FAQs

What is StoryTerrace? How does it work?

  • How can I find out more about StoryTerrace?

    If you don’t find the question and/or answer you are looking for here, please chat with us on weekdays between 9 am and 6 pm PST or get in touch with us through the contact link in the menu above. Fill out the contact form with your information and question(s) or, if you’d prefer, write us an e-mail, call us or chat with us by clicking on the chat system at the bottom of any page. We would love to hear your story and explain how we can help you get started making your own book alongside one of our writers today!

  • Why should I get in contact?

    The experience of having your stories professionally written is still unique to most and we welcome the opportunity to talk personally with each customer in order to address any individual questions.

  • How long does it take before someone contacts me with an answer?

    We try our best to respond to any inquiry within one or two business days, so please leave us with the appropriate contact information and we will respond as soon as possible.

  • I am not sure if my story is suited for a book – how do I know?

    Your story is more important than you may realize and is certainly suited for a book. Contact us and we can discuss how best to begin the process with your story!

  • Where is StoryTerrace located?

    We have StoryTerrace offices in both Los Angeles and London, providing local writers across the USA, United Kingdom and around the world.

The Product

  • How much influence do I have over the content of my book?

    You have complete control over the content of your book. We provide professional writing and editing but you will always have the final say. Have a look at our website for more information about the writing process.

  • How long does the process take?

    The time it takes to create your book depends on various factors, the most influential being the length of your story. Throughout the process, many customers find that they have more to include in their book than they initially think and want to make adjustments to their package, which can be accommodated in most cases. Depending on the package you choose, the process will typically take anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks, although it could be a little longer. A Compact takes the shortest time period, a Complete package takes a few weeks longer, and a Novella taking a little longer again, due to the larger package.

  • Can I upgrade my package after I've paid?

    Always!

  • I don’t want to answer the questionnaire. Can I still make a book?

    While our questionnaire helps you to bring back memories and decide which stories, anecdotes, and turning points to focus on, it is also possible to create a book based solely on the interviews conducted by your writer.

  • I have already written a few chapters. Can you help me finish my book?

    If you have already written a few chapters or your entire book, one of our editors/writers can help you finish and add a professional touch. Please give us a call or send your work to [email protected] for our US office or [email protected] if you wish to speak to our UK office, and we’ll suggest a plan and quote a price for creating your book.

  • What does the cover of my book look like?

    The cover of your story should fit you, so we provide different options to appeal to different tastes. Whether you prefer a personal photo as your cover or a custom illustration by one of our artists we can find an option that suits you. Talk to us about your ideas and we can find a way to make your cover help tell your story!

  • How much time do I personally spend on making my own book?

    The time you spend on your story outside of the interview process depends on you. Some people want to spend more time on their questionnaires in order to capture more memories and details. Depending on your chosen package, you’ll need to scan and send between 20 and 40 images to us to go alongside your story.

  • Who conducts the interview(s) and how long will they last?

    Your own professional writer will prepare and conduct the interview(s). Depending on the length of your book, the interview(s) last around 3-4 hours for a Compact package, around 5-6 hours across two sessions for a Complete, or up to 10 hours as part of the Novella package. You can always add additional interview sessions at extra cost.

  • How do I cancel and reschedule my interview?

    If you must miss your scheduled interview because of a personal or medical emergency, you can notify your project editor and writer as soon as possible. Missing a scheduled interview without notice will result in 1 interview hour from your purchased package being 'spent'.

  • Is it possible to let my family be interviewed as well?

    While it is possible to allow family members to participate in the interview process, it may require more of the writer’s time and can increase the cost of your book.

  • Can I choose my own writer?

    We will work with you to find the perfect writer for your story based on your preferences. You can learn about a few of our writers before making a final decision.

  • How do I know if you have a writer in my area?

    We have over 400 writers working with us across the USA and United Kingdom - but if we don’t have the perfect fit in your area we’ll start a writer search and find someone right for you.

  • Are all of your writers on your website?

    While most of our writers can be found on our website, we are constantly seeking new talent to add to our selection, so we can’t guarantee that every single writer will be on there.

  • What’s the difference between the writer levels?

    We have 3 levels of writers: Critically Acclaimed, Senior and Junior. Critically Acclaimed writers are very experienced with extensive published works, often including books of their own. Senior Writers have published work and experience, and Junior Writers have less professional experience - but are still fantastic writers!

  • What if my writer doesn’t feel like the right match?

    We’re confident we can find you a perfect match, and we can always reevaluate and look at other possibilities if you don’t like your writer.

  • I have a lot of writing that I want to include in my book. Is this possible?

    Please send us your work and give us a call to discuss how we can help.

  • If the products on the website do not match my needs, can I create a custom book?

    We offer custom products and services and we'd be delighted to discuss the options available to you. Get in touch to speak with a member of our team through our contact page, email, phone or the chat system on the bottom-right corner of the page!

  • Is it possible to divide my story into multiple books?

    Definitely! Let’s get in touch and talk about the best way to divide your story.

  • What if the smallest package (Compact) is too big for my story?

    Many customers find that there is actually more to remember than they anticipated. Often customers choose to upgrade to the Complete package when they realize how much there is to remember and capture.

  • How much are extra copies?

    Each package includes four printed copies, but extra copies can be ordered at an additional cost. The cost of extra copies depends on the package you’ve chosen, and the number of copies you want to order. Larger orders, perhaps for sharing with family and friends or colleagues, help to bring down the price per copy. Give us a call and we can give you a quote!

  • Can I read other people's books?

    Our books are private documents so we can only send you representative samples. If interested, we have copies at our offices that you can have a look at if you’d like to stop by.

  • I want to use your writers for other purposes than writing my book. What are the possibilities?

    Our writers partner with us for the purpose of writing people’s stories. However, if you have another format for writing personal stories and would like our help, please get in touch here and we will do our best to help. We have experience with custom projects and we'd like to find out more about your needs.

  • What if I want to pause my project?

    We know that sometimes life gets in the way or things come up unexpectedly. Our goal is always to help you complete your book so if something happens please inform your project editor as soon as possible. You can see in our Terms and Conditions that projects can pause progress for up to 30 days without penalty.

  • What if I want to cancel?

    We’re sorry to hear that! If you would like to cancel your project please read our Terms and Conditions to see if you are eligible for a refund. Please contact your project editor directly to start the cancellation process.

  • How many rounds of corrections do I have?

    After you receive your first proof you have one round of corrections. We advise that you take the time to go through your book and make sure you are happy with it before it goes to print. If you change your mind and would like to have more changes in a further round of revisions, just let your editor know and they can provide you with a quote.

Gifts

Rights & Legal

  • Can I self-publish my book?

    Yes! We can help you to self-publish on Amazon. You can read more about our self-publishing packages and additional costs here. Terms and conditions apply.

  • Can I publish my book through a traditional publishing house?

    Our books are private and confidential and are not produced for the public unless otherwise agreed. We do not provide routes into traditional trade publishing.

  • Who owns the copyright of my book?

    StoryTerrace shares the copyright of your book with you. If you would like to own the full copyright of your book, just let your editor know and they can sign it over to you free of charge. As sole owner of the copyright, you are free to print or sell copies of your book as you wish.

  • Does my book come with an ISBN?

    Unfortunately, we are not able to provide your book with an ISBN, as it is not possible for us to transfer ownership over to you once an ISBN has been purchased by us. If you are interested in selling your book, please read more about our self-publishing packages here. Your book will be automatically assigned an ISBN by Amazon’s KDP platform when purchasing one of our packages, however you also have the option of purchasing your own ISBN and we can then apply it to your book for you. We are happy to help with advice on how to obtain this.

Payment

  • How do I pay?

    You can pay online, by giving us a call with debit or credit card in hand, or by bank transfer. For customers in communication with the UK office, you can also pay via PayPal. You can find our bank details on the invoice that we’ll send you after learning which package you’d like to purchase.

  • Do I have to pay in full upfront?

    You can either pay upfront in full, or in installments starting with a 10% deposit.

  • Are shipping costs included in the price?

    Yes, shipping costs are included in your package price. The only time you'll have to pay shipping is if you order a large number of extra copies.

  • Can I pay in advance?

    Yes, it would even accelerate the process.

  • Can I get evidence of an agreement?

    If we put a custom agreement in place, for custom projects, our Terms & Conditions will apply. If there is anything else you’d like to agree upon concerning your project, such as the price for a large number of additional copies, then we can do so via email. Following payment, you will receive confirmation of your purchase.

Self-Publishing

  • Pre-publishing: How long does it take for my files to get formatted?

    It takes about 2 weeks for us to format your book files to ensure they come out right for e-book and print versions, including the book covers.

  • Pre-publishing: I’m stuck while filling out the information form, what do I do?

    If you’re stuck and aren’t sure how to proceed with filling out the information form, please email [email protected] with the issue that you’re experiencing.

  • How do I sign up for Amazon KDP?

    Go to https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/ and sign up via your existing Amazon account, or if you prefer to keep it separate from your Amazon Shopping account, please create a new account with a different email address. Your account will have a Two-Factor Verification code that will be sent to us when we log in for the first time, so we will contact you to schedule a date and time to get that from you when we have reached that stage, as this code expires within a few minutes when sent.

  • How will I know when my book is ready?

    Amazon will email you when your book has been submitted and when it has been approved (between 24 and 72 hours later). They will also email you if there are any formatting issues once it has been submitted. Please check your emails to ensure you don’t miss these messages. If there are any issues reported by Amazon, please forward the email to us and we will resolve it.

  • When will my extra categories be added?

    If you have purchased a package with extra categories, they can only be added once the book is live in Amazon’s system, and again this will take approximately 24 hours for Amazon to process. This is another reason why you may wish to set a launch date 1-2 weeks after the book is uploaded to Amazon.

  • How does Amazon’s printing work?

    Amazon KDP offers print-on-demand, which means that the book is only printed as and when a customer orders it. Their offering is “cheap and cheerful”, so the print quality isn’t amazing, but it is for a low cost and therefore means you can increase your royalties or offer books at a lower price. However, please note that the quality will not be as good as the books printed by Story Terrace. There is also very little we can do about printing quality issues with Amazon (such as alignment issues or inconsistent colours on the cover).

  • How do Amazon’s royalties work?

    On Amazon, you set the price you want to charge customers and Amazon calculates the rate you will be paid (the royalties) after printing costs, distribution costs, download costs for e-books, and Amazon’s fees. Please note that the final price depends on the printing costs and you may have to set a higher price to cover printing and distribution costs.

  • What’s the difference between an ISBN and an ASIN?

    ISBN means “International Standard Book Number” and it’s the unique number that identifies a book and its specific format (such as paperback, hardback, e-book, audiobook) and version (such as 2nd edition, a different language, etc). This means that one book might have multiple ISBNs depending on how many formats it’s available in and how many different versions there are. ASIN means “Amazon Standard Identification Number” and it’s the unique number that identifies a product on Amazon (not just books). It’s assigned for free when you sell a product through Amazon. However, it’s specific to Amazon, meaning that you can’t use this number to sell that product anywhere else. If you publish a book exclusively on Amazon, they will give you a free ASIN for your e-book and a free ASIN for your print book. Although they call the latter an ISBN, you cannot use it on any other platform. So, if you want to publish your book on other platforms, you will need an ISBN. ISBNs are purchased from agencies specific to each country. For example, in the UK, it’s Nielson, and in the US, it’s Bowker.

  • What does a typical book cost to print?

    The printing cost depends on the page count, paper type, black and white vs. colour printing, which Amazon website they're on, etc. Amazon provides a calculator that authors can use to roughly work out their costs: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201834340. In our experience, authors generally pay between £2 and £4 for a standard B&W book. To calculate printing costs for extended distribution (self-publishing package 2 and 3), you can visit https://myaccount.ingramspark.com/Portal/Tools/ShippingCalculator

  • What cut does Amazon take?

    For e-books, Amazon offers authors a royalty rate of 35% (and 70% for ebooks that meet specific criteria, but it can be difficult to meet this criteria). For print books, they offer a 60% royalty rate for books published solely through Amazon and 40% for books also published elsewhere (such as with IngramSpark). Note that the royalty rate is after the printing costs have been deducted. They provide a royalty calculator for books published solely on Amazon here: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/GSQF43YAMUPFTMSP.

  • Are the rates similar for other platforms?

    The rates are different for each platform. For example, Apple Books is a straight 70% royalties. IngramSpark is 45% after printing costs. Smashwords offer 80% but have more complex rules. Draft2Digital take a 10% fee.

  • How do I set up my Amazon Author Central profile?

    Your self-publishing expert will share a video tutorial with you about how to set up your Amazon Author Central profile. If you want a more in-depth review of this or you have questions about it, you can always request to use one of your 3 support calls so that our expert can walk you through it.

  • How do I set up my GoodReads profile?

    Your self-publishing expert will share a video tutorial with you about how to set up your Goodreads profile. If you want a more in-depth review of this or you have questions about it, you can always request to use one of your 3 support calls so that our expert can walk you through it.

  • What are typical volumes that a successful autobiography or biography book could sell?

    The average self-published author is estimated to sell less than 100 copies of their book. However, it varies hugely from zero copies if they don't promote the book to thousands or even millions if they do and the book catches on. As such, there's no typical amount that an author might make.

  • When can people order my book?

    Customers can order your book as soon as it’s live in Amazon’s system and you’ve had the approval email. However, you may wish to order a “proof copy”, which Amazon will send you, and check you’re happy with it before you tell people to start ordering. If there are any issues with the proof copy formatting, please let us know and we will look into this for you. As such, it’s better to leave 1-2 weeks after your book has been approved by Amazon before you start informing people that it’s available. Any changes will have to go through Amazon’s approval process again, and will be subject to a 24-72 turnaround by them.

  • Why aren’t my Kindle, paperback and/or hardback linked on one page?

    Amazon automatically links versions of the same book within 2-3 days of publishing, so if you currently see the book having multiple pages, this is temporary.

  • Why does my hardback book say it’s out of stock?

    When your hardback book gets distributed to Amazon from IngramSpark, the listing will initially say it’s out of stock because Amazon is waiting to receive the first copy for its warehouse stock from the Ingram print house.

  • Why does my hardback book say it takes days or weeks for dispatch?

    When your hardback book gets distributed to Amazon from IngramSpark, the listing can initially say it takes a few days or weeks to dispatch, because Amazon is waiting to receive the first few copies for its warehouse stock from the Ingram print house.

  • When will my author page be added?

    As above, we can only set up an author page after the book has been approved and is live in Amazon’s system. However, you can sign up for an Amazon Author Central (https://author.amazon.com/) at any point. Again, this is different to your main Amazon shopping account. Please choose the same password as your Amazon KDP account. Please ensure that your bio is longer than 100 characters and that your profile photo is larger than 300 x 300 pixels.

  • How many ISBNs do I need?

    As mentioned in the previous answer, you will need a different ISBN for each individual format and version of the book. So, if you plan to have a paperback, hardback, and e-book version, then you will need to buy more than one ISBN. ISBNs generally cost around £80 for one and £160 for 10. The good news is that ISBNs don’t expire so you can keep unused ISBNs for future versions of the book or future books.

.
Writer Match

Check for a Writer Near You

Enter a zip code to look for writers near you. We can arrange your interviews by phone, video call or in person.