Long time Atlanta columnist Kathy Manos Penn has turned her attention to writing cozy mysteries set in the Cotswolds. Find her Dickens & Christie series on her website kathymanospenn.com and on Amazon.
Kathy Manos Penn's new Book is now on sale.
That's a lyric by Ian Tyson, a singer/songwriter whose music my husband enjoys. The full message is "Technology was supposed to set us free. That ain't the way it turned out to be." Not long ago, I found myself in what I refer to as "Amazon publishing hell" and felt the same way.
Now that I've written two books in my DIckens & Christie Mystery series and have started a third, I'm trying to become more technologically adept so I can learn to format, upload, and all the things it takes to publish a book on Amazon. The operative word in that sentence is "trying." Plus, I'm fooling myself if I think I'll really learn "all the things" it takes. But I'd at least like to learn a few!
Writing is my passion. Technology? Not! Sure, I'm pretty good with Word and PowerPoint, but for much beyond that, I require help. That's why I have Adam Freedman of Dunwoody PC on speed dial. This Amazon publishing thing, though, was a horse or . . . nightmare of a different color.
I engaged an author marketing coach to do lots of things: lay out a marketing plan, create my cover, format my book for uploading to Amazon and elsewhere, and more. I knew I especially didn't want to format and upload my books and chance messing them up. It was a mammoth undertaking to write the darned things, and I couldn't afford to launch them into the world with flaws like extra spaces, dropped words, and who knows what else.
The first time my head exploded was when I saw words on the marketing calendar like "Kathy creates a BookFunnel giveaway, Kathy uploads the ebook of 'Bells, Tails & Murder' to Amazon and Draft2Digital." I suspect several of my Dunwoody author friends know how to do that, but I don't. Still, I was game to try.
My coach made it all sound so simple. Of course, she's the same person who said, "You should write a cozy mystery. All it takes is a dead body." Yes, the writing part became easier the more I did it, but still, I should have known better. Somehow, the task wasn't as simple as uploading photos to Facebook or blogs to my blog site.
She sent me a multitude of files to save to my computer and upload to various places. The problem started when I kept getting those dreaded error messages. You know the kind, right? Unable to open this file! You can hardly save a file to your computer if you can't open it. I fiddled and fiddled with the problem. I googled how to open the files, how to save them, how to do anything with them-for several hours. Finally, I gave up and made an appointment with my coach for the following afternoon.
The next day, I started at 6 am trying to figure it out on my own. I canceled my workout with my trainer so I could keep on. (Remember when gyms were open?) I had visions of doing the ball slam exercise with my laptop instead of a weighted ball. I figured it wasn't a problem with my laptop, but instead a problem with the user, and I was beyond frustrated.
Can you picture me trying to chant Ohm? Thankfully, my coach eventually solved the problem. And, it was comforting to learn it was only partially user error!
PS. Book II-"Pumpkins, Paws & Murder"-in the Dickens & Christie mystery series is now available on Amazon