10 July 2015

DONE: Independent Small Print Publishing

... As "done" as any modest family history ever is. The dead ends and brick walls are obvious points for pulling together what you have and starting to write. In my case, that began about seven years ago. More sub-title: John Fraser from Inverness-shire, Scotland and John Fraser from Perthshire, Scotland.
Then, as so often happens in the evolving access to sources, more information surfaced as I applied myself to the narrative task. The research continued irresistibly as I wrote.

It's difficult for the genealogist to call a research halt; it's difficult for the writer to stop editing the manuscript. But the moral is you have to start writing sometime, and you have to stop somewhere.

The print-on-demand publisher I'd used before ‒ Belgium-based ShopMyBooks, formerly known as UniBook ‒ decided to go all "new and improved" and oh by the way, we are deleting your previous books with us unless you re-format them from scratch, imposing a fast-looming deadline. Following our three easy steps. Trust me, the steps were not easy and SMB was not responding to email. One friend complied, with difficulty, and had dreadfully frustrating delivery problems.

Originally the SMB process was easy for the technology-challenged. The search for something similar yielded websites like Lulu, CreateSpace, and Blurb. My manuscript was created long ago in 8.5 x 11 size to match my earlier family histories. Not every company would accept that size with the options I wanted and I was not going through 110 pages to re-format to say 8 x 10 with the headaches of re-sizing photos, placement of 243 footnotes, odd-page alignment for new chapters, etc. I chose CreateSpace (CS). So check out finished-size availability before you start formatting your manuscript in a certain size!

Uploading with CS is the easy part. And they will assign you an ISBN number if you wish. Because it's an American company, they want tax information which amounts to nothing if you are a non-US citizen, but still, some pertinent forms to go through. Also, because CS is an Amazon company they pay a lot of attention to marketing, sales, and distribution. You can set your own price, including a royalty if that turns you on. Since my only "market" is my extended family, I am not going into high gear over those aspects.

Cover design is important and has technical specifications that were over my beleaguered head. They would not be beyond your average, clear-thinking genealogist. I believe the three-mentioned companies have similar requirements, some providing a template to follow ~ but if I see the word bleed again in the next ten years it will be too soon ~ Instead I sought a knowledgeable colleague, for whom I am extremely grateful, to manage that feature. (CS does provide helpful services for a fee.)

I am pleased with the finished product and even more pleased with the discounted cost for my own purchases. Once I reviewed and approved the proof copy they provided, and sent in my own order, the delivery from South Carolina to Toronto was made in an astonishing forty-eight hours. Oopsy, did I mention? - customs duty on the shipment, not onerous.

Now I feel I can update the former family histories with some faith and familiarity in the procedure.

Without a doubt, further relevant genealogical sources and information and evidence will appear, with or without me. Let's hope My Fraser Families will inspire the millennial generation to carry on.

© 2015 Brenda Dougall Merriman


Elayne Lockhart said...

Brenda, it's been so good to hear how this whole process worked out. Given the huge challenges caused by SMB and then the search for a new publisher I know that I, for one, am so grateful that you, once again, have been our leader. I am encouraged to now re-print my book so that it will still be available for any future interested family members (they do dribble in slowly, don't they?). Then the next step will be to finished the book I am currently working on and have it published. But by then there may be more changes and challenges???? I sure hope not.

I look forward to seeing a copy of your latest publication!


BDM said...

Thanks for commenting, Elayne. I only wish my ancestors were HALF as interesting as yours!!