Pragmatic writers, however, accept that they must release their works out into the world at one point or another; and so stories are submitted, sent to editors, posted to workshops or (as is the case for my current project) prepped for publication.
It is a precarious and slippery slope that I'm climbing. I know that part of the stigma associated with self-published books is that they have a way of looking self-published: poorly edited, terribly laid out featuring cover art best described as amateurish. So I set out to remedy this. 3 years spent working for a book compositor definitely helps as I had worked on the layout and design of books by numerous bestselling authors. This experience is about a decade old, but still holds true.
Of course, this now gives me a million new things to tweak and tinker with. Font choices, font sizes, layout, line and word breaks, stacks, orphans, widows, headers and footers. I weight the merits of different paginations. I worry about readability: Is 12 point too big? 10.5 too small? Change the font, and it's time to reconsider the size.
I could easily spend six months playing with these aethstetic considerations, but will avoid doing so. In the meantime, I wrestle with the question of whether this is legitimate work time or a senseless waste of potentially more productive time. If the book looks great, it will be time well spent. Unless, of course, I go with the same design decisions I made a week ago.
We shall see . . .