Of course you have stories to tell. Everyone does. Most of our tales are not about great adventures or epic achievements……but instead focus on seemingly unremarkable moments from our past, that for reasons we don’t always understand have become part of our remembered history. At first glance those isolated recollections may seem incidental, but we know they are important. Why else would we remember them? Some have served as stepping stones on the path to becoming the person we are.
Chances are your family and friends have heard some of your stories….the ones you have been willing to tell. But do they realize what those memories mean to you, what they say about you? Do the people you care about the most, the ones you believe have a right to know, understand how and why those apparently incidental hints of your past are important to you? If not, why not take the time to tell them? Help them understand.
So where am I going with this? Have I once again veered off on one of my dubious sidetracks? Not exactly. Though what I have to share may not strike you as a good idea, I have been there and done that, and I know it works.
A while back I came across some notes I had assembled years before about events from my childhood and adolescence. Having waded through those early accounts of my very personal history I decided it was time to dig deeper into my addled brain and gather more of that history……to assemble a more comprehensive collection of episodes that track my growing up, from age 3 or 4 to age 83. An autobiography, if you will.
Those brief vignettes, 50 in all, would revisit special moments in my life-journey, some of them major life events, most of them innocent-appearing times that held a particular meaning for me, even if they sounded silly to everyone else.
It would be the most personal writing I have ever done. The result was neither elegant or artistic, but instead the simple telling of my own story in my own words, touching on eighty years of highlights and lowlights that taken together seem to flesh out a realistic portrait of who I am.
To be sure my story is intended for a very limited audience. It is definitely not intended for general distribution. Once I had settled on the finished manuscript I ordered five copies of the nice paperback, one for Roma and me, and one for each of our children.
And here is the point I want to make…….you can do that too, whether it is your personal history, a collection of family legends, or short stories you have composed……you can leave your own mini-legacy for your children and grandchildren.
“Not me,” you say. “I could never do that. Besides, I can’t afford it.”
“Nonsense,” I reply. If you have a child or grand-child who is computer literate, and most of them are these days, they can take you to Amazon KDP and have you in a self-publishing mode in half an hour, ready to type your story into the same computer you are using to read this post. And it will cost you next to nothing.
Truth in advertising. The most time-consuming, and for me the most enjoyable, part of that self-publishing exercise will fall on your shoulders. You are the one who composes your story. The finished book……your words, ordered in the way you choose……will be exactly as you type it into the KDP template.
Let me explain how that worked for me. The five high-quality, 400 page paperbacks I ordered for my family cost me the time to create and enter the manuscript, plus $30 out of pocket, $6 apiece. Amazon of course is in the book-selling business. Since I use their free self-publishing services I must offer the finished book for sale on their site. But because it is so personal I would prefer to limit its distribution to family and friends.
How do I manage that? Easy. That very personal life story, about someone no one else has ever heard of, is available on Amazon for $47.50. I’m guessing that will limit the sales.
Why not take a moment to consider the stories you could leave for your loved ones. There is no limit to the possibilities……only your imagination. If I can answer any of your questions just leave a comment and I’ll give it a try.