Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Paper Options

It does make a difference which paper you use to print your book. Keep in mind that there is not one right paper for your book. Here is some information that will help you decide which paper is best. 24# (pound) paper that has a good brightness and opacity will work for most books. But if your book has over 700 pages, a thinner paper (like 20#) might be preferred so the book isn't so heavy or as thick. Coated papers can add a certain feel to your book especially if there are a lot of color pictures. It can work to mix pages in a book (i.e.: color picture pages on slick, coated paper and the rest of the book on 24# book paper) but you will notice that the shades of white will be slightly different. Most people will never notice the difference, but if you are one that it will bother, then I would suggest that you keep the book on all the same paper.
The weight of the paper can get very confusing because of the way that paper was made over 100 years ago. I’ll try to simplify what you need to know. Paper weights are designated by its “basis weight” and there are five different categories that are used. For book paper, there are two categories that are used most commonly, that is “offset weight” and “bond weight.” 20# bond is the same weight or thickness as 50# offset. 24# bond is the same as 60# offset. So if you talk to one printer and he says that he is going to do your book on 50# and other is going to do it on 24#, don’t be confused into thinking that since 50 is twice as much as 24 that the paper is thicker and better. Now you will know what they are talking about and can make a better decision.
There are two more things that are important for you to know about paper. First, is the brightness of the paper. Most paper is much brighter than it used to be 25 years ago. The brightness is a number between 1 and 100 with 100 being the brightest. Usually, a number above 92 is a good whiteness for books. Second, is the opacity of the paper. Opacity is how much you can see through the paper to what is printed on the other side. Check the opacity of several sheets together, like in a book, rather than holding one sheet up to the light. Almost all papers that would work well for a book will have some show-through. You just want to be sure that it isn’t so much that it is distractive to the reader.
All white bond or offset paper that is made in the U. S. is acid free so you don't need to worry about the pages turning yellow and becoming brittle over time. A few years ago you had to search for acid free paper. Not any more. (That is a relief.)
If this is all too confusing for you, don’t worry. Just look at the paper and if it looks good, it should work fine for you.
Chris Stevenson
Email questions and I’d be happy to help.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Layout of Your Book Is Unique ... And That Is Great!

Cookie cutters are great ... for cookies, not for books. Part of the fun and adventure of producing your family history is developing your story the way that you like. Just as every person is unique, each book should be unique. Don't think that you have to make your book look just like your cousin's book (even though he is convinced that his way is the only way). The layout and design of your book, where you put the pictures, and the way you organize the information is part of the creativity and uniqueness of your book.
If you are at a loss at how to start, you can get ideas from looking at other printed histories from family, friends or fellow genealogists and see which style you like best. Here are some examples of ways to organize your book: chronologically, by generations, starting with you and working back through ancestors, or just dealing with cousins that are descendants from an ancestor. There isn’t anything wrong with getting opinions and advice from others, but most importantly, don’t be afraid to do it the way that you would like.
Chris Stevenson
Email questions and I’d be happy to help.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sharing Your Life

Too often our lives are so full that we don't take the time to share them with those that we love the most. Often it doesn't enter our minds to create a personal or family history that can be shared with them for many years to come. By helping hundreds of people publish their own histories, I have come to appreciate the great legacy that they are sharing with their loved ones, born and those yet to be born. For me, it has meant a great deal to find any story, long or short, about my ancestors and relatives. They are great treasures to me and my family that help connect us through time. I can relate to their everyday challenges that they have faced and have found that both their successes and failures have inspire me to greater heights in my own life.
My goal with this blog is to share helpful tips and ideas about publishing histories that will guide you past the hurdles of writing and preparing the history, and to help motivate you to continue on to the end. Please feel free to add your ideas and comments; let me know what questions you have; and also share this information with anyone you know that is or should be publishing a history. Here's to your success!
Chris Stevenson
Stevenson Genealogy & Copy Center
Email questions and I’d be happy to help.