History Basics

So You’re Thinking About Publishing a Company or Family History?
Researching, writing and publishing a history book is a memorable achievement for any company, organization or family. The best books combine people, facts, dates and anecdotes in a lively narrative; contain an array of vintage photographs; and are read, enjoyed and even treasured by those who receive them – not just put on a shelf and forgotten.

Here are some thoughts on producing an effective book and getting the most value for your investment.

Begin by establishing objectives and identifying your audience.

Be clear why you are publishing a book. To celebrate a company anniversary? Honor a company founder or family patriarch? Inspire employees? Boost public awareness of the company’s mission and products? Relate a company or family history that will be lost forever if it isn’t told now? Your objectives will help determine the book’s content, story line and key messages.

Also, identify your audience early-on. Employees? Customers? Family members? Others? Defining your audience will not only help shape the contents of the book but will also help determine the print run, which will in turn affect costs.

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Richard Blodgett

Author, Corporate Historian, Ghostwriter

I wrote a 200-year history for the New York Stock Exchange and later wrote this revised and updated version titled Another Century. Both books emphasize the rich and colorful history of the exchange and the evolution of the nation’s securities markets.