Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Organization is Key

The hardest part of writing a book is gathering all the information and pictures. You will be collecting a variety of things, including documents, pictures, and hundreds of facts and stories. If you have a system to organize and track this information as you go along the process of writing will be much smoother. The information that you gather is much too important to lose or have to spend hours looking for again. There are many good ways to organize your data so you can easily find it again. The way that works for me is to use file folders in a filing cabinet and folders on my computer to organize the information as I gather it. I usually label the folders with names, surname first, and then alphabetize them. There is no one right way to do it, but file your information and keep things in a way that makes sense to you. A good tip is to make a good master list or index of what you have collected and where it is located so you can quickly find it again. If you spend a few minutes staying organized, you will save hours and hours of time (not to mention the frustration you will avoid) when you are writing your history. Find a system that works for you and then work the system. Here are some links to different organizational systems: Eliminate Genealogy Clutter Book
Good luck and keep going!
Email questions and I’d be happy to help.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Picture is Worth ...

Pictures will add great interest to your book and draw people into your history. If you have pictures that haven't been scanned into your computer, you will need to do that first before you can insert them into the book. (Click here for some really good information on scanning photos.) If you don't have a scanner, you can see if a close relative has one and will scan your pictures for you, or you can have a company do it for you. I would suggest that you type all the text into the book before adding pictures because the pictures will make your file size very large which will slow down your computer. Decide whether you want your picture printed in color or black and white. For black and white, scan your pictures in grayscale. Obviously, you will want the pictures scanned in full color if you are planning on printing that page in color. When in doubt, scan in color, the page can always be printed in black and white from a color picture, but not the other way around. When scanning your photographs, scan them with at least a 300 dpi (dots per inch) resolution. Higher than 300 dpi will improve the quality of the picture very little, but will make the file size very large and slow down your computer. If you have a small original and are going to make it larger in your book, then scan it at 400-500 dpi so it won't be pixilated when you enlarge it for your book. Documents can be scanned as grayscale or black images. If scanning as black, use 600 dpi resolution. You can do a little experimenting with photos that are too dark or too light to find the right setting to give you the best picture when your book is printed. Be liberal with inserting pictures because we all know how much pictures are worth!

Email questions and I’d be happy to help.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

File Format

When you are ready to take your book to the publisher/printer, check with them to see if they can print your file as you have it or if they need it converted to PDF. PDF is the best file format to bring your book to the publisher. (PDF stands for Portable Document Format.) It will make your pages perfectly stable so that the pages look the same on the printed page as what is on your computer screen. With some programs, when you move the files from computer to computer, the text and pictures can move from page to page, but with a PDF nothing moves or changes. Another problem that you can face is that the publisher doesn't have the same program that you have or they have a different version. You also won't have to worry about using only fonts that the publisher has, PDF will print them without having the font installed. There are free PDF converter programs online that you can download so you don't need to buy the Adobe Professional version (i.e.: PrimoPDF). Now you have one less thing to worry about.

Email questions and I’d be happy to help.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Binding Your Book

When it comes to binding your book, you have quite a few good choices. You will want to check out all of your options for binding so you can determine what will work best for your book. A good binding will keep the pages of your book together for many years to come, that is the main goal. A hard binding that is sewn AND glued will last for a hundred years without falling apart and loosing pages. It will give your book a better look and feel, but will be more expensive. The coil or comb bindings have some advantages in that they are inexpensive for short runs and will lay flat on the counter or your lap (great for cookbooks). You can also add or subtract pages from the book in the future. The disadvantages to this type of binding are that the holes make the pages weaker so that they can tear out easier and sometimes the coil/comb will break after time and use. Perfect binding can be very inexpensive for long runs and will work with the right glues, but it won't last as long as hard binding before breaking apart. The strongest and most flexible glue for binding is PUR glues. If you are going to have a perfect bound book, check to be sure they are using PUR glue so your book will last. I hope this helps you decide which binding will work best for your book.
Chris Stevenson
Email questions and I’d be happy to help.