Learning Experiences

Sitting here watching Bowker grind away and Amazon grind away…ugh! I’ve spent the WHOLE DAY watching little digital gears spin. Mind-numbing and exhausting.

Started out this morning to obtain ISBNs for the upcoming ePub versions of the Fire-Rider series, to be published on SmashWords. That seemed to take forever. Or nearly so: was stymied at Book 15, when Bowker’s damn system decided that I’m selecting UK even though I’ve repeatedly entered US as the country for selling stuff. Instructions from the company’s CSR worked. Once. After that: FAIL.

I finally gave up, after sending three screenshots to the woman to SHOW her that the page says I’m in the US and is uncontaminated by UK-itude.

Failing to complete that job, I turned to uploading the new high-res cover images to Amazon.

Yes. I’m having to re-upload 14 images; not 18 only because I haven’t yet posted all 18 bookoids.

And yes. The horror is, when Ken the eBook Builder went through the data to upload to Smashwords, he realized that all the cover images were 72 dpi. They  need to be 300 dpi. Or better yet, 350 dpi.

Holeee ess-aitch-ai!!!!!

So I had to get the artist to redo every damn one of EIGHTEEN covers.

This process dragged on and on. I figured out how to use the one high-res image he’d given me, which happened not to have cover lines, insert it in a PowerPoint slide, add cover lines, download to a PDF, and then convert that to a 300 dpi tiff. That actually was working, although it was astonishingly time-consuming. But I was plodding and plodding away at it, figuring  (based on experience) I wouldn’t see the revised images anytime soon. Possibly not in the present decade.

But after I’d done three or four of them, my artist friend showed up with a CD bearing the revised images.

So today, two tasks: Obtain as many ISBNs as I could stand to register (it’s an exceptionally tedious, time-wasting process); and re-upload all the Fire-Rider covers to Amazon.

Either of these consumes half the day. Together, they’ve consumed the whole day.


Two redeeming qualities:

  1. I knew this whole publishing venture was going to be one massive learning experience. And that, as it’s developed, was right in spades. Every step along the way has been instructional. And every hair-tearing snafu has been a learning experience not to be forgotten. I now know a fair amount about publishing e-books. In the future, the process should go a lot faster.
  2. If I can get all the FR covers reloaded today, that may free up some time tomorrow to do what I want to do. Truth to tell, I didn’t sign on to spend my time doing computer and clerical work. When I stood down from teaching, I thought I’d be able to use my time to write.

So far that has proven to be wrong with a vengeance. I don’t think I’ve written more than a couple of paragraphs over the past month. Fortunately, we have a month or so of inventory in house. But I’d hoped to have two months’ worth by now. So that’s been a long-term frustration, fulminating behind the daily tattoo of large and small immediate hair-tearing frustrations.

All the new ISBNs for ePub versions have been registered now. I still have EIGHT covers to re-upload.

That’s because I figured out (among other things) that I can upload a cover and MS to Amazon but I don’t have to publish it right that minute. In theory, I can upload all 18 of the bookoids, and then go back in to the page and click “publish” on the appointed day.

It’s 6:20 at night, I’ve been working since 6 a.m., I haven’t had lunch or dinner, and I want a bourbon & water in the worst way. So it remains to be seen whether the second goal of the day will be accomplished.

I’m hoping that once this gigantic thing is out of the way, the routine will settle into something resembling the day 1 write/ day two write/ day 3 write /day 4 publish routine that I’d envisioned. Recent experience suggests that things will never be that easy — whatever can go wrong will go wrong, as we know.

What have I learned? Self-publishing as a business that might earn enough to support you is publishing. It’s not writing.