Author Archives: Emily

How to Self-Publish an eBook

I’ve been tying up loose ends. After ten years, I finally revisited the notes I’d made for A Short Guide to Self-Publishing. Once I had a draft manuscript, created in Word using font styles to make it easy to publish as an ebook, I decided to redo my other short guides to make them all consistent in appearance.

ebook diagramThere were big changes in the guide How to Self-Publish an eBook, which contains all my notes from doing that process—not so much in the content but in the format. I hope it is easier to read now. You can access it here:


I’m currently redoing How to Build a Simple WordPress Website, which was really dated. Some friends are reading the draft of the guide to self-publishing. You can see all the guides here.

Goodbye to an Old “Friend”

Okay, it’s not really a friend. It’s my original Two Blue Books website. I read that Google will be prioritizing mobile-friendly sites in its search results, and it was the final kick in the pants I needed to create a new site.

front page of old websiteA friend helped me build the site in 2006, before the popularity of content management systems and DIY blog websites. He found a template PHP page and style sheet, and we FTP-ed them to my website host’s server and changed all the colors. I thought I should go with yellows and browns, something bread-like, but the green and pink won me over. It seemed like a tribute to the original title I had planned for Bread Science, which was Bread and Roses. (Thankfully I was talked out of it!)

My favorite part about the site, in addition to how easy it’s been (no software updates or database backups), is the random quote at the top of each page. It comes from a list in the code—here they are:

  • “If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.” —Robert Browning (1812–1889), English poet
  • “As we have seen, bread, and especially dry bread, evokes secretion of considerably larger quantities of saliva than meat.” —Ivan Pavlov”
  • “How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?” —Julia Child
  • “I understand the big food companies are developing a tearless onion. I think they can do it—after all, they’ve already given us tasteless bread.” —Robert Orben
  • “Without bread all is misery.” —William Cobbett (1763?–1835), British journalist
  • “Bread and water–these are the things nature requires. For such things no man is too poor, and whosoever can limit his desire to them alone can rival Jupiter for happiness.” —Seneca
  • “We have learned to see in bread an instrument of community between men—the flavour of bread shared has no equal.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • “The universe of bread is made up of a nostalgia for one’s childhood, the hard work of farmers, miller and bakers and the distinctive pleasure given by something ‘authentic’ and flavourful.” —Jerome Assire
  • “One’s own simple bread is much better than someone else’s pilaf.” —Azerbaijani Proverb
  • “Never fall out with your bread and butter.” —English Proverb
  • “Whose bread I eat: his song I sing.” —German Proverb
  • “The dog wags his tail, not for you, but for your bread.” —Portuguese Proverb
  • “A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.” —Aesop
  • “Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven.” —Yiddish Proverb
  • “The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.” —Chinese Proverb
  • “We light the oven so that everyone may bake bread in it.” —Jose Marti (1853–1895)

Each time I’ve thought about building a new site, I’ve gone to look at the old one and been arrested by how much I liked it. So before I take it down, I wanted to post this memorial, for ten years of good service.

How to Lay Out a Book in InDesign

a page from the bookI recently designed my second book, Somewhere and Nowhere, using Adobe InDesign for the page layout. Given the additional ten years of InDesign experience I’ve gained since my first book (when I was basically at level 0), things went much more smoothly this time. I hadn’t attempted to format any text ahead of time in Word, and I used styles and added flourishes like drop caps.

I took notes so that I’d have a guide to follow next time. I am sharing them in the hope that they might be useful to other self-publishers.

Download a PDF here.

Get the EPUB file free at Gumroad:
Please note: three of the images in the EPUB version would not convert properly, no matter what I tried. You can see them but they don’t look quite right.

Get the MOBI file free at Gumroad:

NaNoWriMo 2016

Nanowrimo badgeWell, November is over, and I did it: I wrote a 50,000 word novel!

I first participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in 2014, when I wrote Intelligence, a new adult fiction novel that is still in the works. The goal of NaNoWriMo is simply to get a draft out, which will then be revised. It helps to be able to tell yourself, It doesn’t have to be good, just keep going.

In 2014, I felt like I had a coffee buzz the entire month. I wrote in the morning, and then went to work where my officemates consistently asked, “Are you okay?” Ideas would pop into my head all day long, and I’d race home to incorporate them.

So I was looking forward to participating this year. But it was very different. After the busiest October on record (2 weekend-long weddings, 3 day-long work events, my 20th college reunion, the state fair, and Halloween), I woke on November 1 thinking, “There’s no way I can write.” But I did. And I wrote every day after that, in spite of feeling like a slug.

Nanowrimo chart of word countI plateaued mid-month with no ideas. I’d already written everything I’d imagined, and I had 25,000 words to go. I tried to let go of the outline that had formed in my head, and new action emerged: there’d be a revolution, with a battle scene, and then the second villain would emerge, necessitating another encounter. Then in the last week, it struck me that the entire story was extremely childish and that I have no ability to craft fiction. But I kept going. So, there it is, my chart of 50,000 words in one month.

You may be wondering why I haven’t said a word about the actual novel. Well, it’s a romance novel. I wrote it because I wanted to do NaNoWriMo, it seemed too soon to start the sequel of Intelligence, and I didn’t have another idea. I also find writing romance liberating–it gives me this feeling that I can write whatever I want, which is a feeling I’d like to cultivate. And, romance may be a good way to make money as a writer, while working on additional, non-money-making projects. I’m still considering how to present my romance writing to the world–I might use a pen name to keep my bread-class-teaching self separate from my romance-writing self. So for now, I’ll just say that it’s a romance novel in a fantasy world.

New Book Update

book coverThe final tasks are being completed for Somewhere and Nowhere. The pages are at the proofreader’s. I’ve picked a paper and cover stock at the printer’s, and calculated the width of the spine. And I’ve (mostly) finished the cover–you can see the current version at the right.

Somewhere and Nowhere will be the same width as Bread Science, in spite of being 64 pages longer. I wanted a thinner paper to keep shipping costs down, and it seemed convenient to have the two books be the same size. (Remember, the shipping office is still Mom and Dad.) But also, the paper will be 100% recycled!

I’m still hoping to have the book printed early in 2017. Stay tuned!

Throwback Thursday

While revamping this site, I came across this fun stuff; it was posted on my original website, ten years ago.

The Bread Baker’s Blessing

May the dough rise to meet you,
May the cloud of flour be always at your back,
May the oven shine warm upon your face,
May the steam fall softly upon your loaves,
And until we meet again,
May God punch-and-fold* you in the palm of His hand.

Notes: We came up with this in the bakery one day, modeling it after the Old Irish Blessing, “May the Road Rise to Meet You…” *Some bakers liked “mold,” implying God is shaping you, but I like “fold” or “punch-and-fold” which implies God is punching you down, and adding strength, so that you can rise again, even better than you were before!

Science Fair

Here is my friend Mary’s niece, whose exhibit on the science of bread won her science fair:

MiscellanyScienceFair   MiscellanyScienceFair2

Photos from Dad

Here are my dad’s photos of “Emily on the Bread Tour.” Needless to say, he is retired:

MiscellanyBreadTour  MiscellanyBreadTour2  MiscellanyBreadTour3  MiscellanyBreadTour4

The Past Ten Years

I’ve decided to switch from periodically updating a news page to posting on a news blog. It seems appropriate to start with a recap of the “news” leading up to 2016.

BreadScienceCoverFrontI self-published Bread Science in 2006. I’ve been mailing books, teaching bread classes, and answering bakers’ emails ever since. In 2014, I produced the ebook version of Bread Science and, eventually, figured out how to sell the ebook directly to readers. It was all quite an ordeal, and I’ve shared my notes on how to do it here:

I had written a few essays about my bike trip, but in 2008 I formed a writers’ group and began writing in earnest. It took a few years to finish the first draft: 353,439 words! Since then, I’ve revised and chopped, identified a theme and reduced more, received a manuscript critique from a professional editor, taken years off, then returned to revise again. The story suddenly felt done this year; I’m calling it Somewhere and Nowhere. I spent the summer obtaining permissions, laying out the book in Indesign, creating a cover, and getting printer quotes, and I hope to have it out soon.

Emily riding a bike

I set off on a short bike trip in western Carolina

I decided to self-publish again because I’ve had such a positive experience self-publishing Bread Science and because I didn’t feel good about selling the rights of such a personal book. While I’d welcome improvements to the text, I feared a publisher might make changes simply to make the book more marketable. I thought about success and realized that I already felt successful, because I learned so much about myself while writing the book; I hope others will enjoy it and learn from it, but I won’t be disappointed if it is not a best seller.

In December, 2013, I began copyediting science papers written by ESL authors, getting work through a company. I loved the work but wanted to find a sustainable and lower-stress way to do it. I joined the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) and began finding additional editing jobs, mostly in the sciences. This year, I’ve taken several EFA classes and attended their conference in New York City in August, which was a wonderful chance to meet long-time editors and other beginners. I’m thinking of attending the Council of Science Editors conference next May. I created a website ( and am planning to expand my editing business as soon as I finish Nanowrimo!

Nanowrimo winner badgeSpeaking of which, in 2014 I wrote my first fiction. I participated in Nanowrimo that November to write an additional 50,000 words, resulting in my first draft of the story I’m calling Intelligence for now. Two of my goals were to write a young-adult-style novel with older characters (because the personal growth that happens in young adult novels didn’t happen to me until I was older, and I want my generation to have more realistic books) and to explore social themes in a lighthearted, accessible way. Once Somewhere and Nowhere is published, I’ll return my focus to Intelligence.

For the Archives

I’m simplifying my website today (September 18, 2017), and I’m removing links to articles and other work that just seems too old. I decided to create this back-dated blog post to archive the material.

Farmer Profiles

I interview farmers and other food producers and write profiles of them at my job at the co-op. Here are some of my favorites – most of the photos are mine as well.

Miscellaneous Articles

I’ve also written articles for the now-defunct Carrboro Citizen and Backwoods Home Magazine:

ScienceOnline 2014 ePub

I spent much of my spring in 2014 creating an ePub of the proceedings from ScienceOnline Together 2014. You can download it here: (It’s free!)


With my job at the co-op, I make videos about farmers and food producers using Adobe Premiere Pro. You can watch them all on the co-op’s Youtube channel:

It has been a learning process, but I’m slowly getting them down to three minutes or less! Recently, I’ve been experimenting with using music in the videos, for example, in this one of Stoney Mountain Farm ( The music is appealing but it also distances the viewer from the subject, which I find interesting.

Originally, the videos were a way to share with the viewer what I experienced, as in this one about Beth May, aka Tempeh Girl (

This one is my friend Josh making macaroons (

This last one is for people who just like watching chickens (