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Using Tech for Book Marketing

Kate Gingold from Sprocket WebsitesKate has been building websites with her husband Don since 1996 for all sorts of clients, including authors.

Kate regularly writes about online marketing for Sprocket Websites and provides tips and techniques for entrepreneurs and small-business owners. Since being an author today is not really different from being an entrepreneur with a small business, most of those tips are just as useful to authors.

Kate is an author herself. She writes books on local history, including the award-winning "Ruth by Lake and Prairie," a fictionalized account of the true story of Great Lake pioneering to the shores of Chicago and beyond to found Naperville, Illinois. 

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Ruth By Lake and Prairie

Author Tips and Tales

From the 1874 DuPage Atlas – C.W. Richmond

Kate Gingold Host 0 404 Article rating: 3.0

If you do any research into DuPage history, at some point you will read
 A History of The County of DuPage Illinois by C. W. Richmond & H. F. Valette which was published in 1857. An engraving of C.W. Richmond’s “res & nursery” also shows up in the 1874 DuPage Atlas. So who were these guys?


Charles W. Richmond seems to have been born in Massachusetts in 1822 or possibly 1830. As his wife Ida was also born in Massachusetts, it seems they arrived in Illinois as adults. The History of the County of DuPage says that "C.W. Richmond of Great Barrington, Mass." was appointed principal of the Naperville Academy sometime during the early 1850s and this is further confirmed by the 1854 Massachusetts Register which lists Charles W. Richmond as an instructor at the Great Barrington Academy. 


Once Charles and Ida arrived in Naperville, they became very involved with the community. Charles served as both principal and teacher at the Naperville Academy and later as a School Commissioner and the County Superintendent of Schools. The 1860 census identifies his profession as “teacher” and lists two children, also named Ida and Charles, which makes the research a bit confusing. Two more daughters may have been born later. 

From the 1874 DuPage Atlas – Joshua Erb

Kate Gingold Host 0 395 Article rating: 4.0

Joshua Erb was born in 1803 in Pennsylvania Dutch country. The “Dutch” is actually a reference to “Deutch,” the German word for “German” and the Erb family emigrated from Switzerland several generations previously. A number of religious communities in early Pennsylvania followed guidelines such as plain dress and conscientious objection to war, including Quakers from England and Mennonites and Brethren from Germany. The Erbs were mainly Brethren.

In 1847, Joshua Erb arrived in DuPage, intent on buying land. He bought about 1200 acres between the DuPage River and Mill Street, some of which he sold to other relatives and friends while retaining a portion for his own family. By 1848, Joshua, his wife Sarah, and their four children were settled on their Naperville farm. Two more children were later born in Illinois.

The Erbs were instrumental in founding Naperville’s Church of the Brethren along with some other families, including the Netzleys, who also have strong roots in town. They started by gathering in each other’s homes, but by 1860, they had raised enough money amongst their members to build a meeting house. Joshua Erb donated a piece of his farm for it, as well as land for a small school and a cemetery. 

Son John and his family of seven girls and one boy took over the farm operations in the latter part of the 1800s. Joshua passed away at age 86 in 1893 and wife Sarah followed him the next year. By the early 1900s, John was also ready to retire and he handed over the farming duties to his own son, also named John. 

This John struggled to run the farm during the Great Depression, but he was able to hang on by selling off a tract that became Cress Creek Commons. In addition to farming, he also expanded into construction. A couple of his sons followed him in both careers and son Marshall seems to have been the last one to farm the Erb homestead. Marshall died in 1989 and by 1990s, construction had begun on the land to develop what is now known as the Century Farms, a nod to the long line of Erb farmers. 

While there isn’t an Erb farm in Naperville today, there are still Erbs farming elsewhere in Illinois. Also, the Erb legacy with the Brethren continues. 

In 1907, the Brethren meeting house was disassembled and moved from Joshua Erb’s farm. It was rebuilt on Benton Street and enlarged or remodeled several times o

From the 1874 DuPage Atlas – William Henry Hillegas

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While William Henry Hillegas built an upstanding reputation in the Naperville community, it’s his son that the guides on the ghost tours talk about. We’ll get to that later, but first, let’s give William his due.

Joseph and Mary Hillegas arrived in Illinois in 1857 and started farming. The family experienced several tragedies including the deaths of two sons before the move, two daughters after the move, and the death of Mary just a few years after their arrival. William and his two sisters, however, settled comfortably into the Naperville community. 

William worked downtown at the hardware store of Andrew Friedley. Friedley’s name pops up all over the early city council records for providing nails and similar items for community infrastructure maintenance. His Lemont store is a national landmark and he died in Lockport, but the family tomb, an impressive pyramid, is in the Naperville Cemetery.

In 1862, William married Maria Hartman. The Civil War was already underway and William joined the 156th Illinois Infantry in 1864, serving until the War’s end. Their first child, Ida, was born in 1863 before William enlisted, Charles was born in 1867, and Harvey in 1869.

Eventually, William took over Friedley’s hardware store, partnered with Louis Reiche. Their establishment was on Water Street, now part of Chicago Avenue, in the building that currently houses Features Bar & Grill and Frankie’s Blue Room. Their names and the date when their store was erected, 1882, are still visible at the roofline.

In addition to working at the hardware business, William was also elected Trustee of the Naperville Village Board, served as a Mason, and was extremely active both with his church and with the local G.A.R. organization. Apparen

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Marketing Author Interview

Following a presentation for In Print Professional Writers Group, Kate's husband (and publisher!) Don was interviewed by author Louise Brass for WBOM Radio. During the conversation, Don shared many of the marketing tips from his presentation. You can listen to it online here.

The Sprocket Report

The Sprocket Report is published every other week with Internet marketing tips, tools and techniques. The archive features articles from 2011 up to the present. You are welcome to read how business owners are using technology to market themselves and apply those tips to your author business.



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Kate will be happy to send you her brief Book Signing Checklist. Treat your book promotion like a business - because it is!

AND, since much of your efforts will be online, she'll also enroll you in her Sprocket Report, an email newsletter sent every other Tuesday, that includes 2 Internet Marketing tips and a post from a guest blogger on related business.

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