Or, how I made a book in three hours.
I like to make a printed “draft” booklet about a branch of the family once in a while, just in case something prevents me from following my plan to spend the next 40 years pursuing the COMPLETE answers to my genealogical problems. I feel like small books will be saved and available to the next generations even if my electronic trees, gedcoms, notes and files are not.
My usual style is to compile some charts, an Ahnentafel, a table of contents, some stories and an index using my Legacy software. Then I take the printouts to Staples and have them spiral bound. I like the look of the Legacy-produced documents and they have quite a few great options like place name indices and including additional spouses. However my new BFF is Family Tree Maker 2012, because it automatically synchs with the Ancestry trees, and synchs fairly well. For instance, it copies the census records into stored files on my computer. Gotta love that. And it synchs pictures as well as data. So I have decided to just get through the learning curve on FTM12 and live with the reports not being everything my heart desires.
A visit to Lulu
So the other day I wandered into Lulu.com, the self-publishing site, and saw that they were having a 25% off sale which was ending soon. I’ve never used the site before. Honestly, if I’d realized at the get-go that the book was only going to be $7.00 I’m not sure I would have moved so quickly to grab the deal, but I did. I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to print out some information about my grandfather Miles E. Baldwin‘s ancestors (research done in the past year) and just give this to mom when I see her at Christmas. Although I only have discovered a small portion of Grampa’s ancestry, he may be both a Canadian Hector descendant and a Mayflower descendant. I thought mom would like to look this over.
Making the pdf
So I turned to FTM12 to produce a pdf book. I went to the Publish screen and produced and saved several charts and an Ahnentafel. Of course, I had to fool around with the options quite a bit to get things the way I wanted them.
I like to start the book with a multi-page chart to give people a map, of sorts, to the Ahnentafel. Then after the Ahnentafel I added a source section. To finish up, I wanted an index and a table of contents. Couldn’t figure out how to do that, but then I remembered Randy Seaver had the same problem in his recent series of posts on FTM12. I don’t know why FTM hides those valuable options behind a “Share” button in the corner, but they do. Thank you for the help, Randy.
Because I had fussed over my trees’ place names, stories in the “Notes” field, error correction and other consistencies last winter, my Ahnentafel came out pretty well finished. This saves time because, of course, all edits would have to be made back in the data screens. It was only 360 people; I have a long way to go on Grampa’s family. I put aside my idea of transferring my longer blog stories into an appendix. I do plan to do that in the future, but they would need to be in color. The book was 86 pages.
Creating the book
So now I was about two hours into this and ready to upload the pdf to Lulu. I started an account, uploaded, and made some choices about the format. I chose the standard paper and the black and white printing. Even with black and white printing, the covers will be in color. I decided mom would get a kick out of perfect binding instead of spiral. Designing a cover took a while; my scanned pictures didn’t cooperate very well when they were blown up to fill the whole cover, and I couldn’t seem to find a cover design that would only incorporate smaller pictures. This is where an bunch of extra time could/should/would have been spent, but I didn’t. Just chose something, added one tiny picture on the back, a title, a little text on the back, and moved on.
Ordering the book
I made sure that I marked the book as “private” so that copies wouldn’t be offered for sale on Lulu (although, wow, what a great opportunity if you DID want to self-publish). I ordered one copy. After I had registered I received an email coupon for a free copy of my newly created book, but I didn’t see that until it was too late. Anyway, with the discount and shipping, the purchase came to $9.71. The whole thing took three hours, total. I didn’t pay for rush shipping, so no guarantee I’ll have it for Christmas, but if not I can always send it later.
Mom is reading this
and now knows about one of her presents. Merry Christmas, Mom.