Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Online Hint : Self Publishing Online Utilities

In an age where self-publishing has become easy and relatively inexpensive, more and more people are choosing to take their family history to what I call the "final level."

The most recent donation to the Local History Collection of just such a works is The Merritt Families : the story of two sisters, Ida & Kate Merritt as told through family photographs, histories, letters and a diary, with a companion volume entitled Transcriptions of Postcards, Diary & Letters Appearing in The Merritt Families, both compiled & edited by Randa Randall Korson and Sandy Lucas.  Associated families are Lucas, Shepard, McMillan, Tabor, Sibert, Bowles with connections to the Southwest Michigan communities of Bangor, Decatur, Eau Claire, Kalamazoo & Keeler.  The set was a gift of compiler, Randa Korson.

The first volume is a beautiful hardcover with color dust-jacket and is 236 pages.  The second is a smaller paperback of 166 pages.  In the first, images of original letters, diaries, postcards, family pages (resembling bible records) and photographs with brief biographical sketches are shown in color on glossy pages.  Each page is nicely laid out with framing.  Overall a beautiful coffee table style book, with only one flaw - no index.  The second volume is simply a transcription of those diaries & letters whose images appear in volume 1 - also no index.

Publishing can be in a variety of formats, but admittedly a book that can be held in my hands is still my favorite.  Now there is a new way to more easily print your book using online publishing tools.  The Merritt Families was compiled by and published from Blurb.com with a limited printing of only four copies.  This site is one of several with tools that enable you to create your own book by uploading images, designing your own layout, and selecting the style & quantity of your choice, all for as little as $2.75 per book.   One of the beauties of this method of publishing is the ability to print-on-demand. 

If you are interested in learning more about self-publishing using online design & printing tools, simply enter "make your own book" or something similar into Google or your favorite search engine and several cites will appear.  Do your comparative shopping by checking out more than one cite, and remember to include an index in the final product!

Nameless Picture of the Day

 unknown man, labeled only as "bridegroom"
Photographer - J. I. Huff, Decatur

Can you identify the young man in this photo?  Please contact us if you any information and we will publish it in a future blog.  Please include the five character catalog number with your e-mail.