In journalism circles, the first question anyone asks you is almost always ‘who do you work for’? It occurs to me, then, that it might make sense to start telling you, when I get the time to sort a post or two on the people who keep me so wonderfully busy.

I’m going to start with Story Terrace, a fast-growing producer of personalized, private books, who commission me to work with Irish clients from their office in London. They’re a little bit of a departure for me: I most often work with features going up to about 2000 words, but I’ve had assignments from Story Terrace in the tens of thousands, sometimes taking months to put together over a heap of different personal interviews. It’s a fantastic experience.

Typically, in my experience so far, the books come either as gift from family, or are bought by someone trying to tell a story of their life, who doesn’t feel able to do it themselves. More often than not, these people have had fantastically interesting lives. They’re often relatively late into life, and talking about some of the deeper connections they’ve made, and the experiences that shape them. At times, I’ve found it quite personally profound, too.

I can’t talk specifics, as every book I produce is private, and belongs to the person who commissioned it. If you don’t work in journalism, you’d probably be surprised to learn how much of the work we do is not credited by name, but assigned in some other, less explicit way. I don’t mind, at all: these stories are often some of the more interesting ones I get to write, and intensely personal. You can read my profile on their website, here, which I actually love in its own right. I was asked to sum up my own story in a couple of hundred words and relate it back to writing. It came out sounding far nicer than I could have anticipated.

I’m choosing now to talk about this particular work in part because Story Terrace are at a key moment in their evolution, and currently seeking crowdsourced investment, here (in fact, as I write this, they’re close to fully-funded). I’m no financial expert, but they look like a very solid investment to me. They’re currently selling books as well as they ever have, including the option to buy in Harrods. That means you can technically currently commission me in Harrods, should you want to, which I think is pretty mad.

The world moves in mysterious ways…

Check out some of my other writing clients here.



  1. Kate Rose

    Now that AI is about, they are halving the writers’ fee. I think with Story Terrace taking around 90% of the money it’s totally unfair and not far off slave labour. In terms of hourly rates, I believe my cleaner earns more. Hmm….

  2. James

    Hey Kate, they’ve definitely changed a bit and I’m not sure I love the AI stuff, to be honest, but in terms of rate per hour I’ve found it quite reasonable when I’ve done those projects on balance (I’ve done a handful of them already). The AI ones I’ve done have been interview only, with a little bit of background work, I find they work out at easily €25 an hour, which I find that fairly reasonable for having what is ultimately a structured conversation (obviously it’s much less than it works out at for writing, but I would consider the writing the harder bit, some of the interviews are hard to guide to say the least and then you spend a long time piecing it all together!). But yeah, I want to write, really, not record interviews, so I definitely preferred things the way they were (this was written 5 plus years ago :)).

  3. Hi, I’m a journalist and author and have had great difficulty in contacting a human being at Story Terrace. Nobody answers their London phone. Communication is by forms like this one but don’t respond to my queries. I applied to be one of their ghostwriters and sent a CV at the start of October. They passed this on to their American branch in error. I began again. I got an automated response asking me for more info about the book I wanted writing! The third attempt, they told me I wasn’t registered with them for emails and should resubmit. Finally, I hit the right form, sent my CV and had a response saying that was fine and they would reply within 8 weeks. I’m still waiting and, as I said earlier, I can’t reach anybody, it’s like a ghost office run by forms and unreachable people. I’m interested in the fact that you got through without these problems, Any emails I send now are responded by I forgot to send my CV. As I have already have an acknowledgment to the application and CV, it’s very frustrating. Do you have any advice for me or should I try elsewhere?

  4. James

    Honestly I don’t have any advice, unfortunately, they reached out to me when they needed a writer in Ireland years ago, so I never ‘applied’ as such. I think the company has changed significantly since then and I’m not sure how they recruit anymore. I only have contact with editors, which I suspect is an entirely different section.

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