Indiana University Press will be publishing little Indiana: Small Town Destinations in early 2016.

While I know it will be here before we know it, how about a book cover in the meantime?

little Indiana BOOK COVER Reveal

little Indiana Book Cover

little Indiana Book Cover

It’s a funny thing  to write a book. It’s a very solo occupation, as you might imagine. I sort of disappeared from the world while writing my book, making frequent journeys out to small towns to visit “just one more thing.” I like to be thorough.

Everyone has their own writing approach. I had early wake-ups to get the kids off to school (my boys are 5 and 9), then I would get to work on the book for the not quite four hours I had until the youngest would come home from preschool. If he took a nap (rare, but still), I had an hour or two of extra work time.

In the evening, though, well, the evenings were mine! When my husband wasn’t around, I wrote from 8 PM until somewhere from midnight to 2 AM. If my husband was around, I waited until he hit the hay at 10. Repeat, repeat, repeat for months.

Did I not yet mention that I am not a night owl? But when you really want something, you make it work. So I did.

Writing little Indiana THE BOOK

When I say that writing a book is hard, it isn’t hard in the way you are probably thinking. It wasn’t a chore to write about everything inside the book. It reminded me of the places and faces and fun times we had! Okay so there were times when it was difficult–but I’ve lived it, I’ve breathed it, and eaten my way through everywhere mentioned inside of it.

After a month or so of figuring out what I wanted in a travel book about Indiana towns and figuring out how to begin, I got to work. I’ve always heard fiction writers say that their characters wrote the book for them. Well, my nonfiction book didn’t have that kind of help! I’m kidding. Still, it took a month to hit my word goal though I had gaps yet to fill in.

No, the hard part was this: learning of business closures, knowing that I couldn’t put every town I’ve visited inside this book (that’s what future editions are for!), and feeling the need to make this the absolute best resource for small town travel (towns with populations of 15,000 and less). That’s a lot of self-imposed pressure!

I’ve alternated between feelings of giddiness, like when I just KNEW how excited small town business owners would be about being included! and perhaps a bit of despair, like when I learned of a business closing that I had been so thrilled about including. But I feel that this book is a way to capture these small towns RIGHT THEN and THERE.

little Indiana: Small Town Destinations is a way to provide travelers with a base to begin exploring. It lets you know that, hey, here’s some great places to plan a trip around or just find something to do or somewhere to eat in a small town while you are on your way to somewhere else, that you don’t have to settle for food made fast that barely resembles the real thing. Instead, you can have a memorable experience.

Would you believe that many of the books out there aren’t even written by people who have LIVED it, but by people who research just enough to “get by.” I know, I find that a bit shocking too–and ethically wrong! So, I wanted this to be different.  I knew that all of YOU knew that I actually visit these places I write about.

Indiana University Press Publishes little Indiana Book

Jessica Nunemaker Book Manuscript

Jessica Nunemaker Book Manuscript: Right Before Mailing the Book Proposal

I knew from the beginning that I wanted Indiana University Press (thanks Laura for your help!) to have this thing, if they would take it. I am a huge fan of their books (you have probably seen the book reviews from many of their titles on here. If not, please browse the header menu and look for “Extras” and then “Book Review.”) I thought that they were the only place that would not only “get it” but that would do a beautiful job. If they didn’t, I was going to look into self-publishing because I believed that this was something that needed to be made. Looking at the cover above, I know I made the right choice by going after IU Press!

They are the only publisher I have ever sent anything to. The book proposal itself took me a ridiculously long amount of time to put together. I swear it was harder to write than the book! I wanted to make sure that a publisher, who is located in a city, would be able to see the appeal of traveling in small towns. I wanted them to be intrigued by these places: the restaurants, shops, attractions, museums, and pioneer cemeteries. I wanted them to find themselves thinking about visiting one of the places in the book and to be surprised by what some of these towns have to offer!

I walked it down to my small town post office, probably grinning the entire time. Postal worker Marty teased me about my “long walk.” I live just a few blocks away. They weighed my package (I had had to print out the entire manuscript-I think it was something like 4 lbs.), I paid for it, and sent it off on December 7, 2014. Then I waited. I wasn’t sure if the response would come via email or snail mail. I resisted the impulse to compulsively check my email–fortunately our mail service delivers early in the morning!

The Next Step

Then I got word from IU Press. The publisher wanted to talk. WHOA! I thought it could go one of three ways: 1. They wanted it. 2. They liked it, but didn’t want it, and wanted to let me down gently, or 3. They didn’t like it. I tried not to dwell on option 2 or 3. My husband thought I was being ridiculous. Yes, they wanted it.

I had a lengthy author questionnaire to complete a month before my book was due (that was TOUGH). My entire manuscript and full-color images were due May 1. I finished April 28. I had had an almost non-stop stream of town visits (and a family vacation!) in there that took some time away from me and kept me from getting any writing done. I may have occasionally been a bit of a “dragon mom” during trips when hubs couldn’t go along–there was just so much to cover! Fortunately, we still had plenty of fun, even if it was a bit exhausting at times. It was worth it because the end result is something with which I am very satisfied. Elated. Joyful over, even!

My poor publisher, however, has had radio silence for weeks and then a sudden barrage of emails full of questions. It’s my first time through this experience and there’s a lot to do, learn, and write. Fortunately, she’s patient and efficient. THANK YOU, Sarah!

Our life is getting back to normal. After it was finished (for that round, anyway), I took a brief break from writing extra stuff. I basically baked, read for fun, and played spider solitaire for an entire week. Then I found myself feeling the itch to write again, composing articles in my head without meaning to (I’ve been known to wake up with entire articles in my head, ready to write down). Play time was over and I happily got back to work.

Buying the Book

So, you can expect to find little Indiana: Small Town Destinations at bookstores and through the IU Press website in early 2016–just in time for Indiana’s BIG birthday celebration. You know that I’ll be spreading the word when it comes out. You can sign up for email updates of by putting your email address in the sidebar box at the top right of the page. You’ll receive the latest Indiana travel news and Hoosier favorite recipes as soon as they are published! Follow along my social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to keep up with it all.

Until then, you can browse my site for small town inspiration to find weekend trips, family vacation ideas, and places to head off the beaten track a bit.

Small Towns: Destinations, not Drive-Thrus! I’m Jessica Nunemaker and THIS is little Indiana!

Just don’t forget to tell ’em that  little Indiana sent you!

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