3 Suggestions For Choosing the Right Publication Option For You

You have finished writing your memoir or are nearing its completion. You feel satisfied with the text. It has been edited by a professional and you have made changes, You are ready for the next step. You are ready to be published.


Now, your task is to decide how to best send it out into the world–that’s what publishing a book comes down to it: making your memoir public after all these months of having writing it be a personal project.

The are basically three options.

1) You publish the book yourself. In this option, you do all the work. It’s the least expensive option in dollars but the most expensive in time and energy. You will wear many hats and will need to become good at most of them. Publishing, of course, does not mean printing. That is one only task in the publishing process. Other tasks are book design, cover design, pre-press work of getting a manuscript to look just right, marketing and outreach, etc. When you publish a book yourself, you receive 100% of what any publisher would receive at a sale (minus distributor and sales venue discount).

2) You work with a book packaging company. A book packaging company does all the prep work for you. They are familiar with options and with specs necessary for a quality print job. As in #1 above, in this option, you are the publisher. The packaging company is simply one of your hired guns. It is your book preparation departments–Simon and Schuster has one and now so do you. Many book packagers, as does a large publishing house, will also provide you a with access to editors (usually theirs) to make sure you have the best manuscript possible.  In this option, you also receive 100% of the publisher payments. Soleil Lifestory Network is a book packager and we have helped many writers succeed at doing what I describe here.

3) You send the book to a book publishing house. This is sometimes referred to as “regular” publishing or “real” publishing. The  publisher, once the editorial department has agreed to take your manuscript, does all the work of preparing the book. In this option you are not the publisher and will receive a percentage of the cover price for your reward. Unless you are well-known or have written about your relationship to a person who is well-known, you will have to assume the same marketing and outreach tasks that the self-publisher does. There’s no getting around it. Since 8 out of 10 books do not make money for the publisher, within a few months, they are abandoned. It is up to the writer who believes in his/her story to market it and keep it alive–and to do so on a royalty rather than on 100% of the cover price.

Good luck with whatever publishing option you choose!


About Denis Ledoux

Denis Ledoux began helping people to turn their memories into memoirs in 1988. Denis was named Lifewriting Professional of the Year by the Association of Personal Historians in 1996. Today, Denis is a writer, educator, teacher, autobiography co-author, memoir-writing coach, editor and publisher. He directs The Memoir Network, an international group of memoir professionals who use his method and materials to help people write lifestories. Denis also offers writing tele-classes and leads memoir writing tele-groups.
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