You don't have to know someone famous to write a biography worth reading – anyone can publish their story. If you've ever considered creating a biography of a noteworthy person in your life or community, there are many ways to do it and a self-publishing company can help.
A biography is a third-person account of someone's life story. To create this type of book, you'll need to identify the purpose of this project, figure out who your target audience will be, map out your book, and connect with a publisher.
At Book1One, we'll provide insights into the early stages of the book creation process and explain why small-batch printing is valuable.
Discover Your Book's Purpose
The importance of oral histories cannot be overstated. In the past, they've been used to pass down knowledge and experiences or preserve vital information. Even though your biography is on paper, it's just as important. It's a story told from your subject's perspective through a lifetime of memories. This person's journey can be used as a historical resource for future generations in their family or one that members of your community can learn from and enjoy.
A good place to start is to figure out why you and your subject want to publish a biography. This can help you shape the narrative and figure out exactly what events from their life you would like to cover. People publish biographies for many reasons:
- It can help others: If you think someone else could benefit from a lived experience in the future, this is a great reason to collect their stories. This book could be filled with life lessons, a unique worldview, and nuggets of wisdom that the readers may find useful.
- It's cathartic: Many people feel that writing is excellent therapy. Recording a story filled with personal experiences, thoughts, and emotions can be an exercise in self-discovery that feels like a true accomplishment in the end.
- It establishes a legacy: A biography can serve as a treasured keepsake for future generations. Years from now, people will be able to read about the person, learn about the time in which they lived, and see how their place in history was represented.
- It serves a larger purpose: Do you have an inspirational tale to tell? Many people write their biography as a way to connect with others who have similar experiences and encourage them to keep pushing forward.
One of the best things about a biography is that it can be told any way you want to accomplish your goal, and self-publishing means full creative control is in your hands.
Identify Your Audience
Next, it's time to identify your target audience. Writing with a specific group in mind makes it easier to figure out which stories to tell and how to hone the book's voice. You can work with the subject to pinpoint an audience or figure this one out on your own if they're deceased. Ask yourself:
- Is this publication just for the person's close family and friends?
- Will it be available at a local library where the family grew up and made an impact?
- Are copies going to be sold on the shelves of bookstores for anyone to read?
Everyone lives a life worth sharing, but which parts are of the greatest interest? If this biography will primarily be used to pass down a legacy through generations, the person may want more photos, family accounts, and personal details. If this book will be available for anyone to read, explore which events and lessons may appeal to a wider audience.
Plan Out Your Book
Creating a biography involves planning and research. The storyline is usually structured in chronological order, so you can typically start by creating a timeline. Make a list of some of the most important events that will be covered in the book and their dates, such as:
- Major life milestones
- Personal/professional accomplishments
Next, review other biographical examples and figure out what supplemental information you'll need. This may include:
- Historical photographs of places or treasured items related to the story
- Images of the subject at different points in their life, as well as friends and relatives
- Records from national archives
- Hand-written letters
- Newspaper clippings
- Recorded interviews
Similar to genealogy book printing, the amount of work put into every biography is different. As the author, the research you'll need to do depends largely on the storyline and whether your subject or other people of note are still living. While not everything you've used during the research phase will be included in the actual book, they will help you shape the storyline in a personal, informative way for the reader.
This stage can also help you find the best ways to interject your own insights into why specific moments were noteworthy, how they were affected by the time period, and what impact they had.
Locate a Publishing Company
Once your manuscript is complete, it's time to find a publisher. If your goal is to self-publish your biography, this couldn’t be easier with the tools and platforms available online today. Book publishers like Book1One with small-batch printing services can be an asset to many authors, as it minimizes financial risks.
This route is especially cost-effective for authors who are only creating the biography for family. But if you are crafting a book that will be marketed to a wider audience, on-demand printing makes it easier to balance costs and distribution. You have the freedom to print only the number of books you currently need – putting the pressure to sell large stacks in storage by the wayside.
Writing a biography is a way to preserve the past, give a voice to a person in the present, and share their story with future generations. To publish your biography, you'll need to identify the project's goal, identify your target audience, create an outline for the book, and locate a publishing company.
When you're ready to embark on your storytelling adventure, Book1One can help. We offer a host of useful links and resources for people looking to self-publish their work.