Unlock Ancestral Storytelling: a self-publishing Journey

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Unlock Ancestral Storytelling: a self-publishing Journey

Let's start at the beginning!

This week I decided that I wanted to share my ancestral storytelling with my family in the form of a book. I have been adding stories of my ancestors into my blog posts each month and I now wanted to combine these to create an ebook. I am familiar with the process of creating an ebook on Amazon using their Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) process and was keen to put that learning into practice again during November. 

How would I begin?


Step 1: Structure a plan for the chapters of the book by using my Trello planning board. If you are not familiar with how to use Trello check out the videos on my YouTube channel Trello Series playlist

Step 2: Create a folder or project in your favourite writing tool (Word, DabbleWriter, Scrivener) and structure the chapters for the book using titles from your blog posts.

If you are not familiar with DabbleWriter and how it can be used for family history story writing, then view my videos in my YouTube Channel DabbleWriter series.

Step 3: Copy and paste the content of your blog post to each chapter. I use DabbleWriter as it is easy to copy and paste a chapter from one project to another. 

If you have complimentary posts about the same family you may wish to group these together by moving the chapters into sequence.

Step 4: Review and edit the chapters to establish a flow between them and to help make sense for your readers. This step will help remove unnecessary explanations that you may have included in your blog posts. For instance if you used a theme for your blog posts (eg #52Ancestors#52weeks) this wording may not be needed in your book.

Step 5: Add chapter titles and subtitles where required. This will form the basis of your Table of Contents for the book.

These can be arranged in timelines or in family groupings as you wish.

Step 6: Refer to your research notes and other source materials for further story elements to include in each chapter. 

I use Evernote to capture my research notes. These usually include primary data for each ancestor (birth, marriage, death records) and relevant newspaper items from the era.

If you are not familiar with how to use Evernote for research records, watch one or more of my Tech Tips videos from my YouTube Channel Evernote Series playlist

Step 7: Proofread your chapters (or ask a friend to cast an eye over them) and download or export as a word document.

You will need this prior to setting up your KDP ebook or paperback book in Amazon.


Step 8: Create an account for yourself as an author at Amazon. Next download the Kindle Create template for the interior of your book.

This is installed on your computer from the download and steps you through the process of designing the interior of your ebook. I suggest you store the Kindle Create in the same folder along with your book chapters for ease of access.


Step 9: Follow the instructions for using the Kindle Create template. You’ll find these at the Kindle Create tutorial.

This is a complex and long process, so take your time. I found that it became easier the third or fourth time round in publishing an ebook on Amazon.

Step 10: Once you have your formatted ebook content its time to upload to Kindle Direct Publishing. Follow the instructions provided at KDP. This is the final step in the process of self-publishing with Amazon, so ensure that you have your manuscript in Kindle preferred format before you do this step.

If you have followed the Kindle Create process to the letter, you should be able to have your ebook available within 72 hours.


Step 11: The next step in the publishing process is to upload your manuscript – the Kindle Ebook Content stage.

It also includes the uploading of a book cover. You can do this yourself using Canva or KDP cover creator. Check that you use copyright free imagery.

Ensure that your image has the minimum dimensions of 1000 pixels in height and 625 pixels in width.

Step 12: The final step includes previewing your finished ebook and setting a price.

If all the steps have been done correctly so far, the preview should work smoothly. If not, back track to fix any errors.

If this all seems too complex then you may want to view this video.

Good luck in creating your family history ebook from blog posts.

Look for my ebooks on my Amazon Author page here. My next book Unlock Ancestral Storytelling is due on my shelf soon.

Genealogy Research Services

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