Tell the Story You've Always Dreamed of Telling
As a memoir specialist with years of experience, I'm adept at
identifying the "diamond in the rough" in your story—its true potential
and power that may not be wholly apparent to you.
I write thoughtful, engaging memoirs for people who have faced and overcome great challenges in their lives, and who want to pass on what they've learned to family, friends, and a much wider audience.
I also write memoirs for accomplished CEOs, entrepreneurs, and academics who want to document their careers, promote their messages, and establish themselves as authorities in their fields.
My book projects have received numerous awards, as well as praise from
Hillary Clinton, Jonathan Kozol, Marian Wright Edelman, and Martin Seligman.
If you don’t think you have the time to write a memoir, that’s where I come in.
I’ll be doing the heavy lifting of crafting the information you provide into a quality book, true to your voice and ideas.
The result will be a published memoir in twelve months
and the transformative experience of capturing your life on paper.
I also offer developmental editing and coaching services to authors.
I began my career as a writing teacher and editor at Youth Communication in New York City, a nationally recognized writing program for teens.
I worked with young people from a wide range of racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds—teens who were former gang members and kids who were bound for the Ivy League, incarcerated teens and young people in foster care.
Many had faced significant trauma in their lives. This was a great training ground for me, as I learned the art of memoir in helping them craft powerful accounts of the challenges they faced and overcame.
Their stories were published by Persea Books in The Heart Knows Something Different: Teenage Voices from the Foster Care System, with a foreword by the noted author and social critic Jonathan Kozol.
My numerous book projects at Youth Communication have been profiled by The New York Times, The Daily News, New York Newsday, Ms. Magazine, and NPR's All Things Considered.
“The Heart Knows Something Different is a well-written account of the challenges facing youth in the foster care system. It touched the hearts of all who read it.”
“These are wise and eloquent authors who can teach us much about caring for ‘system’ children and all children.”
Marian Wright Edelman
President, Children’s Defense Fund
"Longing, terror, honesty, and eloquence combine to seize the reader’s heart and mind.”
Author, Savage Inequalities and Amazing Grace
“Al Desetta has a talent for going to the heart of a writer's story.”
Persea Books, New York
“Al is a good listener and very skillful at helping writers translate their ideas into the words that best express them.”
Founder, Youth Communication
MacArthur "Genius Award" Winner
The Ghostwriting Process
I've made the ghostwriting process simple for you.
I'll conduct numerous interviews with you at the start of the process. You’ll discover memories you had forgotten and gain new insights into your story.
I'll write one chapter at a time and send them to you on a regular basis. I'll ask for constructive feedback on content, voice, and writing style. Together, we'll create dramatic scenes, compelling storylines, gripping conflict, and other elements critical to creating a great memoir.
When the book is completed, I will help you select a quality publisher, advise you on the interior and exterior design of your book, and write the jacket copy.
My job isn't done until you have a finished book in your hands.
A Wide Range of Authors
I’ve worked with authors who have faced a wide range of challenging experiences—a major CEO who grew up on the mean streets of New York City during the Depression; a woman who barely survived the firebombing of Japan during World War II and went on to become a prominent dancer and restaurateur; an anorexia survivor who was badly mistreated by incompetent doctors.
"For many years I wanted to write a memoir about my childhood in Iran and my embrace of the U.S. as my new home. Al Desetta exhibited exceptional skill in developing and completing my book. I am very grateful to him."
A Checkerboard of Nights and Days
“If you're looking to fulfill your dream of writing a book, look no further than Al. His integrity, expertise, and talent are unmatched. His hard work brought my memoir to life. I could not have done it without him."
Flagrantly Anorexic: A Memoir and Call to Action
"Al was a great asset in developing my legacy memoir. His impressive skills turned my rough draft into a compelling story."
Arrows From the Grave: A Memoir of Disinheritance
"When the rough manuscript of my memoir went to Mr. Desetta, he reorganized it in a way that was breathtaking. I can't say enough about Al’s talent, work ethic, and ability to make a manuscript shine."
Paradise Costs: A Victim’s Daughter Fights Back
Against Elder Abuse