“It is better to live in a rugged

land and rule than to cultivate rich

plains and be subject to others.”
–Herodotus, The Histories


Writing Services

Writing Services

Rugged Land is available for any writing and “ghostwriting.” We have experience with: memoirs/autobiographies, biographies, histories, business books, nonfiction book proposals, speeches, and articles. As writing partners, we strive for honesty and clarity.

Our first job is to understand the client’s vision and needs. We value timeliness, direct communication, and drafts (over presentations — though we’re good at those too.)  

Every project starts with a series of interviews. It continues with a series of follow-ups and revisions. We can also provide well-researched, edited, and polished writing on any topic you choose.

While providing an elegant pen for your website’s written content, Rugged Land also acts as a sounding board to help put your brand’s identity, values, and vision into words.

Memoir and Autobiography

Storytelling requires insight, structure, and honesty. But when the subject is yourself, sometimes it is difficult to see the forest for the trees.

We often forget the best things about ourselves. We’ll give you a reason to remember.
Why do you want to tell your story? There are many reasons. Some people want to inspire others to greatness. Others want to be seen for who they truly are. Still, others want to help people who are going through emotional difficulty by showing how they’ve gone through the same thing, and that there's a way out.
And others, may simply want a smart well-written book to complement their professional life.

Generally speaking, we write work on three different types of projects:

  • The first is collaborating on a full length memoir. Our most extensive choice and our personal favorite, this includes interviews, transcriptions, a visual timeline of your life, access to our research, and of course, a full-length, original book.
  • The second is collaborating on a book proposal (a roughly 40-60 page document with a pitch for literary agents and publishers, an outline consisting of a list of chapters, and a sample chapter). This choice also includes interviews, transcriptions, a visual timeline of your life, and access to our research.
  • The third is an article, or a condensed account of your and your family’s life. This makes a terrific present for an older relative, or a reference for your kids. This choice also includes interviews, transcriptions, a visual timeline of your life, and access to our research.

In every case, these projects begin with a series of intensive in-person interviews which can last a month or more. They continue with the occasional face-to-face meeting over a drink or a meal.

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Editing Services

“To write is human, to edit is divine.”
- Stephen King

‍Every writer knows the feeling. You’ve stared at your laptop for what seems like eons. You’ve shifted paragraphs around, only to place them back in their original spot the next day. You’ve sent your book to your English Major sister-in-law. She thinks it’s “great.” You can’t imagine looking at your manuscript for one more second. In other words, you’re done.

But, when you try and get it published, you keep falling short. You begin to question the value of studying English at school. Family dinners become strained. What is your sister-in-law not telling you?

It could be a lack of candor, or a protective instinct, that makes your family and friends say nice things about your work. But, in our experience, far more often it’s a lack of experience. For those not in the publishing industry, for those who want to break in, it can be difficult to understand how good your book needs to be to get published by a major company.

To put it in a word, works from first time authors need to be seminal. Whether that is with content that captures the zeitgeist, or with stylistic brio, your work needs to break the mold.
With every possible disclaimer in place regarding the fact that we do not promise our authors a sale, we do guarantee our best efforts in bringing your work up to a publishable standard. We’ve done it before. What’s more, you receive nothing less than a master class in writing at the highest level.

When you’ve lived with your own work for so long, it becomes difficult to see the problems. Familiarity breeds blindness. At Rugged Land, we will show you what your manuscript needs to bring it to the next level.

In a series of editorial memos and letters, we will be specific in highlighting whether your work contains a lack of chronological progression or structure, or if some of your characters need to be fleshed out and how, or if it dwells on excessive back story. If necessity requires, we will suggest alternate themes, dialogue, sub-plots, descriptive passages, or simply better organization.

Our Editorial Service

Writing is re-writing. That’s why our full service includes three full and separate read-throughs of your work.

Once you’ve signed up, the first step in the process is to send in your full manuscript. After we read it carefully, we deliver two documents back to you.

The first document is an editorial memo (roughly 5-10 pages), which breaks down the major problems and issues throughout the material. Usually, after this first read, the editorial memo is at its most intensive. The second document is your manuscript, amended with “track changes” (often referred to as “page notes” or “line notes”). These track changes will include observations like unnecessary repetitions, clumsy language, and ideas for character or structural improvement.

Then, for you, it’s back to the drawing board. Using these documents, you take another pass at your manuscript, taking as much time as you need to make it sing. Then you send it in again.

After this, we consider your next (second) draft. We then deliver another annotated editorial memo and manuscript to you.
Practically speaking, this second step usually entails emails back and forth, where we answer your questions as they come up. In our experience, if you’ve put in the work, this is the step where your work truly begins to shine.

At thee third draft, we read through the material one last time. We polish it with further track changes, and deliver a final memo. If so desired, this can include an opinion regarding publication and marketability (a conversation we’ve likely been having throughout the process).

Over the course of working on your material, if it seems like we are moving the goal lines, indeed we are!


While the elements of what makes a great story - characters, plot, dialogue, and an ability to capture the zeitgeist - are universal, fiction and non-fiction manuscripts differ from screenplays in so many ways.

The most notable difference is that screenplays are far more rigid than fiction and non-fiction in terms of structure. Furthermore, screenplays are considerably shorter. That said, the writing and editing process is much the same for both.

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Design and Post-Writing Services

Rugged Land provides a suite of services designed to bring your book to the widest audience possible.

The act of selling can be one of the more daunting tasks that writers face. The skills required to bring a book to fruition are different from those needed to write a brilliant book.

In order to craft a salable pitch, writers need to separate themselves from their work, and see it as the market does.
The journey towards publication at a major house is well-established, if Byzantine. To navigate this process, a knowledge of what the ever-changing market seeks, and the know-how to get it done, is required.

While having an internship at The New Yorker or 1 million followers on Instagram won’t hurt your prospects of getting published, neither of these are a substitute for having a brilliant project magnificently packaged.

One more thing. Anyone who has ever used the expression, “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover,” has clearly not worked in the publishing industry. While self-marketing has always been a great way to get an edge, in the internet age, it has never been so important. Even if you do succeed in publishing at a major house, you cannot expect your book to succeed without your own publicity.

Cover Design

The cover design of a book is a reflection of what your reader can expect inside. Our award winning in-house design distills your work into a captivating and arresting image.

Author Websites

An author’s website is an essential part of a book’s marketing strategy — from the moment you begin querying agents, to your publication date, and well beyond. While providing an elegant pen for your website’s written content, Rugged Land also acts as a sounding board to help bring your authorial identity, values, and vision into words, even if you are a first-time author. Rugged Land can design and build a remarkable author website to specification.

Book Proposals and Query Letters

Unless you are Beyonce Knowles, Hillary Clinton, and any other über-celebrity, chances are you’ll need a book proposal to sell your book. Almost every book that is sold today, is sold off of the strength of its book proposal.

Though the form of book proposals differ, generally this is a 40-60 page document consisting of a pitch, an outline of a list of chapters, and a sample chapter. In most cases, book proposals are sent to literary agents, who then pass them on to publishers. Due to the high number of submissions, major publishers will not read a proposal unless it is sent by an agent who they know and trust.  

However, before you send your book proposal to a literary agent, you must first entice them with a query letter. This letter describes who you are, what your project is, and why you are the person to write this project. Further, you should not send your query letters to every literary agent you find. Ascertain the amount of research is required to find the agent best suited for your project.

Publicity and Marketing

Though perhaps painful to acknowledge, the reality is that the difference between a bestseller and a book forgotten within a week of publishing lies in publicity and marketing.

As an author, you need to take charge of your own publicity, even if the publisher you land with has an in-house publicity and marketing department. You need to coordinate with influential book reviewers, both in traditional newspapers and magazines, as well as in new media such a podcasts and Instagram pages.

In short, you need to do a lot more than you think. more than you think. Rugged Land advises on publicity and marketing ideas, resources, and companies in order to make and keep your book a success.

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