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Is Your Family Story Destined for a Larger Audience?

Family stories are meant to be shared. But whom do you share them with? Yourself, your family? On the other hand, perhaps your story is destined for a larger audience. Is your story meant to be published for the world to read?

For those of you who feel a spiritual calling to write your family history you also might fumble with the idea of publishing your family story.

I believe many family historians move through various stages on their journey to publishing their stories. It starts when we hear a narrative from a parent or grandparent about himself or herself or an ancestor. Our interest is peaked. We begin to ponder how the ancestors we know little about have made decisions that have influenced who and what we are.  We discover the practice of genealogy and begin our research. As we move through our research, we begin to understand its importance in our own life and were eager to share those lessons with others. We find the overwhelming desire to gather our stories together. We decide to create a family history book, a documentation of all things we know and legacy to future generations.  We share that book with family.  

However, for some of us, it does not stop there. We have a yearning to share our stories with a larger reading audience, perhaps a worldwide audience. We begin to contemplate whether our stories are destined to be published. Clearly, publication provides the best avenue for garnishing a readership beyond our immediate family but often we question whether our own stories are worthy of publication.

Many genealogists write and publish their family history for themselves or for family members. Some may also publish a family history blog in which they share their story with a larger audience hoping to draw out distant cousins. While others, turn their stories into novels, some fiction, some non-fiction.

There is no denying some of the greatest novels have evolved out of personal family histories. Perhaps you feel your tale is one of ‘those’ stories.

Have you often considered the notion of turning your family story in a novel or memoir? Do you feel your writing, your story is worthy of a published book? Do you wish to bring your talents and family story to a wider audience? Is your drive to be published ignited as a means of revenue or a desire for the world to read your words and know your story?  Perhaps a little of both?

If for path is leading to publication what are you doing to prepare yourself? What do you find to be the hardest obstacle in creating a published book from your family history?

I would love to hear your thoughts. How do you know if your story is intended for only for your family or fated to be shared with the world?



2 comments:

  1. Hi Lynn,
    Well, you've hit on exactly what I'm doing: writing a family story for a broader audience. With 25 bankers boxes of Family documents starting with my grandfather's diary of his hair-raising trip to America on 12/24/1910, letters between my grandparents, literally thousands of pages of diaries, letters, notes (not to mention patents, photos, passports, work records, 54 years of income tax -- with LOTS of info,memorabilia) spanning virtually the entire 20th century and a family story that includes love, death, racism, riots, marital harmony, strife, and reconciliation, I feel I have universal themes that, if woven together properly, could make a memoir, book, or even series of memoirs that could reach a broader audience. I just finished presenting my latest chapter to my writing group--1952. On to the rest of the decades! I've also been learning a lot about POD -- Print on Demand and the benefits of e-book publishing. it's a brave new publishing world with the rules changing every minute. I'm running to keep up.

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  2. Linda, thanks for sharing your writing journey with us. You might be interested in something, it's called the Self-Publishing Online Conference. Next weekend, I'm going to attend, it will give you a big jump in learning about self-publishing.

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