Frequently Asked Questions

Creating Your Own Novoir™

Why are books created by Marilyn’s Memoir™ called Novoirs?

We coined the term Novoir as a combination of the words ‘novel’ and ‘memoir.’ The Novoir is a factual biographical memoir written in a literary style that, like a novel, is compelling to read.


How Do I Create My Own Novoir?™

Click on the How It Works link on the website’s navigation bar. This will walk you through the process of signing up, and show you the basic process of creating a Novoir.


How long does it take for a Novoir to be created?

We have a timeline of approximately three-and-a-half months from commencement to completion. This is an estimated timeline since various factors can influence the completion of the Novoir. Work on the Novoir begins with the completion and submission of our Basic Client Information Sheet.


How do you collect the information used to write the Novoir?

One of our authors will interview you, as well as selected friends and family members, over the phone, to collect the raw material used in writing the book. You will also fill out the Basic Client Information Sheet, which will contain important names, dates, and events of your life. Additionally, you can provide us with any letters or other writings you wish to include as jpeg files. These will be uploaded to a private, password-protected client area that may be accessed only by you and Marilyn’s Memoir.

In addition to the wealth of information gleaned from the Basic Client Information Sheet and interviews of the book’s subject(s) as well as friends and family, authors will also research relevant background information including, the people, places, and settings of your life, in order to bring richness and detail to your story.


Do I have input into the way the Novoir is written?

Before any work begins on your Novoir, a project manager will speak with you about your general expectations and desires for the book.

We give our customers the choice of having a Personal Novoir (a book with one subject) written in either first person – as if the client is speaking in their own voice (as in a memoir) – or third person, written as if someone else is telling the story. The three other types of Novoirs; Couple’s, Family, and Business, all are typically written in third person.

At the halfway point of the manuscript’s compilation and at the finish (before it goes to print), clients are allowed to review the manuscript for factual errors – such as mistakes in names and dates, sequence of events, etc. Any necessary corrections will then be made.

You can rest assured that your story is in good hands. Our authors are accomplished, professional writers who have been personally tested by us, so we are able to guarantee a high quality level in the writing of your Novoir. The information used to construct your story comes from you and the people you’ve chosen to be interviewed. Any other research used in the book is factually based, such as historic background on the year you were born, the town you grew up in, the college you attended, etc. Combined these details add color, detail, and depth to the Novoir.


Could I decide to mass produce and sell my Novoir to the public?

The Marilyn’s Memoir Novoir is intended for private use and may be shared with family and friends at your discretion. Depending on the package selected, we provide you with one or more hardcover copies of the Novoir for sharing, in addition to your custom, hand bound copy. You may purchase additional copies, if desired. The content of both the hardcover and hand bound books are identical.

While the books themselves are yours to share with whomever you like, the content – including the manuscript, layout and cover designs – are the intellectual property of Marilyn’s Memoir. Under the Novoir contract, neither party, Marilyn’s Memoir or private client, may release that intellectual property publically for purchase or distribution. If, however, at some point, a client wishes to release the intellectual property of their Novoir publically, a new contract may be drawn granting permission to the client at the sole discretion of Marilyn’s Memoir.


Giving the Novoir as a Gift

Can I create a Personal Novoir for someone else that is about them but that is also a surprise gift? How?

Certainly! You may choose to either give a finished or unfinished Novoir as a surprise gift. In the case where the book would be given as a finished product, the Novoir would be created with the memories and stories of friends and family without interviewing the subject of the Novoir.

The other option for gifting a Novoir is to commission one for someone and then present it as a gift they will participate in before the project has commenced.

We offer two unique ways to help you announce this special gift – one is a custom mini book with the person’s monogram professionally designed and stamped on the cover with your personal message written calligraphically on the inside or a card featuring an actual excerpt from the unfinished book and your message printed on vellum on the inside. Learn more about these special announcement options by visiting our Gift of a Lifetime page.


How does it work if I want to give my wife/husband/partner a Couple’s Novoir as a surprise gift?

In most cases, both members of a couple would want to participate in the interviews conducted for their Couple’s Novoir. Therefore, a paid for Novoir would be their surprise gift. Another option is to have friends and family only participate in the interviews. In this case, a finished book could be presented to the couple as a surprise gift. To help make the exciting announcement of a gift Novoir, you can send a custom Marilyn’s Memoir card or custom hand calligraphy minibook, which announces the gift of the Novoir. Samples of these can be seen on the Gift of a Lifetime page.


What if I wanted other members of my family to have a hand bound, leather, artisan copy Novoir?

We would be happy to arrange for multiple hand bound copies of your Novoir for friends and family. Please call us toll-free or speak with your assigned project manager for more information. Special pricing for additional copies applies.


Uploading Personal Photos and Memorabilia

How do I upload photos to the Marilyn’s Memoir site?

Each client is given a protected password, allowing access to an individual client area where instructions are provided for uploading files and where the creation process of your Novoir may be tracked. The process itself has been simplified for easy file transfer into our database. The link to the upload site is The step-by-step instructions on the site will show you how to upload photos. If you should still need help, send an email to for prompt assistance.


How many photos or scans of memorabilia (journals, poems, concert tickets, drawings, artwork, etc.) may I include in my Novoir?

We encourage clients to upload a large number of photos and memorabilia for inclusion in their Novoir. Photos, of course, will likely comprise of the greatest number. We encourage you to include historic family pictures, photos from every time period covered in the Novoir. Photos and memorabilia greatly enhance the text. Our layout designer has worked with the company to create a system of including photos and memorabilia that makes the interior of the book a beautiful work of art. Clients may upload up to 350 digital photos and memorabilia scans.


I’ve forgotten my client login name or my password. What do I do?

Simply click the “Lost Password” button on the bottom of the Marilyn’s Memoir sign on window, enter the email that you signed up with, and a message will automatically be sent to that email, containing your log in name and password.


Pricing and Shipping Costs

How much does a Novoir cost?

The Novoir is an investment in preserving the most precious thing each of us has…a lifetime…no matter how long or short that lifetime spans. An individual, couple, family or professional Novoir is something that you or a loved one(s), family and friends, and succeeding generations will prize and cherish. Novoir packages start at $9995 – quite affordable when you consider the following:

First, a professional author works for three months gathering information and writing the Novoir. Hiring a private, qualified writer to research and write a personal biography can cost an individual from $30,000 to $50,000. A graphic artist then artfully designs the interior pages with meaningful photos, letters, and memorabilia illustrating the story. Hiring an individual graphic designer to custom create a professionally laid-out book can cost upwards of $35,000. Finally, a master artisan bookbinder hand crafts the cover, using the world’s finest materials, such as goatskin leather. There are four cover designs to choose from, but we can also have our bookbinder craft a completely original cover at additional cost. Finding and working with a professional book binder to create original designs and then execute those designs into a beautiful final one-of-a-kind volume can cost several thousand dollars. Also, the time and effort expended in coordinating the people working on the book as far as various technical issues that arise in, and bringing them all together to create a unified final product can be extremely challenging, time consuming, and beyond the ability of most private individuals.

This combination of elements in book creation is the unique, professional service that we at Marilyn’s Memoir do for you. We have created a special process that streamlines each aspect of the creation of the Novoir – the writing, the layout, and the bookbinding – while keeping each aspect carefully monitored and checked each step of the way, to guarantee that the final product you receive is a volume of heirloom quality, capturing your story, preserving it for generations.

We believe we have priced the Novoir quite reasonably in the range of $10,000 to $15,000, depending on various add-ons that the client may wish to include.


Can I pay for a Novoir in installments?

Yes, we offer payment installment plans. Please discuss available options with your Marilyn’s Memoir project manager.


Shipping and Extras

There is no additional charge for shipping your handbound book, hard cover books, or any other extra included in your Novoir package to the contiguous United States. Shipping costs to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, as well as international destinations are charged separately. For any extras that you decide to purchase, shipping charges will apply. Rates can be found on the website under Novoir Options.


Our Unique Service

Are there any other services like yours?

When company president, James Pitzner, set out to create a book to remember and pay tribute to his beloved and too-soon-departed mother, he thought he could easily find a service for writing and creating it as he envisioned. He discovered that there were extremely expensive ghostwriting services, and amateurish scrapbooking services, but nothing that was professional, comprehensive, of heirloom quality, and relatively affordable. The service that Marilyn’s Memoir offers is the creation of an original book, researched and written by a professional author, with beautiful interior graphic design that includes the client’s photos and memorabilia, as well as an original design artisan-bound heirloom cover, made of finest leather, silk and other materials. As far as we know, there is nothing exactly like our service being offered anywhere else.


Who is Marilyn?

Marilyn Pitzner was the mother of James Pitzner, the founder of Marilyn’s Memoir. Sadly, she passed away suddenly, in her prime. Jim’s desire to create a memorial book for her, for himself and his family, was instrumental in his decision to found Marilyn’s Memoir. The story is told in greater detail on our Who is Marilyn? webpage.


Why do we believe it’s important for people to preserve their stories?

Our lives, with their invaluable experiences, are what we finally leave behind to our friends, family, and the world. The writer William Zissner, author of “On Writing Well” and “Writing About Your Life” perhaps said it best:

“Writers are the custodians of memory, and memories have a way of dying with their owners. One of the saddest sentences I know is, ‘I wish I had asked my mother about that.’ ”


Copyright © Marilyn's Memoir 2012. All Rights Reserved.