Thursday, November 17, 2011

Self Publishing Your Genealogy Work: My Experience

Have you ever thought about self-publishing your own genealogy work? Maybe a family history, a collection of cemetery records or something else? It is very easy to do.

Several people have asked me questions about the publishing process for The Big Genealogy Blog Book. Here's a quick rundown of my experience: - The process of uploading a PDF was very easy. Lulu helps you make a cover, write a description, set a price and more. You only have to jump through a few easy hoops. However, my ordeal the Lulu e-book process has been a headache. I attempted to put my book into EPUB format using the instructions provided. EPUB a format for e-readers. Per instructions, I had to strip a lot of photos out of the original and get rid of a lot of the features and design as shown in the PDF. Then I uploaded it and waited for approval. Three business days later, I was rejected. The feedback they offered did not make sense (edit what was in yellow...nothing was in yellow). I re-formatted the whole chapter in question and submitted the document again. It's been 5 days and I've heard nothing from Lulu. This is why The Big Genealogy Blog Book is not available for NOOK or at the iBookstore...yet.

Amazon - Compared to my e-book experience with Lulu, the Amazon Kindle experience was very easy. Amazon invited me to just upload my PDF, so I did. What they didn't tell me (or I missed somewhere) was that text boxes and other things don't transfer well from Word/PDF to Kindle. So if you have a Kindle edition of my book, there will be a text box with an important point right next to the paragraph with the same words. It looks like I wrote the same thing twice, but I didn't. It's just Amazon hating on text boxes. I suppose I could go back and edit, but this thing is done and I'm on to other projects. At $2.99 a pop, it's not a good financial idea to spend anymore time on it.

If you're going to write a book, I recommend both Lulu and Amazon. The Big Genealogy Blog book has sold well and evenly in both outlets. I did not offer a paper version because I felt the book was too short (72 pages) and I would have to raise the cost significantly. I might print some paper copies in the future and try to sell them personally at speaking gigs and such. We'll see.

Also note that Lulu is great for publishing free offerings as well. That's where I put my 25 Great Topics for Genealogy Society Blogs downloadable PDF.

I learned so much from this self-publishing experience. It will help greatly in my next project and future endeavors. If you have any questions, let me know. If you're going to RootsTech, we can talk there, or even have an unconference if you want to expand the discussion.

The Big Genealogy Blog Book - $2.99 at and


  1. Have you looked into Smashwords for ebook publishing? Just curious.

  2. An unconference at Roostech would be great.

  3. Quiltin' LibraryLady - not yet. Should I? My next project is bigger in scope, so I'll be researching other publishing options.

    Jill - There was a panel discussion on this subject last year. If there's nothing similar this year, we can propose and unconference. At the very least, we'll just hang out and talk about it. :)

  4. Thank you for the information. it wouldn't have occurred to little ol me to publish a book through amazon.

    I'd love to talk about this more at roots tech!

  5. Amy: Thank you for publishing The Big Genealogy Blog Book. I downloaded it from Lulu and will be calling upon your suggestions to improve my own blog. I also appreciate your post about the hoops you had to jump through to publish. Great job!

  6. Thanks for sharing your experiences, Amy! BTW, your book sounds great. I will have to get myself a copy.

    Family Photo Reunion

  7. I am awaiting the day when Amazon installs a more sophisticated program for creating Kindle editions. What they are using now is somewhat lacking. I certainly did notice formatting problems with your book, but they are quite easily overcome by the eminently useful content.

  8. You can publish on the NOOK at B&N Pubit. Just create a free account and upload your stuff there too. You'll make a few extra pennies by doing it there since it is directly with B&N. But also Lulu also sells through B&N.