This Austin startup will help you finally write that book you've been dreaming about

by James Risley
June 29, 2016

Writing a book is a daunting task for anyone. Add in a entrepreneur's busy schedule and finding the time to sit down and get your ideas out on paper can be close to impossible.

One Austin startup is looking to change that, aiming to help ordinary people actually take the time to write the book they've always dreamed of.  

Book in a Box helps potential book writers get ideas out of their head and into the world. Founder Tucker Max, who had his own book turned into a movie, came up with the idea when pop-up shop pioneer Melissa Gonzalez complained to him that she didn’t want to jump through the hoops to get a book written and published.

“For Tucker to help Melissa write a book, all he needed to do was get the information out of her head and format it into a book,” said Alex Dooley, marketing manager for Book in a Box. “Because that's what a book is — you're sharing information with somebody else through the medium of a book.”

Book in a Box gets that information through a series of questions. But filling out forms doesn't really translate into compelling writing, so Book in a Box uses conversations to get to the heart of ideas.

“Talking is actually a much more natural way to do that for most people,” Dooley said, “We practice talking every day, but writing is a highly specialized skill that not many people are very good at.”

After a series of interviews, the Book in a Box team takes the transcript and edits it into a standard book format. The unique interview style lets founders and other professionals maintain their voice, helping them avoid the bland prose of ghostwritten work.

The service doesn’t come cheap. For the 15 hours of interviewing and five month production process, authors pay at least $20,000.

Book in a Box will handle books that larger publishers may not want to touch. With Gonzalez’s book, there may not have been that many readers interested in the business of pop-up shops, but the niche audience was primed for a thought leader. By publishing a professional book, she was able to secure a position as a principle player in the industry.

And the process doesn’t stop at writing the book. The company also handles the layout, cover design and marketing to make sure clients are left with a professional result.

“We help them maximize the impact of their book after it's written,” Dooley said. “It's really a full-service suite of book writing and publishing services for professionals.”

The company's books range from industry insider tales to personal memoirs. Authors provide input at every stage, from approving the final manuscript to choosing the right cover design.

If you just want to get your ideas on the page but don't have the money, you can use Book in a Box’s free guide. It details the process they use in helping clients’ books come to life, but you have to handle the actual writing.

Since its founding in 2014, Book in a Box has grown to about 15 employees, along with a range of freelancers who help in the production process. While the company is based in Austin, the team is distributed around the country.

Book in a Box is bootstrapped and has already reached profitability.

Images via Book in a Box, Shutterstock

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