.

Can I add or include old recordings?

Yes! We’ll have our team listen to your old recordings, and also have them transcribed.

We’ll reduce the number of interviews we’ll do with the Storyteller, minute for minute. This is because the transcription takes just as long, and the interviewer needs just as much time to learn the content and work it into the story as if they were interviewing live.

In cases where the person is gone or won’t be interviewed, we'll take into account the length of each recording. For example, if you purchase an Anthology, we’ll handle up to 4 hours of audio/video.

Note: Because this process removes some of our control on quality, we can’t guarantee the content or length of this content as well as we can with our normal method. With that said, we're always excited if someone has already written some work or prepared 'a timeline my life' that they can share with us.

What if someone has written work they wish to have included in their book?

We have two options:
1) We can place it, unedited, in an appendix for a nominal fee which will cover the increased printing cost.
2) We can have our team include it as if it was interview content - it will be studied, edited, and worked in seamlessly. In this case, we’ll charge for increased interview time, or reduce the amount of interviewing we can offer. For every 6000 words of written content we’re given to process, we’ll use up one hour of interviewing time.

Oops! The Storyteller missed their interview.

We know that life happens, so we’ll reschedule a missed interview once. The second no-show will result in a $75 fee. It’s designed to respect everyone’s time and energy.

Shipping and Returns

Is shipping included?

Yes! Shipping is included in Canada and the United States. If you live elsewhere, we charge a small, additional shipping fee.

What’s your refund policy?

All refunds incur a $75 processing & admin fee (which covers credit card fees, currency conversion fees and administrative costs). If you bought a package, but haven’t started the process (meaning you wish to cancel before any interviews have occurred) we’ll refund you in full, less the $75 admin fee.

If you cancel before the second interview has started, we will provide a refund equal to 66% of the total purchase price.

If you cancel before the writing or design work has started on your book (which happens after the final interview is complete), we will provide a refund equal to 33% of the total purchase price.

If you cancel after the writing and design work has started, we unfortunately won’t be able to offer a refund.

Customer Service

How can I talk to a human?

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