Posts Tagged ‘family storytelling’

How I Became an Author…

September 8, 2013

My first flirtation with books as a vocation came in 1992 when I founded JourneyWare Media.  I was five years out of Harvard Business School in the pre-Internet era and the children’s educational software market was in full bloom on CD-ROMs, the precursors to DVDs.  I figured that adults would want to learn with visual and audio stimulation as well, so started acquiring the electronic rights to best-selling personal development books.  My childhood buddy Mark joined me with a couple other business school and software friends and we created a Virtual Seminar product line with videos and interactive simulations so people could experience a workshop with an influential author in the comfort of their homes.  In retrospect, this business model was ahead of its time by almost twenty years; it wasn’t until Apple released the iPad in 2010 that the interactive, media-rich, e-book market started to take off.  Nevertheless, one trip to New York City in 1994 to acquire the rights for a best-selling book led me to become an author myself; JourneyWare Media provided an important stepping stone to my life work.

During this same time, my Grandpa Carl (my dad’s dad) started writing his memoirs.  He spoke into a tape recorder and my aunt transcribed them.  He told me that it was an exhilarating experience to tell the stories of his childhood, young adulthood, and later years in a way that could be passed on to future generations of Marshalls.  All the eight grandchildren all loved it.  Grandpa’s 80-something friends were envious, but many of them said that they wouldn’t know where to start in writing their own autobiographies.  Since I was learning the ropes of the book business, I suggested that he and I create a simple fill-in-the blank book that would help people begin telling their stories.  It would ask questions in a logical way that would be easy to answer, provide a skeleton, with users taking an active role in putting the meat on the bones.  If Grandpa’s friends were any indication, lots of people had stories to tell about family, friends, education, work, and the world during the different phases of life.  My brother Wayne, a graphic artist, helped me create a mock-up of the book.

Carl and David Marshall

While I was in New York City in 1994 visiting book publishers trying to get the electronic rights to bestselling personal development books, I also showed around the mock-up of the do-it-yourself memoir book.  Back then, it was called “I Want You to Know… (Before I Go).  Hyperion Book, the adult trade publisher owned by Disney, published the book in 1997 as The Book of Myself: A Do-It-Yourself Autobiography in 201 Questions by Grandpa Carl and me.  Unfortunately, Grandpa Carl died before the book came out, but we are all so happy that he shared his life wisdom in writing before he passed on.  The Book of Myself  has sold almost 400,000 copies so far in two editions.

BOM 2007 3-D

My wife Kate and I then co-authored a second book called The Book of Us: Your Love Story in 150 Questions, which tells the other great story of life, that of the couple.  It was followed by What I Love About You, which is a book of appreciation for partners.  We have written eight books so far (almost 800,000 copies sold), all focused on fostering family communication and self-discovery.  Writing these growth journals gives me purpose and is as a big part of my life work now.

David Marshall

Moraga, California

August 7, 2013

www.marshallbooks.net

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