Monday, November 5, 2012

The Second 10 Steps to Prepare Your Memoir/Autobiography.

In an earlier blog post, we explored the first ten steps to preparing the materials to create your memoir manuscript. The steps below finish the process up to printing/publishing your book.

1. Prepare all photos. Adding photos to your memoir goes a long way toward connecting people with your stories. For step- by-step instructions on how to compile and organize your photos for your project, please read Preparing Photos for Your Manuscript.
2. Decide which parts of a book that you will employ. Essentially, you are creating a rough outline of your book. Do you need a foreword explaining why this project is important to you? A table of contents to guide the reader through their journey? Other parts to consider are a list of photos or an index to help readers find important information fast. (link for list of parts of book)

3. Design the pages. While a book is mainly text and occasionally photos, there should be no less thought and design into the look of the book pages than of a intensely graphic publication. How do you want your chapter pages to do look? Are you numbering chapters or naming them based on the events occurring within or both? Where do you want the page numbers? Consideration should be given to font styles and sizes that ensure clean, crisp lines and overall readability. If a chapter is going to be divided up into smaller stories, make sure to come up with a decorative element to achieve the separation.

4. Design a cover. We all know the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Like it is or not, that is what happens. It’s best to have the cover of your book professionally designed. Imagery should be appropriate to the content of the book and the back should include a book summary and very short author bio (see items number 6 and 7 below. Don’t forget spine copy and a barcode!

5. Determine the price. The price of your book is going to include printing costs, publisher’s cost (if any), and something for yourself.

6. Send copies of manuscript printout to writers of preface, foreword and other book reviewers,  as needed. These should be clean copies with no mark ups. (You may label these with the caveat of “draft reviewers copy or unedited publishers proof.”

7. Receive blurbs, preface and reviews. Edit or excerpt pieces for back of cover and for publicity. Some of these items may be used in press releases, event flyers and other means of marketing and selling your book.

8. Set the pages. The design created in step three will be used as a template to format the entire book into a cohesive and easy-to-read final document.

9. Set a complete cover with all necessary elements. Finalize all blurb selections; edit as required. Ensure all text is legible and no imagery is distracting from readability.

10. Perform a complete review. Proof your page layout and cover. Have another professional go over a copy at the same time. Once all changes have been incorporated, your book will be ready.

Nancy E. Randolph operates Just Write Books, a publishing business with the tag line: Maine books by Maine authors telling Maine stories. Randolph quickly developed a reputation as a publisher of quality Maine books. An active community member along with two others she founded and serves as a member of the board of Save Our Swinging Bridge.Org to ensure the maintenance of the historic Roebling designed and built bridge connecting Topsham and Brunswick. She co-chairs with Cathy Lamb the Androscoggin Brunswick-Topsham Riverwalk project--building a 2K walking/biking intown loop. To contact her directly:

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