For some people writing down their own or their family's experience with motor neurone disease can be helpful. This might take the form of poetry, diary entries, essays, fiction or simply a factual account. It is possible to turn writing like this into a book which can provide a lasting memory for family and friends.

There are lots of ways to self-publish a book – from simply printing at home to using an online service or working with an offline printer. Do your research online – there are lots of websites explaining how to self-publish books and how some platforms can help you sell your writing – these have the potential to reach millions of potential readers worldwide.

Unfortunately, we aren't able to sell or promote books written by individuals through our MND Association online platforms. Our membership magazine Thumb Print does include a limited section for readers’ letters and stories and we occasionally feature self-published books as part of a wider story.

If you would like to have a letter, which mentions your book, considered for inclusion, please contact [email protected]. Successful submissions may depend on the number received for each edition.

To set you on the right track to self-publishing, we've provided a list of useful organisations and websites which may be helpful.

Useful organisations

These organisations can help you find information, ‘how-to’ guidance or opportunities through the traditional publishing route or through self-publishing. There are many more companies out there and some aspects of selling, promoting and taxation on book profits can be complex. We recommend further internet searches on traditional publishing, self-publication and how to become a writer to see what’s available. It’s important to be as fully informed as you can.

Amazon guidance about publishing your book online – this takes you to guidance in Kindle Direct (see entry below).

Amazon UK – this global selling platform enables you to see the listings for your kindle books (and paperbacks if relevant). Although Amazon operates in the UK, it is an American company, so you will need to register with them as a UK writer and submit forms to avoid USA tax on your sales.

Facebook – you can set up a specific Facebook page as an author or for a particular book series to gather likes and followers for promotion. Facebook also enable you to run adverts, which you pay for, to target particular facebook users who may be interested in your writing genre.

Goodreads – a book review site to help you find and share books that you love, or have written, with other readers.

Kindle Direct – the online publishing site for Kindle that sells primarily through Amazon, with guidance and a sales tracking platform. Do the entire process for free yourself or pay to get their help. You can also join KDP Select through Kindle Direct and Amazon, which allows your books to be viewed in a library format (this demands exclusive access, so you cannot sell your online book elsewhere). – a print on demand service, that allows people to purchase single or multiple printed copies of your books direct from their site. The unit cost can be expensive, depending on the size and format of your book. This is because each book is being produced in small quantities, rather than bulk (however, if you are self-publishing, it means you don’t have to print or distribute yourself, so no cost to you as the author).

Penguin guidance for new authors – this long-standing publisher has provided this guidance as a starting point for authors looking to get published through a traditional route.

Reedsy – their blog on self-publishing companies – a blog article that offers some advice on self-publishing scams to avoid and companies that are considered to be reputable.

Smashwords – an alternative global selling platform from America, for e-readable books, that is known as an aggregator – this means it helps you to access and sell through a wide range of e-readable platforms at the same time. (You cannot use alternatives like this if you choose to join the KDP Select programme through Kindle Direct and Amazon, as that demands exclusivity.)

Twitter – this social media platform is often used by authors to help announce launches and promote book sales, through the gathering of followers.

Waterstones guidance for new authors – this long-standing book company offer some advice to help dispel some myths around getting published and self-publishing.

You can use your own platforms to shout about your writing too. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and your own email signature are great ways to keep your book in people’s minds – ask your friends and family to share your posts too.

If you haven't already tapped into your local media that is a good way to get the news of your book 'out there'. Get in touch with your local radio station, community radio, regional newspaper, news sheets and magazines to share your story. And approach independent bookshops and libraries which often invite local authors in to talk about their work.