Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Book Review: Publish Your Family History

As stated on its back cover, this book in the Genealogist's Reference Shelf series aims to "tell you all of the fundamentals of book production, together with the important details that distinguish a home published book from a homemade one. You'll learn:

  • how to get your manuscript ready for production;
  • design ideas for the pages and the cover;
  • methods of making pages with all without computer and printing those pages quickly and inexpensively; and
  • ideas on bindings that last and look great.
Even if time is at a premium, you're not comfortable with computer technology, or the budget is tight, you'll learn how to publish a professional looking family history of your own!"

That quote demonstrates implementation of the text's advice about the back cover as a book's selling proposition, albeit in rather more words than recommended. It's the solid advice in this book, and the demonstration of its implementation in the appearance of the volume, that makes it a keeper. Even a cursory flip through the book, and comparison with other volumes in the Genealogist's Reference Shelf series, makes this one stand out for the variety of visual experience in the presentation.

This 2010 version is a reprint of the thoroughly rewritten 2005 version published by OGS, with corrections, based on the original published in 1999. That helps explain some incongruenties in the content. For example, there is advice on designing a cover and what should go on it. Yet the cover of this edition, aside from the colour scheme, is exactly the same design as the others in the series. Also a purchase order, supposedly for this book, indicates a delivery date of March 12, 2005.

These days many of us are self-publishing our family histories with online services like that at That's a business line that has developed substantially since 2005, yet gets hardly a mention in this book.

Nevertheless, for its fundamental good advice this book will find a place on my bookshelf.

Publish your Family History, preserving your heritage in a book, by Susan Yates and Greg Ioannou, is a 152 page paperback, published for the Ontario Genealogical Society by Dundurn Press (2010), ISBN 978-1-55488-727-9, is widely available at online bookstores.

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