Publishing Family History
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Publishing Your Family History Book
By Libby Feil
Have you ever dreamed of publishing your family history research? Would you like to write up what you've discovered so that the information can easily be passed on to other family members or even to the public at large? Here are some ideas to help you with this.
First, of course, you have to carry out research on one or more families. Come in to the Local & Family History Department and let us help you get started or get past a roadblock.
Next, you have to put together a book for publication. Should you include reproductions of photographs? What should you do with letters, recipes, and documents you've found? Should you lay out your family trees as charts, written narratives, or something else entirely? These helpful manuals can help you figure out the answers to these questions:
- Famed genealogist Sharon DeBartolo Cormack's You Can Write Your Family History
- D.G. Fulford's One Memory at a Time: Inspiration and Advice for Writing Your Family Story
- Janice Dixon's Family Focused: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Your Autobiography and Family History
- Paul Drake's You Ought to Write All That Down: A Guide to Organizing and Writing Genealogical Narrative
- Noted genealogical writer Patricia Law Hatcher's Producing a Quality Family History
- Kirk Polking's Writing Family Histories and Memoirs
Finally, you have to decide how to publish your work. Most family histories are not candidates for traditional publishing by big publishing houses; they just won't have a large enough audience to justify it. But you can still have the satisfaction of seeing your work in print. For most family historians, self-publishing is the way to go.
Self-publishing needn't be expensive. Consider your audience. If you just want to make enough copies to give out to your close family, or if you feel that you might want to make changes later on when you've done more research, there's no point in investing in traditional bound books. Why not simply self-publish through a copy shop such as FedEx Kinko's, Mail Boxes Etc./UPS Store, or your closest local copy store? Copy shops have become very sophisticated, and can offer you many options to make your final product look professional, including different colors and weights of paper and a variety of bindings and covers.
Don't forget: if you need help along the way, you can always come in to Local & Family History and ask for help!
Last updated by: Libby Feil, December 28, 2006