How do you eat an elephant? Bite a small chunk out of the elephant’s ass and chew slowly! That’s what I say to others about to attempt a seemingly insurmountable task.
And so it was for me when I uploaded my first Kindle: Orange Petals in a Storm. I felt like David attempting to slay Goliath. It is not as easy as we are led to believe by the glossy ads that tell us, it can all be achieved in just one click. What we are not told are the details. My husband wanted to be the first to download my book. After all, he has watched it grow and been deeply involved in its creation. He has come to love the eleven-year-old, Skyla McFee, the heroine of my story. He has been living in her world with me and knows how hard I have worked.
More computer literate than most, an onlooker might have thought it would be easy for him to gather in the harvest in just one click. His tutting, and scratching of his head gave him away. ‘What’s the matter?’ I asked. “Oh nothing!” he drawled, downplaying his frustration, his patient-Canadian-mannerisms apparent.
It turned out that Amazon would not let him download the book because he did not have a kindle device registered; despite the fact, that weeks earlier, he had already downloaded a device in preparation for the big day. He tried it again and again. But the discarnate caption repeatedly told him that he did not have a device registered in his name.
The mistake he made was in assumption. When the voiceless caption said you could be reading in under a minute, promising that reading was just one click away; he believed whoever. What had been potentially an exciting morning had been stolen away by the nameless, faceless computer nerds that live on planet technology, far far away from the rest of us. “Like bad maths teachers”, quoth my husband, beginning to crack.
In moments like these, gremlins raise their ugly little heads from within the psyche, and come to rob us of our moment of achievement. “It’s your fault”, they say. “You don’t know enough about technology; you must be stupid!” Well! that may be, but we know enough to be able to follow a simple instruction and download a device that will enable us to see what my two years of work looks like!
Eventually, rifling through the teensy sub-categories of categories, my husband found the culprit. ‘Register your device,’ it said. At last, it all became crystal clear. But why didn’t the discarnate entity tell us that you must do this after you have downloaded your device. Why didn’t it prompt us into doing so? How are we supposed to know that a little button exists, lost in amongst the many, that bears the word, register? It is rather a salient detail, without which, many of those I expected to bravely download a device in order to read my book in Kindle form could not actually do it on the day. Most of those who know me, who had, in turn, told their friends that I am a worthy writer, it is abeautiful story, please give it a punt, did so against cherished beliefs in the hand-held, paper book. They were willing to do this for me, despite feeling despair at the thought of losing print forever in the tidal wave of new technology. They gave it a go, many of them ruining a potentially pleasant Sunday, wrestling with the Internet. I don’t blame them for waiting until the book is in print!
We aspiring Indie authors are all little buttons lost amongst the many that need to be pushed to make the world light up and make us visible.
Not only do we have to publish and sell our work, we also have to contend with the Goliath that is Amazon technology. Despite all this, my book reached number two in the metaphysical/visionary lists and number twenty overall in literary fiction.
What does that mean? Nothing much in the scheme of things, as keeping the book in such lofty positions presents other problems. But at least I chewed the first chunk. I continue to take wee bites out of the elephant’s ass and chew very slowly!
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