When you set out to self-publish a family history book you need a variety of skill sets. These skills include research and writing, but there is another there is another type of expertise that many family historians overlook – technological skill. Let's take a look at what it takes to create a beautiful heirloom quality book.
Who should publish your book? Every author faces the same choice. Increasingly the choice is between “assisted self-publishing” and becoming an “indie” who truly self-publishes. Before you sign up for an all-inclusive package with a heavily advertised giant like Author House, Xlibris, or Outskirts Press it’s important to understand that when you choose one of them you will pay an inflated price for every book they print for you. Let's see how it works.
Writing a memoir that connects with an audience is not about telling your story. “Unless you're Bill Clinton or Mick Jagger,” said novelist and memoirist Holly Robinson, in The Huffington Post, “nobody but your best friend cares about your life story (and she might be pretending).” Writing a great memoir depends on telling your story in a way that gives readers an insight into their own lives and the human condition. Great memoir relies on the tools of the story teller and is reflective rather than reportorial.
Nonfiction, whatever form it may take, is built on a foundation of facts. Whether they present an account of actual events, as in family history or biography, seek to prove the validity of an argument, or demonstrate the correctness of a method of doing something, as in a how-to book, an author’s words are judged by the quality of the facts on which they are based. A nonfiction reader is likely to ask, “What’s the evidence for this?” Generally that evidence is based on documents, research, or accounts written by others and used by the author. So it behooves the nonfiction author to include references to allow the reader to know and evaluate the quality of the sources from which that evidence is drawn. Let's look at how to do it.
“The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason.” That’s the first line of Neil Stephenson’s recent novel, a piece of speculative fiction titled Seveneves. Wow! Quite a start. A good opening is so important. Let’s see why.
How are sales going? Almost every author can answer, “Not as well as I had hoped.” Here are some practical ideas to help you market your self-published book more effectively at little or no cost.
When you’re writing a non-fiction book, it’s a great idea to include headings and possibly subheadings in your manuscript. Headings and subheadings not only help keep you organized and stay focused in your writing, but it also break up the content into manageable chunks for the reader, provides a visual break on the page, and assists them in locating the content they want to read. These features can be easily added using the Styles feature of your word processing program.
Are you in the later writing stages of a book or have a manuscript or two set aside? Are you wondering if the book is marketable to a wider audience or do you struggle with a problem you don’t know how to solve? Even with a very rough draft a professional editor can answer your questions and help you to plan your next steps. Here's how.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a social media website just for book lovers? Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a place where people can recommend your book to their friends and you can post the books you’re reading in order to better connect with your readers? This describes a website called “Goodreads” and I highly recommend you join if you’re an author.
Have you ever been talking with someone about your writing and have to scribble your website on a piece of paper so they can look you up later? Or do you ever get home with a scribbled e-mail address from someone but don’t remember why you have it and what you’re supposed to do? I’ve been in both situations and it’s embarrassing. One of the best things we can do for ourselves as authors is to create business cards to hand out the next time someone asks us what we do.
Are you thinking about publishing a family history, photography or children’s book on CreateSpace or Lightning Source? Have you thought about what size the book will be? Before you start working on illustrations or editing your photographs, it’s important to decide what size of book you’ll be printing and where you’re going to print it so the illustrations fit well on the page. You don’t want to have all the art finished and then find parts of the illustration are going to be cut off or you have to leave empty space at the top or bottom of the page to fit it all in.
One of the easiest and the hardest aspects of self-publishing is having no one to report to. You are the organizer, the lead, the boss. When you publish your own books, you are the one who calls the shots. This can be a wonderful gift as well as be frustratingly difficult, especially when it comes to deadlines.
Your book is coming out after months and years of work and you’re ready to celebrate! It’s been a long journey but the book is finished and you’re ready to release it out into the world! As a self-published author, a book launch party is definitely in order. It’s a chance to showcase what you’ve been up to, to thank those who’ve helped you along the way, and to share your work with a wider audience. As fancy or informal as you make it, a book launch party can be tailored to you and the theme of your book—a fitting event to celebrate your accomplishment and share it with your readers and friends. Whether you are planning a black-tie affair or a relaxed gathering at a coffee shop, here are some specific things to keep in mind as you plan your important event.
If you’re like most of us you have had children come to you and say, “Tell me a story.” That’s a lot like the position you’re in when you set out to write a family history. You need to tell your family’s story. That’s much different than simply recounting the information you’ve gathered about ancestors during years of careful research. You are the lens through which your reader will view your family. You need to reflect, evaluate, and make judgments about what you have discovered. What is important? What is not so important? What lessons are to be learned from the experiences of your ancestors? What might those experiences tell family members who are currently alive or in future generations about their own identities? Yours is the voice of the storyteller which draws meaning out of the experiences of those who have gone before.
Frustrated by the lack of opportunity to display and sell her children’s books, Patti Brassard Jefferson, an award-winning independent author and illustrator, decided to change the rules of the game. This summer she opened P.J. Boox, described by Publishers Weekly as the “first bookstore dedicated to self-published authors.” P.J. Boox only sells books published by independent and self-published authors.