Writing Your Life Story? Protect Yourself With These 3 Tips

It takes quite a bit of work to draft, edit, and print your life story. After spending months — possibly even years — crafting the perfect literary creation, you may still have numerous kinks to work out before your book hits the market. Whether you publish your finished work as an eBook or a hardcover novel, following the tips below can help you avoid potential issues. 

Don't Plagiarize

Despite what you may have heard, imitation is not the highest form of flattery. If you plagiarize another writer's text, format, or theme, you may find yourself facing off against the other author in court. Book printing companies want unique content, not recycled words or ideas that have been seen before. If you are unsure whether you used a unique approach for your life story, you can do the following:

  • Ask trusted friends and family members to review your content
  • Run your work through a free online plagiarism checker
  • Review the prior work of anybody who helped with your story, including the cover's illustrator, to make sure there are no similarities

Go the Memoir Route

An autobiography focuses on a factual account of a specific event or period of time in your life. A memoir is a mostly-true story written as you remember it. When you publish a memoir rather than an autobiography, you can get away with some creative interpretations of events that took place. You might also avoid some lawsuits for things like defamation of character because you're not claiming that your story is 100-percent true. 

Use a Pen Name

When you publish a book, you are not required to use your legal name. Some authors scramble the letters of their first and last name to create a new name, such as transforming Joni Smitherson into Joss Nimitheron. Other writers choose a name completely different than their own to ensure that nobody ever discovers their true identity. 

You can always publish a book under your own name, but there are risks involved. Characters in your story may be more likely to recognize themselves — and become angry about how they are portrayed — if you publish a book with your legal name on the cover.

If you have already taken cautionary steps like the ones listed above, you may be ready to publish your work. Compare options at affordable book printing companies to ensure that your finished product turns out exactly the way you envisioned it.