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    Saturday
    Mar232013

    Writing Family History Books: They Can Be Whatever You Imagine

    Imagine what your book will look like when it’s finished. It’s the first step in the author’s journey and in many ways the most important. We’ve just spent three days at RootsTech 2013, a huge conference combining genealogy, family history, storytelling and technology. It seemed that nearly everyone of the thousands in attendance has a story that they want to tell. Of the many who stopped by the Stories To Tell booth to talk came with questions beginning: “Is it okay if I…” or simply “Can I…?” Absolutely! Whatever you can imagine, you can do. Conceiving of a book that is unique is a creative act. That’s what any author should be striving for. There are no rules about what your book must contain or how it must look. Your family’s history is unique and the way you capture it in a book should be unique too.

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    Tuesday
    Mar192013

    Write a Family History That Engages the Grandchildren

    “One in three children admit they don’t want to listen to their grandparents because they find them ‘boring,’” said The Mail Online reporting on a poll taken by print on demand publisher Blurb.com. “42% of parents say children tune out when elders start to speak about the past.” That’s a real challenge for anyone working on a family history book. The vast majority of those authors say they want to write a book to preserve the family history for the grandchildren. How can a family historian make sure she captures the grand children’s interest? One important way is to recognize the difference between researching and recording the family history and telling the family story.

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    Sunday
    Mar172013

    The Author's Journey: Tech Tools to Self-Publish a Book

    Writing a book is a creative challenge, but getting it into print is a technological one. As we prepare for RootsTech, the annual conclave in Salt Lake City, which blends genealogical and family history research, storytelling and the latest and greatest technology tools, it seems like a good time to look at the dual challenges of creating a book. The graphic below traces the author’s journey through the creative process and the technological tools that are required to produce a professional quality book

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    Wednesday
    Mar132013

    RootsTech: Questions on Preserving and Passing on Family Stories

    It’s only a week until a crowd of genealogists, family historians and a wide array of geeks converge on the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City for the RootsTech Conference. Attendees from around the country (and the world) are honing the questions they want to pose to the experts. One question that many participants want answered is, “What’s the best way to preserve family stories and pass them on to future generations?” The answer is multi-faceted.

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    Tuesday
    Mar122013

    Publishing a Book: 10 Questions to Ask Yourself

    Are you looking for a printer or publisher for your book? Choosing the right one is one of the most important decisions an author needs to make on the way to publication. Here are ten questions to consider in choosing your book’s path into print.

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    Sunday
    Mar102013

    Fact, Speculation, Lore and Legend in Writing Family History

    You want to write a factually accurate family history, but you want it to be interesting. You are facing a conundrum that confronts many genealogists when the decide to turn their research into a book. There are rules to follow to insure that your book is factually accurate. The best guideline is the one created by the Board of Certification for Genealogists in its Genealogical Proof Standard which advises:

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    Friday
    Mar082013

    Publishing a Book: What’s Best e-Book or Print? 

    We are in Tucson, Arizona this weekend for the Tucson Festival of Books. It’s always a great event. One of the topics I know we’ll be discussing with authors is e-books. It seems like everybody wants their book in digital format. If you are making decisions about the best publishing format for your book – e-book, print book or both – here are some things to consider.

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    Tuesday
    Mar052013

    Check Your Book’s Comparables

    If you are an author aiming for commercial success you must approach your book as a business person would. Your book is, after all, a product you wish to sell. One of the first questions to consider is, how have similar books done in the marketplace? Michael Larsen, a partner in Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents wrote in Katherine Sands’ excellent book Making the Perfect Pitch: “The moment you have an exciting idea for a book… • Check the competition • Make yourself an expert on your subject by reading the most important competitive books and browsing through others.”

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    Sunday
    Mar032013

    Keys to Self-Publishing a Book: Copy Editing

    The draft of the book you plan to self-publish is finished. Your beta readers have offered good feedback on the book’s content. You have revised and edited the manuscript until it’s as polished as you can make it. You are ready to send the files off to the printer. But wait! It needs a thorough careful copy edit before it goes anywhere. “Copyediting is what turns an amateurish book into a polished, professional one,” says bestselling author Guy Kawasaki in his new book on self-publishing, APE: How to Publish a Book...Here are seven ideas that will improve your copy editing.

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    Friday
    Mar012013

    Why Your Self-Published Book Needs a Professional Editor

    Who will edit the manuscript for your self-published book? If you haven’t thought about the question you should. There were 347,178 new print books published in 2011, the last year for which complete figures are available. With ebooks added the number probably approaches half a million. How will your book stand out from that torrent of others? You might begin to answer that question by thinking about a slogan Ford used in its advertising a few years ago, Quality is Job One! How will you assure that your manuscript is of the highest quality it can be? The simple answer is, make sure it is well-edited.

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    Wednesday
    Feb272013

    Memoir Writing: Getting Beyond the Stories

    You have had an interesting life; maybe dramatic, maybe traumatic, maybe even tragic. You want to share it with a large audience in a memoir. To be successful you will ultimately have to confront what Richard Gilbert, in his blog Narrative, calls “the ‘so what’ dilemma.” No matter how remarkable the life story you have to tell, Gilbert explains, your reader will be likely to filter your experience through a series of questions, “’So what?’ That is, why should we care about your life? Why should we care what you think?” The paramount quality which makes a memoir great is not the uniqueness of the incidents it recounts, but the depth of the insights it draws from them.

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    Monday
    Feb252013

    What Happens to Books You Don’t Want to Read?

    Print books are going away in record numbers, but not in the way you think. In fact, Bowker Research’s 2012 Report on Print Book Publishing indicated that print titles published rose 6% to 347,178 in 2011 with another 1.1 million published titles of reprinted public domain works. That’s a lot of books. Reporter Claire Lawton of the Phoenix New Times in an article titled Disappearing Ink investigated what happened to those books when no one wants to read them any longer. It’s a fascinating piece.

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    Saturday
    Feb232013

    Two Questions Authors Should Ask Before Self-Publishing a Book

    You are finishing a book, or maybe have already finished one. You have heard a lot about the growing popularity of self-publishing and think that might be a good way to get your book out there. What should you do? Begin by asking two important questions regarding the self-publishing process. 1. Do you want your book to be truly self-published? 2. Who will own the rights to your book and the files used to create it?

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    Wednesday
    Feb202013

    Publishing a Book: People Will Judge It By Its Cover

    How do you make your book stand out from the thousands of other being published each year? It all starts with your cover. Chip Kidd, a top cover designer at Alfred A. Knopf, who brought us the distinctive book cover of Jurassic Park, and one of the best-designed, all-around-best books on my reading shelf right now, Haruki Murakami’s IQ84, explains: “The book designer’s responsibility is three-fold to the reader, to the publisher, and most of all to the author. I want you to look at the author’s book and say, ‘Wow! I need to read that.’” “It’s a billboard,” said Peter Mendelsund, Kid’s colleague at Knopf who designed the cover for the Stieg Larsson novel, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and its two sequels. “You hope yours shouts the loudest or entices the most intriguing way." A bad cover shouts out in a different way. “The first outward sign that your book is self-published is a crappy cover design.” said Guy Kawasaki, APE: How to Publish a Book. Let’s look at some excellent covers and some thoughts on what makes them effective.

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    Monday
    Feb182013

    Writing a Book: Plan Your Writing Time

    Life can get in the way of getting your book written. If you are working at a day job and your writing is a spare time project, that spare time may be hard to find. If you have a family to take care of it may be hard to control your schedule to give yourself the time you would like to write. What’s the best way to manage the limited periods of time you have available to get your book written?

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