Book review: My Publishing Journey

My Publishing Journey: The guided journal for authors to record their publishing adventures is a lovely gift book for authors and authors-to-be disguised as a children’s book.

Or, at least, I thought it was a children’s book when I opened the envelope sent to me by one of the book’s editors. The first thing I saw was the illustrated rooster on the back cover, so I thought, “Why did someone send me a children’s book?”

back cover, My Publishing Journey

Turning the book over to look at the cover (see image at the top of the post) only further reinforced my sense that this was a children’s book until I saw the title and remembered my correspondence with co-editor Tamara Dever.

As you can tell, my first reaction wasn’t, “I recognize this as a book for authors,” but so what. Thanks to a whimsical cover and colorful interior pages, all illustrated by Elizabeth Dotterer, this is an unusually attractive book for adult authors.

So what is My Publishing Journey?

My Publishing Journal 3My Publishing Journey is a 62-page hardcover book that allows new authors to document some of their experiences — and their reactions to them — while writing and publishing their books. Wrapped around pages where authors can write down their answers to the journal questions are short essays by authors on specific topics, such as “before writing” and “building your team.”

I expected the three women identified as authors to weigh in with their advice as the owners of a book design and production company, but they contribute only one page of text. Not surprisingly, it’s the page on how to select a design professional. For that reason, I see them as co-editors, not co-authors, but that’s a small point.

Each short essay by contributors — there are 10 of them — is followed by a few pages of questions about the chapter topic and space to write answers. For example, the marketing and publicity section lets authors record launch party details, detail how they used social media for promotion, and explain what book marketing tactics did and didn’t work for them.

Who will love it?

I absolutely love this book’s design, but I’m not the target audience for its contents. I think that professional writers and veteran authors like me are past the point of logging our reactions to how others responded when we told them about our current book project.

I think the questions and the design are a little too touchy-feely for most business book authors, too. For the same reason, I think it will appeal to women more than men.

So who will appreciate both its content and design? It’s mostly women who are:

  • First-time authors
  • Authors-to-be who are either self-publishing or have a traditional publishing contract
  • Authors-to-be just starting the writing process
  • Authors-to-be who have written their book and are about to find their way through the publishing process
  • Recently  published authors

This seems to me like a gift book for someone who is excited about that first book or still starry-eyed about the connotations associated with saying you’re an “author.” And don’t think it has to be a gift for someone else. It can be the gift you buy yourself, too.

Obviously, My Publishing Journey is also an excellent business card for the book design business owned by the co-editors. And it’s an impressive one.

This book is designed around essays by contributors who include my friend Flora Brown. Have you contributed an essay to someone else’s book? How did you use it to support your writing career? 

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  1. Sandy, it sounds like there wasn’t either a cover letter or a press release along with the copy of the book sent to you. Is that true? And if so, wouldn’t you consider that a serious mistake?

    Marcia Yudkin

    1. You’re correct, Marcia, and yes, omitting the press release was a mistake because it meant that I had to work a little harder to describe the book. That’s not your goal as the author.

      This book’s author/editor saw my “gifts for authors” post that ran last Nov. and wanted me to include her book in a 2016 gift list. I wouldn’t need a press release for that. Still, once I decided to review it, I did look on the book’s website for a press release or other descriptive information, and didn’t find anything I could use for this.

      For what it’s worth — and you probably know this as well as anyone, Marcia — press releases aren’t always useful, anyway. They’re often so full of fluff or obtuse language that I can’t use them. Not surprisingly, if the press release is bad, the book probably is, too.



      1. The cover letter would have reminded you of your previous exchange with the author and not forced you to work so hard to understand why the book was sent to you.

        To me, it is both discourteous and presumptuous to omit the cover letter.


        1. No, no, a cover letter wouldn’t have made a difference. When I pulled the book out of the envelope, I saw the rooster on the back of a thin, hard-covered book. As a parent, those 3 elements — farm illustration, hard cover, thin — say “children’s book” to me. It didn’t look like the book I was expecting (maybe something that looked more like a business book?), and because people sometimes send me books randomly, I was momentarily confused. As soon as I flipped it over and read the title, I knew what it was. A cover letter wouldn’t have helped or given me any clarity. She tucked a lovely thank you note and bookmark inside. That note was her version of a cover letter, but I didn’t see it until I read the cover and thought, “Ohhhhhh! Now I know what this is.”


  2. Sandy,

    Thanks for mentioning my contribution to TLC Graphics’ book, “My Publishing Journey”. I agree that it will likely appeal to new authors more than veterans. Once completed, it could be a great record for the authors to revisit and share years later when they have more books and publishing experiences under their belts.

    Thanks for including it in your holiday gifts for writers.


    1. I agree, Flora, that it’s a good tool for documenting lessons learned, etc., while also learning from wise people like you. I haven’t committed to adding this to my holiday gift list yet — stay tuned for that in November!


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