My Road to Publication: Mason Jar Nation

by on Apr 21, 2016

Mason Jar Nation cover
Photo: Cool Springs Press


That author’s name you see on the book pictured above–JoAnn Moser?–that’s me. Yup, I wrote a book. An honest to goodness, available-at-Amazon-and-local-retailers-near-you, book. It all started back in December of 2014 when Mark Johanson from Cool Springs Press contacted me regarding an idea he had about a project that would include an engaging history of Mason jars and 50 clever ways to use them today. I’d met Mark a few years ago when I’d done some technical editing for one of Cool Springs’ titles, so when this opportunity came up, he thought of me and asked if I’d be willing to write it. And come up with the 50 projects. And, oh yeah, do all the photography for it too.

My first thought was “Seriously?” Followed closely by “Haven’t we seen just about everything you could do with a Mason jar by now?” But then I decided that if I didn’t accept the challenge, I’d regret it forever. So thus began the daunting task of writing and completing a publication-worthy book in ten months.

I started my Mason Jar journey by reading every fruit jar history and collecting book I could get my hands on. (Yes, there are such books.) I sought out fruit jar and bottle collectors. (And met some great people while doing so.) I scrounged every antique store in my neighborhood and beyond. I brainstormed ideas and recipes using Mason Jars that I hadn’t seen before…or projects using new and different materials in conjunction with Mason jars I hadn’t seen before. I created backdrops for photos, researched lighting techniques, and treated myself to some new photography equipment on the way too.

And then I put together everything I learned and created, obsessing over every detail along the way.

I eventually finished the manuscript–photos, text and all–in October and sent it off to Mark. Then I waited, got the copy edits back, resubmitted it, then waited some more. At that point, I had no idea what was going on with the book, only that a small army at Cool Springs was working on it. Finally, I received news from Mark that the first galleys were in and that he was “uber-pleased” with the outcome. Since I’d never heard Mark use the term “uber-pleased” before, I was uber-pleased. 

Then, a few weeks later, Alyssa, my book’s manager (yes, it had a manager) at Cool Springs sent me an email of a digital copy of the 144-page book. It looked great, but what would it look like in person?? Like, you know, with a cover and pages and everything?? A few more weeks passed before I’d know. Then, one day, finally, Sweetiepie called down the hall to my office and said, “Something special came for you in the mail!” I was like, “I don’t remember ordering anything from Amazon lately?” Duh!

Cool Springs’ return address gave it away. It had arrived! And…holy crap…it was a book…a real, honest to goodness, book! And the best thing was, it looked spectacular. That small army at Cool Springs did an amazing job. From fonts to layout to color palette, to embossed cover–everything is spot on. (And this is coming from someone who obsessed over the tiniest details when writing and photographing the thing. [Control freak much??] Honestly, Sweetiepie deserves a medal for putting up with me through the entire process.)

Table Top Mason Jar Water Fountain from Mason Jar Nation
Photo: Cool Springs Press

And speaking of layout…here’s the thumbnail. The book is organized into two parts. The front part includes that “engaging historical” bit I mentioned earlier, fruit jar collecting information, (yes, collectors refer to the containers as FRUIT JARS, which is something you learn very quickly when speaking to a collector), and a short technical information section. The second part consists of the meat of the book, the 50 projects, which is subdivided into 5 categories that are entitled “Crafts”, “In the Garden”, “In the Kitchen”, “Inspired Storage”, and “Lighting and Lanterns”. (The Table Top Mason Jar Water Fountain pictured above is found in the “In the Garden” section.)

What will the world think of Mason Jar Nation? I’ll soon find out as its release date is just around the corner: May 2nd, 2016. I’m not afraid to admit that I’m more than a little anxious to have it be unleashed to the masses, but that is the end game of such endeavors. I invite you to take a peek at it over on Amazon, where it’s available for pre-order now. Eventually, you’ll also be able to find it at select Barnes & Noble stores, Tractor Supply (in July), possibly Lowes (in September), and maybe, eventually, even Urban Outfitters too. Whether you decide to place an order or just take a peek, I hope you love Mason Jar Nation as much as I do. I’d be uber-pleased if you did. 🙂

For more information about Mason Jar Nation, you can visit Quarto Knows. You can also get a better feel for the book with the help of this video, put together by the Cool Springs publicity team:


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  1. Bruno Bornsztein

    Congrats JoAnn! The book looks great and it’s incredible to think how much work you must’ve put into it.

  2. DIY Maven

    Thank you, Bruno! I don’t like to think about how much work I put into it–it makes my head hurt. 😉

  3. Congratulations on your book! I shared it on Facebook after getting a press release from the publisher and it got a lot of likes and views! I’m going to share more – on Pinterest, etc. Looks like a great book!