Learn how to crawl: the New York City Yarn CrawlΒ is on through Sunday, September 25.

International Standard Book Number 978-0-9852100-0-7

Dear Kay,
All right, ALL RIGHT. You have now matched my six-part series on geothermal HVAC installation with a six-part series on the making of Honey Cowls. UNCLE! I GIVE UP! YOU WIN! I solemnly promise that I won’t do ANY MORE six-part series on anything.
Except. Maybe.
Get ready . . .
My latest craft project:
My novel.
As you may recall, I started this story about eighteen months ago, and it’s been my constant distraction. I think it’s time to get ON WITH IT and set these poor characters on their way. I’ve decided to publish the book myself.
It’s fascinating to think about what it means to publish a book in this electronic age. We are reading books on iPads, iPhones, Kindles, Nooks, laptops, desktops, and yes, even pieces of paper glued together in a stack.
I have been out of pocket because I’ve been spending time doing things I used to do a long time ago, when I worked in publishing in New York. Paperwork was a specialty of mine, filling out forms.
Back in the era of the Collinses Jackie and Joan, back when Judith Rossner roamed the land and Oliver Sacks was first mistaking his wife for a hat, there were a lot of straightforward, rigidly predictable things that would happen when a manuscript began its journey through the book factory.
First, an indentured servant (me) would go to the Xerox machine (literally a Xerox machine, made by Xerox) and make ten sets of manuscript pages to send around the building. I’d send a memo in a reusable in-house mail envelope, with a twine closure and holes designed to ventilate whatever memo you were sending, to alert Production and Sales and Publicity and Accounting and Contracts that indeed, a new manuscript was ready to go. I’d use my IBM Selectric typewriter to fill out a form, complete with carbon paper, to request an International Standard Book Number. After a week or so, a page would come back to us with a brand-new ISBN. It was the equivalent of a book’s Social Security number, its unique ID to be used by bookstores and libraries.
Fast forward twenty-five years. As you know, things are really, really different. Technologies that we could have only dreamed about then have transformed the way books are created. Publishing is something that can be done from the squalor of my home office, and the thing is, I enjoy this process, soup to nuts. For example, I just acquired an ISBN by clicking through a website. To get this ISBN, I didn’t even have to provide a title. But this bit of bureaucracy made me realize that I really did need to decide what I was going to call this novel. So here you go:
Bowling Avenue.
That’s the title, and that’s where most of the story takes place, in a neighborhood in Nashville.
It’ll be a few weeks before it’s ready to go, and please trust me when I say you’ll be the first to hear about that. It will be available in a print edition and ebook.
I hope you will like Bowling Avenue. Some things may be different, in terms of technology, but the goal is still the same: to get a story out there. I hope you’ll want to come live on Bowling Avenue, actually, just move on into the house.
Does it have knitting in it? How could it not?




  1. OH MY GOSH! Congratulations! I can’t wait to read it!

  2. Go YOU!!!

  3. How exciting, I can’t wait to read it! (It looks like you’ll have to compete with J.K. Rowling who’s also publishing a new book – for adults.)

  4. Also, but in smaller letters…I really admire your horse and hounds mug πŸ™‚

  5. Awesome! I’ve done NaNoWriMo, but I’m pretty sure that even heavy editing and complete rewrites couldn’t make what I’ve produced publishable, so I’m extra psyched when other people write. So cool!

  6. Woooooooo! How fantastic, and Well Done. I love the ‘no pointless surfing’ post-it. I should have onf of those. x x x

  7. or even ‘one’ of those. See, I’d be no good writing.

  8. OH MY GAWD!! I was wondering what you were going to do with the movel. I thought you were letting it mildew in some attic trunk. But there you were, being all sneaky like, publishing and whatnot without sharing. If it’s half as good as your other books, I know it’ll be a hit. All good books have knitting in them.

  9. Woot! I got wind of this on the High Line a few weeks ago, and I’m filled with delicious anticipation. I’m tweeting you a connection to another friend who did her own book ~ Can’t wait!

  10. I admit, I’m a geeky librarian. When I saw the title of the post I immediately checked it in the international database we use for cataloging books. I’m betting I’ll do the cataloging on it too — so I’ll get my hands on it first!

  11. Super excited for you! I have been pining for a good read, and, judging from your blog posts, I’m pretty sure you can deliver.

  12. Pleasepleaseplease do a six (or even eight)-part series on self-publishing. Those of us with one manuscript almost ready and another in the home stretch (and 3 more under the [metaphorical] bed) would be riveted and eternally grateful.

  13. Wowee, I wondered what you’ve been up to! That’s brilliant! I’ll put it next to Tacitus and Margaret Atwood on my bedside table.

  14. My favorite bookstore, McNally Jackson, has a huge and wonderful publish-it-yourself machine. Times have changed but reading, and writing, are pretty much the same. Can’t wait to read Bowling Avenue ! Bravo !

  15. I have a new Kindle – I’m going to wait so this can be my very first eBook!!!
    (And I think I need to put up a “No Pointless Surfing” post it on my monitor…)

  16. Congratulations. I look forward to reading it!

  17. Ann, that’s awesome news! It will be my pleasure to buy it and read it. Could I be the first to ask if you’d phone in or attend my book club (comprised of staff who work at a great higher ed institution that you are familiar with!)!!!

  18. Really enjoyed that little stroll down memory lane vis-a-vis publishing in The Olden Days, as well as your adventures in the Digital Age. Can’t wait to read Bowling Avenue. Congrats on your shiny new ISBN!

  19. Better get the Facebook page for the book cranked up (if you haven’t already!)

  20. The IBM Selectric and multiple carbon papers, the interoffice envelope and its twine cord to be looped in figure 8 fashion, all bring back fond?? memories! (You didn’t mention Liquid Paper, but maybe you never made a typo.)
    Congratulations on your ISBN, Ann! My Nook and I stand at the ready!

  21. Woot! Bowling Avenue sounds like a wonderful place to visit. Can’t wait! And I second Barbara’s request for the 6-part series on self-publishing, if you are so inclined.

  22. Wow. I’ll read it. I caught myself squinting at your monitor, trying to read the first page. Will it be Kindle-able?

  23. I have wondered about your n/movel from time to time, and am very happy to hear that it will now be free to move about the cabin.
    And thanks for the memories about office life in the latter half of the twentieth century. Do you think Woody Allen will ever make a movie about a character who yearns to work in an office in that time period? “Midday in Buffalo” maybe?

  24. Ann,
    My kindle awaits “Bowling Avenue”.

  25. How exciting. Congratulations a million times over on finishing and really putting your (m)ovel out there!! πŸ™‚

  26. Wow – that is so cool, Ann! Congrats! I even know where Bowling Avenue is and have driven on it. See you next Tuesday for USN class night!

  27. I can’t wait! Please have a Kindle version so I can read it while exercising. If there is some knitting involved, all the better. I love reading knitting novels for some reason.
    Also, love your “no pointless surfing” sticky note. That should be on my computer screen, too.

  28. Congratulations! I’m really looking forward to reading your novel.

  29. Ditto on the Kindle edition. I am looking forward to it. I love reading your posts so how can the book not be great.

  30. Woot!

  31. Will the townspeople come after me with torches & pickaxes if I reveal that I have READ IT?
    It’s a real page-turner, is all I’ll say. I think the technical term is: juicy. People, I am already dogging her for a Bowling Avenue series. These characters can’t just up and quit.
    I cannot wait to go full-on promotional on this. I’m signing you up for my book club!
    YAAAAAY! My only sorrow in your story going public is that now I can’t be the doler-outer of the secret anymore. That was fun. I have to find another secret. Is anybody pregnant?
    xoxoxoxo Kay

  32. Power to the People, namely you, Person. What a great enterprise and I know you shall go forth bravely and in your estimably mavenish way. Can’t wait to see the Cover Art!

  33. Whee! Congratulations, I am thrilled to read this news. It might turn out to be my $700 book purchase. (if I finally cave and buy the IPad instead of going hard copy.) (which I won’t, because I’m trying to spend less!)

  34. Ultra-exciting! So looking forward to reading Bowling Avenue πŸ™‚ Congratulations!! Ann T.

  35. I hope there will also be a Nook version? Can’t wait to read it.

  36. Can’t wait to read it. Congratulations!

  37. I want to read it too!! Yeah!!!

  38. congratulations!!!

  39. Kay, jealous, Ann, wow!! Can’t wait. Will get my book club to read it too.

  40. Oh, boy!

  41. Fantastic! Can’t wait to read it.

  42. CONGRATULATIONS, ANN…! Be sure to alert us readers when we can get our little paws on a copy…I can’t wait to read it…!!!

  43. Yay Ann! I can’t wait!

  44. Goody for you and congratulations. Can’t wait to read Bowling Avenue.

  45. Whoo hoo! You did it!

  46. Well aren’t you the cat’s meow? I laughed at your description of the ventilated inter office envelopes. But I rejoiced at the anticipation of reading a juicy knitting novel. Bring it on!

  47. Sigh. Love the neighborhood. My west end of Hwy 100 loves your split end of West End. πŸ™‚ Drop a copy in the silver Honda Odyssey some Sunday morning at WEcofC! πŸ™‚

  48. Cheering! And, eagerly awaiting. How’s the cover coming?

  49. Congratulations! Looking forward to reading it when it you send it out into the world!

  50. You had me at Bowling Avenue.
    I can hardly wait! I can picture it so clearly. My brother once lived on Bowling Ave.; I’ve driven down that street so very many times…
    Good luck!!

  51. I am SO EXCITED FOR YOU!!!! I started mentally jumping up and down as soon as I understood the title of the post!!
    How bizarre that you can just up & publish it yourself… far out!
    I want to be the first to know, the very first!
    Seriously, still jumping up and down. Way to go.

  52. PS – Nice first sentence!

  53. Oh, Ann! I might cry.
    I am a little verklempt (sp?) at your achievement. And I am so happy to have Bowling Avenue to look forward to. I know it will be wonderful, and bring exactly what I look to a good novel for. And that is a noble thing.

  54. Oh, Ann! This is such great news. I’ve been wondering about your novel ever since you first mentioned it. Congratulations on getting it done and into print. I can’t wait to read it. This is an amazing accomplishment (another one!).

  55. Good on you, Ann! I’m such a slacker…

  56. Please put me down on the waiting list for the print edition – and for the coming five if this runs to a series of six!

  57. Congatulations! What an accomplishment! I can’t wait to get my paws on a copy… maybe a sneak peek on Tues? πŸ™‚

  58. and will missey honey cowl the town beautican
    be liveing in bowling alley perhaps you could
    find her one of those tool belt persons chapter 5

  59. OMG! I cannot wait to read it! Congratulations!

  60. I am THERE. Love your (and Kay’s!) writing so much I will buy this book *even there is no knitting in it*. Thanks for the heads up.

  61. I have been itching to read your novel ever sine you said you began. Woohoo! Kindle at the ready!!

  62. That’s so exciting!

  63. Wonderful! So exciting! And, congratulations. You have such a strong platform already to independently publish your work; this is a smart decision on many levels.
    By the way, I independently released my novel, River in the Sea, last August after doing the whole MFA – agent- submit to publishers gig. I could not be happier that I went solo. It’s a LOT of work, as you are surely learning, but very satisfying. If you’d like to chat more about self-publishing, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I have a lot to learn, still, but have picked up on some strategies along the wa. And I am always looking to team up with more serious indie writers.
    All the best! It’s a fun feeling to click on that “publish” button!
    P.S. I do knit, lol. That’s how I came to your blog (years ago) in the first place. πŸ™‚

  64. Speak of the iDevil, I get to be an e-cookbook & app recipe tester! iPad, here I come. I will be buying Bowling Avenue as my first ebook. But if your publisher (smiley face) sends you on a book tour, I’ll definitely take the hard copy, too.
    It took me only 48 hours to flip-flop on this. I should run for office.

  65. I will be on the look out. Hoping it comes out in Kindle format but I will buy paper if that is what it takes.

  66. An informative article on ISBNs and indie publishing

  67. Way to go!!

  68. Can’t wait to get my hands on Bowling Avenue! I’ve been wondering about it since you mentioned it back in the summer.
    And I too loved the description of the ventilated office envelopes. The University I work for still uses them, by the way.

  69. So. Psyched.
    I mean, there’s only so many times a girl can reread every Bertie and Jeeves book for bedtime reading (okay, sometimes I threw in rereads of Cold Comfort Farm and The Pursuit of Love).

  70. I must admit (get to brag) that I’ve read it, too. It’s wonderful! Poignant, insightful, funny, all the things I look for in a good read. Plus which, readers of MDK, there’s a Major Plot Point that refers to a certain music video featuring these two ladies.
    Y’all are gonna LOVE it!

  71. Why is there a ginormous note saying “No Pointless Surfing”? That’s my favorite thing! Maybe that’s why you’re publishing a book and I’m not…hmmmm.

  72. Kay said:
    “Will the townspeople come after me with torches & pickaxes if I reveal that I have READ IT?”
    I would be way more surprised if you HADN’T read it! In fact, I would find that lack of sharing with her fellow author/friend/co-blogette positively worrisome.
    Let’s hear it for supportive friends! : )

  73. I’m thrilled. Have been waiting to hear. b Let us all know when we can buy it.

  74. That takes me back! I was one such indentured servant myself, with the selectric and the white out tape and the character counts. Congratulations on the novel.

  75. How could I miss this? I thought I collected my blogs while on holiday, but this was waiting when I got home. So many congratulations. I already love your writing, can’t wait for the book!

  76. Don’t check in here for a couple weeks and see what I miss??? Hello! Good job. Cannot wait!

  77. Just saw this on an MSN page today: “[a] study backs up idle Internet time, saying that “a moderate amount of mindless Web surfing actually makes workers more productive.”
    Maybe you should amend your sticky note to say “SOME pointless surfing?”


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