DNA WEEKLY's Ditsa Keren Interviews The Life Writer
I had the pleasure of being interviewed by DITSA KEREN from DNA WEEKLY recently on Zoom.
Ditsa is a technology blogger and entrepreneur with a strong passion for biology, ecology and the environment. In recent years, she has been specializing in technical and scientific writing, covering topics like biotechnology, algae cultivation, nutrition, and women's health.
DNA WEEKLY's mission is: To provide users with honest, useful, and objective information when looking for the best DNA test kit for their needs.
Ditsa came across our related life writing offering and was intrigued, hence the request for an interview.
She Asked Me Some Really Thought Provoking Questions, Such As:
1. Please describe the story behind The Life Writer App: What sparked the idea, and how has it evolved so far?
2. What can you tell us about the emotional process people go through when using the Life Writer app?
3. How does the Life Writer facilitate the family history research process?
4. How does the Life Writer App approach privacy and copyrights ownership?
5. What are your future plans for The Life Writer App?
During our discussion, the fact that life story memoir book writing complements the DNA testing and ancestry research fields because:
- Ancestry research provides a limited amount of detailed information on a large number of people (relatives).
- Life story writing does just the opposite: It provides a great deal of information about just one person.
The DNA WEEKLY website is extremely well organized and easy to use. It is also packed with valuable information. Check it out here: https://www.dnaweekly.com/
Our DNA WEEKLY Interview:
Create Your Own Life Story Memoir Book With The Life Writer App
The Life Writer App makes it super easy for anyone to write their own life story memoir book. It sparks the writer’s creativity by asking compelling life story questions and automatically formats them into a book that you can print and share with your loved ones. In this interview, co-founder & CEO Marc DeVincent describes the process of life story writing and the value it brings to families and future generations.
Please describe the story behind The Life Writer App: What sparked the idea, and how has it evolved so far?
The Life Writer began about 11 years ago when my father-in-law, George, turned 90 years old. For that special occasion, my wife asked me if I would write a one-page summary about his life. I started doing that but quickly realized that the one-page document wasn’t going to be good enough. So, we decided to write his entire life story and create a book in the process. I thought we could complete the job over a weekend, but the process turned out to be so much longer and more involved!
We asked George questions about his life, recorded his answers on a tape recorder, looked at and scanned his favorite photos, transcribed, edited, and organized all of that content, and sent it to a local book printer. We paid $500 for printing a dozen books, which was pretty expensive. But, when we finally gave the books out to our family, after 6 months of work, everyone loved it!
George loved the writing process as well. At first, he didn’t feel like his life story was special or worth putting into a book because he was just a regular guy. But when he began writing it, he loved it, and his audience (his family) was absolutely thrilled with the result. So, we received requests from others to do the same thing, and we began offering that as a service.
It was interesting and very fulfilling work, but since the writing task was so labor-intensive, we had to charge at least $2500 to make a small profit. A lot of our friends and family wanted the service and understood the value, but many could not afford the fee. So, we wanted to find a way to automate the process so that just about anyone could enjoy life story writing and sharing, at an affordable price. Our goal was to reduce the price to under $100 so that everyone could afford it. That is how we came up with The Life Writer App.
Computer technology is really great at automating basic tasks, but the heart of our app is not software, it is the 550 life story writing questions that reside in the app. We developed those by sitting down with real-world customers and asking them about their lives.
The Life Writer App questions make the writing process really easy and the final result special. Customers do not have to answer any or all of the questions if they do not want to. They can scan through the 550 and pick out the questions they want to answer, or copy and paste existing content as well. Our automatic voice transcription option makes it easy to upload large amounts of content without having to type.
The writer’s answers are used by The Life Writer App to automatically create the life story memoir book. It formats them with photographs and other digital memorabilia to automatically create a life story memoir book.
One really cool feature of The Life Writer App is the Family & Friends Collaboration link. If you want family members and friends to help you with your life story, they can, after you email them a collaboration link that gives them temporary access to your story. The story collaborators can add photos, content, and even proofread your book if you wish. And the best part is: The primary writer has the ability to accept or reject what the other collaborators offer them!
We have been optimizing The Life Writer App over the past seven years. As you probably know, it is actually very difficult to make things easy with software. So, it has taken us some time to bring the app into being. The latest version (3.0) came out about two years ago, and quality is finally where it should be.
What can you tell us about the emotional process people go through when using the Life Writer app?
Life story writing is a journey of self-discovery, healing, and transformation. The process is also therapeutic and very beneficial to everyone involved: The writer, their family and friends, and society as a whole.
People sometimes think that they are not worthy of writing a life story book, because, in the past, only celebrities and wealthy people did it, typically for commercial purposes. That’s not true anymore, because almost anyone can write their own life story now. Your FAMILY – and not the general public – really want to have, own, and keep your life story memoir! They do not know as much about you as you might think, and they will love your story.
What we have seen is that once people begin the life story writing process, it comes to them quickly. Each question sparks another memory, which can help to bring all of the memoir components together. The majority of our customers really enjoy and appreciate the life story writing process.
Here’s a brief introduction to the Life Writer App:
How does the Life Writer facilitate the family history research process?
The Life Writer App automatically creates 14 separate subject chapters by default, and the first chapter is Our Family History. You can load any type of pre-existing family history or research you already have, including family trees and other content into the app.
The nice thing about platforms like Ancestry is that they offer a little bit of information on a large number of people. The Life Writer App does just the opposite: It creates a large amount of information on just one person. It complements and counterbalances ancestry and the other related services nicely.
Life story writing can create a large amount of family history information which, in turn, can connect the three generations: grandparent, grandchild, and parent. Here in the United States, we often lack that three-generation connection, because our country is so vast and because so many people have moved away for work. It is not like it was back in the 1950s when most people lived in the same town or neighborhood and saw each other regularly.
Grandparents sharing their family history can be very empowering for the grandchildren, who are often surprised to learn where their family came from, what they did back then, and who they actually are. That type of learning often creates very strong family bonds and can generate a valuable sense of belonging in young adults and children. There is so much to learn and enjoy from sharing family life story content. We have seen the positive influence many times ourselves.
How does the Life Writer App approach privacy and copyrights ownership?
The only people that will see your life story memoir book are the ones you choose to share it with. We care about our customers and their life story writing experience. We do not have much interest in the customer’s life story itself, because when you have thousands of customers, we stay busy enough just focusing on our primary responsibility: Making life story memoir book writing easy.
As far as book ownership goes, you, the writer, own your memoir book 100%. According to the legal theory here in the US, The Life Writer company could theoretically own the customer’s book, because The Life Writer App acts like a Ghostwriter (someone who writes a book for someone else). We reject that theory because we have zero interest in owning anyone’s life story! It is their book. And they alone can do whatever they want with it.
In fact, one of the first things that a new user does is enter their name on the first page of the book. Because that signifies they are the sole author and owner of the book.
For us, it’s all about the customer and their ability to write their life story easily.
What are your future plans for The Life Writer App?
The Life Writer App was designed primarily to be a business-to-consumer product that inspires and empowers people and families via life story writing. But, because that capability has not existed in the past, it is our job now to introduce people to life story memoir writing and explain why they should do it. That is near-term future job number one.
Since the life story memoir writing process is so therapeutic, The Life Writer App can also be applied in many business-to-business uses, such as Healthcare, hospitals, hospices, continuing care facilities, schools, etc. So, the B2B aspect for The Life Writer App is job number two.
And lastly, because we are so committed to making the life story memoir writing process easy and available, we want to expand our customer call center, so that we can help the elderly users and those who aren’t tech-savvy enough to use The Life Writer App properly.
Additionally, because video is so effective and popular now, we have begun to create many “How To” videos concerning life story memoir writing and The Life Writer App. Those have been fun to create and our customers like them, so we will be creating many more helpful videos in the future as well.
Not many people know how rewarding and beneficial life story memoir book writing and sharing is because not many people have been able to do that in the past. I invite all the readers out there to give the app a try using our free demo. You will be surprised by how beneficial and gratifying life story memoir book writing can be – for everyone involved!
Thank you, Ditsa, for making the whole interview experience so easy!
... Are YOU ready to write your life story or give that as a gift?
Here's How You Can:
1. Try The Life Writer App For Free: https://www.thelifewriter.com/user/register
2. Get a The Life Writer Gift Certificate ($95):
Upgrade Today Block
This is a free trial version.
Upgrade today for access to over 400 patented questions specially designed to help you write and discover a life story. You'll also be able to publish your book on demand as well as receive priority access to our support team.
Trial version includes:
- Ability to test all of the application features
- Access to one chapters and questions
(you will not be able to print)
Upgrade now to receive:
- Access to all chapters, and our full, patented system of over 400 tailored questions
- Ability to publish as many books on-demand as you like
- Priority access to support team
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