Self-Publishing a Memoir: Getting Started

Self-Publishing Your Memoir? 

Once you decide to self-publish, rather than working through a traditional publishing house, you’ve got some decisions to make and a lot of tasks to accomplish.

But never fear – you can do it! Here are some ideas to get you started:

Work with a good editor and proofreader 

Do not skip this step! If your book is riddled with inconsistent logic, story lines that stutter and wander, typos or grammatical errors, you will lose both your credibility and your potential readers. You’ll look like an amateur.

When you work with a major publisher, the company will usually handle the editing and proofreading. But when you self-publish, it’s up to you to make sure its done, and done right.

Select the best self-publishing option for you

As explained in a previous blog, Publishing Your Memoir: What Are Your Options?, there are several different self-publishing options. There are full service self-publishers take care of all the work for you, from editing to printing, marketing and selling, even listing your book on their online bookstore.

Companies that offer nearly full service do everything a full service company does but do not have their own online bookstores. A third choice is working with a printer that prints up copies of your book but provides few, if any, additional services – you’ll have to handle things like designing the cover on your own.

Apply for your ISBN 

You must have an ISBN (international standard book number) to sell your memoir in bookstores, via and through most other venues. You must also have a different ISBN for each edition and “version” of your book: hard cover, soft cover, ebook and so on. It’s possible that your self-publisher will get an ISBN for you, or sell one to you. You can also purchase an ISBN directly from Bowkers, the official source for ISBNs in the U.S.

Create an eye-catching cover design

Whether your book is “real” or an ebook, both front and back covers should be attractive and compelling. Some self-publishing companies will help you with cover design and layout; others won’t. If they don’t, you can hire an independent cover designer.

Set the cover price for your book

Some self-publishing companies do this for you, and with others you have the option of setting your own cover price. If so, keep your audience in mind. For example, if you are targeting a young adult readership, be aware that many of them do not have jobs and can’t plunk down a lot of money for a book. Then set the price accordingly.

Getting your memoir into print is a huge accomplishment!

There are few thrills that compare to holding your own published book in your hands for the first time. At that moment, you’ll find all the painstaking work you’ve put into this labor of love was well worth it.

If you need help with memoir writing or editing, contact ghostwriter Barry Fox. I can help you tell your tale of success, loss, love, adventure, growth or whatever your theme may be. Together we can go from blank page to finished book – and yes, I can assist you through the process of self-publishing your memoir, if you like.