Skip to content

Images of America: Four Simple Steps to Edit a Pictorial History

Editing a picture book with 50 -70 word captions for each of 200+ pictures requires more effort than you would think, and grammar is not the hardest part to correct.

1.  Ask experts to read your manuscript.

McKay Point 2

I might have made the mistake of calling this a cement dam at one time.  But not after writing Images of America:  Woodlake.  Robert Edmiston corrected one entry explaining that cement is a part of concrete, but dams are made of concrete, an aggregate of cement and rocks.  No company in Woodlake makes cement.  In a million years I would not have corrected that mistake on my own.

This is the four room school built in 1912 or 1913, not 1923.

This is the four room school built in 1912 or 1913, and not in 1923.

2.  Ask experts to help you check pictures for historical accuracy.  This can be more difficult than you think.  Sources of pictures don’t always label their pictures.  Even libraries rely on the picture donors to date and label the pictures correctly.  Sometimes you can check facts using newspapers, but they are not always accurate either.  I used two or three references when possible to make sure I had names and dates correct.  Even then, my readers questioned me on several items.  Marcy Miller and I sleuthed through dates of the school buildings.  She had a picture of a building built in 1913, but several dates were attached to it.  I had thought it was the same building that is now the district office, but I had a date of 1923 on that building from an obscure reference in a book.  As we dug, we found that there were actually two different buildings.  We looked at the brickwork at the bottom of the building and compared it to another building picture we had from a newspaper.

Edmiston-29

3.  Ask experts to check names, double check them. If you are like me, you were not alive in 1860.  When a relative tells you that one family’s children were too young to attend school in 1860, you have to question the historian’s information, if possible.  In this case it was not possible because the historian passed away in 1971, and she did not have anything footnoted.  The mystery might have been solved because the woman from the family in question had children from a previous marriage that could have attended school in 1860.  Even though the children had a different last name than was listed in the book, the historian might not have realized that because the woman had remarried, and the children might have gone by the new husband’s name to make things more simple.  Some things never change!  But it is surprising how important it is even 150 years after the fact, to get the names correct.

 

Notice the search box at the top, and the name is highlighted.  The page number is also listed in the sidebar not pictured.

Notice the search box at the top, and the name is highlighted. The page number is also listed in the sidebar not pictured.

4.  Document your sources so that you can find where you got your information.  One fact in question came up about the name of one of the participant in the 1926 Pageant named in the picture. One elderly resident had seen the picture and told Marcy Miller that it was one person,  when in fact it was his brother.  The evidence was in the newspaper, and when I showed her the article, she said, “Well his memory isn’t always perfect.”  Expect people to question your facts, and do your best to keep track of them.  When publishing with  Arcadia books, the template doesn’t allow for footnotes or an extensive bibliography, but you almost need to include one in your own copy.  I spent a lot of time looking for the information source to prove my writing.  Sometimes I had it listed in the caption, but when I approached 70 words in the caption, I couldn’t include the information credit for publication.  As I neared the end of my research, I purchased a product, Wondershare PDF Editor Pro to make my PDFs searchable.  This helped me to find information faster.

Can you guess the year of this picture?  Clue:  Experts are alive today who can name most of those pictured.

Can you guess the year of this picture? Clue: Experts are alive today who can name most of those pictured.

In their author’s guidelines the publisher suggested that writers allow 2 weeks for editing using an expert reader.  They moved my deadline up a month, so I didn’t have that luxury, but they have been wonderful about accepting changes, and once I get the proof back, I will have another opportunity to proof read it once again.

I hope this has been a helpful process for you in your own writing.  🙂

Find me on Facebook under TC History Gal Productions.

 

16 replies »

  1. Very impressive insight into what goes into writing a non-fiction history book. One thing I love about writing books is that the best ones often involve so many people throughout the process for writing- not just those who offer support or inspiration, but the myriads of experts and friends who help with the research. I love reading acknowledgements for a novel, and pouring through the bibliography in a non-fiction. Writing really is a very human and very social art. I’ve heard a lot of people say that it is the perfect craft for “introverts” and this always made me smile, considering just how many people are involved in writing a book. This gives me an even deeper understanding and appreciation into just how difficult, and certainly humbling, it can be, and also how vastly rewarding and exciting to be able to seek out valid information, to pursue it tenaciously, advancing human knowledge in the process. Such a wonderful learning process, indeed. Love it. Glad you’ve had a lot of help and have been so devoting to finding out the truth so that you may be able to provide others with a beautiful, very high-quality history book. That is a great gift indeed. Hugs and best wishes, and happy Christmas to you and V and all those you love. Cheerio,

    Smiling Toad

    Liked by 2 people

    • Such insight from a Toad! I love your comments. They inspire me and reward my efforts. Writing is good for an introvert. I read yesterday that it is ironic because writers are alone – they have to be to write, but their goal is communication with others – on a large level. I think writers like it because think they can control it. I don’t think communication is controllable. I had a teacher get mad at me because I used a lesson plan of his once. I told him that once you put something out in public, you don’t really own it anymore. It becomes part of public knowledge, and it will morph, and the writer can’t control it – not really. So thanks again for your words of wisdom and encouragement. 🙂 Lots of love for Christmas and the holiday season. I hope you have a wonderful time. BTW, did Sire get a new job? A post from him blinked by, and I never could find it again. M

      Like

Translate

Marsha

Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

Personal Links

Verified Services

View Full Profile →

#StoryChat Y2

Writer’s Quote Wednesdays

How to Link to a Challenge

8 Benefits of Photo Challenges

8 benefits of Challenges

For the Love of Challenges

Teacher Resources

Click to Get Early Childhood Teaching Resources
SS Logo
Sunday Stills Logo

Becky B’s Squares April – Bright

Cee’s Black & White Challenge

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge

Featured Blogger Award

Free Download

Use Canva to Create Social Media

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 16,528 other followers

Categories

Blogs I Follow

Archives

Blog Stats

  • 169,413 hits
SPACE STORIES BY GIFT

explore space; discover stories beyond

Page 'n Pen

Read to live; Live to write

Hourglass Poetry

LETTERS to TIME PASSING

Churape's Dungeon and Stuff

Movie, TV, and Game Reviews

dawn2dawn photography

Tall Tales From The Field

Cognac Project

Healing CPTSD with Poetry and Photography

Micro of the Macro

Recognizing & appreciating our oneness with Nature

The59Club

Enjoying life and the empty nest while easing into retirement,

Retirementally Challenged

Navigating through my post-work world

Brashley Photography

Photographing.... that one moment in time...

Myths of the Mirror

Life is make believe, fantasy given form

A Multitude of Musings

On the Way to Wholeness

XingfuMama

Exploring my world with pictures and words.

Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

Welcome to the Anglo Swiss World

Katy Trail Creations

Creating Memories through Writing, Hobbies and Photos. And I play & teach 5-string banjo.

No Facilities

Random thoughts, life lessons, hopes and dreams

Oddments

In search of story

nbsmithblog...random digressions and musings

Haiku...short and sweet (or not so sweet)

Allusionary Assembly

The Writing of Kerry E.B. Black

snapshotsincursive

Interesting stories about everyday moments.

eklastic

Refugees welcome - Flüchtlinge willkommen I am teaching German to refugees. Ich unterrichte geflüchtete Menschen in der deutschen Sprache. I am writing this blog in English and German because my friends speak English and German. Ich schreibe auf Deutsch und Englisch, weil meine Freunde Deutsch und Englisch sprechen.

Tish Farrell

Writer on the Edge

The Life in My Years

An anthology of life

Life...one big adventure

Explore. Dream. Discover.

Travel with Intent

A photographer's view of the world - words and images to inspire your travels and your dreams

And Anyways...

Author, Baker, Sunrise Chaser

%d bloggers like this: