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In the seventh grade, all girls had to take home economics (while the boys got to take shop). Albeit, it was a public school in 1973. In my home EC class, we learned to cook and sew. Sewing was never my talent. But with my book, Smythe Sewn became a big deal.

When it came time to find a publisher, COVID had us in full lock down mode. Wanting to retain full intellectual property of everything associated with the book, my husband Robin and I had already decided we would self publish Surviving in a Dog Eat Dog World. [Having done some preliminary work, I had the name of Universal Bookbindery, a book binder who then referred me to a sales rep, Brad Dietrich, at Clear Visions, a RR Donnelley Company which happened to be located in San Antonio.] After speaking to Brad on the phone, Brad invited both Robin and I to meet at their offices. 

I was excited to see exactly how a real book is published. I envisioned big, loud printing presses like those shown in old black and white movies.

Coming from the media business, I was at home with cameras and lights, but printing–that was undoubtedly exciting!  I am not sure what I expected, but due to COVID,  Robin and I got as far as the conference room. 

Brad couldn’t have been nicer; however, he bombarded us with rapid fire questions: 50# vs. 60# paper? Paper color? Perfect bound vs. Smythe sewn?, Number of books? Timeline? Printed Size? Blame it on having to wear a mask, but my head was spinning. 

I wanted a hardback book, not a floppy paperback book. Finally, Brad hunted down examples of printed books and we were given a quick tutorial in Smythe Sewn, saddle stitch and perfect bind.

We settled on a 5.5”X 8” laminate cover, wrapped over board, Smythe Sewn book and the promise that I would have a dummy mock up within 3 days after I provided Brad with a print ready PDF. 

It would take more than two months for me to finally get back to Brad with a print ready PDF.