Saturday, June 1, 2013

The End. Or is it the Beginning?

Today is my last blog post for this DIY project. My heart feels heavy as I type these words. It has been quite and adventure and I will miss this project dearly.

However, my last week with this project has been such a blast. TechFest on Thursday was so amazing! I got to watch teachers geek out over tech stuff and see the accomplishments of other students in the district. It was awesome to see how supportive the teachers were of each other and of us students. I am so glad that I was able to take part in that and contribute to it. It was extremely gratifying to go up and speak. I have rarely ever felt so accomplished. Also, the goodies they gave us only made the day better.

This project has brought me out of my comfort zone and I think I am more bold because of it. I feel more confident in myself that I can tackle anything I put my mind too. This boost could not have come at a better time with senior year and the daunting task of college applications approaching.

The last thing I have to do is do my final presentation for this project. I have to talk about what I have learned through the course of these past few months. I have just a wealth of information to say and I am afraid I will take up more than my allotted time. I have just learned so much about myself and I am grateful for the opportunities this project has presented.

So it is the end for this project now, but rest assured, it is not the end of my exploration of my limits.

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Twist in the Plot

Plot twist! About a month ago, I had applied to be a student speaker at our district TechFest. This week, I received an email saying that I have been chosen!

The TechFest is going to be Thursday, May 30th. I am scheduled to speak at 2:30 with other students from the district. I am going to talk about my DIY project, because it was quite technology based, and how it furthered my learning. I spent this past week preparing what I am going to say and created a power point to compliment my little spiel. I am not going to lie, I am a little nervous. We have only about 5 minutes allotted for us, but I am scared I am going to start rambling and going around in circles. The last thing I want to do is start repeating myself and going nowhere. But this is perfect because our final presentations in class are the week after and I will be all prepared already. I had signed up for that first Monday to talk about my book.
Little Sneak Peek of My Presentation

This next week leading up to the TechFest I am going to perfect what I am going to say. I want to know what I am going to say without feeling rehearsed. I want to be natural because nothing is more boring than listening to a robot that sounds like it's been programmed to say things. The key is bullet points so I don't feel tied down to structured sentences but still know which ideas to hit.

My book was shipped this last Tuesday and I am scared that it's not going to come in time for the TechFest. The earliest it can come is Tuesday which is cutting it really close. It's not a disaster if I don't have my book to talk with, but it would definitely be nice.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Smooth Sailing

Adding my book to the checkout cart
It's nice to be able to kick up my feet and just relax. I only had to do two things this week: shut down my survey on and order my book. Both of these things on my checklist have been completed!

It is still surreal to see my book online and getting an email in my inbox from that says "Pauline Nguyen, your book, Eat, Learn and Be Merry has been successfully published!" It's a great thing to be able to tell people that I have self-published my own book at only 16 years young.

Now all I have to do is wait till my book arrives. I ordered my book on Saturday, May 18th and it takes 6-8 business days to get here so I should be receiving it in 2 weeks. Let's cross our fingers that it comes how I imagined it would come out! If the formatting comes out awful I will know that is something that I will have to work on in future self-publishing endeavors.

But I am blissfully happy that everything is wrapping up and in my head I hear a humming, "Summer, Summer, Summer's coming!'

Friday, May 10, 2013


I've done it! I have finished! Last week I finished editing all of the stories and formatting my book, so I uploaded it onto and now it's officially ready to be printed and published!

It was very exciting to finally press save and submit, a truly momentous occasion. However, it took several tries to upload my document because for some reason, Lulu added a random blank page in the middle and so the whole numbering was off and the page numbers would appear in the middle of the page which was no bueno. I had redo the numbering several times to make sure the left side pages had page numbers on the bottom left side and so on.

Product Page
I also wrote a conclusive author's note at the end to kind of wrap the whole thing up. It was kind of reflection on my experience and it was quite sad to write it. I realize that I have finished early, but now all I have to do is order the book and wait for it to come in the mail. Let's just hope more formatting doesn't get screwed up when actually printing it.

Right now the book is on private access and only I can actually purchase it. It will cost $12.65 to order one hard cover, 6x9 book with full color printing, which isn't bad at all! The book turned out to be 30 pages exactly, so it's more of a quick coffee table read. I don't think I will make it available for public purchase however, the book is really just for me. Maybe in the future I will make it into an ebook.

I plan to order the book next week and it takes a week for the book to come so that will take me right up to the end of May which is perfect timing. I am so terribly excited to see it and am honestly so proud of myself and all that I have accomplished. Now I can just kick back and relax as my peers scramble to finish their projects. I have learned early on that procrastination will only get you so far, so I am glad I started early and and ended early. Especially with AP testing wrapping up, I can just cruise on towards summer. Cheers!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

I Can Taste It


Of my project, not the world. I received my last submission today! This signals the end of my collection period and now I am heading into the finalization period! I emailed all the people who sent me stories thanking the, for their contribution and informed the people whose stories will be going into my book.

Now I just have to finish polishing up all the stories and make sure all my formatting is perfect! I am also thinking about adding an author's note at the end to wrap up my whole book. I am not sure what I want to say yet but I am hoping it will just smack me in the head. Kind of like how the birth of of this book kind of just smacked me in the head.

Uploading files onto LuLu!
I absolutely want to finalize everything this week and upload everything to so that I can place my order for my copy ASAP. I want to allow as much time for this as possible in case there is any shipping errors or I get the copy and the formatting is just awful. That is why I pushed my submission deadline up a week early. I am crossing my fingers that the ordering and shipping process will go smoothly and the book will come out as I envisioned it. I just really hope the cover is positioned correctly and the words aren't cut off and my fonts aren't all jacked up! Another fear I have is the image not being clear on the cover. What if the image comes out all blurry and pixelated? These are my worries.

My project is finally wrapping up. It didn't go exactly as I planned. All my submissions were from California because my plan of contacting teachers across America didn't go as well as I had hoped. Although some were very responsive and willing to help me, apparently none of their students wanted to submit to me. I didn't get as many submissions as I had wanted to, but I got submissions and I can't complain about that. I am just glad that I didn't absolutely fail.

I want to sincerely thank everyone who helped me out with this feat. There's only one more leg of the race to go. The end is near. I can taste it.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Keep on Truckin'

Last minute this week was very productive for this project.

I wasn't planning on working on my DIY project this week, however, I was filling out an application for a scholarship and it asked me to write a personal essay. I sat down and cranked this essay out in about an hour. After re-reading it, I thought it would make a great story for my book! Killed two birds in one stone. Good job Pauline, good job.

My essay is quite personal and I am actually afraid to publish it. I know a lot of people won't read my book, but it makes me feel vulnerable having a very personal moment out there for all to see and my inner thoughts displayed. But I am glad I put it in there because it makes the book that much more special. I won't tell you what my own story is about yet, you'll have to read my book to find out!

I also found the absolute most perfect quote to end my book. You'll have to read it find out what that is as well. Oh I am such a tease!

Very frustrating editor. NOT COOL LULU.
I am also finalizing my cover for the book. It hasn't changed much since the first one I uploaded. However, it's been hard getting the proportions right so that it fits on my book and won't be so distorted. Actually, it's been really hard. I am doing right now and I am super frustrated. I need a professional photo designing person to help solve my problems! I just found out that a considerable amount of the image is cropped off during the printing process so now I have to essentially start all over. Great.

Yes. Finally done formatting the cover correctly. I think that took about an hour and a half. But my goals for this week are just to finish up this book. I need to get the last couple of stories in that my friends have promised me and I think I shall be good! It's been a long journey, but I am happy with how it is turning out.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent

This week wasn't so bad. Some of my friends came through and actually submitted a story to me, as for the others, I still have to hound.

It was more of the same this week, editing stories and emailing teachers. It's going to be a steady stroll to the finish line at this point. I'm glad I got most of the formatting done early and so I am not scrambling to figure out everything now. Now it's just an easy job of editing, copying, and pasting into my word document.
One my favorite quotes

I am also thinking about putting my favorite quotes sporadically between stories to offer a break between them. They will be inspirational and add to the feel good vibe. The problem is, I have so many quotes that I love that half of my book will be quotes! I am going to ask my friends to choose their top ones out of a list I give them and I will incorporate those into my book.

I have also been brainstorming my own special moment to write about for my book. I have several instances that really stick out but I still don't know which one I will write about.

I have already written an introduction to my book but I haven't re-read it since then. Next week I hope to go back and edit that because some of things that I had previously thought have probably changed in these last 2 months. I also hope to start writing my own story to put in and finalizing the quotes I will place in it.