Memoirs are one of the most popular genres of narrative nonfiction for both readers and writers. They’re inspiring and uplifting, educational and entertaining, and they remind us that we each have a unique tale to tell.
If you want to get your story out there but don’t know how to, self-publishing can be a great alternative to traditional publishing. With no entry barriers, self-publishing means you have more control over your memoir and its message. If you think this might be right for you, here are the three main things you need to consider from the perspective of a nonfiction book editor:
What do you hope to gain out of the experience? What are your goals or aims for the book? This often dictates the best way to self-publish for you personally.
For example, if you want to gain a huge audience and make lots of money, then you need to invest in experienced book professionals and pay for services such as editorial assessment, content editing, copy editing, layout design, cover design, proofreading, and marketing. This will ensure that the book is worth reading, meets your audience’s needs, looks professional, is error-free, and actually reaches readers’ hands.
But if you just want to see your book in print, sell a few copies to friends and family, and gain the catharsis of having told your story, then you can do this relatively inexpensively—or even for free. Forgo the services of industry professionals and instead gain feedback from beta readers, self-edit the book, design the layout using Scrivener, create a free cover in Canva, ask a friend to proofread it, and self-publish it for free via Amazon KDP.
It costs a lot of money to get a book edited, designed, and proofread—anywhere between a few hundred and a few thousand pounds. Stats show that most self-publishing authors don’t make enough money to cover the costs of hiring professionals for these jobs. Honestly, we see many authors struggling to promote their self-published books—even if they are amazing.
If you have plenty of money to spend on your book, then get the best editor, designer, proofreader, and marketer you can find, as they’ll get the book in the best shape possible. But if your budget is limited, then it may not be worth investing in all of this, as you may not earn your money back. Instead, decide on what you would need the most help with, be it proofreading or design, and potentially focus your finances on one or two, if any, of these services.
Who do you think will read the book? Is your story interesting or different enough that you could have a large target audience? Are you well-known in a particular community? Are your readers likely to be strangers or people who already know you?
Assessing whether you have a large target audience may determine your self-publishing method. Bear in mind that most successful memoirs are written by famous or highly influential people, and that’s why they gain so many sales. If people don’t know you, then your sales might be limited, so it may not be worth paying for expensive services.
Being aware of your goals, budget, and target audience is important when publishing any type of book, but especially when self-publishing a book that relies so much on readers’ interest in and connection to your personal life story. Make sure that your publishing plan aligns with your expectations—this way, you’ll be able to relish the results fully, whether they be high sales or a stream of great reviews.
If you think you need some more advice, check out the services we offer or get in touch.
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