Archive for September 9th, 2009

The people’s history

9 September 2009

By Juliana Adelman

Marx daughterA very small item caught my eye in the Irish Times‘s weekend magazineTurtle Bunbury, a freelance historian, is offering to write personal histories on commission.  Those of us who won’t be appearing on ‘Who Do You Think You Are?‘ can still get the same service.  You give him the names and professions of each generation of your family and he will produce an illustrated history.  Essays of undergrad length (2,000 words) cost €495.  A ‘book’ of 25,000 words costs €6,500 plus printing costs.  Genius: you write the equivalent of an MPhil dissertation except you get paid for it.  Compare this to the grants in aid of publication which most of us will be asked to find for academic books and it seems like Bunbury is on to a winner.  Sharpening your pencils?  At almost €4/word this is definitely on the high end for freelance writing.  I understand from a freelance journalist friend that she gets about €0.30/word.   And it’s not like she can just make it all up, she has to do research as well.   Perhaps genealogical research might be somewhat more time consuming, but more than 10 times as difficult? I doubt it.  What are you getting from Mr Bunbury in return for his hard work?  Read More