Posted by: jeannineatkins | October 28, 2013

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.

JCAtkins Views from a Window seat cover adjusted for test proof

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.  Just for one thing, I haven’t yet gotten this on Kindle, though hope to in a few days. 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.

Print

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.

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Responses

  1. Thank you for detailing your process, Jeannine, and thank you for your book. Can’t wait to hold it in my hands!

    • Thank you for being such a constant and enthusiastic encourager! You’ve been part of what’s kept this fun!

  2. Love this post. And the Stone Door Press logo. And how similar you are at this moment to Virginia Woolfe, going it on your own with your own high standards. Many hugs!

    • You are very sweet to draw a Virginia Woolf comparison. I did wear a VW t-shirt when I was in my twenties, admiring, even if not understanding. So great to see you a few days ago, and get some real hugs as well as this virtual one!

  3. This is why I will love your book, Jeannine. You share so much of your thinking, the good and the not so good, all along your travels. I love the stone door logo too, the cover, & now, soon, will be able to see the inside! Congratulations on a journey well traveled!

    • Linda, your words means so much to me. Always. It’s so great to have such good people sharing the writing journey.

  4. Yay, yay, yay! So glad you took the plunge. It is a very satisfying process in the end despite the pain. And it is TOTALLY yours! Just ordered my copy.

    • Thank you, Susan. Your support has done so much to help me get to this moment. And, yes, there is something cool about feeling myself not just between the covers but on them or behind them. Or at least remembering taking a picture of those day lilies!

      • It’s a gorgeous view and picture. It reflects well the warmth of your writing.

  5. Congratulations, Jeannine! What an interesting journey. Thanks for all the insights about what it’s been like to self publish. I cannot wait to hold a copy in my hands and read read read. I do love the cover and the logo — good help and advice from the Laird brothers :).

    • Jama, your kind words to me now and over the years have made all of this so much happier. And, yes, the Laird guys are fun to have around!

  6. CONGRATS!!! I’m thrilled for you. What an encouraging and honest post. I look forward to reading your lovely book.

    • Thinking of you, I realize I don’t have any owls in this book, but I hope you’ll find something that taps your poetic heart. Thanks for the congrats!

  7. I remember when you decided to do this and I was in awe. And now you’ve done it! There are so many of your posts that I wished I could print off. Wise and humble and giving, that’s Jeannine. You bet I’m ordering a copy!

    • Thank you, Candice. The enthusiasm of such a wordsmith means a lot to me.

  8. Oh Jeannine! I have been catching up on blogs and I am so glad I didn’t miss this. I just ordered your book which excites me on so many levels. I can’t wait to read and savor your wisdom.

    I have been trying to get brave to do that with my dogs and writing series but haven’t yet. You just might help me get close enough to the edge to jump!

    • That’s so sweet. Yours was one of the first blogs that really amazed me, so I have much to thank you for. And yes, a collection of your dogs and writing sounds great. There were sticky moments along the way, but you’re so good with technology and I think you’d love the visual aspect that it seems a natural fit for you. Message me on fb if you want to talk about it all sometime.

      • I will do that! Maybe a phone date in the future? And thanks for the kind words. I’m hoping to be back to blogging after this site overhaul.

  9. The book looks beautiful and can’t wait to read it. Your insights into writing are always so perceptive and charmingly written!

    • Actually, not anonymous. Actually Amy. Gordon. xxoo

  10. Jeannine, what a beautiful book you are sharing with the world! The gorgeous cover invites us in, and I’m so looking forward to reading and savoring your deep and gentle wisdom on writing and on life.
    And I’m so happy that you followed your instincts and self-published. Even though it’s not without its difficulties, it feels to me that these books from the heart do better being birthed and shared by the writer. Thank you for sharing your process–I might be asking you for tips one of these days. 🙂
    Much love to you, Lorraine

    • You’ve been with me in spirit through so much of this, Lorraine, that it’s good to hear your warm welcome. It does feel good to have taken this through the beginnings where we found intimacy in a public place to yet another place, that of self publishing, that kept a focus on the personal even while making everything available to whoever might be drawn in.

      I hope I remember enough of the publishing aspects to share tips, but will always be glad to at least encourage. Just let me know!

  11. […] companion all week. I was thrilled when I first heard Jeannine was publishing a book based on her blog, which I’ve been reading and loving for almost seven […]

  12. Congratulations on the book! I love the cover, and I look forward to reading it. Thanks, too, for the insights on your self-pub journey. Self-publishing isn’t what it used to be — so many great options. Congrats!

    • Thank you, Karen, for liking the cover and looking forward to reading. Your comment made me think of showing the book to two friends. One said, “This is self published?” And the other, as you suggest, hinted this is what self publishing looks like now. Also, I doubt that I’d have done it without print on demand. So much less risk. And boxes.


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