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Self Publishing Your Autobiography

Self publishing your autobiography is fun, and will bring back a flood of memories. The advantage of developing and printing your own autobiography book is that have the flexibility to create it any way you like. Of course the real value of autobiography books is they become part of your family’s history and legacy … a book that is cherished for decades (even centuries) to come.

Where to Start
If you have not written your manuscript yet, there are a few things to consider before you get started ...

How Do I Produce the Autobiography Manuscript?
Most people write their autobiography manuscripts on their home computers, using one of the more popular word processors like Microsoft Word, or WordPerfect, (even Works is OK).

It is important to remember that all the content or text of your manuscript should be in one contiguous file. When all the chapters are saved as individual files, at some point they all have to brought together as one file, so it is best to write your manuscript in the same file rather than creating a new one each chapter.

Selecting the software to write you manuscript should not be confusing. We do recommend some of the better quality software packages as they offer more features. We have outlined some of most common to help you select.

Microsoft Word
This is one of the more common word processing software in use today. It’s quite easy to use and produces good print results. Unfortunately, it does not handle images and graphics particularly well, so we are reluctant to recommend it where images in manuscripts are needed.

Adobe InDesign and Quark Express
These are best for book layouts, even though they are more complex to use. They can handle complicated page design and produce excellent results for both text and images. If you are doing a lot of graphics (such as photographs) this software is an excellent choice. The draw back of these programs is that they can take time to learn and cam be somewhat pricey for the average pocket book.

Corel Word Perfect
This is another great word processor. You can write and edit your book in Word Perfect with very good results. It handles both text and graphics quite well and is not too difficult to learn.

At we offer a variety of layout out and services if you don't want to get involved in that aspect of manuscript creation.

Editing and Proofreading your Autobiography
It is critical that your book is edited by someone before you submit if for “proofing”. It is our experience that authors, no matter who good they are at writing, tend to overlook typing, spelling and other errors in their own works. 

Autobiography Size Layout
The paper your book will be printed on comes in a number of specific sizes, so it’s best to try and keep within the more cost effective formats if possible. If your book is to be sold in book stores and other commercial businesses, there are specific formats or book sizes that are preferred by bookstores (and expected by readers).

If your autobiography is going to be either hardcover or soft cover, some of the more common sizes and ones that most book stores will prefer autobiography books be printed at are either 5.5”x 8.5” or 6”x 9”.

Autobiography Binding Types
There are typically two ways your autobiography can be put together or “bound”, and here they are with their pros and cons.

  1. Perfect Binding: This type is for books with approximately 40 to 300 pages: These types of books use a soft cover, but retain the “book feel” of a quality book because they have a square back. Most pocket books for example, use “perfect binding”. Advantages; they are less expensive than hard cover to produce, but still look very good (especially with a color cover). Disadvantages, the covers can tend to wear out with heavy use (we do recommend lamination to help prevent this) these books don’t have the same premium appearance as hard cover books, but are still an excellen choice.

  2. Hardcover: 50 to 1,000 pages: These are … the most expensive to produce, but are also the most valued. They look excellent, and are long lasting and robust. They are often more desirable by some people as they are a premium product and command a top dollar, for autobiographies, hardcover books may be your best option. Disadvantages, cost and excess weight for shipping.

Autobiography Cover
The cover of your printed book is a very important element. It should reflect the amount of time, and effort and reflect the content of the book.

Your potential readers will be left with a positive impression of your book when you take more time in thinking about what your cover should be like.

The front cover should have the title of the book and the author’s and sometimes a saying or maybe a quotation from the author. The back cover could be left blank, a description of the book, or a paragraph about the author. What ever you put on the back, we recommend that it be something that is … in aid of selling or promoting the book if is going to be for commercial purposes. Each book and each author will have different needs.

In terms of size, the cover of the book will need to be slightly larger than the actual book. This is to allow for trimming of the final book and cover to make nice clean lines on all three exposed sides. If you are going to be making a “perfect bind” book, you will also need to allow for the thickness of the back of the book (spine) as determined by the number of pages in the book.

If you will be using any images or graphics on the cover that need to print with high quality, we recommend using a professional graphic program like Adobe Photoshop for best results.

We highly recommend color covers, and lamination. They are attractive and wear well over time.

Most authors are not graphic artists, and coming up with a book cover can be very difficult.

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#1 sarah 2010-10-25 16:17
need a cover example for turning in my autobiography.