Self-Publishing Week in Review: 12/24/13

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry. This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Tuesday to find out the hottest news.

Obama’s Brother Is Self-Publishing an Autobiography to Set the Record Straight

Obama’s half brother Mark Obama Ndesandjo is self-publishing an autobiography detailing the abuse his mother suffered at the hands of their father. The book, Cultures: My Odyssey of Self-Discovery, will discuss Mark’s relationship with his brother as well as address supposed inaccuracies in the president’s own memoir.

My Long Road To Self-Publishing

John Biggs shares his publishing journey, which includes both traditional and self-publishing. He also discusses why crowdfunding is a viable alternative to traditional models.

Writing Memoirs: Telling The Ugly Truth in a Beautiful Way

This is a great article for memoir writers, even if they don’t plan to self-publish. The author talks about the process and  challenge of writing a readable, uplifting non-fiction book that deals with difficult facts. This is an inspiring article for memoir writers.

If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

Self-Publishing Week in Review: 12/17/13

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry. This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Tuesday to find out the hottest news.

5 Lessons From a Proud Self-Published Author

One of the best ways to improve your chance of success as a self-published author is learning from the mistakes and triumphs of other self-published authors. In this article, self-published author Jessica Smock shares five lessons that will help you improve your book. Every writer should read her advice.

10 Tips For Self-Publishing A Multi-Contributor Anthology

If you are planning to self-publish a multi-contributor anthology, this is a must read. The author shares 10 tips that will help the project go smoothly and make working with writers easier.

Self-published Seattle Author Tops Amazon Book Category List for Memoirs During Prime Holiday Shopping Season

Being on top of one of Amazon’s book lists is always a huge accomplishment, but to do it during the prime holiday shopping season is even more astounding. This article shares the success story of self-published memoir author  Molly McCord, who reached #2 on Amazon’s Memoirs: Adventurers and Explorers category.

If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

If You Self-Publish Your Memoir, Read This

Many self-publishing authors have questions about self-publishing a memoir and avoiding a libel suit. Libelous statements are published statements that are false and damaging. However, even if what you write is true, someone can still accuse you of libel. Here is what you need to know to protect yourself.

  • If you make negative statements about another person or entity that have not been proven in a court of law, you need written permission.
  • If you are unable to obtain written permission, take steps to protect yourself:
  • Change all names of people and places.
  • Use a pen name.
  • Do not include an author photo.
  • Do not include an author bio.
  • Consider listing the book under the “Fiction-Biography” genre rather than non-fiction.

I know these steps can sometimes be hard for memoir writers because they are so emotionally involved in their stories and they want the world to know their story. However, publishing a book without permissions can lead to legal, and possibly physical, danger. People such as abusers do not like the world knowing the truth, and they may retaliate against authors who share their stories.

Many publishers will reject the story for publication if the above  precautions are not taken.  Some authors think their “freedom of speech” allows them to say whatever they want.  Unfortunately, this is not the case!  If what they are saying infringes on someone else’s rights, they cannot publish without the other person’s permission.

However, it is possible to share your story by using the above precautions. There are plenty of people who use pen names and have very successful books. Don’t let fear of a libel suit prevent you from sharing your story, but do take the necessary steps to protect yourself.

You can learn about libel, by reading this previous post: Questions Self Publishing Authors Ask: Non-Fiction Book Considered Libelous.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 25 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps, publishing consultants and marketing professionals; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams and on assisting authors with marketing and promoting their book once published. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 8/16/13

What a joy to be completing yet another memoir!  When a ghostwriter is invited into a person’s life, it is like becoming an adopted child who just happens to have a passion for writing.  The excitement really explodes when that memoir becomes a self-published book—156 pages of adventure—true-life risk, reward, romance, beautiful moments and tears.

When I re-read last week’s blog, I couldn’t believe that I left out one significant category to consider when writing your memoir—pets!  For many people the critters in our lives become like family, maybe even closer than some family members.  Their daily walk with us—their unconditional love and acceptance—enhance our lives in varying degrees as well as bring smiles to visitors and neighbors.  So, I’ve developed a little “What my pet means to me,” list to help folks recall those little details about their pet that have added so much to their lives.

  • How did this animal come into your life?
  • If it is a dog, cat, horse, goat, pig, (etc.) what breed is it?  Was that important to you?  Why?  Why not.
  • Did this pet have a “story” before coming into your household?
  • What are the human characteristics that you see in your pet?  (loyal, courageous, shy, happy, playful, dedicated, helpful, ornery, a clown, rescuer, fearless, etc.)
  • What greeting (type of greeting) do you receive from your pet?
  • When did you first realize this special connection to your pet was more than an owner/pet relationship?
  • How would you describe that connection and its development over time?
  • What unique expression(s) or action(s) communicate this connection?
  • What events—during the life of this pet—have demonstrated this connection?  (brought you to someone who needed help; rescued you; alerted you to something you can’t explain; etc.)
  • There are now verified benefits to inviting a pet into your life.  Review these and express your personal experience with your pet as you recognize these benefits in your own life.
  • Social benefits:  Members of families feel closer to one another and generally happier; Pets are excellent topics of conversation; Friendly interaction with other people—pet owners and non-pet owners alike.
  • Physical benefits:  Calming effect, especially after a major physical event; Decreased blood pressure and stress levels; Reduction of minor health issues and/or need to see a doctor; Increase in physical activity, strength and wellness.
  • Emotional benefits:  Unique companionship after the loss of a family member or close friend; Less depression, anxiety and fear; A consistent uplifting effect that carries over to a willingness to step beyond ourselves and help others.

Although yet-to-be-completed, I have one client who is using this list to write a book dedicated to her best friend—a dog whose breed will remain unidentified until the whole story is lived, written, edited and self-published.  This author often tells me that she knows that God, Himself, sent this animal into her life for many purposes and, “some (if not most) of those purposes just might bless other people, too.”

These types of projects are just one of the many reasons I love working with self-publishing authors.  What they reveal are the moments in life when a person actually stops, identifies and shares the beautiful things in life—the gifts that enrich us and bring us joy.

Royalene ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.

Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 8/9/13

I love working with Memoir writers!

Just this morning, I spoke with a gentleman who is “just about ready” to begin the process of telling his Granddad’s life story and wants to be prepared to self-publish it “because the New York Library folks are waiting.” WOW! That is the first time I’ve heard about a library historian contacting someone and requesting a detailed manuscript.

“I don’t want a bunch of pages that have no life to them,” he continued. “There will be personal photos and historical references; even illustrations of tools that only exist in museums now.” Needless to say, I’m very excited to begin this project. I gave him my short outline of topics hoping that he will follow my suggestion and sort his “box full” of materials into category-specific file folders.

When I created my own mother’s Memoir book, I jumped into the project with little organization and no thought of self-publishing. Since then I’ve learned many lessons and realize that even if a person has no living blood-relatives, the historians of our world crave detailed stories of “real lives.” My local history librarian reminds me often: “Every person has unique experiences and life-lessons to share and the people walking the earth today need to know them.”

So to those who are considering writing a Memoir—your own or that of a family member—here is my short list of File Topics to get you started.

  •  Start with photos; a favorite picture of the main “character.” Then add all the photos you can find—even photos you don’t think you’ll actually use—as often a part of picture can be cropped to enhance the story.
  • Collect copies of documents. Birth certificates, marriage licenses, graduation certificates, baptism announcements, ID cards from military service and/or companies worked for, award certificates, driver’s licenses, etc.
  •  Print out the Family Tree. Just looking over the growth of this tree is exciting and gives valuable information.
  •  People in My Life. This file is really fun to build. I’ve seen a bit of everything in here including a photo torn in half with a note attached that said, “Missing piece is a reminder of my best boy-friend who moved away when I was 11 and we never saw each other again. I kept this half—the picture of him—and he has the other half, the picture of me.”
  •  States lived in. This can later be expanded to the trail taken by parents, grandparents…etc.
  • Education and Extra-curricular activities…
  • Marriage and Children…
  •  Faith and Beliefs…
  • Career(s) and Stewardship of Finances
  • My favorite…books, TV shows, movies, radio stations, etc.…and why.
  • Maturity (at any age)
  • Tough Times and Victories
  • The Legacy I hope to pass forward

These topics are then extended into numerous categories which become specific to your story as it is developed. This is where a ghostwriter can be of assistance. The old cliché quote, “No man is an island,” (John Donne, 1624) remains especially true in this genre of writing. The Memoir writer is so close to the events and emotional connections that often valuable pieces are lost. Building your Memoir with an unrelated writer who has experience in this field can create magic in the memories.

Royalene ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.