Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Print A Few Extra Books

If you have finished writing your book you may be wondering how many copies you should have printed. If your book is about an ancestor that has quite a few descendants, this could be a difficult question. It can be very helpful to contact relatives to determine their interest or better yet to get advanced orders from them. If you are giving them as gifts to your grandchildren, it is easier because you know how many grandchildren you have. Whatever method you used to determine the number of copies to print, there is one more thing for you to consider. After several people see your book in its finished form, you will be asked if you have some more copies. These people may be friends or relatives that didn’t show any interest before the book was done, but now that they can see how great it is and they can have an “instant” copy, they are interested. So my advice for you is to print a few extra books. It is less expensive to run a few extra copies when your book is being printed the first time than to start over and print and bind just a few copies at a later date. If your finances won’t permit this additional expense, consider approaching a relative that can finance the few additional copies. Then as you sell the additional books you can repay their investment in your book. I have found that it will save you a lot of hassle and expense if you print a few extra books with the first printing.

Chris Stevenson

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Include a CD with Your Book

Here is something that can be of great benefit to your readers. It can be very beneficial to include, with your book, a CD that has an electronic copy of your book file. If you can, include both a PDF copy of the book plus the original file format (for information about PDF, see my post from Nov. 2009). These files will be searchable by your readers and can be a great aid to them in finding specific info that they are looking to find. You can even include, in a separate file, all the sources that you used to research and create the book. You might make another supplemental document that includes most or all of the parts of your book that were edited out. Then, if there is enough room on the CD, include JPEG copies of the pictures that you have in your book. You may have had other pictures or documents that were left out that you could include on a CD with very little extra cost or effort.

Making a CD to include with the book can even help you in editing your book. If you don’t really want to include all of the pictures you have of Uncle John in the printed book but you want the rest of the family to have all of them, then including them on the CD is the perfect answer. By putting this kind of CD in the back of your book, you will add great value for your readers for very little additional cost.

Chris Stevenson

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Type it Myself or Hire it Out

Is it better to type my book myself or hire it out? This question could be changed to many different parts of the publishing process, but this post is specifically about typing. You might be the type of person that likes to do it yourself. But if you can’t seem to find the time to type up your book, you can easily hire that part out. If you’re not sure where to start looking for a typist, you could start looking in your own family. You can arrange for a relative to do it, if they are willing and have the time. You might check with a young married member of your family who is looking for additional income. Another place to look for a good typist is at a local college. You can find many students that want to earn a little money on the side who are very good typists. Even though you can turn the typing over to someone else, that doesn’t mean that you loose control of the content of the book. With red pen in hand, you can edit to your hearts content and rework the book over and over until it is just how you want. Don’t be shy about asking your typist to make the changes that you want. If you are excited about the end product, they will be happy to help you reach that goal.

Another option is to buy a software program that transcribes from your voice, like Dragon Naturally Speaking. For someone who is a very slow typist but still wants to do it themselves, this is a good option. I tried this program many years ago and it work fair, but I can imagine that they have improved it greatly since then. You could look into it and see if it will work for you and then leave a comment below to help others with this same problem.

Many publishers will have in-house or freelance people to help you with typing or other parts of the project that are just too overwhelming to you. The important thing to keep in mind is to overcome all of the obstacles that are in your way and successfully reach your end goal of publishing your history! Your history and your unique stories are too important to lose.

Chris Stevenson

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Connect Chapters with a Visual Chart

A few of the books that we have published have put a small pedigree chart at the beginning of each chapter. I thought that it was a good idea and for certain family histories, might be very useful. I’ll include a picture to demonstrate how this works, but essentially what you do is to create a small pedigree chart that shows the scope of the book. Then you use bold or a gray highlight to indicate where this chapter’s person is on the pedigree chart. It is a helpful way for your reader to be clear about who the person is that this chapter is about and how they fit in the family. I think that this would be extremely useful for families where names are repeated. You could also use this technique with a family group or a descendant chart. It may not work for your book, but I thought it was a good idea.

Here is an example:


Chris Stevenson