I was asked recently for some help. The woman who asked, I'll call her Hildegarde, wants to write a book. She's decided she needs to tell the story of her brother, who, she suspects was connected with some sort of mafia and was probably killed by them. From what Hildy said, he did die of poison and might have been murdered. She only has sketchy ideas of what happened, though.
I asked her what she considered doing with the book after she'd written it, thinking I could steer her to self-publication and that would make her happy. The woman is in her 70s and has never written anything!
Hildegarde said she wants to get her brother's story out there, but doesn't want to give it to just any publisher, to someone who might twist her words around. There was also an offer to split the profits fifty-fifty.
Much as I hated to do it, I had to let her know that publishers were not going to line up to publish the biography. That it would be a difficult and lengthy process to find anyone to do it. And those profits? I let her know that a typical mystery author who gets a three book deal with a major NY publishing house will receive a whopping $5000 or so right off the bat. A little more a year or so later. Royalties if the stars align and you market the heck out of it.
Two facts that so many non-writers are so unaware of: (1) It's not easy to get a book published. (2) You won't get rich even if you should succeed, unless some very rare and unusual things happen for you.
She still wants to go ahead with it. I asked her how much she had done. She has 3 or 4 pages written. We'll see!