ebook publishing

Truth By Way of a New Yorker Cartoon

Okay, so picture this:  a mid-life, housewifely woman leans a hand against the door jamb, the other hand on her hip.  She’s looking at a man, balding, her husband, sitting at his computer, fingers perched on the keys in front of him.  He glances up at her, says, “I feel that I have at least one more unpublished novel in me.”
Damn!  Reverse the sexes, and there we are.  Even the dog curling at the feet of the writer, asleep as usual. 
I don’t really understand this need to keep on writing.
Of course, I didn’t understand my compulsive, neurotic hours of attempting to format, publish, and sell my e-books either. In the past months, I became obsessed with my search for the true path to successful marketing of books that exist only in the digital ether. That path, I began to see, led to my friends who bought my books in an effort to save my sanity.
Then, one day last week, I rose from my daily ritual of visiting blogs, writers’ sites and groups, some of which it seemed only wanted my money, Facebook, and web sites of successful authors who published the old-fashioned way, scattering writerly comments here and there, and I found that my right leg had gone dead. The dog scrambled under the bed I as dragged my body to the bathroom, other parts of me having gone dead also.
“I am not having any fun!” I yelled at my husband who came to the door of my writing space a few moments later. He knows better than to try to soothe me at such moments.
“And?” he answered, not flinching or even raising an eyebrow.
“And I quit!”
So, today I’m beginning my fifth book.  A painful, anxious-making obsession is being replaced by kinder, gentler one, I suspect, and I will continue to sit for hours at my keyboard, the dog for safety’s sake moving away from me when I finally stand up.
I have at least one more unpublished novel in me.


So, now I have two digital novels being published on three sites, a beautiful website, and membership in three authors’ groups, all of which email me at least once a day.  I’ve sold fifty or sixty books. I’m on my way, to whatever that way will lead me.  I still don’t understand the Share button on Facebook and I have a bit of trouble buying The Solarium for my new Nook app (somehow my sister-in-law in upstate New York has slid into my account), but  all in all, I’m feeling pretty good. Very good, in fact. 
Then the friend to whom I’ve sent the paper copy of The Solarium sends it back, wrapped in plain brown paper.  Not that it needed to be sent that way, like a dirty book, but that’s the way Sally, a sensible non-digital person, sends everything.  She attaches a note:  “A great read, Jo.  I don’t remember the rhododendrons at the sorority house, but Frank had a car so maybe we didn’t need to sneak behind them at the ten o’clock curfew.” Then she added,  “I started to mark the insignificant typo errors, but got caught up in the story, so I went back and made a list of a few slips I noticed.”
The list was forty items long.  Since this is a manuscript I had massaged word for word, at least ten times, I suspected she was getting a little loopy.  I had downloaded a perfect piece of work. The number one rule of self-publishing is “Make sure you’re sending perfection. Review your offering before you punch the Okay key.”
I thought I had. But there they were.  Forty missing to’s, for’s, from’s, in’s, a’s and the’s , a couple of pronoun confusions, and the worst of all, the main character’s name had morphed from Madge to Margo at least once.
I spend today correcting the book, following Sally’s notes, then republishing it.  I’ve learned two things.  It is a wonderful gift to have a friend who tells you like it is, typos and all.  And it is both humbling and empowering to be able to undo one’s mistakes.
 If only that were possible in the rest of one’s life. 


And she’s not singing yet. Just humming a little.

A Facebook questionnaire asks my favorite quotation and I answer, “Patience is a virtue” to which the response is, “Cannot find the author.” Well, neither can I, and I can’t think of another wise saying that makes much sense to me, at the moment, at least.

Now I have another, and again I don’t know its source.

Last night a friend called and said that The Solarium she bought was pocked with 0’s wherever a quote mark or a apostrophe should be, making the page look a little like a coded message to a Second World War espionage caper. I didn’t goof this time. Kindle did, right after we agreed I had a perfect copy, picture and all, to sell. All I admit to is a moment or three of basking in the pride of producing a gorgeous thing. I was reminded of giving birth, only without the diapers. I sent messages to people. It’s here!

Perfect, except for embedded coded messages.

I write the obligatory email to Kindle beginning with, “Mi god! What have you done?”

And I drink a little Scotch and go to sleep. ”Pride goeth before the fall” is the last thought that passes across me.

This morning I awake to yellow light at the window. Sun. So what. I still have a damaged story I won’t want to let anyone I know buy. And worse yet, Kindle hasn’t responded to my plea. I’m pretty sure that Kindle is a machine, not a human, even if it calls itself Violet in its notes to me. Too busy with other pleas. Many pleas. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

I walk the dog in the sunny morning. He seems pleased that after days of avoidance I finally have recognized his heavy breathing at my feet and get the message. Out. He can almost say “out,” but I haven’t been listening lately. Lucky he also has a father figure who has filled in.

Picking up dog-do is not usually inspiring, but somewhere between the plastic bag and the “Good dog, Willie” I come to the realization that like my old-man dog, I need to take control. By the time I get home I decide I do not need a picture in my book. People who have already read it with or without a picture do not seem to care. What I need is a clean copy of my story. I erase the corrupted copy, republish a readable one, and, pouring a glass of Sauvignon blanc, murmur, “ It ain’t over. . . .”

Anyone know who said this? I could use it on my Facebook page, if I can find it again.

Scroll to Top