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November 1st, 2013

Jeanninehead2010

It’s a Book! Views from a Window Seat: Thoughts on Writing and Life

After a few weeks of ripping open envelopes to find book proofs that were just a bit off, and had to be tweaked, on Saturday morning the fourth sample copy was waiting at the post office, and this time the cover looked right. Through summer and fall, I’d been following the instructions offered on CreateSpace to publish VIEWS FROM A WINDOW SEAT: THOUGHTS ON WRITING AND LIFE, stepping forward, then taking several steps back. They give checklists that seem simple, but I found some were like the lines at Disneyworld – just when you thought you were in, there was a new and winding line. But at last I pressed “Proof approved,” and up popped something like, “Your book is now available.” Really? Really. No more buttons to push.

Views from a Window seat frontcover
Yikes. I mean Yay! Even with print-on-demand, I’d expected more lag time to check off a few more things on my pre-pub to do list. Feeling giddy, I posted a link on Facebook. Five minutes later I thought, that’s not very professional, and I’m not quite ready.  So I logged back on and already found love or looking-forward-to-it-ness I couldn’t delete.  I’m so grateful. This book came about because of people who’ve read my blog, a few of whom who’ve told me they’d like to see some of these entries collected in a book. I changed a lot, but I hope kept the flavor of writing that comes from the warm connections I’ve enjoyed online, though without the insightful and delicious comments I get here on the blog.

The self-publishing part was fun and frustrating, with the fun going first, especially in memory, because of the technical, artistic, and emotional support of my husband, Peter. As a long time self-publishing advocate he’s urged me on for decades. Luckily, he’s a patient guy, who also copy-edited the text, designed the book, coached me through technical crisis, and created the logo for Stone Door Press. I chose the name because I want my writing to have both a sense of permanence and that it can be opened and changed by readers.

Stone Door Press logo

I learned a lot and would self publish again, going about some things differently. When I decided to put together this collection of thoughts on writing, it was a relief knowing I wouldn’t go through the waiting and rejections that have marked my publishing life these past few years. I enjoyed playing with ideas for covers, then choosing a different one when I posted a picture I took of day lilies, and my brother-in-law, Bruce, commented that it would make a good book cover. Not much later, I heard him say those very words to someone else about a photo, and asked his wife if he always said that. Catherine nodded. Never mind. I like it.

Self publishing brought up aches I’ve felt while writing, too, such as considering readers, while struggling to trust my own judgments. It seems there are a lot of fonts and shades of yellow to choose from. Raising and lowering bars, and then trying to give them one last lift without going crazy. Testing the boundaries of perfectionism and being laissez-faire-ish. Choosing when to grit my teeth and when to shrug, and finding who I am in between. This time around there’s no second guessing re what will my editor think of responses, not necessarily a bad thing, but it feels cleaner not to get involved in such deflection. I already feel closer to the fact that every book is held by one person at a time. There’s the joy.

Note to dear and faithful readers: I’m going to stop blogging here at LiveJournal. I hope you will read my posts at
http://jeannineatkinsonwritingandstuff.wordpress.com/. Thanks!