Here is a selection of questions we are often asked at YouByYou Books.
1. I have very little experience of writing. Does it matter?
No, our advice is aimed at beginners as well as more experienced writers. We give guidance with style and grammar, and will even ‘ghost-write’ your manuscript for you. If you prefer talking about your life to writing about it, we will tape your story and provide you with a transcript.
2. Does my manuscript have to be written on a computer?
No. We suggest that you write using the method with which you are most comfortable; pen and paper, typewriter or computer.
3. I have started my life story, but seem to have lost my way.
Losing motivation is not uncommon. We can read what you have written so far and give you suggestions about how to carry on. You can come to us at any stage of the writing process.
4. I have finished my manuscript but don't know what to do next.
Who do you want to read your book? Knowing your audience — family, friends or the general public — will play a large part in determining what you do next. We would be happy to talk to you at this stage.
1. Do you publish books?
No, we are not a commercial publisher. If you want to get your manuscript published, look for literary agents and publishers in The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook which is produced annually.
2. Are you a vanity publisher?
No, we are not a vanity publisher either. We don't encourage authors to pay thousands of pounds for their book when they have little realistic chance of it selling.
3. Are you a private publisher?
Yes, most of our books are produced for private use, in other words they are not sold to the public. There are two exceptions to this rule. First, we will help you self-publish a book for fund-raising purposes; and second, we will help you sell your book if you have a clearly defined or local audience.
4. What is an ISBN number?
An ISBN number is a code which allows bookshops and internet booksellers to order your book.
5. Do you market and distribute books?
We do not offer a full marketing and distribution service. We will give you FREE posters of the front cover of your book which you can use as part of your own publicity material. We will also advertise your book on YouByYou's website. Many people find that their local newspaper or parish magazine are interested in their life story and this is a good way to get publicity.
6. Am I responsible for selling my book?
Yes, you are. We will give your book publicity on YouByYou's website, but customers will contact you directly to buy a copy. You will keep all the proceeds from any sales.
7. Do you produce books other than life stories?
Our area of expertise is life story writing. Occasionally, people who have written a life story go on to write a second book, such as a volume of poetry or a fund-raising book with us.
8. Are you able to work with people outside the UK?
Yes, we have worked with a number of overseas customers. We usually communicate by email which is quick and efficient. Depending on the country we either have the books printed locally, or we print them here and have them shipped to the customer.