Tips and Tricks

Creating your book with Rooted in Story may seem simple at first, but it can be a long process full of many decisions about its purpose, content, look, and feel. It all depends on what you're looking for. You might want a straightforward biography of Grandpa, an elegant photo-illustrated account of you and your fiance at the upcoming wedding, or a detailed history of your family packed with story, fact, and documents. Each person is unique, and so is your book.

However, every project shares a number of common elements. I highly recommend thinking about the following tips both before and during the construction of your book. Remember, sowing a little patience and perseverance now will result in fruitful rewards of a brand new book that you can share with your entire family and generations to come. Good luck, and please contact RiS with any questions or concerns!

1. Do not worry if you are not a strong writer, if you hate writing, or if your text is unorganized and contains mechanical errors. RiS provides a variety of writing services to meet your needs. I fully understand not everyone likes to write. From proofreading to copy editing to writing text from scratch—I am happy to work with you!

2. But remember, this is your book. I only know what you tell me about your family. I only know what you're looking for based on what you tell me. Please keep the lines of communication open. Let me know what you're thinking. I want to provide you with a book will love forever!

3. To make the book you want: always keep in mind your reader and purpose of the book. What do you want to get out of the book? How much of the book does your reader understand? How are the stories, photos, etc. working together? If they don't work, set them aside—don't ignore or throw them away. They might come in handy later in ways you don't anticipate now.

4. It takes a lot of facts and details to make a full story that sounds good. As you begin to document your memories and family stories, think about dates, people involved, and other basic facts. Yet don't forget the colorful parts of the story: descriptive details of the setting (time and place), what was life like at the time, how your family felt back then and today, what was the effect of your experiences, if you changed as a result, etc.

5. Handwritten pages seem a lot longer before they are typed. The same is true with spoken word. You may feel like you have provided a lot of information, but there may still be ways to improve the story. I will then ask you to provide me with additional details. I anticipate asking every RiS book author for additional information several times at minimum. This is how the writing process works. So, I request that you please work with me to make sure your stories are as complete as possible.

6. Don't neglect the details. What do I mean by details? Consider which is the stronger account:

Many of my favorite childhood memories were of spending time with my grandparents. They took us on many trips: Six Flags, Adventureland, and even just over to their house for the night. Doing things with us is what they wanted to do. It showed us that they really loved us.

Many of my favorite childhood memories are of spending time with my grandparents. They took my brother and I on many trips over the years. In 1986 we took our first trip to Six Flags in Chicago. Before then we had never even left the state, so not only was visiting my favorite theme park significant, but going so far was truly a big deal. We spent hours riding roller coasters, soaking Grandpa on the Log Ride, and eating hot dogs and all the candy that we never got to eat at home. We went to Adventureland several times, the last on my sixteenth birthday. Grandma and Grandpa let me invite my two best friends and we had a little party in our hotel room complete with a chocolate chip cookie cake. Yet I didn't need an amusement park to have  fun with my grandparents. The best times I can remember were spent on overnight trips to their house....

7. If you plan to seek help from relatives, you may find that they are less eager to participate than you expect. It may take multiple requests in order to obtain what you're looking for. Patience and charity will go a long way here.

8. Creating and publishing your book will take a lot of effort, but take time to remember why you want to do so. Have fun with it!

And remember, if you ever have any questions, please email or call!

Rachel Cochran
Owner, Rooted in Story