google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html From Blog to Book: Transforming Your Family History | The Armchair Genealogist

From Blog to Book: Transforming Your Family History

One of the single greatest struggles we face as family historians is finding the time and the knowledge to turn our family history research into a family history book. Many writers regardless of their genre struggle to get their books finished, and nothing could be more truer for family historians.

Enter blogging, a wonderful concept that makes perfect sense for genealogists floundering with their family history book. Whether you are already blogging about your family history or thinking of starting a family history blog, consider blogging as a serious path to completing that family history book.

There are many reasons to consider a family history blog to book.

Establish a Routine
Blogging helps you create a daily or weekly writing practice. It gives you deadlines. Once you begin to put your story out there, and your readership strengthens, a certain obligation to post regularly develops. You don’t want to disappoint your followers.

Also, there is no greater motivation then proclaiming a goal publicly. A family history book to blog can be just the public declaration you need to get the job done. 

Develop Your Writing Skill
Writing a blog on a regular basis gives you an opportunity to see what happens when you write consistently. Many family historians struggle with the writing because they consider themselves more researchers than writers. They stumble around trying to find their writing voice and turn their research into a family narrative. Writing a blog regularly is a wonderful outlet to developing these skills, one that will grow with time and effort.

The Cost
Writing a blog is free. Every form of publishing costs money. Sometimes the cost alone holds many back from producing that book. However, blogging your family history book is free, zero cost. Sorry you can’t use that as an excuse anymore! Of course the end goal is produce a book whether it is a print book or an ebook. However, until your ready to take your book prime time, consider a blog as a stepping stone to the end product. The only cost here is your time.

Feedback
If you post regularly, they will come.... readers. They will read, they will comment and that I assure you, that  will motivate you to write more.  No longer are writers expected to sit in secluded cabins out in the wilderness hammering out their books. Wonder if your writing is good enough? Wonder if your story is worthy of reading? Write a blog and test the waters.  Pay attention to the feedback, and use the information from your readers to further develop your writing skills and your story.

Organization
Short blog posts are a great format for breaking down a book. Short blog posts help you to organize your into book chapters, isolate themes, develop your characters (ancestors) into manageable chunks. Essentially blogs are the ideal tool for turning what could be a very overwhelming project into small manageable tasks.

Developing an Audience
If you think your family history narrative is destined for a larger audience,  consider the successful Oh, Beautiful by John Paul Godges, one of my favourites. A perfect example of family history turned into a wonderful family narrative. Blogging your family history is a perfect opportunity to not only write your book but build a readership and a platform. When you are ready to publish, your tribe will be the first in line to purchase your book.

In the coming weeks, we will look at the nuts and bolts of creating a family history blog to book project. If your already blogging about your family history, then we will look at turning those already written blog posts into a book. If your just starting or still on the fence, we will walk you through blogging your book. We will guide you  through establishing a blog and writing posts with the purpose of creating a family history book.

Let’s Hear From You!


If you are already writing a family history blog with the intentions of making it a book, please link your blog here. If your interested in starting a family history blog to book project , then throw out your questions and concerns and I will do my best to address them in future posts.

If you want to learn more about writing your family history, consider Writing Your Family History.

15 comments:

  1. This is one of my goals...blog to writing my family history book. Thank you for this post...It was excellent.

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  2. Good tips. I blog and I love it (about family memories & nostalgia, past and present) and I wonder if they will come!
    http://saveeverystep.wordpress.com

    I can also help with an alternative FREE place to capture your own contemporary family stories - see them placed in chronological order on a timeline, with your pictures and narrative side by side, at http://www.saveeverystep.com. I have a lifetime's membership to give away on our Facebook page too, so visit http://www.facebook.com/saveeverystep

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  3. Yvette, great to hear you are working towards your family history book. Hope you found the post helpful.

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  4. @saveeverystep, thanks for sharing your website.

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  5. I look forward to your future posts about this. My blog encourages people to write their memoir, and since a number of my blog's followers are also bloggers, I have planned a future series on how to turn blog posts into a memoir. The way I see it, they've already done a lot of the writing!

    Thanks!

    Linda Thomas

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  6. Linda your blog is a perfect example of a blog that could easily be turned into a book. I would love to have you guest post on this topic.

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  7. Hi, Lynn, thanks for getting back to me.

    Question: Which blog are you referring to? I have two. One is helping others to writing memoirs, and the other is a blog based on a memoir I published; I'm blogging my way through it. In other words, I'm doing the reverse of what you advocate (turning blog posts into a book)--I am turning my book into a blog.

    I'll enjoy hearing back from you. Thanks for your inspiration!

    Linda

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  8. We are so on the same wave length with this topic. Thank you for this post with specifics on how to accomplish my Blog to Book Goal. I am looking forward to your following posts.

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  9. Lynn, you are spot on with this post, especially the points about developing writing skills and blogging as a means of organization. I sometimes wonder if Malcolm Gladwell's ten-thousand-hour concept applies to my writing on my own blog and tend to slip into the melancholy of writer-wannabe purgatory. I think a lot of people may share my insecurities about the "readers...they will come" aspect, too.

    While I think you've already stopped by, since you asked, my blog is at http://afamilytapestry.blogspot.com/

    The one thing I'm hoping for, as I pursue my goal of morphing my family history blog into a book form, is to find or set up a forum where like minded family history/genealogy writers could encourage each other as we progress towards this goal--a "virtual" writers' group.

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  10. Hi Jacqui, I'm glad we are in sync. Stay tuned I have something in the pipeline for the new year.

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  11. Through the course of 2011,I wrote a series of posts about the women in my family, took part in various challenges focusing on ancestors who migrated to Australia & New Zealand. I also wrote a few posts which I titled ancestor if the week. I regularly submit to the COG.

    The plan was,to pull those posts into a more structured book form, one for my ancestry & another for my husband's.

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  12. I have two blogs that I started about a year ago, for my mother's family and my father's family. I have not been consistent with my writing, but I would hope that linking it here might help. Now, tell me how to link them.

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  13. I'm just joining up on reading about your blog to book posts. I've published a blog book via Blurb every three months since my blog started. I give one to my Mom and one to my mother-in-law. Sometimes I just take certain blog posts and print up an 80 page book for certain cousins as gifts (birthdays, Christmas, even a wedding once). It's easy because Blurb just slurps the posts I check off. Now the local historical society wants some of the posts I've written on the town, so I'm slurping those specific posts into a volume for the library. There are lots of possibilities for blog 2 book projects, and I haven't found them all yet! I'm going to read the rest of your posts now to see what good ideas you've come up with!

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  14. Fantastic Heather, I hope you'll continue to add your thoughts as we move forward. Blurb will definitely be one of the options we will look at for publishing. One thing your doing that I think many overlook is publishing in smaller books. Everyone wants to do the big book and that becomes overwhelming. One of the nice things about blog to book, you can write and publish in manageable chunks.

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  15. I started a blog years ago but I think I only wrote like two things on it. I am not sure how I feel about putting personal family history and recent information on a blog/public internet. Has anyone else felt odd about posting about their live relatives?
    By the way, I LOVE the idea of blogging to book. I have decided to embark on a huge project where I take my genealogy and other family history information and turn it into a book. I found this blog thru Pinterest while browsing for info on the subject as I start.
    To anyone who has made a family history book, how did you organize the families? In what order? Thank you all for your input!

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