SELF-PUBLISHING, JUST DO IT!
July 7, 2013
Anyone today can self-publish. No longer is it necessary to find an agent to secure a book transaction with one of the major publishers before you publish. Several ways today make publishing possible thanks to new technology. It can be simple or complex, but you can now publish from home if you have an idea and a computer. Have you spent years working on a project such as cemetery research or inventory? On the other hand, maybe you are an expert at courthouse research and want to pass along your technique. It does not have to relate to family history. I just finished a hard cover book with colored pictures about a recent wedding I attended for two good friends. It had a hard cover and shiny pages, but was only 20 pages. It is the first hard cover book I have published in many years.
These days I usually take the easy route when publishing. I use MS Word. It goes quickly and I do not have to learn the program. I have used MS Publisher, but it actually is only for small publications [less than 50-60 pages before it begins to act up. You would not think this would happen with the expensive Microsoft Office 2010. However, the MS website has a 25-page downloadable family history template. I still use it for posters/flyers and things I have to create.
I have used Adobe Publisher in the past, but it sometimes loses its mind and the fonts become messed up. It seems to be limiting because of its hefty price. Nevertheless, I do love its professional look.
Sometimes in Word, I just write and put the new chapter at the end of the one I’ve just finished. Other times I make different files of each chapter [the easiest way] and combine them in the end. You can use continuous numbering or go the easy route and mark each page with the chapter number followed by the page. Word allows for the index and contents to be marked as you type [using a code] so that part is easy to create. Use the font name and size that is easy for you audience to read.
When you are ready, take it to Kinko’s who will publish it in a perfect binding [black tape on the spine]. For the family, I send it as a PDF attachment to Blueprint in Plano at Hwy 5 & Park. They are easy to work with and follow my instructions for a soft, colored, or black cover with, or without, a clear protector on the front. This is rather inexpensive. You can supply acid free paper for the project—or not. On the other hand, you can work with one of the office supply printers.
To send a copy to the Family History Library (FHL), send a PDF copy on a CD and mail it to them in Salt Lake City. I give them permission to digitize it for their website and publish a hard copy of it for their library. By sending the file on CD, it is easy for them to get it up on their site quickly. I send two hard copies to the Library of Congress, one each to Allen County Public Library and the counties covered in the book.
On occasion, I remember events in my past that make interesting reading. When writing about my life growing up in Plano and attending school here, I place it on one of my websites for the public to read. Still other memories are shared privately with my family.
If you are interested in reading my memoirs to get an idea of subjects to include in your memoirs, look at my Genealogy Research site under Memoirs, www.genealogyresearch.weebly.com.
If you have been into researching your family tree for any length of time, you have stories to tell and readers wanting to read about your findings. It is important for you to share your findings. Decide how you want to accomplish this and just do it!
There are many self-publishing companies on the internet. By conducting a Google search on “self-publishing companies’ you will surely find a company that can produce what you want.
Sharing your finds is important. Just do it!
Brenda Kellow has a bachelor's degree in history, teaches, and lectures on genealogy. Before retiring to publish her family’s histories in 2007, Brenda held certification as a Certified Genealogist and as a Certified Genealogical Instructor. Send reunion announcements, books to review, and genealogy queries to: firstname.lastname@example.org.