Monday, November 21, 2011
If keeping one’s brain active with new challenges fends off senility, I won’t go dotty until I’m one-hundred-ten years old.
About a month ago, something, probably the falling economy and my own retirement fund, got me worried, not about senility but about eating in my old-old age. When a friend, tired of rejections and silences that were to be interpreted as rejections, started hiring people to edit, format, publish, and publicize her novel as an e book, I perked up. I could do that.
I meant I, alone, without the spendy staff, I could do that. I had scores of articles telling me how, telling me that I would be making thousands once Graffiti Grandma got out into the electronic world, telling me to be brave. So I began.
Editing. A week of discovering miss-numbered chapter pages, characters with pseudonyms, plot points leading to nowhere. Grandma got all cleaned up and ready to go. Felt kind of good.
Then formatting. Different companies have different formatting rules. I went with Kindle and plunged in. Single space, justified margins, one of only three acceptable fonts, two spaces after titles, subtitles, no pages numbers, and even in fiction, a table of content to help the e-reader. Cover, watch your pixels; preview, don’t mind if it doesn’t look like you imagined. But if it is incorrect, do it all over again. And, oh, don’t forget about a copyright and your ISBN #.
In these weeks of compulsive-obsessive disorder, I sat in front of my iMac for hours each day. My eyes burned and the screen was fuzzy no matter which part of my glasses I tried look through. I took up spinal twisting and stretching to relieve my dead derriere and swearing really bad words to relieve my blinding frustration. My husband learned to retreat to a nearby coffee shop. The dog quivered under my chair and licked the rug.
Adrenalin still spurting, the day I finished with Grandma, I decided to try Lulu to self-publish my other novel, The Solarium. Same scene, different rules, even worse swear words. Dog-soaked rug under my feet. Husband in and out so quietly that one day I ran into his den thinking he might be dead the way he hadn’t answered me when I yelled at him to do something about dinner. “Out to a movie,” his note on the microwave read. “I’ll get pizza. Again.”
Well, it’s about time to start marketing. I have a book about it, but I may have to rest a bit before I stir up any more brain cells. It advises me to tweet, and right now I’m not sure I’m up to it, whatever tweeting is.