In today's book publishing environment, all roads almost inevitably lead to a major decision: Do you try to go traditional publishing or do you strike it out on your own through self publishing?

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There's nothing quite like escaping to your favorite book. In just a matter of pages you're transported to a new world, sympathizing with some characters, despising others. Yet sometimes, even when you have the best intentions, a book will sit on your table untouched because it's long, difficult, or otherwise intimidating.

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Independent authors suffer the indignity of working jobs that just don't nurture the artist within. Take heart – before they were famous, most every writer suffered the same sad fate of the "real job." Actually, as this infographic from Unplag.com indicates, some of these jobs bordered on the unreal.

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The Ploughshares at Emerson College blog recently posted an amusing series of graphs titled "Depressing Graphs For Writers." Did I say amusing? Well, it depends on your sense of humor and which phase of the literary arc you're currently in, but it might help lighten your mood after a rough week of writer's block or frustration that your latest has yet to land on the best seller list.

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While your parents had something to say about what appears on your driver's license, you have a chance to craft the name that appears on your book cover. Take a look at this infographic from printerinks.com: how many of these pen names are new to you? Who got left off the list? Are you motivated to come up with one of your own? You can always use your first pet's name and the street you grew up on. No, wait, that's a different name generator...

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What are your favorite books that take place during the holidays?

Here's an infographic from NinjaEssays showing the "best" Christmas books of all time (according to Goodreads and Stylist).

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And what writing tools do you use?

Curious how J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and many others get the writing done? Picture your favorite author writing a new book. Where is she sitting? What is she using to write? A computer, a typewriter, pen and pad, taking notes on an iPhone? The famous authors in the infographic below (from NinjaEssays.com) are all pretty lo-tech when it comes to the composition process — which, of course, isn't a stunner when you're talking about Agatha Christie or Mark Twain. But a few of the other examples did surprise me.

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