It’s another exciting publication day at Clickago Storywerks. Another book I helped prepare is available for sale beginning today!
This one in particular is special because it’s published by Personal History Press for people interested in personal histories, and it benefits members of the Association of Personal Historians, of which I am a member.
Skills for Personal Historians: 102 Savvy Ideas to Boost Your Expertise is drawn from Dan Curtis’ widely read blog — a blog-to-book book! Imagine that! (Bloggers love success stories like that.) Curtis, from Victoria, British Columbia, is a documentary filmmaker, writer, certified life coach and professional personal historian. Editor Kathleen McGreevy at Chapter Savers categorized, arranged and edited hundreds of blog posts to create this and a second book that comes out in May.
A strength of this book for both professional personal historians and those dabbling in the art are the tips on interviewing, a crucial skill in bringing someone’s story to life.
“It is worth buying this book for the suggested interview questions alone,” writes Pat McNees in the book’s foreword, “starting with ‘The Fifty Best Life Story Questions.'” McNees is past president of APH and co-editor of another Personal History Press book, My Words Are Gonna Linger: The Art of Personal History.
Besides interviewing ideas, Skills for Personal Historians is filled with valuable suggestions for using audio and video equipment, writing and editing, teaching workshops and working with clients who are facing end-of-life matters plus inspiring tips for finding and renewing an enthusiasm for a personal history business. As I was formatting the book, I kept getting distracted with the writing, filled as it is with great ideas and inspiration. The last chapter, for example, offers ideas for recharging a personal historian’s batteries, and I was taking notes on memoirs I should read and quotes I ought to post on my office wall (this chapter and the one on writing and editing are great for memoirists, too).
And if you’re serious about making a business of helping tell life stories in print or film, check out a second book by Curtis coming out in May: Business Tips for Personal Historians: 92 Lessons Learned from a Veteran Storyteller.