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LinkedIn In 30 Minutes is a Foreword Indies winner

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I am pleased to announce that one of our top-selling titles — LinkedIn In 30 Minutes, Second Editionis a Foreword Indies winner. The book, by author Angela Rose, explains how to get the most out of LinkedIn, from creating a rock-solid profile to finding a job. Angela’s book was considered a top pick by the judges (librarians and booksellers working with the organizers of the Foreword Reviews competition) and received an honorable mention in the Career category. Considering this year was a record year for award submissions (there were some 15 entries in this category alone), this was no small feat. Foreword Reviews describes the selection process as follows:

As part of their mission to discover, review, and share the best books from small, university, and indie publishers (and authors), independent media company Foreword Reviews hosts its annual awards program each year. Finalists represent the best books published in 2016, and submitted to Foreword Reviews for award consideration, and were narrowed down by Foreword’s editors from over 2,200 individual titles spread across 65 categories. …

INDIES finalists are moved on to final judging by an expert panel of librarians and booksellers curated specifically for each genre and who will determine the books who will be named Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award winners. Winners in each genre—along with Editor’s Choice winners, and Foreword’s INDIE Publisher of the Year—will be announced during the 2017 American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago on June 24, 2017.

Congratulations to Angela for her hard work on LinkedIn In 30 Minutes. We have just updated the second edition with new information, screenshots, and best practices in line with LinkedIn’s new interface. For more information about the book or to order LinkedIn In 30 Minutes, please visit the companion website to the book, located at linkedin.in30minutes.com.

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Amazon Pay WooCommerce extension: Why we’re turning it off

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We recently set up e-commerce capabilities on in30minutes.com to make it easier for our customers to purchase In 30 Minutes guides, our line of technology cheat sheets, and EasyGenie genealogy forms. It wasn’t easy. Besides dealing with the WooCommerce settings in WordPress, there was additional work required to get an SSL certificate for the site (to protect our customers’ information and enable secure transactions), set up Stripe for credit card payments, load items into the store, and test the workflow.

Besides Stripe, I also enabled PayPal for transactions. That was straightforward, and afterwards the PayPal button appeared below the Stripe/credit card options on our shopping cart. So when I saw that Amazon offered similar functionality via the Amazon Pay WooCommerce extension (available via the WooCommerce site), and it allowed merchants to access the customer information (a big deal for shipping and other forms of contact) I was enthusiastic. A significant number of Americans (between 24% and half of households) have Amazon Prime accounts. If adding the Amazon Pay button makes it easier for customers to buy our products on our own store, that was great. I created my Amazon Merchant Account, installed the Amazon Pay WooCommerce extension, and followed the integration instructions.

The first thing I did was test the shopping cart. I was not happy with what I saw:

amazon pay woocommerce extension

Instead of the Amazon Pay button appearing with the Stripe and PayPal options (blue arrow), the Amazon Pay WooCommerce extension forces the button to the top of the screen (red arrow) with a giant prompt asking customers whether they had an Amazon account. It’s the first thing customers will see, even before the products they have ordered. Ideally, the Amazon Pay button should appear next to the Stripe and PayPal options, not at the top of the page with a giant banner screaming for people to use it. Neither PayPal nor Stripe demand such behavior from their merchant partners, so why should Amazon?

I am not the only person to have problems with the setup of the Amazon Pay WooCommerce extension screen options. And they apparently cannot be changed, short of messing around with custom PHP work.

So, the choice is simple. We’re deactivating the Amazon Pay WooCommerce extension. Maybe they’ll add an option to remove the banner and relocate the button to the bottom of the page where it belongs. Until then, visitors to our store are welcome to use PayPal or a credit card to make purchases. Our products are also for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other locations.

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Ben Franklin silver award goes to Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes

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Last week I flew to Portland to attend the Independent Book Publishers Association annual conference, Publishing University. I have attended in the past, but this time was special: In 30 Minutes guides was picking up a Ben Franklin award for Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes, by author Shannon Combs-Bennett!

Ben Franklin silver award goes to Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes IBPA’s Benjamin Franklin awards are well-known in the independent publishing community. Submissions are judged by multiple people according to very specific criteria, and the competition is fierce: This year, there were 1,300 submissions across several dozen categories. Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes was one of only three titles to make it to the final round in its category (crafts & hobbies) and we were very happy to be awarded a Ben Franklin silver award (congratulations to the gold winner in our category, Bricks, Cobblestones and Pebbles: A Path to Modern Quilts by author Gyleen X. Fitzgerald, as well as the other finalist, Building Block Dress: A Sewing Pattern Alteration Guide by author Liesl Gibson).

Shannon and a friend joined me at the awards ceremony–it was actually the first time I had ever met her in person–and we really had a great time talking about genealogy, history, and some favorite historical dramas. I did not know this, but Shannon and her friend are experts on period historical dresses and were able to answer a question that I had long wondered about–why do the men in the PBS drama Wolf Hall have such heavy clothes? Answer: It was a mini-ice age in Europe in the 1520s!

Congratulations to Shannon for all of her hard work in preparing a manuscript, rewriting the draft, providing materials, and answering questions from me and the copy editor. The guide has been a great help to many readers (including one as far away as Australia!) and it made me proud to see her accepting the Ben Franklin award.

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Announcing Crowdfunding Basics In 30 Minutes

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Crowdfunding book - Crowdfunding Basics In 30 MinutesPublisher i30 Media today released the first edition of Crowdfunding Basics In 30 Minutes (ISBN 9781939924742) by author and crowdfunding expert Michael J. Epstein.

In a single sitting, readers will learn how to plan and execute successful crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe, and other online platforms. Epstein explains different types of crowdfunding projects, including entrepreneurial startups, creative or artistic projects, charities and community causes, individual support campaigns, and patronage funding. The guide also covers budgeting basics as well as realistic goal-setting, not to mention the importance of preparing professional-looking campaign assets such as video clips, photographs, and calls-to-action.

Other topics include:

  • Determining how much money organizers can raise
  • Pros and cons of platforms such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe, Patreon, and more
  • All-or-nothing campaigns vs. partial funding campaigns vs. patronage systems
  • Time requirements for organizers
  • Hidden costs, from shipping to backer melt
  • Taxes and legal requirements
  • Telling your story with images, video, and text
  • Best practices for tiered rewards
  • Why campaigns fail: 10 pitfalls to avoid
  • How to keep momentum going in a lagging campaign
  • The art of communicating with crowdfunding backers

Throughout Crowdfunding Basics In 30 Minutes, Epstein cites his extensive experience organizing crowdfunding campaigns as well examples from some of the hundreds of other campaigns he has backed. Images, tables, and charts help illustrate additional concepts.

Crowdfunding Basics In 30 Minutes is available now in paperback and ebook editions for Kindles, iPads, and other mobile devices.

About the author

Michael J. Epstein is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker, writer, musician, and scientist. His work has been featured in TIME, Scientific American, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, SPIN, CURVE, Famous Monsters, and Fangoria. Michael’s feature films TEN, Magnetic, and Blood of the Tribades were all funded using Kickstarter. His full bio is located here.

To contact the author or publisher, please use our contact form.

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Should a self-published author get a distributor or agent?

By | Blog

I recently received an email from a self-published author who wanted to know whether he should get a distributor or agent for his book. He had printed up 1,000 copies using a China-based printer, and wanted to know how he could get them into stores or noticed by an agent.

My answer: Getting distributors for printed books is extremely difficult … and probably not worth it. In-store retail paperback sales are falling While print sales have shown signs of life, margins are thin, there has been a lot of consolidation in the industry (or outright closures), and the distributors who remain are extremely picky about who they sign.

I tried for more than a year to get a distributor for In 30 Minutes guides on the terms that I wanted. The terms were key, as our guides are already very inexpensive. Selling the books at a wholesale rate (typically a 55% discount off the cover price) and giving the distributor a cut would lead to a gross profit of just a dollar or two per copy. Moreover, print distributors demand control (and a cut) over ebook distribution even though they add practically no value to this side of the business. Finally, distributors require publishers to adhere to their sales and marketing playbooks. That might be OK for some publishers, but not for i30 Media — in fact it would add significant delays and expenses to our production and marketing processes.

I ended up abandoning the effort to find a distributor. I now handle wholesale and direct distribution on my own through Createspace, Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and a short-run digital printer. While it’s true I am missing out on some brick-and-mortar retail sales, it works a lot better for my business — I have more control over my product, keep more money from sales (gross profit is 2x-3x more than what it would be through a distributor), and if retailers want to order the book they can do so through Ingram iPage or contact i30 Media directly through our contact form.

What about agents for self-published books?

As for the question about agents, my response was similar. Reputable ones will want to see evidence of very strong sales on Amazon before talking with a self-published author. And frankly, if your self-published books already has good sales on Amazon, why would you need an agent or a publisher? It’s questionable whether the traditional agent/publisher approach can improve sales for most authors. Even if an agent scores an advance, it won’t be much, and they will end up taking more money from both retail and online sales, leaving just a small cut for the author. Many readers of this post may be surprised to learn that big publishers seldom market books by new authors.

The questions about distributors, agents, and publishers come up a lot. Many people who are new to publishing assume that these players from the 20th-century publishing world are something to aspire to, or are required for success. The reality is it is possible to publish and profit in the 21st-century industry without going through agents, distributors, or big-name publishers in New York. Yes, it requires more investment on the author’s part to edit a manuscript, find a professional cover design, and market the book, but it is doable.

As for the author who contacted me, it turns out that he had self-published a cookbook. I told him that for a book like this, it will be either local bookstores in the community or special venues that will provide the best opportunities to sell cookbooks. Special venues could be a farmer’s market, a community or school fair, or flea markets. At IBPA’s Publishing University conference last year, I heard a presentation by poet/author Kwame Alexander who said that he was able to sell thousands of copies of one of his books at farmer’s markets, based on his wife’s suggestion — and he wasn’t even trying to sell a cookbook, which would be an even better match for people buying fresh ingredients.

Another option: volunteering to speak about the dishes or giving a cooking class … and then marketing the book to attendees.

As for online efforts, I would try the following:

  1. Create a website for the book with links to Amazon or other options to buy
  2. Create some simple videos on YouTube with a link to the book website.
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Announcing an updated version of our unofficial iPhone user guide

By | News

Publisher i30 Media has released an updated version of its iPhone user guide. Authored by Ian Lamont, iPhone Basics In 30 Minutes covers the current iPhone hardware lineup including the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and the iPhone SE. It also explores the iOS operating system, Apple services such as iCloud and Siri, and important apps such as Phone, Photos, Mail, and Maps. Finally, it provides reviews of nine powerful apps that many new iPhone owners may never have heard of, such as Waze and Wunderlist.

Written in plain English with a touch of humor and lots of images, this iPhone user guide covers basic setup, key hardware and software features, and various tricks and time-savers. Topics include:

  • How to customize the iPhone’s appearance
  • What users need to know if about migrating from Android
  • Touch screen basics
  • 3D Touch, Peek, and Pop
  • Switching apps and multitasking
  • Typing and text tricks
  • How to use Siri and its kid brother, Dictation
  • Getting the most out of the powerful iPhone camera
  • Managing iCloud settings
  • Security features, from Find My iPhone to Touch ID
  • Wi-Fi and other wireless settings
  • How to tame notifications and after-hours calls
  • Moving, deleting, and grouping apps
  • Four ways to conserve battery power
  • Seven ways to free up iPhone storage space
  • Nine exceptional iPhone apps

Not a comprehensive iPhone user guide

As its name suggests, iPhone Basics In 30 Minutes does not cover everything about the iPhone. Nevertheless, in a single reading readers will discover new features and learn time-saving shortcuts. The guide also explains how to leverage the iPhone’s increasingly powerful camera and photo-organizing software.

iPhone user guide camera tipsiPhone Basics In 30 Minutes contains updated text and imagery from an earlier title, iPhone 6 and 6S In 30 Minutes, but has been significantly revised to take into account Apple’s new iPhone models and updates to the iOS operating system.

Here’s what real readers have said about the guides:

John Steel:

“A really useful guide full of hints tips and information. You can save yourself a lot of money by following the clear instructions over usage. I would still be struggling to use the phone to its full potential without this book. Highly recommended.”

Gary Coates:

“Great help for Android users wondering where all the functionality has gone when using an iPhone for the first time.”

To learn more about the title, or to purchase the ebook, PDF, or paperback editions, visit the In 30 Minutes online shop listing for iPhone Basics In 30 Minutes. The book will be updated as Apple releases new hardware and software.

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Announcing our new Microsoft Word guide

By | News

Publisher i30 Media Corp. is pleased to announce the launch this week of Microsoft Word In 30 Minutes: How to make a bigger impact with your documents and master Word’s writing, formatting, and collaboration tools. While most people know how to open a .docx file and start entering text on the screen, Microsoft Word In 30 Minutes is designed to take readers to the next level and leverage Word’s powerful design, sharing, and reviewing tools.

Microsoft Word In 30 Minutes - new MS Word guideAuthored by Angela Rose, the book guides readers through the basics of Microsoft Word, from formatting to printing, before moving on to more advanced features such as collaboration, charts, and tables. Using real-life situations and amusing examples from her own home-based writing business, Rose shows readers how to move beyond simple letters and reports to create eye-catching and powerful documents for work, school, and personal use.

Microsoft Word In 30 Minutes can help turn the average computer user into the local office expert on Microsoft Word, if not an actual power user. The book covers Microsoft Word 2016 as well as Microsoft’s free (but limited) Word Online program. Most of the instructions and examples in the Word guide also apply to earlier versions, including Word 2013 and Word 2010.

Topics include:

  • MS Word interface basics, from Backstage View to the Ribbon
  • Office 365 subscriptions and OneDrive
  • Display options for individual documents
  • How to work with multiple windows in Microsoft Word
  • Working with .docx, .doc, .txt, PDF, and other file formats in Word 2016 and Word Online
  • Locating recovered files
  • Printing documents, envelopes, and labels
  • How to format text using the toolbar
  • How to format Word documents using styles, themes, and style sets
  • Creating Word documents with professional-quality templates
  • How to create tables and charts in MS Word
  • Adding images, video, and hyperlinks
  • How to automatically create a table of contents in Word
  • Adding footnotes, endnotes, citations, a bibliography, and an index
  • Word spelling, tracking, and other reviewing tools
  • Collaboration tools, from comments to live collaboration
  • How to protect your Word document

The Microsoft Word book is available in paperback and ebook formats through online retailers and can also be ordered through bookstores, libraries, and other outlets.

About the author

Angela Rose is a writer and marketing strategist based in Colorado. When she’s not removing cats from her keyboard, you can find Angela searching for the perfect taco, running 5Ks, whipping up original pastry recipes, and hiking the Colorado Mountains with her photographer husband. Angela is also the author of LinkedIn In 30 Minutes (2nd Edition).

About the series

i30 Media is the publisher of In 30 Minutes guides – Quick guides for a complex world. Thousands of readers turn to the series to understand mildly complex topics, ranging from genealogy to software. The tone is friendly and easy to understand, with step-by-step instructions and lots of examples. Top-selling titles include Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes, Twitter In 30 Minutes, and LinkedIn In 30 Minutes. For more information about the series, visit in30minutes.com.

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WordPress login problem solved

By | Blog

As a digital publisher, one of the worst feelings in the world is losing control over some aspect of production. Maybe your laptop breaks, an employee or key freelancer leaves, or a vital tool disappears. In i30 Media I have built a lot of redundancy, so if something fails we can move to the backup … but what if the backup option has problems of its own? That’s what happened to me this week when one of our WordPress installations had a login problem. I am happy to report that the WordPress login problem was solved, with a relatively minimum level of effort to fix. This post will describe how I dealt with this particular WordPress problem. (Note that it may not be applicable to other situations involving hacked WordPress sites or corrupted databases. Consult the official WordPress resources cited in the post for guidance).

The site in question is the companion website for Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes. The book launched in September, and since then we have been adding resources to the site including blog posts and free genealogy forms. This week, we launched a new product—a genealogy forms library. There is a digital version, which includes 15 PDF and Excel files, as well as a physical bundle of 50 genealogy forms that are made out of archival-quality acid-free paper.

However, yesterday when I attempted to log into the website to post information and links about the genealogy forms bundles, there was a problem. I got to the login screen OK and entered my password, but it redirected me to the home page of the website.

That’s odd, I thought. Why can’t I log into WordPress? I tried several times on different browsers, but it was the same result. I then checked my other WordPress sites, such as the sites for Excel Basics In 30 Minutes, LinkedIn In 30 Minutes, and Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes. There was no issue accessing the dashboard on these other sites.

Was I using the wrong password on the genealogy website? I initiated a WordPress password recovery. I was able to reset my password, but afterwards I still got the redirect problem after trying to log on to WordPress. This was concerning, because even though the site looked OK and people could still check out the book and other elements, I was apparently unable to access the WordPress dashboard to make changes.

The fact that the site was visibly working indicated that my WordPress login problem wasn’t a WordPress hack or security issue. In many cases, WordPress hacks will result in defacement or the creation of ads for porn or bogus pharmaceuticals, and I didn’t see anything like that. In addition, I use security plugins that control most common problems, and follow good security protocol for passwords and user access.

I had a backup for the site (using the Updraft plugin) but I could not even access the plugin screen to restore the backup because I could not log into the site. While it was possible to still make a backup and restore via cPanel or FTP, it would take some time and I feared that the bug or issue would be re-introduced. A third option: manually rebuild the site, which would take the better part of an afternoon.

So I did what everyone does when they encounter a WordPress login problem: I googled how to fix it. There were lots of random blogger solutions, but I paid most attention to what the official source had to say—and the official source is the WordPress Codex “Login Trouble” page. Under “Disable Plugins,” it said:

Some WordPress Plugins may interfere with the login process. Disable all of your WordPress Plugins, either through the admin panel or by removing them from the /wp-content/plugins/ folder, so they will not be recognized by the program.

Alternatively, you can rename the plugins folder to something else temporarily to something like /wp-content/pluginsXX/ and they will not be recognized. Rename the folder back to /wp-content/plugins/ once the base WordPress installation has been recovered.

Now, I don’t know what caused the WordPress login problem, but my suspicions fell on the theme (Salient) or an issue with one of my plugins. I was less inclined to believe the Salient theme was causing the login problem with WordPress, because I hadn’t made any changes to the theme since launch and had also not updated the WordPress installation itself for a few months.

Plugins were another story. I had a few that triggered certain behaviors when errors were encountered, such as a redirection plugin that sent people visiting certain pages or WordPress files to the home page. Maybe one of the redirects was inadvertently triggered, or there was a problem with plugin itself.

So I used the “pluginsXX” trick from the Codex to troubleshoot the WordPress login problem. I went into the cPanel “Files” area, which basically gives me an FTP view of the WordPress installation. I navigated to wp-content, selected the plugins folder, and appended “XX”:

Wordpress login problem solvedImmediately the front page and login page on the genealogy site changed as various visual plugins and security features (such as captcha) were disabled as the plugins were now turned off. But at least I could finally log into WordPress!

I got to the WordPress dashboard and poked around to evaluate the situation. I didn’t see anything other than the warning about missing plugins. I made another backup with a specialized plugin called Updraft Plus, and exported the posts and other content from the WordPress Tools menu just in case.

I went back to cPanel and opened the pluginXX folder, which showed a list of all installed plugins. I deleted the plugin that handled redirections. Then I renamed pluginsXX to “plugins” which made the plugins once again visible to the WordPress software. I went back to my WordPress genealogy dashboard and reloaded the plugins menu. The remaining plugins reappeared, except for the one I had just deleted. However, they were completely deactivated. So I activated them all (save another security plugin) and loaded the site in another browser. It was back to normal. I logged out, logged in on the original browser, and reactivated the security plugin, then logged out again. Logging in was no problem — I could get back into WordPress.

I think the WordPress login problem was caused by the redirect plugin, possibly because of something in the settings that I messed up rather than the plugin itself. I will probably reactivate it again, but be more careful with which 404s I try to fix, especially with xml or php files.

If you can’t log in to WordPress, the first place you should go is the WordPress Codex “Login Trouble” page. Be careful trying to mess around with FTP, WordPress databases, or WordPress settings that can potentially cause bigger problems than the one described above!

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Soulene wins IPNE book award

By | Blog, News

Soulene: A Healer in Paris IPNE Book awardOn this blog, I have documented the ups and downs of running an experimental nonfiction publishing venture—i30 Media, which I founded four years ago to publish In 30 Minutes guides. But one thing I seldom mention on this blog or elsewhere is the fact that i30 Media is also a publisher of fiction. I am pleased to announce that one our fiction titles, Soulene: A Healer in Paris, recently received an award from the Independent Publishers of New England for young adult fiction. Congratulations go to author Ursula Pearson, who put in a lot of hard work over a period of several years to tell the story of Soulene, a young healer living in medieval France and England.

You may wonder how a publisher of utility nonfiction got involved in publishing YA fiction. I’ve learned that once you hang out your shingle as “publisher” all kinds of people will approach you for help with their work. As the self-publishing explosion has demonstrated, there is an incredible well of untapped writing talent out there. Unfortunately, the process of publishing a book can be difficult. Not only are the tools unwieldy, but also most prospective authors don’t want to deal with the work associated with editing, formatting, designing, and marketing a new book. So they turn to people with more experience to help them get their books published.

While I have said “no” to most prospective authors who have asked me to edit or publish their works of fiction, I made an exception for Ursula. At the heart of her stories was a strong character, a young woman pursuing a passion to help the sick and injured. Soulene lived in an unjust and cruel world, in which poverty, plagues, and war were a constant presence. Only a small class of educated men (most of them from noble families or the clergy) could ever hope to become doctors. Yet Soulene was able to find an alternate path through a religious order for women, the so-called Red Heart Healers, who specialized in working with the poor of France and parts of England.

Soulene also had a fascinating backstory. I won’t reveal it here, but suffice it to say that it rivals a Mexican soap opera for plot twists, villains, and vengeful plots. Ursula also paid close attention to important historical details, including the types of herbs and plants used for treating wounds and illness, the spread of plague in medieval towns, and even the layout of 13th-century Paris.

These qualities, along with the short length of the books, convinced me to take on Ursula’s trilogy. Book 1, Soulene: A Healer’s Tale, was released in 2013. The following year Soulene: The Art of the Red Heart Healers came out. Last year, Soulene: A Healer in Paris, was released. While the first book required a lot of rewrites and editing, by the third book Ursula had hit her stride. The characters were fleshed out, the dialogue was strong, and the pacing was just right. We found talented graphic artists—Steve Sauer and Malgorzata Godziuk—to handle the covers and interior maps. Reader feedback was great, but I also thought there might be an opportunity to get wider recognition.

award-winning Soulene trilogyEnter the IPNE Awards. Every year the Independent Publishers of New England holds an awards contest, the winners of which are announced at the annual conference. A panel of librarians handles the judging in more than a dozen categories, which include art, literary fiction, mystery, and several nonfiction categories. i30 Media entered Soulene: A Healer in Paris as well as two In 30 Minutes titles. Last month, Soulene was named a finalist in the YA category, and at the conference in Portsmouth New Hampshire it won the IPNE 2016 Book award for YA fiction. It was a pleasure to pick up the award on the author’s behalf.

Does the award mean that i30 Media will be developing more fiction titles? I am not sure, but I have told Ursula that when she starts work on another book I will be ready to read her manuscript.

To learn more about Soulene, check out the official Soulene.com website.

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Free resources for family genealogists

By | Uncategorized

When we released Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes last month, we also launched a companion website. This is typical for In 30 Minutes guides—the websites contain additional resources, such as author bios, and free resources such as blog posts and videos. But for Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes, author Shannon Combs-Bennett and publisher i30 Media wanted to offer something else for free—genealogy forms, which many amateur and professional genealogists use to track their progress and visualize the results.

We are pleased to announce that our free genealogy forms starter kit is now available from the website. It contains a five-generation pedigree chart as well as a genealogy research log. You can see screenshots of the forms below:

Free resources free genealogy forms starter kiti30 Media is not the first publisher to offer blank genealogy forms. A simple Google search reveals scores of free forms, shared by amateur genealogists as well as established giants such as Ancestry.com.

However, one thing we noticed about many of the free genealogy forms is the presentation of information left a lot to be desired. The fields or boxes on the forms were often too small, forcing people to write using tiny script. The explanatory text was also hard to read, owing to “busy” fonts or tiny point sizes.

And then there was an issue of organization. The free forms often left out key information, such as the family group sheet that doesn’t have fields for “occupation” or the inventory logs that don’t ask about the source of a particular record or heirloom. I believe this is an important oversight that can lead to unnecessary headaches down the road when family researchers return to a particular sheet and need more information than was originally recorded.

Working with a professional graphic designer, we tried to correct some of these limitations. For instance, the five-generation pedigree chart (see screenshot, above) contains numbered spaces for people’s names, clearly demarcated from the other details, which allow users to zero in on the names later. The research log has fields that can accommodate two lines of text instead of just one, and asks about website locations where the research may be found.

In addition to the free resources in the genealogy starter kit, we are also offering a paid genealogy forms bundle which includes more than a dozen digital files (PDF and Excel) as well as a paper bundle that is printed on high-quality archival paper. These forms are important tools not only for today’s users, but potentially for the next generation of researchers.

Blank Genealogy Forms Library - 8 PDF and Excel genealogy forms

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