We’ll be the first to admit it: We’re in a weird business.
Most people have never heard the terms “personal historian” or “private publishing.” So it’s tough to expect folks who want to create a family history to magically discover us. You can’t Google a business if you don’t even know that it exists.
It’s ok. We don’t take it personally.
Instead of explaining what we do, maybe it would help if we think about you instead. Do any of the following descriptions sound familiar?
You’re the one who knows all the family stories.
You’re the one who knows the ones who know all the family stories.
You’re the one who tries to research the family stories that everyone else thinks are just too loopy to be true.
You’re the one who sketches the family tree and passes it around to your cousins for their input.
You’re the one who hangs onto all the antique pictures, even if you’re not exactly sure who’s in them.
You’re the one who interviews the old people in your family—or the old people who knew the old people in your family.
Good news! You’re the family historian. You’re probably smart, creative, curious, interested in people, the past, and people in the past.
Also: Bad news! You’re the family historian—and you have no idea what to do with all the stories and vintage photos and hand-sketched family trees and unmarked cassettes (remember those?) full of interviews.
Do you need an editor? An oral historian? Or a photo retoucher? What about a family tree designer? Or a person-who-has-that-equipment-that-converts-cassettes-to-literally-anything-else?
No judgment if you decide to put everything back in the attic and lie down. It’s a lot.
And that’s where we can provide our number-one service: helping you see the way forward.
Yes, at heart we’re a publishing company. But we’re also a source of publishing-related services. We could brag about how expert we are at editing, interviewing, ghostwriting, book design, photo retouching, you name it. We might also throw in some praise for our top-notch colleagues who do genealogical research, mapmaking, audio transcription, and translation.
But this is about you, remember? And what you need—job one, right now—is someone to give you trustworthy advice.
We’re really good at doing that too, because we’ve been in publishing for decades. We haven’t seen everything, but we’ve sure seen a lot. And that experience is at the heart of our business.
We know what works and what doesn’t. We know what’s worth spending money on and what’s just gilding the lily. We know a shortcut. We know what’s essential and what you can probably live without. We know how to do it faster. We know how to get the right tone for your book, the right look, the right content. We know how to do it within your budget.
But you’ve got to make a start. So here’s what RLM can do for you—job one, right now:
We listen to your needs: what kind of project you want to work on, what its focus should be, what makes it exciting, what’s worked in the past, and what doesn’t work anymore.
We ask you questions: about your family, about your time constraints, about your preferences, about your goals.
We give you options: We can write your story, or we can teach you how to write your own. We can scan your gazillion photos, or we can show you how to make the most of the half-dozen precious ones you inherited. We can do your historical research, or we can help you organize the research you’ve already done.
One great thing about this process is that our advice is custom-designed for you. Your story is not like anyone else’s, and so your choices in creating it will also be unique. We want to help shape your vision.
Another great thing is that our advice is practical. It’s not inspirational cheerleading, a vague checklist, or (worst of all) clickbait. It doesn’t start with buying matching bins at the Container Store. (Although—who are we kidding?—we fully support whatever enjoyment you might get at the Container Store.)
One more great thing is that our initial conversation is free. Talk to us for an hour, pick our very experienced brains, get all your questions answered—gratis. Whatever you decide to do after that is up to you.
There are a million ways to create a family history, but there’s probably a best way for you.
In the end, recording your family’s legacy is not like buying a pair of shoes, take it or leave it. Instead, it’s the culmination of deeply personal insights about who you are and who you come from. It’s not a product, it’s a process. A journey, if you like.
It’s a journey we’d love to take with you. You just have to pull over and ask for directions.
Fortunately, wherever you’re going, we know how to get there.