Thursday, April 20, 2017

On self-publishing and marketing your memoir

Let’s face it: Most of us will never sign a contract with a traditional publishing company. Thousands of writers don’t make the cut, not even good writers—not even great writers.

But nowadays we have publishing options we didn’t have only a few years ago: self-publishing companies. They offer various services for various prices.

Note: They also publish books of varying quality, in both contents and materials. Too many self-pub books can’t be described as “high quality.”

Having said that, many self-published books are top-notch quality, so much so that some prolific traditionally-published authors are now going the self-pub route. Self-publishing can be an excellent choice for most of us.

Nevertheless, some people continue to turn up their noses at self-publishing.

“Some writers will think you’re not a good writer because you’re self-published,” writes Joanne Dannon. “There is still a stigma that you’re not good enough since you’re not traditionally published….”

But if you want to be a good writer, Joanne says, “Focus on being the best writer you can be. Self-publishing is not for bad writers, it’s for motivated, savvy writers who write quality books….

Successful self-published writers have excellent books with a well-written story, professional editing and formatting as well as a quality well-made cover (not home made)” (What I wish I’d known before self-publishing).

To write and publish a professional-quality memoir, you must work hard.

Become a student of everything related to writing, publishing, and marketing.

Among other skills, improve your self-editing abilities. Bethany Cadman offers tips in Practical Advice for Editing Your Manuscript.

Also check out Jami Gold’s post, Writing Habits: We Can’t Fix What We Don’t See.

And then there’s successful marketing: We must educate ourselves, pre-plan, and commit to hard work. Look over Joanne Dannon’s blog post, What I wish I’d known before self-publishing.

I highly recommend Sandra Beckwith’s blog, Build Book Buzz. Begin by checking out Facebook advertising for authors: A quick-start guide.

If you want to be
“motivated, savvy writers who write quality books,”
educate yourself.

Make it your goal to publish a well-written book,
professional in editing and formatting,
whether you’re publishing your memoir for only friends and family,
or for the masses.


  1. Excellent points Linda. Someone needs to write a book about how to find a good fit with self-publishing services (self-published, of course, LOL). It's like building a house. You can be your own general contractor, hiring an architect, acquiring your own permits, finding people to build the foundation, do the framing, etc. Or, you can hire a contractor, select an available plan, choose from custom options, and let the contractor keep an eye on things.

    Or, if you're truly resourceful, you can build it yourself, from the ground up. Few of us are equipped to do produce a product that's attractive to the general public as a total do-it-yourself project.

    But unless you do all the work yourself, cost can soar. Less than a week ago someone mentioned that she'd gotten a quote from a high profile women's press that was close to 10,000 for editing, packaging and what-all. Yikes!

    Consider your budget and your purpose. If your primary purpose is to leave a legacy for your family, they'll be forgiving. You don't have to drain your retirement account to do that.

    But still, where do you find the level of help you can afford and really need? I wish *I* knew!

    1. I know what you mean, Sharon, about affordability. I'll soon be finished with my next memoir's rough draft and mentally I'm slogging through all the steps I know I must make in the near future to get that book polished and published and marketed. I'm a terrible penny-pincher so I'll do much on my own but know I will also need the help of pros along the way. It won't be easy. But really --- what a grand journey this writing and publishing life is! Thanks for stopping by, Sharon. I value your wisdom, experience, and guidance.