Memoirs and biographies have always been popular genres. There is fascination in someone else's story, whether it's personally relatable or vastly different from one's own life. Biography usually refers to someone famous, while memoir is an unknown person.
As publishers of memoirs in our Tell Your Story series, we have learned a few things to keep in mind as you write your memoir or life story.
Protecting Privacy. Your story will feature other real people, who may or may not want to be named or even written about. But you can't tell an honest, compelling story without them. To avoid libel claims, think about changing names, which means you have to keep track of everyone with a table or spreadsheet. Or write the story with the real names, and go back and change them all before it's published. Either way, you'll need a system to keep track of who's who.
Permissions. Getting permission from everyone in your story is ideal, but that's not always desirable or possible. It's best to keep them unrecognizable, change the names, and not say anything in the book about them that isn't true and isn't derogatory. You may need legal advice if you're not sure if you're being libelous.
Decide whether to use pictures. You should get permission from anyone in a picture before using it, as well as permission from any professional photographers, and give them credit.
Poems, songs or other quotes should be thoroughly cited and permission granted, unless in the public domain. Internet and website searches usually give you this information, or your editor can help direct you.
Book Structure. Plan out your structure in advance, such as time sequencing. Will the book jump among several time periods, or tell the story from beginning to end? Book coaches and developmental editors can help with this.
Purpose. What is the purpose of telling your story? For your own catharsis? To leave a legacy? To help or inspire others in similar situations? To make money or create a platform and name for yourself or a related business or cause? It will help to know your purpose before you start writing and marketing the book.
We are here to answer any questions about memoir writing and publishing.
Patty and Lonnie
One of our authors, Tracey Warren, who wrote Six-Word Lessons for Social Media, presented a very informative workshop in July that several of our authors attended either in person or through Zoom videoconferencing. It was a fun, interactive time with a lot of discussion and sharing of ideas. Thank you so much, Tracey, for sharing your knowledge! Here are some of the ideas she shared:
Real Life Marketing
Find champions and advocates and ask them for help.
Offer book copies as door prizes at events.
Ask to be a guest on podcasts, TV and radio shows.
Send press releases out.
Ask for reviews from anyone you give a book to.
Partner with a nonprofit by giving a portion of book sale proceeds to them in return for their help.
Donate books to relevant organizations that could bring exposure/sales.
Include books for attendees when speaking and wrap the cost into your fee.
Offer free copies to waiting rooms that might bring exposure and fit your book topic
Post your book in your e-mail signature line with an Amazon link
Use Amazon affiliates for extra profit
Sign up for Help a Reporter Out (HARO) and offer yourself as an expert
Guest blog with relevant partners
Social Media Marketing
Use your 100 lessons as individual posts
Use videos and blogs that Pacelli Publishing created for you on all platforms
Create graphics or smartphone photos with text for Pinterest and instagram
Ask for reviews on Linkedin, FB, etc.
Create and post graphics of Amazon reviews
Add your book as a "publication" on Linkedin
Dr. Tulinda Larsen, drone pilot and founder and CEO of Skylark Drone Research, has written and published her second book with us, Six-Word Lessons for a Trustworthy Drone Business. She shares 100 lessons on the many facets of operating a drone business, including licenses required and types of business opportunities. It also has great advice for anyone wanting to hire a drone entrepreneur for their company or project. Her first book was Six-Word Lessons for the Drone Hobbyist.
Our upcoming book is also in the drone category, Six-Word Lessons to Sell More Real Estate Using Drones, by Realtor Kevin Brennan from Maryland. Kevin was referred to us by Tulinda Larsen. It is full of great ideas on how realtors can make their listings more captivating by using drone video and photography.
Createspace is moving to Kindle Direct Publishing so please watch for e-mails from Lonnie if you are a published author with books on createspace. There will be a different process for ordering your book copies.
Let us know how we can help in any way with your book writing and publishing needs!
Lonnie and Patty Pacelli
We value our authors and want to help them promote, market and sell their books, so we provide them with marketing tools to help with this sometimes overwhelming task. Our Six-Word Lessons authors receive each of the tools below to help them get the word out about their book:
New Books and Topics
We have more than 10 authors working on book proposals or manuscripts on various topics, such as Branding, Drone Use, Bipolar Disorder, Content Marketing, Wine Appreciation, Forgiveness and more. Let us know if you have ideas for new topics that you or someone you know could write.
Enjoy your summer and let us know how we can help you in your book writing and publishing!
Patty and Lonnie Pacelli
--By Patty Pacelli and Karen Lynn Maher
Whether your manuscript is self-published, traditionally published, or independently published, you need to know that it's ready for the next phase before it can be published and offered for sale. Along with our colleague, Karen Lynn Maher of LegacyOne Authors, we have defined the three phases of manuscript readiness and what you need to do to move ahead to get your book published.
Phase 1 - Content Ready
Karen works with authors as a coach to help them with much of this phase. We work with Six-Word Lessons authors to help them through this phase as well. Here are the main steps you need to have your content ready:
In this phase, you will work with peers and professionals to contribute to preparing the book for publication.
In this final phase, your publisher will work with you to make decisions about the final physical book product and help produce it and get it up for sale. Whether you do it yourself or use various teams of publishers or vendors, the goal is to make the book look like a traditionally-published book. The Independent Book Publishers Association has an Industry Standards Checklist for a Professional Published Book that will help in this phase.
Patty and Karen
As you probably know, video is getting more relevant and common in all types of marketing, and it generally gets more attention than still images or text alone. Have you used it to promote your book? There are several different ways to use video, some of which our authors have done. Here are some ways that Pacelli Publishing authors have used video:
Facebook Live - This is fairly easy. You must use Facebook from your phone and having some type of tripod is helpful. Our author Tracey Warren uses it frequently to share about her business, which is connected to her book about Social Media. Jenni Butz also did a series of Facebook live videos featuring lessons from her book on Communication. Lance Carter regularly shares Facebook Live and other forms of videos, including a video of himself opening the first shipment of his new book!
To start your Facebook Live video, proceed to share a post as usual, but look for the video camera and touch that. Then start recording. You can share it if you're happy with it, or start over.
Webcam Video - This uses your computer's camera, but works similar to Facebook live. Just record yourself in any setting you'd like to talk about your book and/or business. Lonnie has used this in combination with PowerPoint to have text and graphics along with his own comments on video. Nikki Rausch, author Six-Word Lessons on Influencing with Grace, regularly uses videos in her office setting to share tips. The benefit of this method over Facebook live is that it can be stored on YouTube and used for other purposes, such as archived on your website, or shared on other social media.
Animation Video - We have used Fiverr.com to have someone create "Whiteboard Animation" videos to promote specific books, and our latest, the Six-Word Lessons series. We posted it on our YouTube channel and can share it in many different ways. Here is our latest describing our Six-Word Lessons process.
TURNING YOUR BOOK INTO AUDIO
Audio books are becoming more popular and easier to buy for customers, so adding an audio version of your book is something to think about. We recently met Kris Keppler, who does voice recording of books, creating an MP4 file that you can publish as an audio book. Check out her blog post for more information about audio.
If you are working on writing your book, set aside at least 20 minutes a day, for as many days of the week as you can realistically commit to. This will keep you in the habit of writing and you will get better and more comfortable with it. Keep track of how much you can get done in each session and estimate your time for finishing your first draft. This will help you determine when the book can be published. Allow several weeks for any peer reviews you want done, and time to make your reviewers' changes. Lastly, you will submit the manuscript to an editor, and it will enter the final phase of editing, formatting, and publication. Just remember, at least 20 minutes a day!
If you are still writing your first book, you should call yourself a "writer." If you have published your book, call yourself an "author." Tell everyone you talk to what you do when they ask ("I'm a writer/author") and tell them about your book. Spread the word!
Use social media that you are already using to post about your writing process and ask for advice or opinions, or post excerpts from your book. The Six-Word Lessons books are perfect for short tweets with a brief description and a link to the book.
Posts about our latest books and hints and tips for authors and writers about self-publishing, writing and marketing your book.