Thursday, December 29, 2011

Following Directions, Mine and Kindle's

The new year inspires the setting of goals for me.  Besides eating healthy, exercising every day, and weaning myself off Perry Mason, this year I’ve added a new category:  obsessing, the stoppage of.   It wasn’t until I tried publishing an ebook or two on my own that I realized the presence of this flaw in my otherwise stable persona.

My fingers need no signals from any part of my body to type “kdp” to get my Amazon account. They get active the moment I get up in the morning and continue twitching throughout the day as I walk by my bedroom door, hear the siren call of my iMac. I have published  The Solarium many times, then unpublished the various versions, then cried Help Me at Kindle (Is my helper’s name really Rahul?  And wouldn’t it be easier if he would call me once in a while instead of passing on instructions from the Kindle guide which I can’t decipher past HMTL and zip before breaking out in a cold sweat? I could have told him that the directions he sent were for PCs not an iMac.  Not that I might have interpreted them any better, but at least they wouldn’t advise me to right click on something, an instruction that does not speak Apple language.)

I’m ranting like an old woman. It’s my right. And while I’m at it, Christmas didn’t help matters. Talk about obsessive behavior. Cooking strata three days before we would even be interested in thinking about it; rushing out for the last-minute gifts that ended up being crushed in the wrapping paper they came in and sent out to the recycle bin; pushing the Boma mop over floors that have never seen the light of day under their layers of dust and wouldn’t again for at least a year; polishing the silver and setting a table so early I should have run the Boma mop over the plates before we ate.  I ran out to find a pc string of lights that lit up after a day in the sun despite the fact that we might not have any sun and if we did, the lights were so small we couldn’t see them anyway from the ground level.  In a final frenzy, just before people were to arrive I threw an expensive crab dip everyone used to love on Christmas Eve into the oven only to discover that everyone was on a diet.

And in between all this stirring, sweeping, running down the street, feeding the dog his anxiety pills and being tempted to try them myself, in between all this, Kindle lets me know that I won’t have a picture on the version (#9) that I’m publishing because I still don’t get zipping and never will.  Rahul began, I think, to realize he was working with a electronically-disadvantaged  old person and he sent two pages of instructions, all for the PC again.  The same day, Lulu let me know that Nook didn’t like the way I’d set up the chapters in Graffiti Grandma. I emailed and explained I’d done everything they’d told me to do, as far as I could understand their instructions, so now what? They haven’t answered in four days. I think they need a Rahul, only one that understands iMacs.

Then in the evening the family came in, hugging, smiling, noticing the faint Christmas lights on the terrace, the drinks on the counter, the cheese ready for melting in the wine-filled pots. We settled into our usual program:  drinks, the Christmas readings and songs in front of the electric furnace, Nana at 96 reading with the youngest grand daughter The Night Before Christmas, all of us humming and singing “White Christmas” just as we did when Gramps’ tenor voice led the way. I stirred the fondue, listening, watching, glad.

When my fingers finally got back to the waiting iMac, I had a message from a friend.  She loved my book.  She wishes it and me well.  She’s telling everyone she knows about it.  And Amazon informs me my earnings to date are $l8.94.  And that’s with the first glitchy version.  Wait until the perfect one comes out!  Once I figure out what a zip is. Damn. I’m getting obsessed again. Happy 2012!

Jo Barney Writes
Website: www.jobarneywrites.com
Blog: breakoutnovelarace.blogspot.com

Monday, December 5, 2011

OLD DOGS, NEW TRICKS

Well, I apparently have taken the first step on my path to fame and fortune.  My efforts to format The Solarium have resulted, after weeks of swear words salted with hot tears, in my book being offered by Amazon.  Two friends have downloaded it, unfortunately at the point when it was published indentless. I’m hoping that reading whole chapters as one paragraph doesn’t make them as annoyed as I get when I try to read Kafka.  But for $2.99, maybe they’ll be willing to struggle a little.

I managed to get a Kindle helper to put the indentations in for me after I had tried to do it myself five times over three days.  I think my pathetic email got to him. Seeing them magically appear lifted the heavy cloak of obsession that I had worn for week.  The sunlight almost blinded me.

The job isn’t finished, of course.  I now need to let more than a couple of friends know that the book is out.  The social network awaits my hesitant entrance.  Since I write in this blog about once a month, not five times a week like some writers who know where they are headed, even the concept of tweeting, facebooking, and searching other folks’ blogs for an opportunity to insert my URL sends me into a communication coma.  All I want to do is begin my next novel.

No, I’m lying.  All I want to l do is get someone else to take care of all this stuff so that I can take long walks again without falling over curbs worrying about whether I should have priced my book at $0.99 and  what is a URL anyway?

But I do have to admit that seeing my story in print in a computerized pseudo-book was a powerful ego booster.  The miserable hours spent getting those indented words onto their fake pages morphed into what I began to call a positive learning experience.  I resisted the urge to continue editing the book, an urge felt by even the most successful of writers when they first see what they have produced.  Instead, full of hope, I moved on to Graffiti Grandma.

I’m quite sure this hopefulness is a sign of senility.

This time I am working with LuLu which is somehow connected with Nook and iBooks.  The formatting  and language are completely different.  The fine print has given me a permanent squint. I forget to eat. A familiar obsession burgeons, the swear words billow, the need to Christmas shop fades.

The Solarium resides at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006NTSM70

Jo Barney Writes
Website: www.jobarneywrites.com
Blog: breakoutnovelarace.blogspot.com