Now that you’ve researched, organized, written and edited your personal history project, it’s time to share it with others. But how?
The good news is that there are plenty of options available, from offering it strictly in an electronic form to having it printed and bound into a classy leather-covered book. The bad news is that you’ll have to pick one of those options.
The first thing to consider is who is getting a copy? If it’s just a handful of friends and relatives, you’re probably better off printing it yourself through a local print shop. If you have a large distribution list, or want to sell it through an on-line or local bookseller, you’ll want to find someone who can handle large runs. Here is a list of some printers you can check out.
You can use a three-ring binder to hold the pages together, use a comb or spiral binding available at print centers, or use a variety of glued or stitched bindings. The price range begins at affordable and goes as high as you want. The point is, if you want some sort of book printed and bound, you can get it done.
As far as layout goes, you have two choices – do it yourself or hire someone like a graphic designer. Most people who can use a word processing program can do simple layouts using Microsoft Word or Publisher. For more elaborate layouts, consider hiring a graphic designer. If the look of your final work is important to you, this is probably the route you want to take. This link has lots of good information on self-publishing.
In any case, use photos with captions and pertinent documents in your layout to complement your written words. Choose a typeface and size that’s easy to read.
Whether you print yourself or through someone else, don’t skimp on paper and ink. Choose archival materials for your print job. The Library of Congress has some great tips on how to care for paper materials.
Now it’s time to give yourself a pat on the back. Congratulations!
This is the final lesson of a mini-course on how to write a personal history. To review the course from the beginning, here is Lesson No. 1. I’d appreciate any comments you have about the course, either through the comments section, or by e-mail.
Flickr photo courtesy of forthcoming.