Today we are happy to welcome Dr. Bill Smith who is stopping by on his blog tour for the new edition of his book The 13 Ways to Tell Ancestor Stories. Dr. Bill has written nine nonfiction books about family history, serves as a Squidoo lens master, contributes to The In-Depth Genealogist as The Heritage Tourist and writes a newspaper column on family history. We’re happy to have had an opportunity to chat with Dr. Bill about his latest project. Here’s our interview with Dr. Bill:
Maureen Taylor, the internationally known photo identification expert and photo historian whom the Wall Street Journal called The Photo Detective has a wonderful new project. Ten years ago she discovered over 200 photo images of men and woman who were alive during the Revolutionary War and survived into the photographic age. The discovery led to two books, The Last Muster (Kent State University Press, 2009) and The Last Muster: Faces of the Revolution (soon to be released). Now Maureen is partnering with Verissima Productions of Cambridge, Massachusetts to create a documentary film, Revolutionary Voices, to bring the faces and the stories behind them to life. The documentary has an ambitious $225,000 budget. Maureen and her partners are using Kickstarter, a platform to crowd source funding for creative projects, to get financing underway Revolutionary Voices. We had an opportunity to talk with Maureen about the project during the recent Roots Tech 2013 Conference in Salt Lake City.
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.
“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.
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
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?