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I’m here sitting in a glass pod at the Reference Library. I asked a librarian why they called them “pods” but he couldn’t answer the question. I suggested that maybe they’re meant to be stylized pea-pods and me the little cozy pea inside. The look he gave me told me that that definitely was not the answer. I was just being friendly. He also couldn’t tell me why the designer would have left open spaces so that the sound can travel out or in. I know this for a fact because I was chastised once by a librarian for my too boisterous laughter. Shhh.

I have signed up for two hours here in my glass pod to try to get my head around a decision about this Self Publishing. Why does it have to be so difficult? Building Ikea furniture is a breeze compared to thisOr is it just me? Everyone says that the hardest part of this book publishing stuff is writing the book. But I don’t know if that’s true. Of course, I’m saying this from this end of a 200-page 17,000 word finished manuscript. All of those months, years, of agonizing over words and paragraphs seems a pleasantly distant memory. I could call the Intrepid Editor for a reminder of my whiney self — but I’d rather think that this is really the hard part since I’m not doing such a hot job of it.

Oh yeah, all the Self Publishing sites make it sound easy-peasy (I am in a pod), but I don’t think they’re telling it like it is, really. I suspect there are thousands of not-so-hidden black holes just waiting for me and my manuscript to slip into never to be seen again! A big part of the problem is that I get totally, absolutely, positively overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge I’m supposed to have about everything from ISBN numbers, to binding style, print sizes, PDFing files, marketing, ebooks, costing, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera! Then — to make things even murkier for me — I innocently clicked  on a website called Writers Beware. How stupid was that, eh? Wouldn’t the name itself be enough to caution me that maybe I should hold off on looking at it until I was more focused and closer to a decision. No, I plunged right in there. Not only did they warn me about the pitfalls of self publishing — hidden costs, contracts, ownership, who-takes-what-cut, low book sales — they also kindly threw in a bunch of nagging reminders. 1) “Have a Plan” — I thought I did!. (2) “Keep your expectations realistic”– believe me, I’m not thinking this book is going to spurt me towards millionaire-land. (3) “Ignore the Hype” — I’m trying my best. And, (4) “Do your Research”– my favorite and Sarah’s.

I have been working on this last one or, I should say, I’ve been trying to but every time I go into Self Publishing sites, I start to hyperventilate. There’s just too many of them and too much information so, before I know it, my eyes have glazed over and I’m gone — sunk into the morass of my own making. At those times, I’ve taken to pulling out of the air, Sarah’s logical, clear voice saying, yet again, “Do the Matrix, Ann. Put all the pros/cons out there and then make a decision.” That certainly appeals to my Capricorn self. So, to move things forward, I decided to “pod” it today. The change of scenery might make it all seem clearer to me — or at least help me to create the headings for my matrix. With all these words surrounding me here in the library, something should happen.

So I am moving forward. I gave myself a May 15th deadline to wrap it all up. As my friend, Lynda, would say, “That sounds like a plan to me!” And I’ve already talked with a designer about doing illustrations for the chapter headings to spruce things up a little. But before I spend the big bucks to have someone else — who, hopefully, knows what they’re doing — walk these words into a book, I have to do that research.

Then, when my matrix is filled in and detailed, I can look at my choices and not get so terribly overwhelmed. I’ll be just like those people on HGTV. After narrowing down my choices to the magic three, I’ll say, “Let’s eliminate one.”

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