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Writing and Publishing Your Family Story - It's No Longer for Dreamers!

For many of us our family research will sit on hard drives and jump sticks and on bookshelves and in boxes for years to come. Passed on from one family member to the next, some will be cherished while others forgotten.  Many will organize their family research into a book and share it with their loved ones, creating a legacy for future generations from a culmination of years of research.  However, many family historians wish to push their story beyond the limits of their family to the outside world. For some their story resonates with them and they feel a wider audience will also fine meaning in their history.

Are you one of those family historians? Do have a passion to write your story for a larger audience? Turn your family’s journey into a novel?

 For many this is an overwhelming task.  We’ve discussed at great lengths creating that family keepsake book, but now it’s time to move forward and turn your family story into a novel.

Many have gone before us. A few great examples of family histories turned novel include, The Journey Takers by Leslie Albrecht Huber,  Oh Beautiful: A Portrait of an American Family in the 20th Century by John Paul Godges, Shaking the Family Tree,Blue Bloods, Black Sheep and Other Obsessions of an Accidental Genealogist by Buzzy Jackson and , 13 rue Therese by Elena Mauli Shapiro. I will be reviewing each of them with you at a later date. 

In the coming weeks, I’ll share some writer’s tools to get you started on your path. Tips to help you sit down and get to the business at hand, create a timeline and a deadline and ultimately publish your novel....self-publishing to be exact, the only way to go in my opinion. 

For now, you only need to know that self-publishing your story is no longer for dreamers, no longer an elitist occupation. You no longer have to beg at the doorsteps of publishers and endure endless rejection letters.  The landscape of publishing has reached a tipping point.  Companies the like of Smashwords and Lightening Source and Amazon have provided the resources to place self-publishing in the hands of the author. No longer will publishers be the final word in what books are worthy of reading, that authority now lies in the hands of the reader.

Don’t get me wrong, writing and self-publishing your family history is work. It is not a get rich quick scheme.  Those of us in the genealogy industry are not immune to struggling for every dollar so this should come as no surprise. Regardless of whether you wish to write your story as a novel, or share your genealogy expertise in the form of a how to book, the time is now. Regardless of your motivation, whether for financial gain or for the creative experience or as salute to your ancestors, know that it can be done. 

I was just putting the final changes on this post when I was alerted on twitter to an article that was a must read. I was blown away. It speaks directly to what I am talking about today and it speaks volumes. Your only limitations are you.  Please read this post by Jon Morrow ...How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise and Get Paid to Change the World.....You will not be disappointed.  Warning you’ll be craving a Pina Colada later.

In the coming weeks and months we will take an up-close and personal look at the writing and self-publishing world and how a genealogist can use this shift in the market to their advantage. Whether you wish to write your family story or share your particular brand of genealogy expertise there is no better time than the present.  It’s no longer for dreamers, it’s for doers.