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    Answering Questions About Family History Books

    Friday and Saturday we will be appearing at the Northern California Family History Expo at the San Mateo Event Center in San Mateo. We’ll be teaching two classes:

    • ·  How to Plan and Organize a Family History Book at 3:30 p.m. on Friday
    • ·  Family History Books: Editing, Design and Publishing at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday

    We also offer authors working on family history books free consultations at our table in the exhibit hall. Our goal is to help people navigate the winding road into print.

    We know that writing a family history book can be a daunting challenge. That’s especially true for a first time author which many family historians are.

    A family history book presents an author with a number of choices which can take it in vastly different directions. To begin with, a family history is often rooted in extensive genealogical research and the author must decide whether her goal is simply to organize and publish that research or to turn it into a narrative that brings her ancestors to life by telling their stories. Should the book's style be factually reportorial or should it employ the tools of creative nonfiction to make the story more dramatic and entertaining? Should the book be organized chronologically, topically, as biographical sketches, or as a combination of all three?

    And that’s just the development of the manuscript. Does the author want an illustrated book with photos, documents, and charts? If so, which ones and how should they be placed in the text? What should the cover look like?

    Finally, who will publish the book? If the author wants to self publish, how does she go about choosing the best self publisher for her book? Are there ways to share the cost of getting a book published?

    We hope that our knowledge and experience as editors, book designers and people who have worked with many different publishers will help the folks we meet at the Expo answer some of these questions.

    If you are planning to attend the Expo, drop by and see us, and bring the draft of your manuscript, finished or not. We can help you get it into print.

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    Reader Comments (2)

    Hi Nancy,

    I met you at the APH meeting in Berkeley a few weeks ago. I wish I had known about this event; it looks mighty interesting, and I'd have attended had I known.

    I took your advice on the manuscript I'm working on-about creating more of a narrative-and it's working out marvelously. Thanks so much for your help!


    Oct 11, 2011 at 2:01PM | Unregistered Commentercp throckmorton

    It was great to meet you, too, and that was a good APH meeting in Berkeley, wasn't it?
    That's wonderful that you're adding to your draft, Charlynn. I know it will grow and evolve into something more powerful and precious, given more time and your creativity. Go for it.
    We present at conferences all over the country, and sometimes at book fairs, too. I'm sorry we missed you this time, but stay tuned and check out our events page for next time!

    Oct 13, 2011 at 7:38PM | Registered CommenterNan Barnes

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