Saturday, 18 October 2014

How to Self-Publish Your Recovery Story

I decided to write this post on the spur of the moment, although it's quite late on a Saturday evening.  I just wanted to say a few words for anybody who wants to publish their own story, as I have done.  Recovery stories are invaluable in the mental health world (I was reminded of this recently while reading 'A Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Diagnosis' by Lucy Johnstone) and publishing them in the form of a book is a very good way to disseminate them. 

So - how to do this?

You can write your story as fiction or memoir.  Both types of writing have their advantages, and I am sure you can work them out for yourself.  I would just advise you to write your story as simply and clearly as you can.  Because if you want people to read it - and you do - there is no point in making things difficult for them.  Mastery of the English language is best shown by expressing yourself as straightforwardly as possible.

You can self-publish your book as an ebook for no outlay at all.  The best way to do this is on Amazon Kindle - go to Kindle Direct Publishing and you will be talked through the process.  I say Amazon is the best because I have sold an awful lot more books through them than on any other site. If you sign exclusively to Amazon you can use their Kindle Select Program, which is really useful for promotional purposes.

Obviously you need to make sure your book is in the best possible shape before you publish - get it read by a friend, several friends if possible, get it edited if necessary, do your research on the sort of cover that would help your book sell, and think about how best to price it.  This might all sound complicated, but there are lots of blogs out there on self-publishing, or 'indie' publishing, which can point you in the right direction.

You can also set up your book to be sold as a paperback - again, the simplest way to do this is through Amazon, on their CreateSpace site.  You will have to pay a very small upfront cost - less than fifty pounds. 

Well, that's all for now.  It may not be that useful - I am not entirely sure why I suddenly felt the need to fire off a blog post about self-publishing.  And please note - Amazon are not sponsoring me to write this.  (Thought - maybe they should be!)


  1. What a fantastic idea, I hadn't thought of writing my story as fiction! I think I'm going to do just that! There are several places in my book (in its current form) that are quite dry and a bit boring to read, turning it into fiction would enable me to cut those bits out or spice them up. Plus, in the parts about hospital stays, I write about other patients and in its current form, they may be able to identify themselves. If it were fiction, I could change aspects of the other patients and make them less identifiable. Also, it gives me a new project to focus my energies on! Out of interest, do you think I should write the book in first or third person and if third person, should I choose a different name for myself or stick with my real name?

  2. Hi Katy. Yes, I can clearly see the advantages of writing a recovery story as fiction. Have you read Poppy Shakespeare by Clare Allan? It's brilliant. As for the style, I like first person for this sort of thing - it's more immediate - but it's up to you. In Poppy Shakespeare the narrator was not the main character, but somebody writing about her, which worked well. Maybe just see how your favourite books are written and emulate one of them, or use a mixture of their techniques? If you are going to write fiction then I would probably go for it and have a completely new name for yourself. But again, obviously, you have to decide what's best for you. Good luck, and have fun! L x