Writing Books/next step


QUESTION: I have written an autobiography but have no chapter titles or have not named my book, and I don't know how much space to use for this.  I have heard my spacing between lines within the chapters should be a 1 1/2 line spacing.  Is this correct?  My book is an autobiography of our 27 years of marriage, only knew each other 2 weeks, and all the experiences we have had during this time.  Even if this does not get published I plan to give a manuscript to each of my kids, something they will be able to hopefully cherish.

I don't have a lot of money so I am asking for you to provide me with the next step and the least expensive way to find out if this book would be worthy of publishing.

ANSWER: Hi Nancy,

Congrats on writing your autobiography.  

Yes, manuscripts are set at 1.5 line spacing.  If I were you, I'd look into publishing your story as an e-book.  This will eliminate printing cost.  Anyone with a computer can read the books as e-books are available in several formats (e.g. PDF, Word document). They can also be read using a standard computer, laptop, Apple iPod, Nook, Kindle, etc.  

Smashwords and ebookit.com are two e-book publishers.  

You can also publish your book yourself in print form (just make sure you price printers so you get the best deal).  And, of course, you can submit your manuscript to reputable literary agents and editors to get it published through a traditional book publisher.  I also encourage you to have your book professionally edited and get a good cover design as these can impact sales.

And absolutely!  Your story sounds worth publishing to me.  The Notebook certainly did exceptionally well and it was the story of a couple's marriage/romance.

All the best, Nancy!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Rhonda, thank you very much for the info.

Can you tell me how much space I should leave for a chapter title?  One page, 1/2 page, etc.?  Also, how do I look for someone who will edit my book?  Do I just google professional editors or is there another way.  I did find out a print shop will print 100 pages for $8 so that is good.  If I publish my book on e-book is there any monetary value for me?  Does a publisher edit as well?  These are just some unanswered questions I have.

Thanks again!


Hi Nancy,

You can leave a double space between a chapter title and the start of the chapter.  It's pretty much up to you and the publisher. In regards to finding an editor, you can contact writers who have published autobiographies and ask them for suggestions or you can (as you mentioned) do an online search.  Just consider asking for references from the editor and check up with the references to make sure the editor is reputable.  

If you publish an e-book, you get to keep a large portion of the profits.  Most publishers do not edit books although some traditional publishers have in-house editors.

Because this may be your first time writing/publishing a book I encourage you to join a professional writer's group so you can get answers to many questions that may pop up as you continue the process.  You can also get your work critiqued by members of the group, and it's generally free.  They have professional writer's groups online.  Writer's groups also meet offline at bookstores.  You can check with your local libraries and bookstores to see if they have writer's groups that meet at their facilities.

You may also want to get a few books on publishing/writing as they can prove helpful.

All the best!

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Rhonda Campbell


I can answer questions on how to get published in magazines and newspapers; how to market your own books; how to earn a living writing; how to write press releases; how to find a good editor; how to edit your own books; finding a good printer; finding a good book illustrator; doing your taxes as a freelance writer. Questions I can't answer include specifics around working with a print on demand publisher


I have 36 years of experience as a writer (fiction and non-fiction). I am a book reviewer with Nielsen Media. I am a newspaper columnist and a reporter. I am a former radio station host and I am the editor of a literary newsletter, The Book Lover's Haven. I am also the author of more than 10 books.

Writer's Critique Group

The Trenton Times Philadelphia Trend Sisters in Style Essence Magazine The Pittsburgh Quarterly Obsidian II, etc.

I have taken numerous writing courses on book, proposal and grant writing as well as marketing and promotion

Awards and Honors
100 Most Admired African American Women Who's Who

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