How to Write a Book about Your Life
We live in a marvelous age. Personal computers are in nearly every home and public library, so that most people have access to one. This is the perfect tool to write your heirloom book of memoirs to share with your grandchildren. They will be so impressed that Grandma is a techie. And you can produce your book at a very low cost.
Printing a small number of books, say one hundred or so, is very expensive – almost as expensive as printing a large number of books, one thousand or five thousand. Even book publishers try out unknown material with an e-book first to see how well it sells. Why shouldn’t you follow their lead and save some money at the same time?
Many of us learned to type in high school. The typing skills you have transfer directly to the computer keyboard. So, if you type, open your word processing program and get typing. If you can only hunt and peck at the keyboard, you may want to record your book and pay someone to transcribe it to the computer. Or, if your handwriting is legible, you may write it out and later find someone to key it into a computer. You probably have lots of tales from family history and your own adventures to share with the family and hand down from generation to generation.
You may be surprised to know that a short e-book is about 5,000 words and they often go to 10,000 words or more. E-books can be shorter than printed books because they cost so little to produce. Don’t be discouraged if you only have one or two pages after a whole day at the computer or typewriter. A page of double-spaced type is generally about 250-300 words. Writing a book takes a while. Give yourself plenty of time. This can be one of your hobbies.
If you choose to dictate it will take you less time. But don’t declare yourself finished too soon. Other ideas will come to mind that you will want to put in your book. When dictating, it’s a good idea to keep to one chapter or event at a time. Make notes about other things you want to include, but remember the transcriber will key in exactly what you say, so you can’t jump around.
Both Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble have step-by-step instructions of how to turn your computer file into an e-book. If these mystify you, you may be successful in recruiting a grandchild or local computer geek. If not, then Elance.com will help you find a person to do the job. Or even a writer who will hear your stories and write them up professionally and put them in an e-book for you.
If you are set on a book you can hold in your hands and want one to give to every grandchild, then Office Depot, FedEx or another local copy shop is your best bet. They can photocopy your book and even bind it. This will cost a lot less than going with a vanity publisher or book printer who will want to print at least one thousand copies. You do not need a garage full of books. There are even computer programs that will take your text and lay it out for a booklet, five and a half by eight and a half inches. You can get the copy shop to staple it at the fold (this is called saddle stitched) or you can buy a special stapler and do it yourself.
However you choose to make your heirloom book, your family will enjoy it for generations to come.