Snapshots An Anthology of True Stories

It has been over nine months since we began the journey of publishing a book that encapsulated and immortalized the Wageningen Storytelling Nights. In our last blog article we had asked for your interest and commitment to the project so that we could print a sufficient number of books. We had a response of almost 80 individuals stating their interest in the book. The overwhelming majority (88%) said they would be interested in the printed format over the e-book. This gave us the confidence to keep working on collecting the stories and editing them for what became an autumn release. By late November 2020 we had sent out the final version of the book to the printers, GVO Drukkers & Voormgevers, in Ede.

Emma holding a growing tower of Snapshots as Sarah piles them on.
Emma holds the ever growing tower of "Snapshots" as Sarah piles them on. Photo Courtesy of Menschel Applied Photographic Art.

Since sales started and up to today, we have sent over 300 books out into the world and into the hands of new readers. We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved and touched by the support from the authors who donated their stories and from the people who have bought the book. It has been a wild ride with ups and downs but now that we get to hold the final product, we know it was all worth it.

First-time publishers

The journey from idea to book seemed, as all ideas first seem, straightforward. In practice it never is–as we quickly learned. What you first have to understand is that this was all done under a bootstrap budget. In entrepreneur lingo, that means you make do with what you have, no external funds to help kickstart things. All we had to start with was almost 3 dozen great stories, our wits, grit, and a whole lot of time to spare courtesy of the pandemic. The thing is Emma and I had lots of time to spare, the authors didn’t. 

The stories came from people from all over the world reflecting the diversity of the Wageningen community. Some of the stories came to us in the same bullet-point format from when they were told on stage. We had stories that came from storytellers with such distinct voices and personalities that we felt it was imperative that these were able to transcend through the page to the reader. We had translated expressions and metaphors into English that needed to be reinterpreted. We had heart wrenching stories that needed a certain delicacy regarding author safety. Overall, each story had its own list of needs throughout the editing process. We felt committed to the authors and their stories. They had entrusted us with a snippet of their lives and we wanted to ensure they were the best they could be. 

Many times this meant lots of back-and-forth with the authors, others entrusted us to edit them as we saw fit. Nonetheless, doing this for almost 3 dozen stories with only two editors did become a bit of a logistical nightmare. The slow start gave us time to figure out things that are important for book publishing that you never really think about as a first time publisher. These included things like:

  • Finding an affordable printer
  • Typesetting
  • Book cover design
  • Ideal book size–we did a lot of book holding
  • Grammar rules for the book–e.g. English vs. American spelling, oxford commas, refreshing grammar altogether, etc.
  • Book names–we came up with over 20 titles
  • Workflow–Who edited what already?
  • Book sales–i.e. making an online shop for the first time

Some of these things we are still figuring out as we go. If there is any takeaway message from this endeavor it is to not let your lack of knowledge or expertise stop you from doing something you really want to do. You will either learn or find people who can help you along the way. Just remember to ask! We are still working on that last bit.

What is the book about?

Now that the book is officially out we can tell you a bit of what you can expect to experience. The collection of true stories will take you from the mountaintops of China to the forests of Canada. You will go on a white-water-raft ride of emotions from funny to thought provoking. Just like light that has gone through a prism this book shows the rainbow of human experiences: the good, the mundane, the funny, and the terrifying. These stories show us that we all have a story to share.

To the authors

Hand-made thank you notes

We would like to give a heartwarming thanks to all the authors that donated a story, their time, and their support to our project: Sam Sarjant, Danielle Street, Mikaela Birch, Ruud Vos, Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, Rosemarijn, Iris Houthoff, Christian de Kleijn, Liede Lambriex, Camilla Facciotti, Viola E. Helmers, Steven Morgan, Nour Hajjar, Adil Bouslim, Frances Widjaja, Erich Rickens, Lodi van Herwijnen, Greta Capaite, Roxy Jiménez, Simone Nordstrand Gasque, Hayo van Mourik, William Stevenitt, Angelique Asselman, Eva Drukker, Georgios Lazakis, Fátima D. Gigante, Tommaso De Santis and to those who chose to remain anonymous. We thank you for trusting us with your words and voice and hope you continue sharing your stories with the world.

Get your hands on Snapshots!

If you are curious about how to get your book you can head down to our shop and purchase a print or an e-book version of the stories. You can even find it in Goodreads where you can add it to your “want to read” shelf or even better, get closer to completing your reading challenge. Feel free to leave your review after reading it on our page through the account you make at the time of purchase or on Goodreads. We thank you for your support.


Sarah Haimes

Is an avid nature lover and scientist who is always looking for ways to combine arts and science for educational purposes (and for fun).