I’m sitting here on the floor of my bedroom, it’s nearly the end of the day, past 10 pm. I think every one of us is on an iPad with no sign of shutting down. We like to call moments like these, independent study time.

Yesterday I heard from my editor. She apologized for being a few days behind on returning my critiqued manuscript, said she enjoyed reading it and thanked me for the “fun read.” A fun read! How about that?! I beamed after I read her message, and while I know I still have a lot of work left to do, it feels good to think I will finish this project. Maybe other writers trying to write a book for the first time have also worried about failure, which in this case simply means failing to finish the project!

Yesterday, I started investigating what it means to self-publish (which, from what I gather is referred to as indie-publishing when talking about fiction), and there is a LOT to learn. I learned about standard paperback and hardcover book sizes, and mass-market publication sizes, and e-books and audiobooks and all about these different formats that exist, and all these different platforms that exist to facilitate creating these things. I watched YouTube videos on creating your book cover using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I used to know how to use these programs but have since forgotten. And while I don’t intend to create my book cover (I’m not a graphic artist!), I do see that it’s important to have a creative vision of what you want. Otherwise, how are you going to tell the freelancer you’ve hired what you want for your book cover? Scrolling through Pinterest for inspiration, I discovered poster posse, which is a site featuring work by a collection of artists who produce work for all the major Disney media properties, Sony pictures, etc.

Learning about it all is a lot of fun, but I can’t believe how much work goes into producing one book. When I was in labor and feeling like a farm animal some ten years ago, during a lull in between contractions, I remember thinking, “wow, I can’t believe how hard this is, and yet people just keep having babies.” It’s a little bit like that, like “wow, I can’t believe how much work it is to produce a book, and yet people keep pumping them out.” Never mind how anything like Anna Karenina got written without a word processor or spreadsheet. Or how women endured child birth in the late 19th century, for that matter.


Hi there. I'm a writer and reserve military officer with a day job. I write fiction, professional essays on military topics, and wax philosophical about books and movies. I live in Florida with my husband, two kids, and two cats.


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