When you go to the Lulu.com bookstore and search for the term “genealogy”, you’ll get almost 3,000 results. A search for “family history” gives you more than 5,000. There are tons of genealogy and family history books in Blurb, Scribd, Smashwords and any of the other self-publishing platforms. These could be amazing resources for family history research except for one thing. After all the hard work and effort researching, writing and producing these publications, many of the authors can’t seem to find the energy to provide the descriptive information we need to find them.
As I search these platforms for publications to add to Moultrie Creek Books, it’s not unusual to find a title like A Family History or The Smith Family. Then you look at the book’s description and find something like “The history and genealogy of the Smith family.” All of these platforms offer plenty of space to include descriptive information, tags, keywords and categories yet for the most part, those areas are pitifully empty. All of this metadata is searchable and can help your research cousins find your work – and you – but only if you use it.
How do you help them find you? Take advantage of the description, tags and keywords fields to list surnames, locations, date ranges and any of the search terms you would use to find information about your family. The description can be used to define exactly which branch of the Smith family (descendants of John Smith of Smithville, Illinois) your book documents. The more information you provide, the more likely you’re research cousins will find you.
Lastly, don’t forget to let me know that you’ve published a family history. I would like nothing better to add your book to a shelf at Moultrie Creek Books. I’m working to make it THE place to find great family stories, but I need your help.