Pat's Ramblings
My Experiences with Researching and Self-Publishing a Local History
Entry for October 30, 2006
One of the best parts of publishing a book, in my opinion, are the comments and feedback I receive afterwards. Writing about other people's families is a delicate task. If you don't get it just right, there is no way to make corrections for that edition. It has been my policy to let the contributing family members read over the information that is to be included on their families before publication. And, in many instances, I use their own words to describe their family histories in order to keep the information as accurate as possible. But, I've also found that sometimes the information I get from one family member turns out to be skewed or slanted according to other family members. And, of course, I don't find this out until after the book has been published.

One family history included in the 1987 edition, for instance, had to be completely rewritten this time because the members contributing the information either didn't choose to correct it or were somewhat confused, themselves, when submitting it. But, even those who have found errors or inconsistencies are usually kind in their comments and forgiving towards me, the author -- and I thank each and every one of you for that! But,for the record, I do appreciate knowing about the errors so that if and when I do another printing, I can make sure that they are corrected.

Speaking of errors... I lived with this edition of the book for 9 months. I was at my computer 8 to 12 hours a day, most days, and my nights were filled with recycling dreams of the material I had been working on during the day. I read and re-read each section innumerable times, making adjustments in phrasing, grammar and spelling each time. I spent hours on-line researching information and exchanging emails and picking brains of those who were my resources.

But despite all of the hours spent reading and editing and re-reading, I'm finding things I missed... incorrect grammar in spots, a couple of names spelled wrong, etc. My biggest horror, however, was when I found out that the page honoring those who have passed on since 1987, had an incorrect list of names on it. I had sent the wrong list to the publisher! Most of the names were correct, but a couple of names on it were of people who are very much alive! I mistakenly had Velma Mitchell's name on it rather than Velma Howell's; and somehow, George Dey made the list because for awhile I didn't know his status. I had caught these errors and corrected them before publication, but apparently I didn't save over the incorrect file and sent the wrong one to the publisher. I was (and still am) mortified!

Despite my knowledge that I could have done better, people have been kind and full of praise. And, for that, I am very grateful!

2006-10-30 18:51:50 GMT
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