Hali‘a Aloha FAQs

Click on a question to expand and read the answer. Additional helpful information on publishing can be found in our Legacy Isle Publishing Resources section, though not everything there will apply to Haliʻa Aloha program participants.

General Program Information

What is the Haliʻa Aloha Series?

Haliʻa Aloha publishes memoirs—personal narratives based on an author’s life experiences. A hybrid book publishing program offering services that meet industry best practices, we accept collections of personal essays, poetry and/or prose, and especially celebrate micro-memoir forms.

What is micro memoir?

The micro-memoir format is a narrative style of 300 words or less. Our user-friendly Hali‘a Aloha workbook uses this model to help authors mine for material and create a finished manuscript incorporating the most essential and powerful elements. Haliʻa Aloha books can be a mix of micro memoirs or longer essays—the final creative product is up to you.

What makes Haliʻa Aloha different from other hybrid publishers?

Haliʻa Aloha is driven by our proprietary writing program, which uses weekly writing prompts to generate micro narratives. Even if a writer already has existing work they want to include, the goal of the Haliʻa Aloha program is to challenge memoirists to write and craft the best pieces they can for their collection. We help authors move from idea to published book in nine months or less. (Printing and shipping schedules be subject to factors outside our control, and may require additional time.)

How does the “self-guided” memoir-writing program work?

Both the Basic and Signature packages are designed for you to work through a series of writing exercises at a steady pace, using the detailed Hali‘a Aloha workbook as a guide. While these exercises are designed to help you generate a sufficient amount of writing to form the basis of your memoir, you decide what and how much you want to do and when to do it—while keeping in mind your writing cohort’s deadlines for submitting your work-in-progress samples and final manuscript. Signature Package clients also have the option to participate in Zoom meetings and workshops. All program participants receive regular check-in emails.

Can I use my own publishing logo?

No. This is not a self-published platform, but a hybrid platform which takes the best of both self and traditional publishing. Haliʻa Aloha is a writing and publishing program under the Legacy Isle Publishing imprint, which means you will be a member of our family of authors.

How big is a completed Hali‘a Aloha book?

Published print books have a page count of 104 to 120 pages in the series’ 5-inch by 8-inch softcover size. This corresponds roughly to a manuscript of 15,000 to 23,000 words in length. The final page count is impacted by the number of divisions (chapters or breaks) in your writing and—for Signature Package clients—whether your work includes any images.

Can I include photos or artwork in my memoir?

Signature Package clients have the option to include up to eight (8) pages of high-resolution black-and-white images. Please follow the spec guidelines in your closed-group Digital Resource Library when submitting images.

Do I have to be from Hawai‘i or write about Hawai‘i to be accepted in the Haliʻa Aloha program?

We welcome all authors who are interested in our approach. We especially want to celebrate the stories of those who call Hawai‘i home, whether you were born here, live here now or feel it is where your heart belongs. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

If I am paying for the program, why won’t you accept all submitted work?

As a hybrid program, we strive to maintain a high level of quality in the titles we release so that readers and authors can be assured that each book carrying the Legacy Isle imprint is a thoughtfully written, edited, professionally produced book. Legacy Isle Publishing reserves the right to reject material that might be considered hate speech, is defamatory, offensive or in poor taste, or promotes illegal activities. Work that deviates from the Hali‘a Aloha mission of sharing memoir may also be rejected or redirected to an alternative Legacy Isle publishing package.

Am I required to purchase a minimum number of books?

There is no minimum purchase requirement. As part of the publishing package, Signature Package clients receive ten (10) copies of their book, and Basic Package clients receive five (5) copies of their book. Additional copies are available at an author rate of 50% off the cover price, plus tax and shipping.

What will my book cover look like?

The covers for each Hali‘a Aloha cohort are designed to cohere as a group, and to the series as a whole, featuring a similar look and treatment. Each cohort will be assigned a set of designs, and you will be able to choose your cover from the available selections once your manuscript is submitted and accepted. See our library of other Hali‘a Aloha titles for an idea of what your cover might look like.

How long will it take for my book to be published?

Once you approve the final proof of your manuscript from the printer, it will take anywhere from three to eight weeks for delivery of your finished books and release to the retail market.

Will my book be considered self-published or traditionally published?

The Haliʻa Aloha program is a hybrid program. Authors pay to be a part of the writing and publishing program, but receive royalties from any retail sales once their book is published. Legacy Isle Publishing is an imprint of Watermark Publishing, an established small press with a long track record of distinguished, award-winning titles under both imprints; we do not accept all titles submitted and are proud to maintain a set of standards for editorial and production quality.

Will people be able to buy my book?

All Hali‘a Aloha titles will be released under the Legacy Isle Publishing imprint as part of the Hali‘a Aloha Series; an ISBN will be provided and registered with Legacy Isle Publishing as the publisher of record. Books will be available for public sale in print format via Amazon.com, Bookshop.org and the Barnes & Noble website, and potentially others in our distributor’s network; guaranteed distribution to physical stores is not a component of the program. Signature Package client books will also be available for public sale in e-book format via Amazon.com and the Apple Book Store. If you are a Basic Package client, you will need to either upgrade to the Signature package or purchase the e-book add-on in order to have your book released in that format. You may purchase copies of your book at your author’s discount to give away or resell direct to customers or to other retailers. See additional information regarding bookselling in the Distribution section of this FAQ.

Do I have to allow the public to see/buy my book?

No. You may choose to exclude your book from the retail portion of the program or any announcement of new releases. Your book, however, will still be displayed on our website as a Hali‘a Aloha series title, with your name attached.

What are the major deadlines I should know about?

Enrollment for each cohort closes three weeks prior to the session start date. Welcome packets with program materials are mailed out two weeks before the session start. 
Two work-in-progress submissions must be turned in during the first three months of the session.
You should aim to complete your final manuscript around Week 26 of the program (about seven months after the session starts). You will need at least a few weeks for the proofing process, and Signature Clients will need extra time for their developmental edit consultations and any resulting revisions. Submitting your final draft between seven and nine months into the program is considered on track.
You must submit your manuscript or request to archive no later than twelve months after the cohort start. (See below regarding cancellations and refunds.)

Read our Program Requirements & Timeline section for more details on deadlines.

What if I don’t submit my manuscript on time?

One of the aims of the Hali‘a Aloha program is to see your book to completion, rather than allowing your incomplete manuscript to languish in a drawer or on your hard drive. The success of the program and your book depends on your ability to meet the agreed-upon deadlines. If for any reason you expect that you won’t be able to complete your manuscript on time, you can archive your project for up to one year and re-instate it for a fee. As we only have a limited number of spaces in each cohort, we ask that authors check their dates and commitments to ensure that they can meet the obligations of the program before agreeing to join. Rescheduling will depend on space availability in a future cohort.

What is your cancellation/refund policy?

Space in each cohort is limited, and the expectation of the program is that each participant will complete the course and add their book to the series. Hali‘a Aloha participants should view the program as a writing course where published copies of their book are the equivalent of passing a final exam, and not as a book production and publishing service. (Please see Legacy Isle Publishing’s other services, if that’s what you’re looking for.) As with any other similar program, a participant’s failure to complete the course does not have a bearing on their enrollment fee. Clients may cancel the purchase of a package and receive a refund in full if cancellation is made at least one month (30 days) prior to the cohort start date, and if the course welcome package has not been sent. A 70% refund will be issued for cancellations made less than one (1) month and at least two (2) weeks prior to the cohort start date; if the client has received the welcome package materials, they must be returned at the customer’s own expense within five (5) business days. Refunds will not be issued for requests made less than two (2) weeks prior to the start date; any materials received must be returned. No refunds will be issued for production service upgrades (e.g. additional photos, proof changes, page increases, etc.) or editorial consultations once they’ve occurred. Clients who are unable to complete their book within the deadline will not be issued any refunds, but may opt to archive their project for up to a year, and reinstate the process for a fee.

Who do I contact if I have a question?

General questions can be sent to the Haliʻa Aloha team at haliaaloha@legacyislepublishing.net.

Basic Package Information

I bought a Basic package. Can I upgrade to the Signature package?

Requests to upgrade to the Signature Package will be accepted up to one month (30 days) prior to the cohort start date. Upgrading is subject to space availability.

Signature Package Information

What happens after I submit my manuscript for a developmental review?

You’ll receive a three- to four-page letter within ten (10) business days with comments and suggestions. Areas of your manuscript may be highlighted and annotated as well. You can schedule a consult to discuss the feedback with Series Editor Darien Hsu Gee and/or the editorial team before you begin revisions. Once you complete the revisions, you will re-submit your manuscript directly into the production process, during which it will undergo proofreading by our editorial team.

What if I miss a Facebook Live or Zoom workshop?

The online workshops and Q&A sessions for Signature Package clients are optional and will be recorded. Check your email or your private cohort Facebook page for more information.


Do I have to follow the Hali‘a Aloha program workbook?

The workbook is designed to keep you writing regularly—and to help you generate enough material for a finished book—but it’s up to you if you need it. We do recommend that you keep track of key dates for submitting your work, and make sure you’re on schedule to submit your final manuscript on time.

What if I already have written a memoir but it’s not in the micro-memoir format?

As long as it meets our final word count range of 16,000 to 23,000 words (corresponding to our finished book size of approximately 112 pages) and adheres to our editorial and community guidelines, it shouldn’t be a problem. The mico-memoir format is helpful and correlates more with the way most of us lead our lives, in ordinary moments filled with personal significance, but it is not a requirement for the Hali‘a Aloha Series. Longer format works are perfectly acceptable.

What if my manuscript is shorter or longer than the word count range?

The acceptable word count range varies due to a number of factors, such as the length of individual pieces, how many breaks (sections, chapters or others) and any images that may appear in the book. Our focus is the page count of the finished book: a minimum of 104 pages and up to 120. We will contact you if you are over or under the page count parameters, and work with you to meet the publishing criteria.

I have Hawaiian or foreign words in my manuscript. Can you help with accents and marks?

Authors are responsible for checking any diacritical marks or foreign words that appear in their manuscript. Our proofreading team reviews Hawaiian and foreign words for spelling, but they are only human and non-English words are the most likely to be misread. If you are using Hawaiian, you can choose to use diacritical marks (‘okina or kahakō) or not; the usage must be consistent, and you are responsible for inserting the marks if you wish to use them. Hawaiian language usage information is included in the closed-group cohort Digital Resource Library.

What if I have special formatting requirements?

Non-standard formatting requests may be made to the editorial team and if accepted, may incur an additional fee.

Can I submit poetry or include recipes?

Yes! Any non-standard formatting may incur an additional fee, so please check with us if you have questions about your work.

Can I quote song lyrics, poems or other writers’ work?

Any work that you are not the author or creator of must be cleared for use by the rights holder. Proof of permission is required.

Is anyone looking at the quality of the writing in my memoir?

All participants must submit two work-in-progress check-ins during the first three (3) months of the program so that our team can ensure you are on the right track. No editorial feedback will be given on this work. However, Signature Package clients have the option to receive feedback on their work throughout the program—up to two (2) pieces of 300 words max per piece at the ends of Months 1, 2 and 3—as well as a developmental edit of their completed manuscript. All clients receive a final proofread of their work by a Legacy Isle editor before it goes to press. We recognize that authors are at different stages of their writing journeys, and the emphasis in the Hali‘a Aloha program is on telling your story in an authentic voice, rather than nitpicking all of your writing choices. If you have concerns about polishing your writing or are looking for more in-depth feedback than your package includes, Series Editor Darien Hsu Gee offers coaching sessions, and our editorial team can offer more intensive editing. All submitted manuscripts must meet our editorial and community guidelines, and any work that does not meet our standards will be turned back for revision or removal.

I’d like additional coaching or intensive editing. How do I do this?

Signature Package clients can add additional consultations with Series Editor Darien Hsu Gee for $65/hour, Basic Package clients at $90/hour. Scheduling and payment are arranged directly with Darien. Intensive editing prices depend upon the condition of the work submitted and range from $65 to $90 per hour. Intensive editing services include the finer points of editing, such as advising on word choice, narrative logic, structure and consistency. Intensive editing may delay the production and publication of your book. Payment is due before your book is sent to print and will be billed by Legacy Isle Publishing.

Who verifies my manuscript for factual accuracy?

Authors are responsible for fact checking their work; the publisher and its agents do not review the work for factual accuracy. Our author agreement stipulates that clients are solely responsible for the content of their manuscripts and by signing, the author confirms that the material contains no libelous or injurious material. This is a memoir program and while personal interpretations and paraphrasing may be appropriate, authors should refrain from fictionalizing or fabricating incidents or details. Authors are solely responsible for any claims that may arise from the publication of their work and agree to hold harmless and indemnify Legacy Isle Publishing and its agents.

I’m not really good with Microsoft Word or technology in general. Can you help me?

We regret we are unable to offer technical support. All work must be submitted as a Microsoft Word* document, following the formatting standards outlined in the closed-group Digital Resource Library (accessible only to program participants). If you are unfamiliar with Microsoft, we suggest taking a tutorial class (paid or free, check YouTube) or enlisting help on your own if you need it. You should also be comfortable with submitting materials via email or upload link, as well as downloading or viewing PDFs online. Editorial feedback and production proofs will be returned to you in digital format, utilizing the Microsoft Word “Track Changes” function and/or Adobe PDF comments. If any of these terms or formats are unfamiliar to you, please find outside support to familiarize yourself with these tools before committing to the program.
*It’s fine if you compose your manuscript in an alternate program, however you will need to export it to Microsoft Word before submitting. We have some helpful info here on how to do this if you are using Google Docs.


Can I submit my Hali‘a Aloha manuscript to a literary agent or publisher?

All completed Hali‘a Aloha manuscripts will be published under the series imprint with an ISBN registered to Legacy Isle Publishing, whether or not the book is made available for public sale. Most literary agents and publishers will consider this work as “previously published” work even though it was under a hybrid program.

Am I able to submit individual pieces elsewhere?

If your Haliʻa Aloha book is not yet published, you can submit individual pieces elsewhere. If your work is selected for publication in a literary journal (not as a full-length book), then you will need to include the reprint permission in your acknowledgments. Once your book publishes, you will most likely need to withdraw your work, as most literary journals request first rights to publish the work—you should check their guidelines. Many anthologies will accept previously published work—again, check their specific guidelines. Be sure to check submission guidelines to confirm that any time limits on future publication of the submitted work does not conflict with your Hali‘a Aloha release date.

Can I submit work to you that has already been published?

If you hold the rights to your work, and if it does not infringe on any publishing or rights agreement you have previously made regarding the work or parts of the work, and if the work in its entirety has not been previously published, you can submit the work with the proper acknowledgments and attributions. Authors are responsible for managing, securing and disclosing their rights information.

Can my book be available for pre-orders?

If the Hali‘a Aloha timeline is followed, most releases will have a window of two weeks to one month between final proof approval and the public on-sale date, during which the public can pre-order books. Books submitted on time will be available for pre-order in print and/or digital format, according to the package parameters.

How much does it cost for me to buy my own book?

Authors may purchase copies of their own books at 50% off the retail price, plus tax and shipping. The current retail price of a Hali‘a Aloha Series title is USD $16.00. Authors do not receive royalties on purchases of their own books.

How many proofs of my book will I receive?

You will receive a digital proof of your book. We do not offer physical review copies or galleys for your book.

How long will my book remain in print?

A yearly renewal agreement will be sent to you to confirm that you want to keep your book in print for the next year. If no confirmation is received, your book will be removed from our sales channels.

Can I see a sample of what my book will look like?

To get an idea of what a Hali‘a Aloha release looks like, please visit our gallery of current releases. If you would like to see the interior style, the “Look Inside the Book” function on Amazon.com is enabled for all titles, or you can purchase individual copies of releases. A set of our first three releases is available at a special price at our online bookstore. Once your cohort begins, you’ll be able to see the options for covers (available first-come-first-served as manuscripts are submitted) and you will receive a proof of your book in layout after your final manuscript has been submitted.

Additional Services

Will you scan my photos for me?

We appreciate when clients are able to supply their own high-resolution image files. However, if you do not have access to a scanner and do not understand what it means to scan the image at 300dpi, we can do a basic image scan for you. We do not offer image retouching or other image manipulation services. It is the client’s responsibility to deliver and pick up original images for scanning.

Can I have color photos or artwork in my book?

We are not supporting color images at this time. You may submit high-resolution images in color; they will be converted to black-and-white for you.

Can you help me write a press release?

Signature Package clients have the option to receive a standard press release and sales information sheet for their Haliʻa Aloha title.


Who owns the copyright of my book?

You own the copyright of your book. Legacy Isle Publishing owns the design and production copyright of the book’s design and layout (cover and interior), as well as the Haliʻa Aloha Series and Legacy Isle Publishing names. By signing the program agreement, you authorize Legacy Isle Publishing to design, produce and make available your manuscript as a published book in all formats as stipulated by your contract.

Can I re-publish the book elsewhere, or in a different format?

Under the terms of this program, Haliʻa Aloha authors may NOT use the files (book cover, interior pages or e-book) created by Legacy Isle Publishing, nor use the ISBN assigned to your book by Legacy Isle, the Hali‘a Aloha Series or Legacy Isle Publishing logos or names in connection with any printing or publishing not contracted through Legacy Isle Publishing. You may not furnish copies of Legacy Isle-produced files to any third-party to sell or give away copies in print or digital format. Providing our files to a third party without our authorization is a violation of our copyright and brand rights. Your manuscript text belongs to you, and may be reproduced or distributed without the use or inclusion of the above.

Can I share or reproduce the book cover?

You may use your front and/or back cover images to promote sales of your book, or announce its release, including promotional collateral materials (bookmarks, etc.), social shares and advertisements. You may not use the images in connection with a republished version of your book.


Will I be paid royalties on my book?

Yes. A royalty amount of 70% of the net amounts received by Legacy Isle Publishing on sales of print or electronic copies will be paid out semi-annually.


How will people find my book?

It is up to the author to drive sales of their own book. Each Hali‘a Aloha title will have its own listing page on our website with links to primary points of sale. Signature Package clients are also permitted to submit links to their personal webpage and social media accounts. Hali‘a Aloha titles are distributed through the Ingram supply network and may be purchased through any seller working with Ingram, provided the seller wishes to offer the title. We suggest that authors create author profile accounts on platforms such as Bookshop.org, Amazon’s Author Central and Goodreads; these tools can help you drive sales. Legacy Isle Publishing also makes a quarterly announcement of newly released and forthcoming Hali‘a Aloha titles.

How do I get more copies of my book?

You can place an order with us at any time. Please keep in mind that printing and shipping takes anywhere from two weeks to a month. We will do our best to give you an accurate time frame and estimated shipping cost.

How do I get my book into bookstores?

Hali‘a Aloha titles are produced under a print-on-demand structure. Consequently, some bookstores are unwilling to stock titles because they are unable to return them, an industry practice. By making polite inquiries with store managers, you may be able to successfully request that they take a risk on bringing in your books or make an arrangement for consignment sales using inventory you provide. Basic information on book selling will be provided to Hali‘a Aloha authors as part of their packages.

How do I find out how many copies of my book have sold?

Book sales reports, including both print and e-book sales, are sent semi-annually with your royalty payments in May and November (for March-close and September-close periods). We do not run on-demand sales reports. By claiming your Author Central account on Amazon, you will have access to BookScan reports, which track print book sales via booksellers. Note that BookScan data does not include 100% of books sold and may not match up with your final sales report.


What kind of marketing or promotions will you do?

Signature Package clients have the option to receive a standard press release and sales sheet for use in promoting their book. Legacy Isle Publishing makes a quarterly announcement of newly released and forthcoming Hali‘a Aloha titles. We also provide a list of ideas and resources in the Digital Resource Library (accessible to program participants only). 

Technical/Website Issues

How do I download files from Dropbox?

You do not need a Dropbox account in order to download files. Simply look for the download icon in the upper right area (it looks like a downward pointing arrow: If you have a Dropbox account and are logged in, you may not see this icon and will need to look for the three-dot “more” menu icon; click that for the option to download.)

I can’t find my downloads!

Check out this post for Windows users: Find my downloads in Windows 10
Check out this post for Mac users: Download Items from the web

How do I access my Facebook cohort page?

You will receive information in your Welcome Packet on joining the private Facebook page for your cohort.

I’m not on Facebook or any social media.

The Facebook workshops and Q&A sessions are optional. We will also be hosting one or two sessions via Zoom and you will be notified of those workshops if you would like to join.

I can’t find the weekly emails from you!

Verify you’re on the cohort newsletter list. Be sure to add haliaaloha@legacyislepublishing.net to your contacts. Your first email newsletter (“Your Hali‘a Aloha Welcome Packet is On the Way!”) was sent when your Welcome Packet was mailed. If you didn’t receive it, check your junk, clutter, spam or promotions folder. If you still can’t find it, send an email to the address above.

Who do I contact if I have a question?

Questions can be sent to the Haliʻa Aloha team at haliaaloha@legacyislepublishing.net.