Thursday, October 27, 2016

Two self publishing options for memoir authors

Today we welcome back Dwight Clough as our guest blogger. 
(If you missed his post last week, 
He’s a Christian editor, publishing consultant, ghostwriter, 
Dwight custom designs services to meet 
his clients’ needs, budget, and schedule.

Two self publishing options for memoir authors

Unless you have a platform of more than 10,000 people, the likelihood that your memoir will be picked up by a traditional publishing company—Christian or otherwise—is close to zero. At one time, that was a problem. No longer. A multitude of self publishing or indie publishing options provide the perfect alternative for memoir authors.

First a caution. Many of these self publishing options are traps. They are extraordinarily expensive. They take away important rights that you should retain as an author. They promise much, deliver little. Tread carefully, and go into indie publishing with your eyes wide open.

Having said that, here are two options I’ve worked with that I absolutely love.

(1) For paperback publishing, I recommend It’s free. (Yes, they do have paid services, but you don’t need to use them—and I never do.) The only thing you pay for is author’s copies that you order, and you are under no obligation to order any number of copies or any copies at all. You can send your readers to CreateSpace’s e-store to purchase your book and/or you can make your book available on Amazon. (They take care of fulfillment, you collect a royalty.) You can also set up your book so readers can order a copy from their favorite bookstore. And, of course, you can purchase author’s copies at a discount which you can sell or give away. You determine the retail price of your book. CreateSpace provides ISBN and bar code for free, so you don’t need to worry about that.

You will need to provide CreateSpace with your financial information so they can pay you a royalty. I’ve never had any trouble with this. CreateSpace works great for authors in the USA and Canada. It may or may not be a good choice in other countries. CreateSpace uses print-on-demand technology. Books are created when they are ordered, so you don’t need to store an expensive inventory (translation: boxes and boxes in your basement or garage).

You will need to provide CreateSpace with print-ready files for both your interior and your cover. This is where most new authors come across as rank amateurs. Take the time to study interior design, or get someone to prepare this file for you. Most self published books are almost unreadable because they are so poorly designed (not to mention poorly edited). And don’t underestimate the importance of your book cover. All of this can be created for free with free software if you know what you’re doing. If you don’t, get help.

(2) For e-book publishing, I recommend Amazon’s Kindle publishing service. Again, it’s free. Kindle is wonderful because your memoir becomes instantly available to readers throughout the world. Your readers can download free software to read your Kindle e-book on almost any device. At you’ll need to set up a free account, and again, they will ask for financial information so they can pay you. At certain price points you can be eligible for 70% royalty; otherwise you’ll receive 35%. 

CreateSpace does offer a link in their title set up process to convert your book to Kindle. However, that process is not smooth and seamless. Or you can convert your word processing file to HTML and upload that to Kindle. In either case, you’ll need to edit the files to make your book Kindle ready. Here a basic knowledge of HTML is very helpful, because at minimum, you’ll want to include a Kindle-ready, clickable Table of Contents. Again help is available, if you need it.

I hope these suggestions help you bring your memoir to life. I would love to look at what you’re writing.

Dwight co-authored and published a memoir 
by my friend and former coworker, Forrest Zander, 

For more information on the many services 
Dwight offers memoir authors, 


  1. Great info Linda. It's worth mentioning that CreateSpace is a good option for those who want nothing more than copies for friends and family. You can order "real books" from CreateSpace for less than the cost of printing at home and about the same as a copy shop. You do not have to list your project on Amazon. Order as many copies as you wish from CreateSpace, then either unlist it or remove it. Leaving it listed on CreateSpace is a good option though so you can let people who want to read it order their own copies. You do not have to add a royalty for CreateSpace, leaving the public price the same as wholesale. If you leave it there and don't promote it, few will ever order.

    You will need to provide tax ID information to set up an account. This is required by their accounting system, but if you receive no royalties, none will be reported to the IRS and you'll have no extra lines to fill out on your tax return.

  2. Thanks, Sharon, for your good info. I'll share this on Tuesday's post. Writing and publishing "takes a village," doesn't it? I'm thankful for you and the others who are part of my village. :)