Where Do I Start With Publishing My Book?

If you have no idea where to start, now that you’ve decided you want to publish a book, don’t worry — you’re not alone. We field a lot of inquiries that begin, “I/my dad/my mom/my friend has a really amazing life story…I want to make it a book. How do I do that?” (And the business counterpart: “My clients always ask for the same information, and I’m tired of copy and pasting the same email excerpt. I’d like to give it to them with more detail, in a more polished presentation…maybe even sell it to non-clients. How do I turn it into a book?”)

First things first, you need a manuscript. It can be formal in style, or can be a casual “talk story” memoir. You can write it yourself or hire a writer to assist you. If you’re hiring a professional, don’t expect to go cheap. You get what you pay for. If the writer doesn’t know you, they’ll need to spend a good amount of time interviewing you or transcribing your recorded story. Historical background research may be appropriate. Talk to the writer — do they expect to see their name on your book as a credited writer or editor? Are you OK with that? If your book will be sold in retail markets, be sure that you have an understanding with the writer regarding sales income — was the writing done as a “work for hire,” paid in full in a one-time fee, or will you be splitting book revenues? If you want to hire a professional but do not have friends or family who can connect you with one, talk to us. While our Legacy Isle packages are geared toward those who already have a manuscript, we can create a custom quote for those who need writers. Once we have your manuscript, we’ll assign an editor, dedicated to your project, to give it a final polish. They’ll read it with an eye toward ensuring that it represents you well as an author.

When you envision your printed book, what do you see? Is it hardcover or softcover? Does it include photos or illustrations? Are those in color or black and white? All these decisions influence your choice of package, and how much money you’ll need to spend. When you think of the style of your book, what comes to mind? Is it formal or casual? Our designs are based on templates, but there is a good deal of flexibility in them. When you select a design, make sure it resonates with your envisioned style — tilted images and sans serif fonts give off a more casual vibe than squarely aligned images and serif fonts. A pastel color theme may be very pretty, and perhaps pink is your grandmother’s favorite color, but if your book will be about the challenges she overcame in her life, a more somber color scheme would be more appropriate. Our Professional Package options allow for a custom cover — you’ll need to articulate to our design team the look you want. Think of color palette, fonts, concepts that convey the message (industrial vs. organic; clean and modern vs. cozy and inviting) and look for photos to share with us that are in the style you want.

Finally, you need a clear idea of what you intend to do with your finished book.

  • Is this a personal memoir you want to share with only family and close friends?
  • Do you plan on selling this book in retail channels (online, bookstores, other types of stores)?
  • Do you control or have access to retail channels where this book can be sold (family or friend’s store or business)?
  • Do you want to use this book as a fundraiser?
  • Are you a professional who plans on giving away or selling this book as part of a promotion or at speaking engagements?

Once you’ve identified what you want to do with your book, you’ll be better equipped to select the appropriate publishing package. Some of our packages are geared toward individuals and families who are looking for a professional keepsake to chronicle their history. Other packages are meant for professionals who will need larger books or inventory, and possibly retail distribution.

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