Most people think it’s hard enough just to get their stories written down on paper for the family, much less publishing them for the public. For that reason I focus more here on encouragement and not so much on the art of writing and publishing. But, if you’ve got decent writing skills and you think you’ve got a story that total strangers would want to buy, I do have articles under the Resources tab on the various ways to publish your book. There’s a lot to learn.
Family-only memoir books can easily be printed off at your neighborhood copyshop on 8.5”x11” paper with a cardstock or laminated cover. If you want something nicer like a hardcover or paperback, Lulu.com is probably still the best choice and provides nice (free) cover templates that you can personalize with photo, text, and color. Do not get carried away buying their extra services, though, as it is debatable whether they’ll really be worth the cost to you. Set your book’s account to private or it will go into their public sales database, which might be fine if you want your faraway relatives to purchase them and have them shipped directly to their homes. You can always change the account to private later. See my previous blog post on Lulu.
For those who are ambitious enough to want to learn all the publishing ropes and sell to strangers, at the moment (because the publishing world changes all the time) Amazon’s CreateSpace is the most cost-effective publishing program. Authors with more know-how often choose Lightning Source, Inc., (LSI), a printer that acts as a wholesaler/distributor that will also post the book into the Amazon system. You definitely want your book on Amazon. LSI is now often used in conjunction with CreateSpace because Amazon has been behaving badly towards other companies in the last few years, but more important is the LSI connection to the Ingram company which is a more attractive seller to bookstores and libraries than Amazon. Then there is that e-book revolution.
This Friday, September 13, 1:00 p.m. Central time, I will be a guest on a telecom with Linda Joy Meyers, president of the National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW). Sonia Marsh, author of the newly released memoir Freeways to Flipflops, will join us to discuss what it takes to publish a book successfully, plus we’ll compare CreateSpace and Lightning Source. To me, Sonia is the poster-girl inspiration for new authors wanting to do their best to compete well in the publishing business. She’ll be my guest here on Sunday, September 23, and we’ll be talking about her delightful and revealing memoir on getting away from it all.
The “Publishing Your Memoir” telecom is for NAMW members only. NAMW membership might be a good investment particularly for those who are still in the writing (or thinking) stage of a memoir, but tips on publishing and marketing are also offered. Believe me, once your book is published, your job is not done! NAMW offers many telecoms plus workshops and conferences. At the least, do sign up for the free online newsletter because occasionally free telecoms are offered. The informative blog posts are also open to the public. Hope to hear some of you tune in to the talk and ask some questions.