Book Review: Publish Your Family History: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing the Stories of Your Ancestors

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Publish Your Family History: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing the Stories of Your Ancestors
By Dina C. Carson. Iron Gate Publishing. 2015. 369 pages.

I’m not a good storyteller. I’ve ruined many a good yarn with a lot of pointless detail and too much talk.

I haven’t a clue how to design a book cover except by stealing the ideas of others.

I have no idea how to put together a book except by reading the instructions written by Dina Carson.

Ms. Carson is a Colorado genealogist, gravestone photographer, writer, and publisher. Her books on self-publishing are so helpful, easy to read, full of direction and inspiration, I simply don’t try to write a book without her references nearby.

  • Writing the Stories” is one of her several publications meant to help us get our family stories out of our computers and on to the printed page. This is a very helpful self-help guide segmented into five sections:
  • “Getting Started” helps get you thinking about picking a project to write about, a general idea how publishing works, and the right tools for the right job, where she talks about which softwares are available for organizing notes, the different word processing programs, design and project layout programs, and programs for images capturing and editing.
  • “Planning” discusses identifying your target market, conducting a research review, scanning and optical character recognition (a very nicely detailed and understandable explanation about scanning), developing a new research plan, how to overcome writer’s block, and drafting a preliminary outline.
  • “Writing” has chapters on becoming a storyteller (a very helpful chapter), creating your own style guide, writing a first draft, and editing your manuscript.
  • “Production” includes chapters on creating page layout, typesetting the front pages, body of the book, and back matter, designing the cover, and preparing the final files.
  • “Marketing” has chapters on creating a marketing plan, reaching your audience, generating publicity, and selling online.

Ms. Carson thinks of everything to get us going, and even thinks of a few things to help us wrap up a completed and polished project.

And proudly present to our families.

Publish Your Family History: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing the Stories of Your Ancestors by Dina C. Carson is available from the publisher at or from Amazon at:

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