Just about everyone has lost someone special in his or her life, and this time of year can be extra difficult as we remember the overwhelming loss of the 9/11 attacks. Self-Publishing Relief suggests that a positive and life-affirming project may be just the thing to lift sad spirits.
A book of remembrance, or a memorial book, is a simple and elegant way to honor loved ones by collecting their memories, organizing them into a beautiful format, and sharing them with others. Best of all, the project itself is a great way to work through grief. And self-publishing makes it easy to create a beautiful, lasting tribute to someone special.
Self-Publishing A Book Of Remembrance: How To Get Started
Gather photographs, news clippings, records, letters, awards, and any memorabilia that reflect the time and place of your loved one’s life. The more materials you have to work with—and be inspired by—the better.
Now it’s time to make some decisions.
What structure works best for your memorial book? Will it be chronological—from birth to death? (If so, be sure to include all pertinent dates.) Or will it focus on a pivotal time or event in the person’s life, such as their service overseas or their illustrious career? Is there a theme, such as “perseverance wins out in the end” or did your loved one live a life of volunteer work and community-building? Consider if the book will be divided into sections or themes (“The California Years” or “Section I: 1936-1960”) and what those sections might be.
Will your memorial book be text-based or photo-based? Whatever you decide, you may need to reach out to friends and family for material to form a more complete picture of your loved one’s life. You can borrow photographs, interview family members, and do some Internet sleuthing and library research—especially if your loved one was part of an intriguing spy ring in WWII, participated in groundbreaking research, or was the county’s winningest apple pie baker.
Here are 10 tips to make your book of remembrance truly memorable:
- Choose images that are meaningful to the person’s life. If your loved one was a woodworker, an author, or a teacher, include photos of his or her work, book covers, or a particularly sweet thank-you letter from a student.
- Select photographs that are clear and well-cropped. If the photos are fuzzy, grainy, or don’t frame the subject well, they won’t reproduce well in your book.
- Scan copies of original photographs and documents to preserve them, and give yourself plenty of copies to work with.
- Label each original piece and create a list or spreadsheet of the items you plan to use when you’re ready to self-publish your book.
- Consider including your loved one’s obituary and/or eulogy in the memorial book.
- Avoid sensitive subject matter or images that might upset other family members.
- One of the best ways to memorialize people is to collect stories and memories from those who knew them. From two-line snippets to full-page essays, personal memories can go a long way toward creating something special and unique.
- Consider asking friends and family to write a brief letter to the deceased—these can be heartfelt good-byes or “thank-you” notes expressing gratitude for the person’s influence or inspiration on his or her life. You can also include your loved one’s favorite quote(s).
- Keep it simple. If you really want to delve into detail, writing a memoir about your loved one may be more in line than a remembrance book.
- And finally, choose a respectable self-publishing company to help turn your memorial book into a treasured keepsake for you and your family.
At Self-Publishing Relief, we help guide people through the process of self-publishing their books, from novels to nonfiction, to poetry and short story collections. Indie publishing is also perfect for projects we want to share with others: memorial books, books of remembrance, coffee table books, baby books, family cookbooks, and memory books from class or family reunions. You can also self-publish how-to books, e-books, chapbooks of poetry, and collections of photography or other art.
Question: What kinds of projects have you used self-publishing for?