5 things to do when compiling a community history book.

Have you ever been a part of a community history project?

In October 2019 I was asked to sit in on a meeting regarding a history book for our community. Somehow during the course of the meeting I became the one to start a website, set up an email, and organize the stories as they were submitted. As I look back, I ask myself “ wtf was I thinking?”

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Plus, if you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.  Thank you for your continued support.

The countless hours aside, I do have to admit it was an educational experience to say the least. Although the history book is getting published by a company that specializes in community history books, our committee had to do its part. And of the four main committee members, I am the youngest (54) and most computer savvy.

During the process I did learn a few things, with the most important one being this: read all enclosed material thoroughly. It’s put in the package for a reason.

Also, if you want your community to share their stories, give them deadlines. It’s human nature to procrastinate, then be upset when the timeframe has passed.

Third, make notes and ask questions if something is unclear. That applies to submissions and publisher requests. I was editing a story and part of it didn’t make sense to me, so I called one of the family members to clarify. I’m glad I did, because as it read the information would have been wrong. Plus, I was reacquainted with someone I met over 30 years ago; so it was a win-win.

Fourth, have a filing system. As I was in charge of the emails, I quickly learned that putting them in separate folders was the only way I was going to keep things straight. I also had to devise a filing system in Google Docs so I could share files with other committee members.

The fifth thing to do is backup your files on a USB. If working in Google Drive you can access them from another computer if yours crashes, but having a backup is good too. Plus your publisher will most likely request the files be sent to them on a USB, so have two.

Now that our project is soon going to be in the hands of the publisher, all I can do is wait for the printed copy to come back for our approval. I do hope I didn’t miss anything, because adding it after this stage could get costly. I do have to admit, I am feeling a little anxious.

Compiling a history book is no easy feat, but if you’re interested in learning more about it, feel free to contact me with questions. I’ll answer them in another blog post.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s