When I started transcribing the pages of my ancestor’s old handwritten book and then decided to write the stories of the people in my family who have cared for it, I considered the project to be something only my family and a few friends would be interested in. I come from a large family and I have a lot of friends so that’s no small matter, but let’s face it, we’re probably not talking about a world-wide best seller. So it seemed obvious that this book of family and church history would need to be self-published. Like every other part of this long journey, publishing was more complicated than I anticipated.
I had to decide whether to include the pictures and transcriptions of the old ledger itself with the book of stories or in a separate volume. I would need someone to design the cover. I thought from the recommendation of a writer I met in Nauvoo, Illinois that I knew which online publisher I would use, but with the help of my assistant (and niece) Michelle, started comparing it with other sites before making a definite decision. I attended a writers conference in Boise to gain some knowledge about this final step in writing. Although I “pitched” my book to an agent at the conference we both knew that was not the right approach for this book.
Each avenue I approached taught me a little more about publishing, but left me more confused about what I should do. As had happened so many other times through this long journey, another small miracle came along to push me in the right direction. My sister Lonna came from Iowa to Idaho to visit and help finish the final details of the book: a timeline, the bibliography, foot and end notes, etc. While she was here a friend of hers came to visit and the conversation turned to publishing the book. The friend had worked for a local publisher for many years. Although publishing books has not been a part of the business, Lonna’s friend knew that the owner of the company has published several books of his own and asked him to meet with me. As soon as we started talking I knew this company would provide the solution I was looking for. I have someone local to work with but still have complete control throughout the process. The publisher will design the cover based on my preferences. They have the expertise and equipment to produce beautiful pictures. We will have a paperback version available both locally and through Amazon and a beautiful hardback produced here in Idaho. A second book containing the Revolutionary War records and Herkimer County Court Cases will be published later. I am working with people I like! What more could you ask?
More information to come but I anticipate the paperbacks to be available in about 30 days and the hardbacks within 60.
Today’s Excerpt from Long Journeys was chosen to show the size of my extended family and the close relationships we shared. My grandparents, Alfred and Emily Cramer, had eight children and 32 grandchildren. I would guess that 100 is a low estimate of great-grandchildren and I won’t even speculate on the number of great-greats.
Emily and Rozilla [her daughter] had always enjoyed handwork, crocheting, sewing, knitting and quilting. Now they were off the farm they had more time for these activities. They started making quilts to sell, getting orders from people all over the United States; others sent their pieced tops to be quilted and the edges finished. While Emily and Rozilla quilted, Alf cut new blocks and kept extra needles threaded. Like her father Rozilla kept excellent records. Her diaries show they made 1,505 quilts over a period of twenty years, averaging 75 per year and three or four each week. Emily once said she figured they made about 5 cents per hour for their nine- to fifteen-hour days of quilting.
Those numbers did not include quilts for the family. They had started making a quilt for each granddaughter’s sixteenth birthday, with Emily worrying they wouldn’t be able to finish all of them. In fact, they not only finished quilts for the granddaughters but for the grandsons as well, all 32 of us. When at the end of her life Grandma couldn’t see well enough to quilt there were still two to be finished and one to be replaced as one granddaughter had lost hers in a house fire. The daughters got together to make these final quilts, completing the last one for the youngest grandson on the day before Emily’s funeral.