Turning a transcript into a book

I’m always teaching that you don’t have to start from square one to create the content for your book – you can and should start from within your own materials to create the book.

What I hear from a lot of people is using transcripts to write their book.


Great idea!


Have you ever actually READ a transcript? Like a word-for-word transcription of a lecture or interview?

It’s NOT easy reading! I have a client who leaves me audio recordings to use as the materials for her articles – and she’s used to “writing” this way and they’re STILL hard to read as a word-for-word transcription.

Which means that a transcription is a great place to start at for materials for your book, but it isn’t a book.

Let me say that again: don’t think you can just slap a cover on a transcription and call it a book!

You can't just slap a cover on a transcript and call it a #book! Share on X

Here’s a word-for-word transcription from this client:

All of that sounds nice on the outside and like I said I’m not going to waste either of our time and energy talking about whether or not it should or should not be that way but here’s the important thing to remember, regardless of the criteria and regardless of the regulations, promotions really come down to a couple of things and most of us already know that at the end of the day promotions have very little to do with job performance.

Wow! And that’s just ONE sentence of a transcription!

  • Is it easy to read? – No.
  • Is the point she’s driving at immediately clear? – Nope.
  • Is there really juicy stuff in there? – Yes!
  • Is it easy to pick out and put into practice in your life? – Not so much.

What you need to do is to take the transcription and work up the real meat of what the speaker is talking about. You’ll rearrange the sentences, correct the grammar, and massage the order to uncover the message. The exciting thing about working from transcriptions is that you can really capture the voice – you can use whole phrases word-for-word. But you have to know WHICH phrases!


It takes more than editing to turn a transcription into a book. Editing would be adding in a few more commas… To turn a transcription into a book, it really takes a skilled ghostwriter to be able to tease out what’s important and move it from raw material into a polished piece of writing. And it’s also helpful to LISTEN to the audio as well because the transcription lacks inflection, pauses, and knowing where the speaker gets really excited.

When you’re using a transcription – either a solo-speaker or an interview – as the basis for your book, be sure to really look at how it can be transformed from JUST a word-for-word account of what was said into a well-written book that conveys your message.

If you’re looking for ghostwriting to turn your transcript into a book, I’m here to help!

Kim Galloway
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