SPS 165: How To Write A Great Biography / Memoir with Phil Rosenkrantz

Posted on Dec 9, 2022

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Dr. Phil Rosenkranz is an educator, author, outdoor enthusiast, and a member of Self Publishing School. He holds degrees from Kettering University (BSME), Purdue University (MSIA), University of California Riverside (MS), and Pepperdine University (Ed.D). His book is a beautiful tribute to his uncle and a gift of closure for his family. His Uncle Dave was a paratrooper that went missing during World War II. We get to learn all about Phil’s journey to learning Uncle Dave’s story and how he uncovered what had been hidden for decades, clue by clue. It even led to finally uncovering the mystery of his disappearance and creating closure for their family. 

Phil gives us a glimpse into the clues and connections that helped uncover his uncle’s story. He also shares his unique non-linear book writing process. He shares how input from a developing editor was so valuable and how he was able to utilize coaching and systems from Self Publishing School. We also learn a unique marketing tactic that Phil has been using and what he would do differently if starting over again. He says that while focusing on the writing, he should have had a broader approach and put early emphasis on marketing and promotion. This is a fascinating conversation, and it’s full of helpful advice for memoir writers, fiction writers, and everyone who wants to create a fantastic piece of work. 

P.S. Join Phil and grab a ticket and join us at Author Advantage Live before ticket prices go up: AuthorAdvantageLive.com

Show Highlights

  • [01:56] Phil’s uncle was a paratrooper in World War II. He went missing, and no one knew what happened to him. Phil’s grandmother was convinced that he would come home. She died in 1960. 
  • [03:10] Phil saw Saving Private Ryan, and there were parallels with his uncle. Phil started doing online searches and found out his uncle was missing in the Netherlands. Phil made a website about his uncle and sent the link to family. He ended up getting letters and all kinds of other stuff from relatives about his uncle. 
  • [05:52] Turns out that the son of one of his uncle’s best friends contacted him. He then found eyewitness veterans who knew his uncle. 
  • [06:49] Phil has now been to the Netherlands four times and has met researchers who are also looking for his uncle. A big part of Phil’s book is about the lack of closure for his family on what happened to his uncle. 
  • [07:39] Getting closure in the book was a true joy for Phil.
  • [08:57] Phil wrote a first draft and followed the first edition of Published
  • [10:19] His editor told him he needed back matter, a reference, a timeline, an index, and more.
  • [10:58] He also needed to add the letters to the book. 
  • [11:45] It’s important to get your audience interested in the main character early on.
  • [14:29] When time to publish rolled around, Phil joined the Self Publishing School. Having coaching sessions, step-by-steps, and all of the other information was really helpful.
  • [15:27] The toughest part of the writing process was making sure the book read well with the beta readers. They had good suggestions. His concept map was really helpful. He would use his phone and send thoughts about ideas in his map.
  • [18:37] A company called 100 Covers did an awesome job for Phil’s book.
  • [19:31] He did a stealth launch, giving free to his launch team and other interested people. 750 people downloaded it. After getting 100 reviews, it was easier to sell the book.
  • [20:56] He’s going to have a relaunch with promotions. 
  • [21:36] Phil asked for reviews whenever he could. 
  • [22:54] He’s also done a lot of podcasts and Zoom presentations.
  • [24:59] The group coaching calls were the most helpful part about working with Self Publishing School for Phil. 
  • [26:57] Phil shares how he loved the presentations and meeting everyone at Author Advantage Live.
  • [28:54] Phil’s advice is to learn marketing a lot earlier. The technology of publishing was also a lot of stuff to learn. Get a head start. 

Links and Resources

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Brittany

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