Contact Us

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Silver Spring, MD
United States


Stories To Tell is a full service book publishing company for independent authors. We provide editing, design, publishing, and marketing of fiction and non-fiction. We specialize in sophisticated, unique illustrated book design.

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How We're Different


We’ve set up our company to be fair and ethical. There are a lot of sharks in "vanity" and "subsidy" self-publishing, and we offer an alternative. Our business model is called “independent author services” because we will provide services without taking a percentage from book sales, as a publisher does. That's why there are so few businesses like ours.

I am elated by the splendid work you did. I know you're being paid, but one cannot pay for dedication. You put your arms around my project. —John de Melo, author of  Chasing the Dream

I am elated by the splendid work you did. I know you're being paid, but one cannot pay for dedication. You put your arms around my project. —John de Melo, author of Chasing the Dream

Here’s a secret: there is no one right way to self-publish. Instead, there are many choices to make along the way, in the book’s content, its design, publishing, and marketing. We support independent authors by having an unbiased, multi-path approach. We provide a lot of personal guidance and consulting and technical support. And we make professional, beautifully designed books.

The kind of PEOPLE we are.

You'll get to know the owners, Nan and Biff Barnes,  the ones who answer the phone and emails. We personally handle every one of our books. (If you’re looking for a corporation with an overseas call center, you’re in the wrong place.) We and our team are experienced writers and editors. We’re book lovers.

We believe that the best self-publishing requires communication, careful choices, and collaboration. We provide our experience and expertise in all stages of editing, design, publishing and marketing. We help each client to chart their unique course, to publish in a way that is best for them, their book, and their budget.

The kind of OPPORTUNITY we give.

We understand that you'd rather not spend the money. Yet self-publishing, by definition, is a paid service. Does it have to cost so much? No. We offer "à la carte" services, so that you can purchase just what you need, no more. And we’ve bundled our services into easy to understand packages as well. They actually provide a discount for our authors who will need complete services.

One of the biggest advantages we provide is the way you pay for books. We shop around for the best deal for your book, and then you pay that printer’s cost―no markup! Also, we don’t set your cover price; you do, so that you can control your profit per book. Put these two savings together, and independent self-publishers have their best chance at profits.

The kind of INFORMATION we share.

Nancy and Biff are both former teachers―English and history. So it's hard for us not to teach, when people want to know how. That's why we blog extensively about our interests in writing and publishing, and why we make a tremendous amount of information available to our followers on Facebook and Twitter. It took us many years to learn about publishing. You can take a crash course from us. Check out our extensive FAQs, consider taking a class with us through Profitable Authors Institute, and you can get a live video consultation if you're working on a family history book through geneaologyDOTcoach.

Learn more about self-publishing in our monthly newsletter.

Useful information, just once a month! (Sometimes it takes us longer.) Our latest writing about:

  • writing skills
  • publishing for profit
  • memoir/family history craft
  • book cover design
  • recommended reading

And to keep you motivated, each issue also contains:

  • an entertaining video
  • discounts and special events
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*We won't send you spam, or other mailings, or share your email address. And it really is just once a month.

Why is "Independent" Better?

Preserve Your Book Rights

Yes! We will register the ISBN and copyright in your name, making YOU the publisher. (Our non-commercial authors are welcome to save money by using our free ISBN, as this issue doesn't affect them.)

Don't Sign Away Your Rights

Beware the self-publishing companies that "provide" your ISBN. An ISBN in any name but yours gives that publisher control over your book - your profit, the price, the distribution, and at worst, they may discontinue it. If you don't own the ISBN, you cannot take the book elsewhere.

Keep Creative Control

Yes! You can collaborate with your editor and designer. We'll suggest ways to improve your book, but it is always your choice. If you wish, we will incorporate your images into the interior and cover design.

Don't Lose Creative Control

Beware the self-publishing “factories," the companies that produce poorly designed “template” books. They use common stock art and standard fonts, producing cheap cover designs that mark the author as an amateur.

Choose Your Services

We encourage authors to keep their costs down, and to “DIY” when they can. Our prices are offered as both packages and individual services so you can get just the help you need.

Don't Fall for Misleading Packages

Comparison shopping for self-publishing is tricky. Consumers are drawn in by low starter prices that do not match their real needs. Authors often pay extra for bundled services they will not use.

Fair Book Buying

Need books printed? We shop around to find the best deal for each author. Book printing can be affordable, without a middleman! Our authors pay the printer directly, at cost. This can be a big savings initially, and also allows a greater profit from each sale.

Don't Pay an Inflated Printing Cost

Many companies charge the author a steeply marked up price on their own books, disguised as a “discount.” Authors lose two ways: the added expense when they want to purchase books, and then a smaller profit margin on each sale.

Independent Selling Choices

We’ll help you to decide your cover price based on the best sales strategy for your book.Choosing your retail price depends on variables: the book’s real cost of printing, the distribution, the buyer, and the market competition.

Avoid Pricing Pitfalls

When a publisher sets a book's retail price too high, the author loses. Sadly, an excellent book can fail to sell if the publisher does not price correctly. Watch out for self-publishing companies that control the price of your book.

INDEPENDENT BOOK PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION    Click to learn about  our high standards.


Click to learn about our high standards.