Today, technology, better distribution and a growing interest in reclaiming regional identity makes publishing a memoir the right way a viable option for many authors who want their books to reach a wider circle than their immediate family and friends. It is not true that your book is not worthy to be read unless it has been purchased by a New York corporate publishing house. Self-publishing has many benefits, not the least of which are that you can control production decisions and can recoup your expenses.
1. Know the difference between a publisher and a printer.
A publisher (whether that’s you or Random House) assumes responsibility for all the tasks to get your book designed, printed and marketed. A printer puts ink on paper according your specifications (it’s all computerized now!) and binds the books.
Printers can be like lawyers–if you want it done, they’ll do it–no questions. Their job is to do whatever the customer says he wants. (Like the lawyer who says, “You want to leave your fortune to your dog instead of your children? Just sign here!”) Printers are generally not good sources for designing a book. If you are self-publishing, be sure the publisher function is being exercised.
2. Pay attention to pre-press.
Designing and formatting to create electronic files according to printer specifications is called pre-press production. This is aesthetic as well as technical work that involves many steps and skills. While anything can be printed as a book cover, professionally-produced designs have certain features. It’s unlikely that your-niece-the arty-one knows the standards unless she is a professional graphic designer. Use her drawing or painting–but hire a designer to prepare the book cover design. People really do judge a book by its cover!
3. Supervise your printing and binding.
Do a cost comparison, before settling on a print house. (In fact, you should do this first because details of the pre-press work should be informed by the particular printer’s specifications.) Prices can vary a lot! So request estimates. Large plants that specialize in books offer lower rates than smaller firms–but long distance communication and shipping costs may be a disadvantage! Your local printer may not be a good choice because, like doctors, printers have specialties. Someone who’s the best at letterheads and business cards doesn’t necessarily have a handle on book design standards or even have the best equipment to print and bind books. You must educate yourself about the process in order to make informed choices-and get the end result you want.
With some study and deliberateness, you can make good choices for publishing a memoir the right way.
Our self-publish team can help you with every step of the publication process
We have helped many people whose lives demanded to be recorded but who themselves were not writers to create interesting and well-written memoirs.
We listen to you speak your story. We ask you a multitude of questions. Then we get to work writing. We come back to you with text and you make lots of corrective comments and we ask you a whole lot of new questions. Then, we go back to writing again.
Over time, your story develops into a memoir—one that you have shaped at every stage of the writing process.
We offer a free consult. Call today at 207-353-5454 to make an appointment.
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