I’ve been intentionally delaying this post, hoping that I would be able to put up the big “R2R is published” headline. Unfortunately, that’s not going to be the case. Here I am on Tuesday of the week right after I posted about how I was going to make it a point to be more timely with my “weekend” blog postings. And yes, I’m late again. (Maybe I need to stop setting deadlines that I don’t know I can keep?) Does it help if I do a cover reveal? Those of you who follow me on FaceBook have probably already seen it, but for the rest of you… ta-dah!!!
First of all, I was nervous about publishing R2R to begin with, since I’ve never done the actual publishing on Kindle before. For HPM, I hired a publishing company, and that was part of what they did for me. People kept telling me that it was simple enough to do, especially compared to uploading the manuscript for the paperback version in CreateSpace (which I did do on my own, because I couldn’t afford to pay the publishing company for both electronic and print publishing), but I had my doubts. I’d had no real problems with the CreateSpace formatting, so I didn’t see how KDP could be any simpler. CS formatting was tedious and time-consuming, but far from difficult.
But I tried to tackle the KDP publishing this time on my own. Not the formatting, mind you. I’m not crazy enough to dive into that. No, Glendon Haddix at Streetlight Graphics handled that for me. He formatted the manuscript, and handed it over to me with instructions on how to upload it to Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords. He also told me that the actual publishing process was simple. So I figured it would be easier to learn with a novella than a full-blown novel. Besides, if I didn’t go ahead and tackle it now, I would never learn. So I tried to publish R2R last Sunday. In a way, everyone who told me how simple the process was on KDP was right. It was a very straightforward process of filling in a few fields, uploading the cover, and the manuscript, then pressing “go”. I began to get excited. I had the crazy idea that I would be able to publish, make the announcement, and all would be right with the world. I should have known better.
First of all, Amazon KDP was acting squirrelly and wouldn’t save my work. Each time I tried to save a draft on the site I got some unhelpful message that indicated that there was a problem, and asking me to try back later. There was no real indication as to what that problem might be, just a suggestion that I try again later. It might as well have been a Microsoft Windows error message.
Monday was a little better in that KDP allowed me to upload the cover and manuscript. It even allowed me to choose my BISAC settings and my keywords for metadata search parameters. Then it asked me for the description. That was when I was once again reminded how new I am to the writing game. I had forgotten to write a blurb for R2R! In the immortal words of Berke Breathed’s Bill the Cat, “Ack!”
Yep. My Rookie Mistake of the Week. And it had to be this! (sigh) You see, I HATE writing book blurbs. HATE IT! I find the idea of attempting to condense the goings on of a story into a few lines to be incredibly intimidating. Don’t ask me why, but it is.
Nevertheless, I wrote what I thought would be a clever little paragraph that I thought linked HPM to R2R, and let the reader know that this was a companion piece for HPM. I shot it off to Red Adept Publishing for approval (because I have learned one thing at least, and that is to NEVER publish anything without running it past a good editor), whereupon my editor politely pointed out my obvious mistake. I had spent so much time trying to show the link to HPM, that I’d pretty much neglected telling what R2R was actually about! Basically, if you hadn’t read HPM yet, there was nothing to interest you in the blurb – nothing to make you want to read the novella.
So I wrote another blurb, and late last night I sent it off to the editor again. Hopefully this one will work better and I’ll be able to publish later today (assuming there aren’t any more “gotchas” in the publishing process.)
Other writing news – I finally figured out why Streets of Payne has been giving me so much trouble. It turns out that there was a subtle plot flaw that was evidently gnawing at my hindbrain. It was a matter of a character having conflicting motivations that I hadn’t noticed. When I correct those motives for the character, it turns out that he’s not the character I thought he was at all. I thought this guy was the main antagonist, but it turns out he’s actually a good guy! So I asked him, “What’s the big idea?” He explains that there is a plot twist that I completely missed, that he wasn’t the guy that was behind it all, and the person that is behind it is a sneaky little SOB. So there is some rewriting to be done on SoP and some clues need to be highlighted a bit to keep the big reveal from looking like a cheap, sneaky trick. I hope I can pull it off properly.
On other news fronts – we found a car for Baby Bird. It’s a nice looking Toyota Corolla. The dealer was asking $8600 and we managed to talk them down to $7300. I thought we had done pretty well until we took the car to our mechanic. Bad brakes, filthy transmission fluid, battery that won’t hold a charge, and worst of all, a belt tensioner that was about to fall apart made it obvious that there may have been a reason the dealer came down on the price so easily. I won’t go so far as to say we got taken, because the car is now really sound. But it wasn’t the steal we initially thought it was, either. Basically, most of the savings we thought we had gained at the dealer’s table, we ended up spending on the mechanic. C’est la vie.
Last weekend was the neighborhood garage sale. We live in one of those restricted neighborhoods where we are only allowed to have garage sales twice a year. On those dates, the neighborhood turns into a giant flea market, with everyone bringing their goods out to the driveway. The streets are clogged, and people stroll up and down the sidewalks for hours. Only not this time. Usually, you can barely get into the neighborhood, and if you do, you can barely drive for all the people wandering the streets. This time? Not so much. We still managed to sell most of the large items we were trying to sell, but the attendance was abysmal when compared to most of the previous sales. I don’t know if it was the fact that everyone is beginning to feel the pinch of the economy, or if it was simply that there were several other events going on that same weekend (Texas Renaissance Festival, Greek Fest, Buzz Fest, and the Komen Race for the Cure all started on Saturday). Whatever the reason, it just wasn’t what it used to be.
And Sunday I ended up working with my son on the brakes on his truck. One of our neighbors came over and lent a hand, and we were able to do both sides at once. On mine, I had to really put some “oomph” behind the wrench when I took the lug nuts off, but did manage to get them off. Once we were finished, we put everything back in place, and he took it for a test drive to make sure there was no air in the lines and that everything was running all right. It was, and I figured we were finished. A few minutes after he left he came back to the house saying that the truck was making a funny noise. He put it back up on the jack and noticed that the lug nuts on the side I’d had so much trouble with were only finger tight and the tire was loose. I felt terrible! If that tire had come off while he was driving it could have been disastrous.
Well, yesterday, I pulled into the parking lot at work at 6:15 AM, and just as I shut off the engine, I got a call from my son. The truck was making that same noise, and he didn’t have a jack. He was a few miles down the freeway, so I headed down there and sure enough, the lug nuts were loose again! I had him keep my jack until we can figure out why these things won’t stay tight, but I’m afraid someone tightened them too much previously and stretched the threads. If that’s the case, we may have to replace the actual studs (sigh).
Okay, that’s it for now. Stay safe, everyone, and watch for the R2R publication announcement. It really is close. I promise!