Category Archives: News

News about Emily’s upcoming books and events, and other happenings in her life. Usually there is one post every few months.

laptop and coffee mug on patio table

Late Summer News

Happy September, everyone! Just an FYI, I am working on adding categories to the subscription form, to allow subscribers to choose which content they receive notifications about. This is in anticipation of adding some additional types of blog posts, as I ease into the world of being a fiction writer. I don’t want to subject anyone to “Emily’s Thoughts” if you just want tips for writers or news updates. I’ll keep you posted.

Here’s what I’ve been working on all summer, and what I’m looking forward to this fall.

Continuing Education on Self-Publishing

I’ve been a fan of self-publishing since I published Bread Science in 2006. I’ve tried to capture and condense everything I know about it many times (see the summary in this blog post), most recently in a presentation I gave at the local library this summer (view the slides PDF, here). I plan to refine this presentation and offer it again.

code from an ebook with the preview of the book, showing an error

A sample of ebook code and the ebook it generates, showing an error

The trouble is, in addition to self-publishing being a huge topic, many aspects of self-publishing keep changing, as new services and software become available. And I’m always learning new bits. Most recently, I delved into the code of the Bread Science ebook to fix an error that prevented me from uploading the ebook to OverDrive. I posted about that experience here: https://emilybuehler.com/2018/tinkering-with-ebook-code-for-beginners/

I continue to read articles and attend sessions on self-publishing, always hoping to learn something new. In August, I attended a talk at the Durham library by author Nancy Peacock and author/publisher Nora Gaskin. At first, I felt disheartened; how did other people know so much about self-publishing? Then Nora described how she struggled to compile a self-publishing process for herself to follow, a process she now shares with others, and I realized I was just having another incident of imposter syndrome. Her struggles sounded similar to mine.

Writing, Writing Associations, and Writing Conferences

the cover of the book Green-Light Your Novel

Brooke Warner’s excellent book

Last spring I worked with developmental editor Tanya Gold on my new-adult dystopian fiction novel, currently titled The Knowledge Trick (#KnowledgeTrick—although I keep changing my mind and have not actually tweeted this hashtag yet). I revised heavily based on Tanya’s feedback, and plan to attend the NC Writers’ Network’s fall conference in Charlotte, where I’ll participate in the “Manuscript Mart” to get feedback on pitching the novel. I’m reading up on how to pitch, but I’m keeping my options open. While I want to explore a traditional publishing route, I’ve been reading Green-Light Your Book by Brooke Warner, which makes me wonder if traditional publishing is right for me. I’ll continue to learn more and hopefully the right path will become clear.

a table with a laptop and coffee mug, on a porch overlooking trees and a river

The first day of the writing retreat

On my self-funded summer writing retreat, I got back to work on my romance novel, Rose Fair, using everything I had learned from working with Tanya. I finally joined the Romance Writers of America (RWA), as well as the local chapter, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, and hope to learn more about the romance industry and to find where my novel fits in. It’s a big industry, and I’d like to find the authors and publishers with goals similar to mine: writing well-written, easy-to-read stories with smart, empowered female protagonists and with deeper meaning behind the actions on the page. I plan to attend the RWA conference in New York in July 2019.

I know I still have a lot to learn about the craft of writing, but I compiled a blog post about the stages I’ve been through so far, and the resources that helped at each stage. Read that here: https://emilybuehler.com/2018/my-writing-process-and-resources-for-new-authors/

Freelance Business

two booklets about improvised explosive devices

The report and the summary I drafted

I’ve been busy with my editing business. I’m still copyediting academic papers, and I’ve been formatting longer reports, which has an appeal similar to that of copyediting: making it all consistent. Occasionally I do some writing work. Last winter, I drafted the summary of a report I had edited, and then I revised with feedback from the report authors. The report was titled, Reducing the Threat of Improvised Explosive Device Attacks by Restricting Access to Explosive Precursor Chemicals. The summary is now available from the National Academies Press, here.

Possibly my favorite freelance work is what I call “beta reading,” for lack of a better name: reading the manuscript and pointing out places where the reader is pulled out of the story, or where the point-of-view accidentally shifts or the action is confusing. It’s a step between an early developmental edit and a later stage copyedit. I think I like this service best because I sense that I’m making a difference to the writers, not just correcting one text but informing their writing. A few authors have approached me this year, and after seeing my sample edit of their work (which pointed out recurring issues), all decided they’d better do some more work on their own before hiring an editor.

A screen capture showing Microsoft Word running PerfectIt

PerfectIt at work

With all the writing I have been doing, I’ve noticed a reduction in my blog posting. One final post I did this summer is about using PerfectIt, a tool for writers and editors that finds inconsistencies in text. It’s not that PerfectIt is hard to use, but before I did, I didn’t understand how it worked at all, so I wanted to share that experience. Read that here: https://emilybuehler.com/2018/editor-tool-perfectit/

Upcoming Appearances

I say “appearances” because some of my upcoming events are brief ones. I’m participating in a new book sale featuring local authors at the Orange County, NC main library on November 24, sponsored by the Friends of the Library. If you’re in town please stop by and say hello. I’ll also be the local author giving the “art moment,” a brief reading to open the Orange County Board of Commissioners meeting, on December 3. I’m actually quite nervous about this—I attended this month’s meeting and remembered how big the room is, with about a hundred attendees.

a table with many baskets of bread, all labeled

The bread display at the student show at the Folk School last June

I have two classes scheduled at the Folk School, and registration is open:

The January class comes with the added bonus that you’ll get to meet my mom, a.k.a. the Two Blue Books distribution office. I also plan to teach my usual “Beginner Kneading” at the Asheville Bread Festival, date tba.

April News

Life is busy! (Will I ever start a news post with anything else?) Here’s what I’ve been working on.

Upcoming Events: Bread and Self-Publishing

artisan breads with logo for Asheville Bread FestivalOn May 5 I’ll once again be at the Asheville Bread Festival. I’m teaching beginning kneading (tickets available here) at 10 AM at Living Web Farm, and after class I’ll head back to the Bread Fair at New Belgium Brewing to run my booth. I’m also planning to attend the baker’s dinner. If you’re in town I hope you’ll say hi! More details are at ashevillebreadfestival.com or in this PDF.

My June class at the Folk School is full, but I’ll teach “The Science of Bread” again January 6–12, 2019, and “Baking Traditional Breads” May 26–June 1, 2019.

Flyer that says, Is self-publishing right for you, May 20,, 2018 2 PM at the OC main libraryOn May 20, I’m giving a free talk about self-publishing at the Orange County library in Hillsborough, NC. I’ll give an overview of the whole process from a DIY perspective, but pointing out places where one might hire help. The talk is free but the library asks attendees to register, here: www.bit.ly/ocplwriting. View the poster (PDF) here. Here is the copy from the poster:

What does it take to self-publish a book? And what is the smartest route to take? With all of the self-publishing services available today, the process can be confusing.

Author Emily Buehler self-published her first book in 2006, before many of today’s services were available. As a result, she took a “DIY” approach. She’ll present an overview of the entire process (finding a printer, designing the book, forming a business, marketing, distributing print books and e-books, and much more) and what it takes to do it yourself. If you decide that self-publishing is right for your manuscript, you’ll know what you face. You can then consider which parts of the process (if any) you’d like to outsource and the smartest way to go about it.

The Internet has made self-publishing a viable option for authors, enabling them to sell books across the world, and author-publishers are now gaining acceptance in the publishing world. It’s an exciting time to self-publish—come learn all about it!

Writing: Clearing the Clutter, and Making a Map

This past month I received my dystopian fiction novel back from developmental editor Tanya Gold. I trust and respect Tanya, but it was hard to see how much she suggested cutting. My immediate reaction was that “publishers today must not want description.” But I could see swathes of description in other books in the genre.

crumpled paper with the word hope

Then last weekend, I attended the NC Writers Network’s Spring Conference. The first class I took was “Essentials of Scene Crafting” with Heather Bell Adams. As soon as Heather began talking, explaining the difference between scene and summary, I could see what Tanya’s edits were about: a lot of my description occurred while the main character was, for example, walking home from work and thinking, and thus explaining to the reader—nothing was really happening, and the reader wasn’t in the scene. I had turned in Tanya’s version of my manuscript to the last event of the day: Slush Pile Live. When the time came, two of the editors on the panel listened to my entire submission without quitting! Read more about the Slush Pile Live experience, and the helpful tips it offered, on my editor blog: http://www.emilyeditorial.com/getting-through-the-slush-pile/

cat and scroll of paper on floor

Scruffy observes one of my book maps

Other highlights of the conference were the opening address by Jill McCorkle and my afternoon class with David Halperin. Jill read an essay she’d written that included the idea of being haunted by memories, particularly of places, and spoke about the balance between letting your subconscious do the work of writing, and the hard work of revising. David’s class was “Writing the Character You Know Best.” I’d always considered it a flaw that my characters were rooted in my own personality, but David spoke about it as normal and even beneficial.

I won’t list all the additional minutiae of why I loved the conference, but I’m now looking forward to the three-day fall conference, where I’ll have an opportunity to meet agents and editors. This gives me a deadline for incorporating Tanya’s suggestions, revising, and getting my book (and myself) in shape. One way I will do that is with a book map. This past month, I took a class with Heidi Fiedler on book mapping. I used one of my romance novel manuscripts in the class, but I’m eager to apply all I learned to my dystopian novel. You can read about book mapping here: http://www.emilyeditorial.com/book-mapping/

Editing: Beta Reading and Bombs

hands holding phone at desk with cofee, newspaper, pen, calculatorAnother class I took this spring was developmental editing of nonfiction. At first, I found it hard to ignore copyediting, to focus on the big picture, but after a while I got into it. While I don’t know if I’ll want to move in that direction as an editor, I wanted to understand what the process entails. Even if I’m working as a copyeditor, I’d like to recognize developmental faults in manuscripts, and the material interested me as a writer. The class helped me classify the services I do offer; for example, what some editors call “content editing” makes sense to me as a beta read with comments. I rewrote the services page of the Emily Editorial website (here).

The classes I took also caused me to think about editing fees, and what they cover. I blogged about that here: http://www.emilyeditorial.com/the-cost-of-editing/

Finally, I’m excited to share a link to a report I worked on for much of last summer: Reducing the Threat of Improvised Explosive Device Attacks by Restricting Access to Explosive Precursor Chemicals. I participated in several rounds of edits and helped with a final copyedit this spring. I also helped draft a summary booklet on the topic (not yet available). The report is available as a free PDF here.

Spring News: Blog Posts, Events, and More

I’ve been busy with freelance projects since the new year started, including academic papers on everything from forest growth to service marketing. I’ve been taking a class in developmental editing of nonfiction, which is helping me understand how to manage the “big picture” of an edit: Is there too much or too little material? Is it well organized? I’ve also participated in several webinars.

Blog Posts for Authors and Editors

poster advertising hybrid publishing

One thing I love about learning new things is being able to reorganize the material and share it. There are three new posts on my editor blog:

  1. An overview of hybrid publishing, http://www.emilyeditorial.com/what-is-hybrid-publishing/
  2. Basic information about working with legal issues for authors, http://www.emilyeditorial.com/copyright-and-privacy-and-libel-oh-my/
  3. Some tips for working with UK English, http://www.emilyeditorial.com/how-to-deal-with-uk-english/

Upcoming Events

Flyer that says, Is self-publishing right for you, May 20,, 2018 2 PM at the OC main libraryI have three events coming up:

  1. Beginning Kneading Class: I’ll be teaching again at the Asheville Bread Festival on May 5. This year, the Bread Fair will be at the New Belgium Brewery from 10 to 2, with classes in different locations around town. Mine will be from 10 to 11:30 at Living Web Farm. Look for updates and get tickets at http://www.ashevillebreadfestival.com. (Tickets for my class are here.)
  2. Self-Publishing Talk: I’m giving a talk at the library in Hillsborough about self-publishing. It will be an overview of the whole process with a focus on what it would take to do it all yourself. It’s free and open to the public on May 20 from 2 to 4 PM. Learn more (PDF).
  3. Science of Bread Class: I’m teaching a week-long class at the Folk School June 3 to 9. Learn more here: http://emilybuehler.com/classes-events-2/class-at-the-folk-school/ (The link to register is at the bottom.)

Writing News

My fiction manuscript (working title: Intelligence, hashtag: #IntelligenceBook) went off to a developmental editor, Tanya Gold, this month. It’s my first attempt at writing fiction, and while I feel good about some aspects of it, I wasn’t confident that it was the best it could be. I’d taken a class from Tanya and liked her style of working with authors (the class was on how to work with authors!) so I’m excited to hear back from her when she finishes.

people walking in New York City

Walking through Manhattan to the EFA conference in 2016

I’m attending the North Carolina Writer’s Network’s (NCWN’s) spring conference in April. Fifteen years ago, when I first considered writing for other people, I joined NCWN; at the time, they had an office at White Cross, just west of Chapel Hill, and I biked out to use their library. I let my membership lapse, though, because I did not get much value from it. At the time, I was writing Bread Science and trying to find a publisher, and then turning my efforts to self-publishing, which was not much accepted.

Well times have changed! I’ve been to conferences the past two years (the EFA in 2016, AWP in 2017) and looked forward to one this year. When I decided not to travel far, I settled on attending both NCWN conferences. I rejoined the network and realized how far I have come: self-publishing is now mainstream and slowly gaining acceptance in the industry, and I have two self-published books; and I have two full-length fiction manuscripts that I’m ushering through the process of revisions.

I often think of myself as having three careers rolled into one: (1) writing my own books, (2) editing other people’s writing (and sometimes writing for other people as well), and (3) self-publishing my books and sharing the process with others. I’m glad to be involved in all three of these spheres.

News for the New Year: Upcoming Books, Talks, and More

I started the new year with some prioritizing so I could focus on one major project at a time.

What I’m working on

First I finished up the draft of my new fiction manuscript (working title: Intelligence), which will go to developmental editor Tanya Gold in March. I’m excited to get Tanya’s feedback on the manuscript, and also (from an editor perspective) to see the developmental editing process in action. Tanya reminded me to think about marketing Intelligence, even though it’s far from publication. It’s hard to know what’s going to change, but I’m hoping to stick with the title so I’m adopting the hashtag #IntelligenceBook for future use on Twitter.

Flyer that says, Is self-publishing right for you, May 20,, 2018 2 PM at the OC main libraryMy current priority is learning everything I can about today’s self-publishing, in preparation for a talk I scheduled at the Orange County Public Library (Hillsborough) on May 20 at 2 PM. Last year I wrote a booklet, published by the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA), about “do-it-yourself self-publishing,” which is my area of expertise. However, even an author-publisher who wants to do the entire process herself can benefit from some of the services now available. So I have been taking webinars and reading about distribution, e-books, and more to broaden my knowledge of self-publishing. The EFA booklet is available as an e-book here, and I’ve been told a print version is coming.

New blog posts

a diagram showing various distribution paths for e-booksThese new posts are on my blog for authors, editors, and author-publishers:

Book Distribution for Self-Publishers
http://www.emilyeditorial.com/book-distribution-for-self-publishers/

How to Get the Most Out of AWP
http://www.emilyeditorial.com/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-awp/

Authentic Marketing
http://www.emilyeditorial.com/authentic-marketing/

A question during my last bread class caused me to investigate the difference (or lack of) between instant yeast and RapidRise yeast: What Is RapidRise Yeast?
http://foodchemblog.com/2018/01/what-is-rapidrise-yeast/

The second of my articles for The Kitchn has been posted: Debunking the 10 Myths of Sourdough
https://www.thekitchn.com/debunking-the-10-myths-of-sourdough-bread-250222

And finally, here is my blog post about my visit to the Folk School last fall: Back in Time at the Folk School, and Biltmore
https://blog.folkschool.org/2017/12/06/back-time-folk-school-biltmore/

Other news and upcoming events

I’ve written discussion questions for Somewhere and Nowhere. If your book club reads memoir or outdoor adventure, I’d love to join you for an informal chat about the book. Discussion questions and other information are posted here: http://www.twobluebooks.com/book-clubs/

The Modernist Breadcrumbs podcast is a series of podcasts about bread. I was interviewed for it, so there are clips of me talking (!) within some of the episodes (although I have not yet figured out which ones). You can hear the episodes here: http://heritageradionetwork.org/tag/bread/

The Asheville Bread Festival is scheduled for May 5-6, although a location and other information is not yet available. Save the date! http://www.ashevillebreadfestival.com

I’m teaching the Science of Bread at the Folk School in June. Learn more and register here: http://emilybuehler.com/classes-events-2/ (I’ll be teaching there again in January and May of 2019.)

End-of-Summer News: Goodreads, Self-Publishing Guide, and More

I’m not an early adopter. This week I finally “claimed” my books on Goodreads. Now that I’ve done it, I actually feel excited about the platform, unlike most social media platforms. It’s centered on books! Anyway, I set up my profile, turned on “Ask the Author,” and imported my blog. Here I am: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1439262.Emily_Buehler

the cover of Emily Croy Barker's bookI decided to start by reviewing a book I loved, The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker. I can’t remember how I ended up at Emily’s author reading back in 2013, or what her connection is to North Carolina (where the action starts), but I was so glad to have discovered the book. I was glad to support it on Goodreads, too, especially when I saw a few of the scathing, one-star reviews (which, IMHO, reflect more on the reviewer than the book). It was a good lesson for me, that there are always going to be readers who hate your book, and that I should keep working on developing the thick skin I’m going to need.

I don’t think I would slam another author’s book, no matter how much I hated it. I guess negative reviews are important, but for now at least, I’m going to review books I liked. I’m going to try to write a few each week, and to post them at Amazon as well. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for awhile, knowing how important online reviews are to authors.

two versions of a block print of a chickadeeIn other news, my blog post about the class I took last July is now up on the Folk School blog: “Nothing Is As Expected in Printmaking Paradise.” The post deals with the unpredictable nature of print-making (and life!) and features a print I made of Scruffy.

The Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) published my overview of how to self-publish a book with as little outside help as possible: DIY Self-Publishing: An Overview. You can buy it on Lulu.com as a print or e-book. There’s also a free version (here) that contains some of the information and is a good starting point. If you think you want to move ahead with self-publishing, the EFA version is better written and more detailed.

The Modernist Breadcrumbs podcast has begun. I still don’t have a date for my interview, but the bread-related podcasts are all listed here, with the newer ones on top:
http://heritageradionetwork.org/tag/bread/

Finally, I’ve been writing blog posts about writing, editing, and self-publishing. Since this blog is dedicated to personal news, I’m posting them on my editorial business website, here: http://www.emilyeditorial.com/blog/.

August News

It’s been a busy summer. I’m excited to have so many opportunities to edit and so many ideas for my writing, but sometimes I miss the days when summer meant slowing down.

Early in the summer, Alicia Stemper interviewed me for her Vitamin O blog, which highlights “the robust and wonderful people who make Orange County, North Carolina strong”! Her post is here: https://artsorange.org/vitamin-o-emily-buehler-bikes-bread-books/

Emily wearing eclipse glasses, sitting on a hay bale

Jessica and I watch the eclipse. Photo by Dane Summers.

I made my third trip to the Folk School for the eclipse, which was amazing. When totality came, we were sitting on the hay bales in the middle of the fields, with Venus overhead and the Davidson Hall barn swallows swooping about us. Read about it, here: https://blog.folkschool.org/2017/08/24/totality-brasstown-watching-eclipse-folk-school/

I’m teaching again in October (the class is full), with additional classes in January and June, 2018.

Then Conor O’Donovan interviewed me for the Modernist Breadcrumbs podcast, in anticipation of the arrival, this fall, of Modernist Bread. The series debuts on October 4 (not sure of my interview’s date yet), and you can hear the podcast here: http://heritageradionetwork.org/modernistbreadcrumbs/

I’m currently working on a series of sourdough-relayed bread articles for The Kitchn, also in anticipation of Modernist Bread. Amy Halloran and the Modernist Bread team will be doing posts as well. They’ll be posted in October.

Emily rides her bike while brandishing a baguette

Photo by Alicia Stemper

Writing about bread, and stumbling upon interesting new facts (like the different temperatures that bacteria and yeast thrive at, which can enable the baker to control the sourness of her sourdough), is making me want to delve back into bread research. Another game changer was finding out that through my William and Mary alumni association, I have online access to academic journals–I wouldn’t have to take the bus to UNC, where non-students are now limited to one hour of computer time. I might be able to revive Food Chem Blog! 

I’ve never had an interest in a second edition of Bread Science. I thought I had written everything I knew. I’m about to get more copies printed, and I had to open the Indesign file to make a few corrections (my email address and location). It was tempting to start copyediting the whole book–I didn’t even know about the Chicago Manual when I wrote it!–but each page that has changes adds additional cost to the printing. I shouldn’t start editing until I’m going to redo the whole book. And if I’m going to do that, I might think about adding new content. I wonder if there will be a second edition someday!

Summer News

Summer is in full swing, with enough news to report to warrant a blog post.

students in class holding bread

The class with some of our bread

In June, I taught my annual Science of Bread class at the Campbell Folk School. As usual, the students were inspiring in their love of bread and the recipes they tackled. I wrote a guest blog post about the class and the accompanying life lessons, which you can read here: https://blog.folkschool.org/2017/06/20/life-lessons-week-bread-class/

I’ll be unexpectedly teaching again at the Folk School this October, covering Carla’s “Baking Traditional Breads” class October 15–21. This is not my usual science-focused class, and I’m excited to practice some new recipes and to rework my usual lessons for a non-science audience. You can read more and register for the class here: https://classes.folkschool.org/class_details.aspx?pk=19971

Alicia Stemper, the author of Orange County’s Vitamin O blog, interviewed me for a post. Vitamin O highlights “the robust and wonderful people who make Orange County, North Carolina strong”! Her post is coming in August. Update: here it is!

view of river with picnic table

The view from my rental; sometimes I wrote at the picnic table!

This month, I created a writing retreat for myself by staying for four night’s in a friend’s rental cottage on the Niantic River in Connecticut. (I grew up just across the river, and was up that way to visit friends.) I also took the train, which provided many more hours with my laptop. With so much quiet time to write, I finished the revision of the draft of my romance novel, which I initially wrote during NaNoWriMo last November. Several friends are now reading the draft to provide feedback, and I am beginning to look into the world of romance writers and publishers.

dining room with big table

The dining room table, where I did most of my writing

And finally, the arrival of Modernist Bread is approaching! I was awed to see my name listed among the names of the other contributors, such big names in the bread world, in the Kitchen Arts and Letters newsletter. Read it here: http://kitchenartsandletters.com/bookstore/products-page/professional/modernist-bread-early-purchase-offer/

Book Launch Party

poster for book launch partyI’ve scheduled a book launch party for May 28 at 2 PM at Purple Crow Books in Hillsborough. If you’ve never been, it’s a very cozy spot. So far I’ve been unable to imagine what I will say, or which passage of Somewhere and Nowhere I will read, but I’m hoping it will become clear as the date nears.

This weekend I’m heading to Asheville to teach my annual “Beginning Kneading” class at the Asheville Bread Festival. I think tickets have sold out for the classes, but you can still come to the free bread showcase. I’ll have a table set up, although I’ll be away from it for an hour while I teach.

Otherwise, I have been super busy with writing and editing work! I’ve been revising the romance novel I wrote during Nanowrimo, and will soon be handing it over to my team of beta readers. If I do publish it, I’m thinking of using my middle name as a pen name: Jane Buehler sounds more like a romance author to me. The Editorial Freelancers Association’s publications committee selected my proposal as one of the booklets they’ll publish this year, so I’ve been writing The DIY Guide to Self-Publishing: An Overview. I wrote a test passage for the College Board and have had several academic papers to edit.

And I head to the Folk School on June 3! There are three spots left in the class. If you’re interested, there is more information here.

Somewhere and Nowhere

an open box of booksMy new book is here! Somewhere and Nowhere recounts my adventures riding my bike from New Jersey to Oregon with my friend Mary. Along the way, there were a lot of “life lessons” about balance and living in the present moment.

I began writing a few years after the trip, in 2008. First I wrote what I remembered, but this didn’t amount to much. Then I got out the trip log (in which I recorded our route, miles, and other data), my spottily kept journal, the maps (which we’d stared at multiple times each day), and the 2200 photographs Mary and I had taken. I began piecing all this together, and memories began to return. I wrote down everything, resulting in a first draft of 353,439 words.

big stack of papers

The original draft

I knew I wanted to write a story for others, though, so I began cutting material. This was easy at first: what I ate for lunch, random photos I took, and other dead-end material. I also knew the book should have a theme, but there were so many possibilities. Some, like “wherever you go, people are nice,” seemed too trite. Eventually, however, I realized that many of my ideas (such as, daydreaming too much is harmful, and, I repeatedly get stuck in the past, and, worry results from my mind inventing problems) were variations of one theme: it is better to live in the present moment. This book theme was also the current theme of my life, as I tried to be happier and let go of past problems. So the bike trip story merged with the learning that continued afterward. Once this happened, I was able to cut material that did not support the theme.

I worked with an editor who helped me see places that the manuscript could be better. Then I put it aside for a few years as I worked on starting an editing business and writing fiction. When I came back to it, I was able to see the writing differently, and rewrote passages with everything I had learned. Several friends acted as beta readers and gave feedback. I went over the manuscript so many times: on the screen, on printed pages, and reading aloud.

Then it just felt done. It was spring of 2016.

Ken with a pallet of book boxes

Ken delivers the books to my parents’ garage

I self-published Bread Science in 2006 because I could not get anyone to publish it. This time, I self-published because I did not want to sell the rights to my story. I also wanted to do the self-publishing process again; I had spotty notes from the first time, but I kept thorough notes this time so I could share them. So many steps come after the writing is done: choosing and scanning photos, creating a cover, and designing the book interior. I also spent months working on permissions: I read books on the subject and made a huge spreadsheet of all the copyrighted material in the book (which, I found out, includes artwork that I photographed), all the potential privacy issues (some of which existed even if I changed people’s names), and any other possible problem. I changed some passages to avoid issues and wrote to ask permission in other cases.

Mom holds up a book out of the box

Mom with the first book out of the box!

When the book was finally done, I uploaded it to my printer, Thomson-Shore. They only had to contact me three times with errors! This was much easier than in 2006, when I was rushing to the university library to use InDesign with the files on a USB drive (invented just in time!), and when the printer’s server didn’t have enough space for my giant book! The books arrived on April 3; my parents are still acting as the distribution office.

Since the books shipped from the printer, I’ve been filled with doubt. I consider how unimportant my story is—there are so many bigger problems in the world than my personal dilemmas. I worry that I should have gone over the text one last time, that it could have been better, that I’ve forgotten to change someone’s name or that my narrator is way too whiny and self-involved. But I already decided that Somewhere and Nowhere is a success to me even if it sells no copies because I learned so much while writing it. As I did on the bike trip so long ago, I am trying not to worry about it!

Books are for sale at http://www.twobluebooks.com/somewhere-and-nowhere/.

New Book Is Almost Here

proofs of Somewhere and NowhereThis week I received my proofs from the printer!

Other than the cover being a bit brighter than anticipated, they look like I hoped they would. But instead of being excited, I just feel mildly sick. Was I crazy to write such a personal memoir to share with the public? Have I failed to protect the privacy of anyone, in spite of how careful I was with details? Is it bad that I have no marketing plan?

Then I remembered that this was pretty much how I felt in the months leading up to the bike trip: Was I crazy? Had I forgotten something major? Was it foolish not to have more of a plan? And the bike trip turned out to be the most positive, life-changing undertaking of my life. So probably this book will turn out to be okay, too.

I have since decided to plan a book launch party. The library often hosts them, so I wouldn’t have to find a willing bookstore (which might be hard because the book is self-published), and I probably have enough friends who’d come that the room wouldn’t be awkwardly empty.

So stay tuned! The book should soon be here.