How to Publish Your Own Memoir in Months

I had an amazing opportunity this spring and summer to collaborate with Glenn Chelliah to develop, edit, and publish his memoir, My Emigration to the United States and Achieving the American Dream. We began work on this book in March, and he received finished copies to give to his family for his seventy-fifth birthday in September.

Glenn’s family, particularly his adult daughter, had wanted him to record his life story both for his family now and future generations. Together, Glenn and I wrote chapters on his life growing up in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), his college years in Philadelphia, his career in the pharmaceutical industry, his family life, and his travels around the globe. We had no expectations for how long the book would be when we started, and it ended up being a nicely sized 144-page volume, including several family photos (in color) and Glenn and his wife’s family trees in an appendix.

Here’s how this project came together, in the event that you’d like to consider writing your own memoir:

Developmental Stage (March through Mid-May)

  • Glenn submitted outlines of potential chapters of his book
  • Glenn and I met via Zoom to discuss how we wanted to collaborate on the writing process
  • I referred to the outlines Glenn provided, expanding or refining the prose, reorganizing thematic elements, and asking pertinent questions
  • Glenn sent feedback on chapters to me and I incorporated his suggestions
  • Glenn and I reviewed the final manuscript one more time for redundancy, missed information, and flow

Production Stage (Late May through September)

  • I sent the manuscript to a trusted copyeditor to review the manuscript for grammar, usage, and style
  • Glenn and I reviewed the copyeditor’s changes and queries and finalized the manuscript for production
  • Glenn and I worked with designer Gary Rosenberg at The Book Couple to typeset the book, design the cover, and upload the final files to Ingram and Amazon for printing
  • The designer sent Glenn and me page proofs (after approving the design) to proofread
  • The designer created a cover for Glenn’s feedback
  • Glenn and I worked on back cover copy for the book and sent it to the designer
  • The designer finalized pages based on our feedback and uploaded the finalized pages and cover
  • Glenn ordered and reviewed a finished copy of the book and made a few changes that the designer incorporated
  • Glenn ordered finished copies of his book via Amazon to give to loved ones (he can reorder at any time, or you can order one for yourself)

In just six months, Glenn turned his “someday” dream into a reality and is now a published author. His family and friends can read his life story, and future generations will understand their roots in Ceylon and the life Glenn made for himself in the United States.

You can purchase a print or ebook here.


If you are interested in self-publishing a memoir or another type of book, let’s talk about how we can make your dreams a reality. The flow of the project I listed above is quite typical for publishing, and we can customize the timeline to meet your needs. The book does not need to be long or contain any specific elements. It can be as unique as you are.

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