I find that the closer I get to making my book, The Mark Family Story, a reality the more hesitant I get. Have included every scrap of information that I collected? Is it organized in a clear, easy to follow manner? Have I presented the dates & places in an interesting manner? Have I made our ancestors come alive once again? Will my realtives be happy to be included? Basically, will anyone want to read this? And will they pay for a copy?
In the summer of 1993 my children, my father and I packed up my minivan with suitcases and snacks, a cooler of cold drinks, books and toys. I had my camera, a blank spiral notebook and a thin folder of notes that included everything I knew about the Mark family. My father had a couple often used maps of Ohio and his lifelong knowledge of his home state. Kissing my husband good-bye, I climbed into the minivan for my first genealogy trip. We headed to Ohio to visit my father’s maternal relatives and wander in cemeteries. My children remember feeding Great Aunt Wava’s chickens, the wooden swing in Uncle Clarence’s back yard and waiting for long lines of freight trains to pass by before we could continue driving. I remember my father’s happiness at being home again, stories he shared and the hospitality of our family in the Buckeye State. By the end of the trip I dreamed of writing down all this information to share it with the rest of the family.
That was the beginning of collecting information on the Mark family which I did in starts and stops over many years. It was followed by years of writing letters to libraries with SASEs, pestering relatives to tell me stories, scanning old photographs, filling out family group sheets and buying larger and larger binders. I shared bits of information in Christmas newsletters. I printed out and stapled together little stories of our family and gave them to my cousins when we gathered for annual Fourth of July BBQs.
Now I am ready to have a ‘real’ book printed. I have a Word document, complete with a Table of Contents, chapters, footnotes, photographs and an index. My daughter, Alyssa, who is also my editor, has pointed out my errors and those have been fixed.
The next step is finding the right place to print my book. I will soon be going to the Troy Book Makers. Their website says, “Let your inner book out.” I am signed up for their seminar.
“You’ve just put the cap back on your pen, or saved your last sentence—your latest written work is now complete. Now what? Join us to find out more about polishing your completed work to get it ready to be printed with The Troy Book Makers. This is an informational session that gives authors the basics about self-publishing. The Troy Book Makers staff provides tips, to-do lists and honest advice.”
I will take a notebook, a DVD with my book and my courage and go off, pretending to be a ‘real’ author.