Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Book is IN but the Jury is OUT

My new book
8" x 10"     174 pages

I kept dragging my feet, but I finally completed my second book which I have titled Jollett Family Reunion. Having received a copy of the finished product, I am glad that I took Blurb’s advice to order JUST ONE copy. It would have been embarrassing to send out so many goofs. 

So what did I do wrong?

First problem - the Cover
I like the layout, but I see small problems that I did not detect on the screen. The title is not truly centered, so I have shoved it slightly to the right so that the “i” in “Reunion” is centered over Vic’s head.

Next, James Franklin Jollett’s portrait did not fully fill the photo box resulting in the gap between the photo and the white frame. That might also explain why the white band seems to be sliding over the frame and under the portrait.


Second problem - Conflicting information
As I was reading my book, I noticed that I did not include some details in the family charts giving the impression I did not know the information when, in fact, the information was provided elsewhere in the book. For example, I listed only a year for the birth and death of James Henry Jollett, yet a photo of his tombstone gives complete dates. There was no marriage date for Lewis Jollett and Mary Neville Peluso, but a news article provides the full account. Sloppy! 


Third problem - Inconsistency in style
In most of the family charts, I spelled out the states in capital and lower case letters. However, here and there I found MD or VA or VIRGINIA.

A few minor misses in proofreading suddenly stood out: too much or not enough spacing between paragraphs; a letter cut off a word. Sloppy!


Fourth problem - Misidentification    

I had looked at the photo a thousand times. In my grandaunt Velma’s photo album, it was labeled “The Three.” I assumed it was Mary Frances Jollett Davis and two of her sisters, Laura Sullivan and Sallie Clift, but as I was going through the finished copy of the book, I suddenly noticed the dress on the woman I had identified as Sallie.

Why wouldn’t I think it was Sallie? After all, in numerous photos she stood with her head cocked. But that dress. That same dress was in another photo, but the woman wearing it was NOT Sallie. It was Sadie Lam Jollett, sister-in-law of Mary Frances and Laura. 

Close up from the photo
with Mary Frances and Laura
Sadie wearing that same dress
at a Jollett reunion

The irony is that I had used that dress to identify Sadie in another reunion photo.

I was not sure who this lady was
until I noticed that detail in the dress.


Fifth problem - Citations
I noticed some of my citations were incomplete or missing altogether.


Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate my book. There are several features I am very proud of:
  • As with my first book, I did not upgrade the paper or end sheets. The standard looks and feels good.
  • I was able to use many stories from my blog.
  • The format is good beginning with the story of James Franklin Jollett, followed by biographies of his two wives, and then biographies and photos of their children.
  • I was not sure I would like the green that I selected for the cover and for the graphic elements, but it looks good. It’s a good green, not limey, not too forest-y. The green chapter tags and photo frames add a little umph to the pages.
  • There are lots of photos and newspaper clippings.

  • Headers will help readers find a particular chapter easily.
  • I am proud of being able to identify so many people in a reunion photo. The corresponding image - faded and numbered - makes me look like I know what I'm doing. HA!
  • The index was a pain to create, but I imagine future readers will be glad it is there. You’re welcome.

Blurb is not cheap. Even as author, I wait for a good sale. The next time Blurb offers a 50% sale, I will order copies of the new and improved version for my family, libraries and historical societies in the counties where my Jolletts once resided.

© 2017, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. Wow! your book is very impressive, congratulations.

  2. Lots of hard work! Looks great!


  3. Wendy, congratulations on this new book. Libraries and historical societies will be thrilled to have this new volume (not to mention your family members). Great job!

  4. Wendy, congratulations on your new book. I know it is a lot of work, but so worth it and will be much appreciated. Kudos on the index! I never did one, but maybe I'll take a stab at it next time. I use Blurb too and I like it a lot. You did amazing work!!

  5. Oh, congratulations on your book.

  6. Oh wow, I am completely in awe. This is WONDERFUL and it inspires me to get back to making books of my blog. I used to do it every year for Christmas for my mother but since she's been gone, I stopped. My descendants will be very unhappy with me. GREAT JOB!!!

  7. Wendy, your book is wonderful! Getting the single copy was a wise choice. I do the same and am always amazed at the errors that were right in form of my eyes. However, you have many more positive elements than negative. And once your editing is all done you can sit back and congratulate yourself on a job very well done!

  8. Congratulations, Wendy, well done! And great advice to others to order the single copy first. What a wonderful gift for your family and historical society.

  9. I do the same thing - order one copy first. The covers always seem to be off centre a little and I always find small things to fix up. Your book looks great and I know how much work goes into them! I too wait for sales on Blurb.

  10. Congratulations on completing another wonderful book. What an incredible amount of work! I can't tell you how many times I've been frustrated by a book that neglected to include an index. It creates so much extra work and yet really adds to the value of your book and I'm sure you will have many who will sing praises to your name for it.

  11. When I first started reading this post, Wendy, I was thinking that you were just being too hard on yourself. But as I continued reading I realized that I would have made the changes, too. While nothing is ever truly perfect, we want it as close as possible. So good for you for being so observant, patient, and dedicated to make it the best possible book you can make. What a lot of work!