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    Thursday
    Apr042013

    Why Narrative Family History is Best

    New York Times columnist Bruce Feiler asked himself, “What is the secret sauce that holds a family together? What are the ingredients that make some families effective, resilient, happy?” The answers he discovered appeared in a piece in the Sunday Times titled The Stories That Bind Us. It should be required reading for genealogists and family historians. Feiler consulted Emory University psychologist Marshall Duke who had explored myth and ritual in American families. What he learned was that, “The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned.”

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    Tuesday
    Apr022013

    Self-Publish a Book: Thoughts on Marketing Considerations

    Today, we welcome award-winning indie sci-fi and paranormal author Roland Allnach. Roland’s short story Creep was a 2010 Pushcart Prize nominee. His book, Remnant was a finalist for the 2011 National Indie Excellence Award, a 2012 Bronze Medalist in the Readers Favorite Awards and received recognition in the 2012 USA Book News Best Book Awards. His anthology Oddities & Entities was also recognized by the 2012 Readers Favorite Awards. We are happy to present Roland’s Thoughts on Marketing Considerations.

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    Saturday
    Mar302013

    Self-Publish a Book: How We Choose a Printer

    We deal with printers all the time. Every book we make has a destination: perhaps into the hands of a consumer, or perhaps to a darling grandchild. Our goal is to match our authors with the right printer for their needs. There are many printers offering an array of features, and we’ll examine the options here. As an author, you are concerned about how to get your book into print, within your budget. For commercial books, the goal is to keep costs down. However, if you are printing a book for family and friends, you may want to pay more for higher quality, longer lasting book.

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    Wednesday
    Mar272013

    Dr. Bill Smith: 13 Ways to Tell Ancestor Stories – Interview and Giveaway

    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:

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    Tuesday
    Mar262013

    Maureen Taylor’s Exciting Documentary Film Revolutionary Voices: A Kickstarter Project

    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.

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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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