maison d'édition
qui rechauffe le coeur

bonne lecture

Lorguesbuildings 005
A nice place to read or write... bonne lecture! Today we talk about publishing one's blog posts... in book form! Read on! 

bonne lecture (bohn-lek-toor) n.f.

    : happy reading!

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

Why on earth would anyone pay for a book that they have read for free, on-line?

Now this is a timely question! Indeed, these days publishers resist blog-to-book projects (they are relying, in part, on the blogger's readers to figure into the targeted audience—and they are betting that such readers, no matter how faithful, will not be interested in buying what they have already read). 

The Cyberwriter's Plight Continues...
Certain readers, too, seem to have a bone to pick with bloggers who have the audacity to try to repackage and to resell their work. I often check out the reader comments at Amazon, on blogs that have been made into books (or "blooks"). It is always disheartening to read such a call to arms as: "Don't waste your money! You can read all of these stories for free, on-line!" It sometimes seems as though they (the readers) were against us: the very writers whose stories they enjoy!

Why, I wonder, shouldn't a writer (or blogger if you prefer...) collect their stories and offer them via another, or non-cyber, medium: in paperback form? Are we "bloggers" some sort of second-class "writerzens" because we have first offered our work here for free? 


Here are two or three examples of why it isn't, after all, insane, to purchase a book of stories that have already appeared before the eyes of many:

1) It is a reader-writer tradition! The writers of yesteryear saw their works serialized in newspapers or journals... before the stories were collected in book form, to go on to sell as classics! Daudet's Lettres de Mon Moulin comes to mind. Though I would not begin to compare my writing to that of The Masters, I know in my heart there is a place for these classic "stories of French life" to linger, beyond cyberspace...

2) And what about comparing a story to a song?! How many songs are just that, les petites histoires! And yet we listen to the stories over and over. Songwriters would have put down their pencils eons ago, had listeners refused to "revisit" their soulful ballads. Most of us listen to a heartening song dozens of times! And then we end up buying the album.

3) Or take the example of  the television series. As I stroll down the aisle at our mega supermarket, I see that French women are clamoring to buy a multi-volume set of Desperate Housewives (this, after they bought the Beverly Hills, 90210 series, when it finally came to France, years ago and Californication, after that). It didn't seem to matter that the viewers had recently seen the episodes... they wanted a copy for their video library!

Though my book "Words in a French Life," a compilation of stories that have appeared on this blog—before being published by Simon & Schuster—received modest sales (to date, it has sold nearly 50,000 copies—not the blockbuster millions-of-copies—but nothing to shake a finger at, either), the publisher was willing to bet that a "Volume Two" would not do so well. 

Perhaps. But should this stop me from publishing more books in the series? That is the question. Minus the backing of a big publishing house with a big PR team, I'm going ahead with my dream. And I am betting that a larger audience awaits, in addition to this blog. It may take time to reach these readers, but when I do, I cannot wait to wish them "bonne lecture!" and to thank them for finding me. All this jumping up and down and frantically waving my hands may just get their attention, after all.

And, psst, psst! I'm over here! 


For those of you who are just now tuning in, today marks Day 8 of a self-imposed "Publish a Book in 21 Days" challenge. Do you think I will make it? With your help I know I will! Here, now, are the next two stories that I'll need your help editing.

LE BETON: My son's mohawk... and career choices...

CROTTE: A Frenchwoman's dirty trick


Comments Corner

I didn't mean to rant today, just wanted to share some behind-the-scenes issues that pop up in one's writing life: specifically, the frustration in encountering roadblocks to publishing one's stories. The good news is that the publishing world is changing, and there are more and more opportunities for everyone: both readers and writers. And these are exciting times! To leave a comment about this post or this writing project, click here.

August 2005 004

                           The end of another writing day... sometime in 2004

Meantime, my book director (Hi, Mom!) and I are scrambling for an author photo for the back cover. Stay with me now... for I know the proposed picture may be a tad informal (is it the toads on those pajamas pants? or the "toadally cool" quotes, below the bug-eye frogs?) This aside, I hope to sell you on this photo for three reasons: One, it is in theme with the book (in which a desert rat struggles to adapt to a foreign culture—no offence to fellow desert rats... who may or may not wear frog pj's), Two, the writer's eyes are always "looking to" and imagining the next story, and Three, this photo was taken during the period in which the stories in the book were written. My son snapped the image, after he and his sister had won the most recent match of "Tickle to Death a Marathon Writer". They always knew how to keep me grounded, literally, when my sky-high writing goals began to get carried away.

 Or do you prefer a more "brushed" image (at least my hair got brushed, in this one). The good thing about a recent photo (this is from June 2011) is that it makes for less embarrassment during book readings (readers actually recognize you!). I once did a meetup in which a reader arrived... only to ask me where I was.... my answer was to offer my hand (here I am!, nice to meet you)! The woman was a little taken aback; she seemed to be looking for someone else... maybe she was, after all... we writers are so oversensitive! During yet another meetup, I had a similar mistaken-identity moment, only in the positive sense: "oh, so you're the word-a-day blogger... I thought you were much older!" Your comments are welcome here, in the comments box.

And then there's the photo from I recently posted, here. Voilà.

Correct Your French Blunders

Correct Your French Blunders: How to Avoid 99% of the Common Mistakes Made by Learners of French. Speak and write French as if it were your native tongue! Order here.


A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

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Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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Timely post indeed! I've just signed a publishing contract for my blog to book project. I was fortunate enough to find a publisher in my hometown, where we have a long and rich heritage of storytelling. My book is a travel diary that tracks a year in a foreign country with brief vignettes and pictures. Yes, most of it in some form or another can be found on the blog but I agree with your well made points here and find your post quite encouraging. Thank you!


I like the June 2011 photo, more natural & a clearer picture of you & your world.
I am enjoying the planetwide interactivity of this project. Keep rocking!


The black and white. Beautiful, natural, great PJ bottoms.


Dear Kristin, You brave woman, you! Keep healing, writing, and know that there are so many of us out here in cyber-land who are in your cheering section. Sending much support & admiration!
Leisa x

Jackie Pace

Hi there
Like the second picture esp if you are going to call the book Blossoming in Provence as you look blossomimg!!!!!

Debra Saturday


I like both photos. You are a beautiful and real woman in it makes it hard to choose.

Can you have both? Maybe black & white one for the say next to the 'Tickle..' page/ show the 'you' during the writing?

Then the color on on the back page/cover for those who may want 'traditional' photos?

But really either one you choose will work well.

To address the 'why would I buy...' I had not heard of your blog before I bought your book. I bought your book at a used store (someone was clearing all their French-related books from their home library....which was great for me!!!:) I have found your blog now, true, but honestly I am not going to go backwards and read every post. And I do like to re-read my books.

I really enjoy the book. Fun, honest, and speaks to me.

You get this new project published! I will buy it and read it with pleasure. :)

You are living your dream. When we live our dreams there will always be people who do not go along with us. That's ok too. You have the dream and a great support team...

Write and there will people who read.:)

hugs and god job!


BAFA Studio

Ernest Hemingway watch out. I LOVE the black & white. I also love the ahem , 'loungewear'. What respectable writer/artist hasn't shown up with brilliant ideas who knows when in the morning!


I love the black and white photo - more casual, unposed. Your hair doesn't look "unbrushed" to me, it looks like you've run your hands through it a million times while writing or maybe while reading from that stack of books.

Kristin Espinasse

Bobbi, congratulations! Well look for your book. Ive enjoyed my visit to your blog. Meantime, have fun in the exciting publishing stage of it.

Thank you all for your thoughts about the photos! Its all very encouraging and helpful!

Debra, Ill see about including both, then. The black-and-white might be more fitting for the photo inserts section (only black-and-white photos in this book; I do not want the printing costs to lead to a pricey book!)

Pat Lenny

I would go with the "brushed" look. More professional, and more current. The black & white photo is beautiful and very personal. Best of luck.

Maria B.

Basically what your arguement is, is that writers really don't need publishers in this day and age.
So, why not use the technology we have to live your dream? Nothing holding you back except self doubt.
You have a unique message and style which has caught the immagination of may, with the potential of reaching many more!
I say, go for it! You're proof living a dream is worth inspiration and teacher. Thank you!
PS The black and white pic does it for me!

Jennifer Nitchie

Both photos are gorgeous portraits of you Kristin .However,I'd love to see the coloured more recent version of you on the back cover of your book when I buy it.
Love what you do.It's always such a joy to find your latest post in my inbox.Thanks.

Maria Cochrane

Je suis d'accord - choisis la photo noir et blanc- Bon courage! Be gives US the freedom as well.

Elizabeth Jones

They are both great but Jan 2011 is fitting with background. I do love the toad PJs, which leads me to think, I love your photos in general so why not include some in your book?! Include the toad PJs!

Suzanne Codi, Washington, DC

I love all the pix of you, I agree with your Mom, the Fedora one is awesome, but too far away for an author pic! My favorite one is the black and white one. I suggest cropping it to a head and torso shot, as no one cares about the clothes, at least I don't, and your comment about looking away thinking about the next story is right on target! Plus that just-tickled look is wonderful, yaaay Max and Jackie!!
You look gorgeous in all the photos, just like you do in person! Also I agree with Debra's comment about following your dream, and re-reading books rather than trying to go back and find stories on the computer.Books are tactile and you can read them on the beach...

gail bingenheimer

L'auteur parle de cette vedette entant que vraie femme plutôt que symbole de la femme. The author speaks of this star as a real woman rather than a symbol of womanhood.


I am more of a traditionalist. Go with the more recent color photo for the jacket. But I like the suggestion of including the older B&W photo inside.

Catherine D

The first one! I'm a portrait photographer...If you are ever in Washington DC, or next time I'm in Paris, I'll take your jacket photo gratis! Love your work. Merci pour tout.

Deborah Carter

Hi Kristin,
The photo in the PJs is good as it's relaxed and unposed. However, I prefer the more recent photo, as your eyes are looking to the camera and therefore you are engaging with the viewer of the image. It's also perhaps a bit "busy" with all the books in the background to detract the eye, for a cover photo,(unless you were to crop that part of the image).
I love the soft colours in the background of the recent photo, that seem so indicative of southern France, and so alluring to francophiles living elsewhere!

I think the background is a soft selling point to all those people out there, who dream of being able to live that french lifestyle!
I shall dream on too!

PS I so enjoy seeing your emails come through, and read them with pleasure. You're a very natural writer who is a pleasure to read, but your photography skills shouldn't be underrated either. Each blog seduces with gorgeous images! Thanks for sharing!
Deborah in (rainy) Melbourne, Australia

Lilian Coimbra

Bonjour kristin,je suis ta fidèle lectrice depuis quelque temps. Et je m'amuse beaucoup, en plus d'apprendre toujours des mots utiles, soit en français, ou en anglais. J'achèterais ton livre, surtout s'il y a aussi les photos. Je préfère la photo du pyjama, elle montre un côté intello décontracté.

susan standke

Two gorgeous pictures......I envision the color photo with the beautiful color of the surroundings and you looking happy and professional and accomplished on the outside....and the pensive writer all serious and talented for the inside!!!!!!!Two sides of a person in one book.....I am looking forward to your next work in print..Susan S

Alyssa Ross Eppich

While I love both pictures, the jammy pic strikes more of a chord with me. Love those froggies!


Definitely the black and white. It looks so natural and reflects the perfect image of your relaxed writing style

Lauren Averill

I love the pj's, but the other photo is way more professional. You are gorgeous in both, but I prefer the most recent!!!


Hi Kristin,

I like both pictures of you from the bottom of your email. You look beautiful in each. They both personify your personality. The one outdoors is suitable that you are "dressed" by your environs, the subject of many of your stories. The other shows you more at ease, at home, and that is the heart of what your stories embody to me. A down-to-earth author who is comfortable in her own skin, poignant and pensive. I guess it depends on which of the two you are trying to portray for your audience. Or, include both!

Lastly, a friend of mine published a series of emails / blogs to book and had success with it.

Don't let anyone stand in the way between you and your dream!!!!



Joy O'Neill

I like the colour photo. All the lovely associations you have with the b & w photo will not be at all evident to the casual viewer. GORGEOUS!

Steven Shields

I think readers do not realize (or appreciate) that blooks are usually edited and revised, and often include content not featured on the original post. Maybe more needs to be made of that as part of one's marketing.


The "toady" picture seems more like "a writer with spunk" than the "architecturally beautiful" standing near a field one. Just sayin' - they're both good, but I'd love to have a cuppa with the first writer and would stand afar and admire the second.

Diane Emerson

I prefer the second photo, because it places you in France, and your experience in France is what we want to read about. The first photo, though lovely and personal and informal, could have been taken anywhere.

Virginia Gardner

I agree that the second photo with landscape is better for the jacket, especially if you can brighten the face; the stacked books and the lampshade awry are distracting in the casual photo, however funny the shot. I hope you can include lots of photos in your book, they're a vital part of what makes your blog so marvelous.

Charles Orr in Flat Rock, NC

I think that your suggestion makes the most sense: use the June 2011 shot (a beautiful view of you in your external Provençal world) for the back cover, and use the more introspective and informal b&w shot inside the book. You look great in both, and that way you can capture a greater range of your personality. Too bad you can't use more pix, including the priceless fedora shot.

As to the message of this post, you make a compelling case for publishing blog contents. Many of us (and many others, I'm sure) will be happy to own a copy!

Sandy Ritter

Go for the self-published book, Kristin! And I love the black/white photo of you. I look forward to each French Word A Day posting! Blooks? I haven't succumbed to the e-books yet. Curling up with a good electronic device just doesn't cut it with me. And I love to putter around in an old book store with dusty treasures just waiting for me to discover them. Books will never go out of style for me!

Jules Greer

Kristi - once again you have surprised me with your writing in today's post. I was so impressed with today's message, and once again I am bursting with pride when I see you fire off all of your powerful thoughts regarding this project. Most of the time you reside in my mind as my precious little angel(when you were ten years old) sitting at the kitchen table sharing stories of your daily adventures.

I have so many beautiful memories of you...and now in 2011 you are taking the time to preserve more memories for me in a beautiful book that I may keep on my bedside table.

What more could I ever dream of regarding our relationship...I am truly blessed to have you in my life.

Perhaps if I have any energy left over later in the day I will recount to all of you out there a moment in my day which proves what a small world we live in. O.k. I'll do it now.

Yesterday around noon I found myself breathing in oxygen in strong short gasps and realized I had been on the computer for over six hours as I worked diligently to perform my tasks as DIRECTOR for Kristi's latest project. I quickly threw the computer off my lap and jumped out of bed in search of fresh air. I am lucky enough to live just five minutes from the entrance to the Marriott Hotel on the beach in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. As I climbed the entrance stairs into this wonderful resort I was immediately enveloped in the fresh beach air as it was channeled into the lobby by a very smart architect when he planned this hotel.

I kind of twirled around in the freshness of the moment and my eyes landed on two couples resting on the interior wall which led to the bar. Knowing me, you would know I never pass up a chance to share a smile, with this the conversation begins.

I tell them how I just ran out of my DIRECTOR'S/EDITORS closet in my condo at the Marina to catch some fresh air (looking for sympathy) they immediately asked me what kind of work I did here in Mexico. As I began to explain my daughter's project on writing a book in 21 days from her blog of the women threw her hands up in the air and exclaimed, "You mean Kristi's blog in France!"

As Mary looked at her companions she reminded them of many of Kristi's exploits in past stories that she had told them about in the past.

At that special moment we all just shook our heads and realized from that moment on we were no longer strangers.




...seems to be a toss-up between both pics, but I agree with the reasoning of the others - the later pic shows your world more, your daily environs. In your beloved Provence - take that one! Is that the definite title now: "Blossoming in Provence"?


I love your recent photo where you're in a felt hat, jeans and a jacket.


Debra's experience is similar to mine. I found your first book in a store of used books and then came to your website.

Thank you for your perspective of the publishing industry today. I have two nonfiction inspirational books that I have written but that I have not put online in any form. I also have my website postings which I have categorized into subject headings, but those are the tips of icebergs, so to speak. I have been careful not to put everything out on line, even before reading what you said about blogs-to-books. I pray that there are more reader/buyers like Sandy Ritter that still prefer to curl up with a paper book.

Sherri Goes

The PJ pic is too "twee", as the English say.
Stick with the other one. It's just better all around.

Dave Kapsiak


You are a writer-make no mistake about that. Keep on.

Jules Greer

Hi Debra and Mary,

Love your comments this morning.

I am still in love with the photo of Kristi standing in the archway in her new felt hat, quietly inviting us to follow her through the streets of Provence. This photo powerfully represents who Kristi truly is as she fights to find her footing once again after surgery for skin cancer. She has told us all she is moving on with her and this picture proves how beautiful and strong she truly is.




Sophie Day

Bonjour Kristin, I like the pajama photo with all of the books. It looks more writerly, and although I'm sure I've read most of your blogs, I will of course purchase the book version. I love rereading stories! Sophie

Jules Greer

moving on with her life

I should edit my posts, but I don't like to.

Jan Roese

Photo # 2 (no pjs) would be perfect for your new book. Bonne chance!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you all for this wonderful feedback on the photos!

Ian, thanks for making the connection between the relaxed writing style being reflected in the photo.

Very excited about all of your support. I hope my Dad is reading! I wonder which photo he will choose?

anne wirth

Hm m m m,
The black and white gives you a struggling artist look while the color photo gives more of living in country home look. Your face is more shadowed in the second. I think I would pick the first though, because it has more artistic quality and draws the eye immediately.


I like the black and white. It seems informal yet literary, with a touch of insouciant glamour. I read "crotte" and I have two comments. One, the accent is missing in the word "défaire". Two, I always thought that the expression "eyes glazed over" meant bored. I think what you meant is that they were cracking up, or trying hard not to, right? Not bored. Finally, I have bought blog books because I like books, and I like to go back and reread the potings, and also as a gesture of support for the blogger. Blog followers get very fond of their bloggers and think of them as friends, which is certainly the case with your blog.

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Maureen. (Im reading these comments out of order...) re your remark about the black-and-white photo of :

A down-to-earth author who is comfortable in her own skin, poignant and pensive. I guess it depends on which of the two you are trying to portray for your audience.

I would like the audience, as Ardi says, to feel welcome to sit down and have a cuppa with me..! Now to dream big: I talked to Mom on the phone earlier, and mentioned our book tour... Wouldnt that be a blast? Jules on Tour! 

Kristin Espinasse

Steven, you are so right about that! A lot of behind-the-scenes work goes into producing such a blook and, ideally, new stories will be added (the icing on the cake!). Though this is a 21-Day challenge, it is a full-time job. It would be more realistic, for those of you with a goal to turn your blog into a book, to add several weeks to this calculation--especially if you are working the author night shift :-) 

Kristin Espinasse

Sandy, to be clear, this will be a paperback book. When there is time, I will look into putting it on Kindle.


dear Kristin,
You are breathtakingly beautiful in both - but there is something so "cozy" about the black/white photo on your bed with stacks of books on your nightstand. Boy, do all writers collect books for inspiration or what?
Absolutely love your reasons for publishing a collection of your blog posts - you are right on!! FYI my sister was in the Peace Corps (PC) in French speaking Gabon, Africa a while ago and wrote her story. No one would publish her work (they yawned at PC stories)and she was a bit before the self-publishing boom...until VOILA - the Peace Corps started a publishing house and she was the first book to hit the press: "How to Cook a Crocodile: A Memoir with Recipes" by Bonnie Lee Black. You would like it I think - she is an English prof. at U of N.M.Taos. I hope you don't think i am plugging, i am just sharing with you to give you more support.

Audrey Wilson

I like the B&W photo for the book. It symbolises all you are, & are doing. Great choice !

Dennis De Naut


Thank you for getting my morning off to a good start three times a week. I really enjoy your site.

Both photos are nice but is there even a better one waiting to be captured? The color image is close but it might have worked better if you would have worn a darker colored blouse when you stood in front of the light colored wall. The blown out sky bothers me too. Finally I don't like the way your hands are cut out of the shot.

I know that there are a lot of photographers, myself included, that would love to take your portrait as a thank you for what you are doing.



R B DeWolfe

Is there any way you can use both photos?

Kristin Espinasse

Janet, and those who like the felt hat photo, maybe I can try to get another shot. Well see if theres time!

andrea t.

For what it's worth, I bought your book when it first came out BECAUSE I have enjoyed your newsletter so much! I very much look forward to more...

Nancy Wiese

Bonjour Kristin,
I love the recent photo. It evokes a sense of life, vitality, and this beautiful clear image of you. I also feel the energy of your place
and France, almost like standing beside you.
The b/w photo has a retro feel, of an old photo album, a cherished moment in time.
Your Mom loves the photo with the hat and fall leaves. Seems like a message to follow you. You are asking or rather, inviting us passage on a journey, to follow you.
Thank you for sharing your gift. Your spirit is generous and wise.

Sharon Marchisello

Misspelling: embarrassement.
If meant to be English, it should be spelled embarrassment.
If meant to be French, it should be spelled embarras and italicized.

Jennifer Ann Gordon

The person who criticized pulling blog posts into a book format probably considers herself a both a pragmatist" and good shopper. But what she's missing is the soul of a book. The feel. The weight. The delight of escaping cyberspace for a while. The quiet a good book affords. And there is one other thing...gathering our past writing—blog posts or otherwise—into a book is an opportunity to revisit the writing and improve it. A beautiful process.

Lola Vardigans

Hi Kristin,
Like you I am a blogger in the south of France, but in Ariege in Midi Pyrenees. I love your blog, not least because you capture the essence of a life so different from mine [no French husband, no vines and rather more rainfall!]. I have been particularly moved by the bravery of your recent postings. You write 'de la coeur' and it has been a privilege to be a distant part of your world. Your current project is an inspiration to all us writers! Bien fait! I think that the second photo says more about your life; the black and white one says more about your dreams. Bon chance. I know that you will do it! Amicalement, Lola V

R B DeWolfe

Use the color photo on the cover of the book and,there`s room for the text. Use the black and white photo on the back.

Astor Adams

First, thank you for sharing your journey. I would love to publish a book from my blog but I understand that it's not only a shot in the dark but a whole in one shot in the dark.

The more polished picture, IMHO, is the better picture to express what you are doing. You are still casual but you look more French then American, showing that you are assimilating but you are still "you". The PJ picture is too casual and hard to take you serious as an accomplished writer, let alone on that lives in France.

That being said, if I looked that good in my PJ's I might put that picture up.


Dear Kristin,

I love your black and white photo best. You look very calm and serene, perfect for this book that you are creating.

I've enjoyed your blog for several years now. You have inspired many people by following your heart and dreams.

Dad in Palm Desert

Oh gosh...I agree with your mom about the fedora picture in the breezeway, but it will be too small on the book. While I love the PJ shot, I must finally chose the color shot of you standing outdoors in your vineyard.

Jeanne in Oregon

I like all of the photos, but the recent one with the fedora is priceless!

Sara Myren

I like the B&W shot the best(with your p.j.s on?) but I agree with you in that for recognizable issues the brushed one I think is best.

Nigel Fletcher

DEFINATELY the B/W photo, much more informal and in touch with the readers, the colour one is good but too posed and formal, and besides its about YOU not the field behing etc. The B/W says much more...a mom who writes and doesnt take herself too seriously and shows you have the confidence to allow an informal photo to be seen by loads more that 50,000 people. Best of luck with the publishers!

Black and White, its also very COOL

Debby Montague

Yes, please do follow your dream and go for Vol. 2. Some things I only want to read online, or see just once on TV or at the movies, or hear just once on a radio, but for special things, things for the "bonne lecture," I want a book in my hand.

I wish you bon chance, Kristin.

Rosalinda B. Roll

I vote for the second, "brushed" image photo.

Rosalinda B. Roll

I see nothing wrong with taking blog entries and putting them together into a book. There's something about holding a book in one's hand, leafing through the pages, reading certain parts, holding the book close to one's heart. Technology aside, what's more comforting than that? Ignore the disgruntled blog readers. How miserly can one get? Really.

Anne Winner Anderson

(1) No strong opinion on photo; don't your mother and husband have the sagest input?
(2) There is no substitute for the real paper-and-pages book: not Kindle, not clicking on a site. Previously-blogged stories are perfect for the paper book -- allows your reader to sit out in the sun, holding, feeling the stories, flipping back and forth to the best, most appealing vignettes for that day, that moment.

Rina Rao.

Hi Kristin---I don't know if you already are aware of this--with all the discussions going on and no one having mentioned it, maybe not.
Paulo Coelho, one of our most writers has published his writings/Books online---free!!!
He says that he loves his readers/fans/friends and is sure that they, if they like what they have read--WILL buy the actual Book. You don't need any bigger endorsement than this. If a person of his stature and with the kind of following he has can do it---so can we. His latest Book coming out/has come out is 'Aleph' and by the way he also has a home in France.
Just be confident and go ahead.
I(like so many others,who have already written to you)will definately buy your book.
The photographs are beautiful.
The best suggestion(you have already got one of the same)is--colour on the front cover and black and white on the back cover.
All the best.
Take care.
Love, Rina.

wendy jaeger

I like the pj photo. It just resonates...And paper books are not the same as online reading :)

Maureen Walsh

How timely your post is for me. I am working on editing my blog that I wrote recently while living in Grenoble, France. When I have had enough of sitting at the computer, I ask myself if I am wasting my time. Your post is encouragement for me to "keep on keeping on" and see what happens. Thank you so much!
A friend of mine sent me your "Words in a French Life" book after I had been a subscriber to your blog for a while. I love just opening it randomly and reading an entry. For me, I enjoy it so much that I don't care if I've read it before. Bonne Chance!

Kristin Espinasse

This is so inspiring, Hedda. Thank you for sharing your sisters example! Im at Amazon, now, enjoying the write up -- Im impressed by all the customer comments. Excellent!

Lee Isbell

Fedora photo... can it be cropped without being reshot to provide a closeup?


Both are lovely portraits of you--you are very photogenic. However, the color photo has a distracting wall behind you which aligns w your eyes and follows the contour of your shoulders...see what I mean? I think it makes the photograph awkward and would be even more evident on a book cover. If you have an opportunity to reshoot in a similar local setting, that might be your best choice. Otherwise, the black/white is charming.

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks for catching that, Sharon. On my way to fix the embarrassement ;-)  

All edits are helpful and appreciated!

Lindsay Tognetti

Love the black and white--it's simply stunning (resemblance of Grace Kelly?)and relaxed at the same time. The additional tidbit that your son took the photo--priceless.

Kristin Espinasse

THanks, Nigel, and Mom is going to be so psyched when she sees your blog (Im psyched at seeing the header, with that wonderful motobecane!!!:

Oh, gosh, as Dad says (I must get that from him), I have got to get back to work now!! No more distractions (except dinner-making, for the family--time to do that now...)


Of the three photos, I prefer the one of you wearing the fedora. The black and white one, while an excellent photo, does not chime with you living in Provence. It could be anywhere.

On the topic of publishing blooks: while continuing with your blog, you should now start to move on with your writing and consider writing a novel. You must now have a stack of material about the interesting characters that you have met. Weave them into a book. Or, perhaps, you could write a book about the travails of self-publishing.

Judy Wilson

I love the pj photo with the books in the background. Very real and unstaged with a feel for your love of books. I also encourage you on the publishing venture. E-books are convenient but I dread a world where people have lost the love of holding a real printed-on-paper book in their hands. I have a Kindle--it's handy for travelling, but it will never replace the printed books in my library. And, yes, I will definitely buy your book!

Robin G

I prefer the June 2011 photo for a book jacket. The setting captures your environment and you are stunning! The "fedora" and bulky clothes cover you up too much. The B&W is a great photo, but not for a book jacket.

Kristin Espinasse

RB, thats an awfully big compliment (if Ive read correctly)! But I think Francophiles will appreciate France on the cover :-)

Angela Eady

Thank you for turning your blog posts into a book. Now I have a way to share your charming work with friends and family. A good book makes a welcome gift. I am quite happy to pay for content I have already read--several times over, in fact.

Lisa A., CA

I love the June 2011 photo the best for a book cover too. The other two are very nice photos, but maybe for inside the book (you could show them with some family photos too). This way readers can see where you are and enjoy France with you. Just a thought...

Good luck!

Sharon Sakson

Good for you going blog to book -- it's a great idea. The publishing world is totally changing. I don't think either photo makes a good back cover as they are, but both of them are good if you are going to crop it to only the author's head. The author is the only one I want to see, not the walls or pajamas or fields. I want to see who is writing to me.


I love both of the photos Kristin! But the black & white is outstanding. Please use it. It looks like you are working, and looking toward the future --- you look cute & comfortable.

The color photo looks great -- it is more a "now" statement.

Whatever, I will buy and read any of your books. You should sell your stories-----why not?

Good luck & be well!

Kristin Espinasse

Oh no, I just realized, after reading Rinas comment (on using color on the front cover) that Ive misread R Bs comment ... so one author photo it is! .... padding out of my office now... on my way to eat that dinner thats been getting cold on the stove.


Both are just wonderful! Your photogenicity is absolutely enviable, darn you! However, I do love the jammies shot best. :-)

Cheryl Jamison

You go, girl!

Olga Brown

I would definitely go with the June 2011 photo for the back cover: it has a nice country backgrond: that's everything is about; I like your white shirt (this is my favorite color) and also if you need to put some text, you can do it on the left side too. Don't worry that somebody won't recognize you. We, women, look different every day any way. And that man was right: you really look much younger than your age, which is a beautiful thing.
Can you include some more pictures in the book? That, in the hat, is very impressive!
As for the front cover, I would make your name on the bottom more standing out by changing the color of the letters to a lighter one.
Don't forget about the font face ans size of the book text: it should not be too fancy, but easy readable.


RoseL, Florida

Both pictures are nice, but I love the black and white one. It would be a great authors photo for the back of your book.

Rob cyr

I prefer the June 2011 photo, brushed hair, elegance, subtle smile and all.

Jules Greer

Once again, I would like to vote for the blossoming cherry tree in front of the church in Provence (this is my attempt to get Kristi to post that photo.) It is blossoming and that goes with the title BLOSSOMING IN PROVENCE.

I think the photo should be inset in a frame which is placed on an easel. This would tie into painting scenes and characters in France.

The background would be a solid color - perhaps a burgundy tone. Above this image is the title in big print BLOSSOMING IN PROVENCE, and below this image is your name in big print KRISTIN ESPINASSE. The entire back cover is covered with the photo of you standing in front of the arch in your fedora.

I am a person who completely loves the art of a book cover, whether it be a painting or a photograph. I spend many moments each day subconsciously inhaling all of the book covers and back covers that surround me throughout as I wander around my home each day.

I am the proud owner of a book Kristi has written and never published "Wish, Prune, Pray". Each day the title calls to my heart and the cover photo makes my heart sigh to be in that exact spot in her vineyard.

I am sure Kristi will fire me as DIRECTOR now I have pushed her around with my comments.



Priscilla Fleming Vayda

Another voice here for the black and white photo. It shows a sensitive writer in a pensive mood with lots of books in the background. I see good, positive information in that picture.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you Angela, and all who have sent in similar confirmations that you are happy to buy a book of stories you have already read. So encouraging to all those who publish online and who wish to edit their stories into top book form!

Claudette Kunsay

Bonjour Kristin ! Ma préférée est celle en blanc et noir. You really look pensive like the writer you are, with all the books around you. One feels in a writer's room.... Love the frogs on your pyjama.

Poppi Tims

Love both photos, the PJ bottoms definitely get the thumbs up - very cool!!!

Go with your dream, follow your heart and you can never look back and say - What if?

A book is something you can pick up, feel and engage with, flick open on any page and savour - on a couch, in the sun, on the métro!

Your books make great presents too, I love sending them to my friends in N.Z. They feel like they are getting a slice of France.

You really deserve this... Go Get It!!

Poppi x


Love your "dailies" and your writing, Kristin.("Words in a French Life" was a great read and is in my bookshelf.)Keep up the wonderful work! P. S. I favor the June 2011 photo.

edith schmidt


I liked the color shot with a bit of your landscape in the background.

Edie from Savannah

Jane Woodside

So, if bonne lecture is happy reading, what is happy writing? Bonne ecriture? Or is that just good handwriting? Or aren't writers supposed to be happy? You do look the happy (and accessible, open and friendly) writer in the blanc et noir. Second item--file this one for a time when you need a starting point if you like it... Du bout des lèvres. I'd love to see what you'd do with that one.

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