To Publish or Not To Publish

Most family stories are meant for the family. A nice 8 ½ x11” booklet can be printed out and taken to a local copy shop to have covers put on and be spiral or cloth bound. Some family stories, however, might be of rather unique historical value and one might want to consider actually publishing the stories for a wider audience. It is quite a jump to go from casual writing to producing a book, but if you are a pretty good writer and have plenty of interesting family stories, you might want to look into becoming an author. Warning, warning, it is a LOT of work and there is a business end to deal with.

If you think you have it in you to write a book, you must decide WHO you would write the book for (no, not EVERYONE) and determine if there really would be interest in it. I decided to publish Cherry Blossoms in Twilight because my mother’s story of growing up in Japan during WWII was rather unique and I thought that school teachers would have a particular interest in it. The book was written with that specific audience in mind, although it is a learning experience for adults also. The second edition coming out late this summer focuses even more on historic detail and has been slightly altered to be suitable for an even younger elementary audience.

Is your story unique? There are plenty of Holocaust stories, stories of WWII in China, and of U.S. internment camps for those of Japanese heritage. Maybe your relatives were put in one of the few U.S. internment camps for German-heritage people or have a difficult immigration story. Perhaps your stories would be of interest locally, for example, to illuminate life and the history of the early days of your town. You might be extra creative and want to weave a novel around your family history. Perhaps your stories would be inspirational to others.

If your story can stand out from the crowd, and you are tempted to publish in order to share it with those outside your family, read all you can about the business end of writing, publishing and marketing. There are decisions to be made before you even write the first word.

For some very important information about publishing choices, Bob Baker (who makes his living as an author) has a new e-book available in print or audio. Self-Publishing Success Secrets 101 spells it all out succinctly for new authors. Read up on it at


About moonbridgebooks

Co-author of Cherry Blossoms in Twilight, a WWII Japan memoir of her mother's childhood; author of Poems That Come to Mind, for caregivers of dementia patients; Co-author/Editor of Battlefield Doc, a medic's memoir of combat duty during the Korean War; life writing enthusiast; loves history and culture (especially Japan), poetry, and cats
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