What does a month in the life of a would-be author look like?

In my first blog of the month I almost always write about the books I read the previous month. If I did that today, this would be my shortest blog post ever.

Near the end of this post, I’ll do just that; however, first I need to let off some steam.

If, after reading my blog post last week, How can I attract readers when I write about my author’s platform?, you thought it might be easy to build an author’s platform, just read today’s rant.

January 2023 from where I sit

January was a month filled with distractions and frustrations. The redesigning of my website has gone more slowly than I had hoped, mainly because I’m not very computer savvy. There were answers to technical questions I couldn’t readily figure out.

Plus, I had to learn a lot of technology in January so I can enable readers to subscribe to my email list and receive a free ebook, That’s still a work in progress because the good people at the very well-known email marketing service I’m using required me to fill out a long survey before they can answer two of my three basic questions. At least, they seemed basic to me.

I’m still not sure I’ve figured out how to give away the ebook. Maybe I’ll have to just reward my subscribers with a link to it so they can purchase it on Amazon for 99 cents. At least that remains an option.

Bless their hearts, the folks at the very well-known email marketing service I’m using are more interested in such things as my top three goals, how many subscribers I’ll be downloading (right now, it looks like zero), and what software I anticipate “integrating” with them. I’ve already asked them about Zapier, but they can’t answer me until I fill out the survey and tell them the best time to call me. I thought my question about Zapier was a yes or no question. Apparently, I was wrong.

Due to my moderate hearing loss and the fact that I just prefer having answers in writing, I much prefer answers in writing. I wish I’d gone with ConvertKit. Perhaps there’s still that option – which I told the good people at the very well-known email marketing service in my last email to them on Friday.

On an equally frustrating note, the very well-known print-on-demand company that prints my books has also forced me to learn more technology than I ever wanted to know. However, even with my best efforts in responding to each of their emails and supplying them with 20+ digital photographs, all the order numbers, etc. more times than I can remember since January 5, I have now given up on ever being reimbursed for the 14 damaged books I received on December 21, 2022 because there was no packing material in the boxes.

I worked my way up to a supervisor, but she has chosen not to respond to my latest plea for a refund. I paid the cost of printing, tax, and shipping for those books but I can’t sell them. And who wants to give away a damaged book that has your name on it as the author?

Harrisburg, Did You Know? Cabarrus History, Book 1 is selling very well at Second Look Books in Harrisburg, but I dread all future shipments of it and of Book 2, which I hope to have published by April. It sort of takes the fun out of being an author.

(By the way, don’t bother to send the very well-known print-on-demand company that prints my books photos of the condition the box is in when you receive damaged author copies or a photo of the inside of the box showing the four inches of empty space in which your $25 books were allowed to bounce around in while they were in transit for 600 miles from Indianapolis because the company doesn’t want to know such things. You have the benefit of learning from my silly assumptions that someone in the company would want to know why so many of the books they print arrive at the author’s home in unsellable condition. But if they don’t have to issue a refund to the author, I guess they really don’t need to know what the books arrived damaged.)

I spent the entire month of January formatting Harrisburg, Did You Know? Cabarrus History, Book 2, trying my best to learn how to giveaway an ebook via a very well-known email marketing service, and attempting to get a refund from the company that prints my books for 14 unsellable copies of Book 1. That left very little time for reading for pleasure, but numerous opportunities for screaming.

Photo by Simran Sood on Unsplash

What I read in January 2023

However, when I wasn’t screaming, I read part of The Shadow Box, by Louanne Rice. It was the January book for the Rocky River Readers book club. Time ran out and I didn’t get to finish it.

I tried to read one chapter in Black Raven, by Ann Cleeves every night. Unfortunately, I only got to do that for three nights before the ebook went back to the public library.

I read Chasing the Ripper: A Kindle Single, by Patricia Cornwell. She wrote it in 2014 about her research about Jack the Ripper after her book, Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper – Case Closed was published. This 57-page Kindle Single was interesting even though I haven’t read her Portrait… book. Her Kindle Single is sort of a prelude to her 2017 book, Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert. The Kindle Single made me curious about the details Ms. Cornwell has pieced together lending credence to the theory that British artist Walter Sickert was indeed Jack the Ripper.

The other book I actually read in its very short entirety was The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, by Charlie Mackesy. I can’t describe it better than the blurb on Amazon, so I’ll just quote it, in case you aren’t familiar with the wee book:   “From the revered British illustrator, a modern fable for all ages that explores life’s universal lessons, featuring 100 color and black-and-white drawings.”

What I’d thought about blogging about today

An alternative subject for today was the 89th anniversary of the ratification of the 20th Amendment to the US Constitution. I hesitated to write about that, since just two weeks ago I blogged about the ratification of the 24th Amendment in #OnThisDay: The US Constitutional Amendment that Put an End to Poll Taxes. Plus, I couldn’t seem to set aside enough quiet time to refresh my memory about the 20th Amendment enough to blog about it. Please take time to Google it and refresh your memory. That’s all I had time to do.

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. I’m listening to The Diamond Eye, by Kate Quinn. I’m thoroughly enjoying it, and I hope to have time to finish listening to it.

Take time to relax. If you figure out how to do that while dealing with this technologically-mishandled world, please let me know your secret.

And in all seriousness, I remind you and myself not to forget the freezing, suffering, weary, much-abused-by-Putin-and-his-henchmen, and terrorized people of Ukraine.

My problems don’t hold a candle to what the Ukrainians are dealing with 24/7. Remembering that helps put my concerns in perspective. Come to think of it, I have nothing to scream about.


24 thoughts on “What does a month in the life of a would-be author look like?

  1. Wow Janet! What a month! It must be utter frustration to have to deal with such people that are unreceptive and unresponsive but it seems like most companies now look for that quality in an agent, rep or even supervisor. When I was a supervisor in the police dept. I had my cards read “problem solver” on them and that is what I did. I proposed to myself that I would not let anyone down and that I would solve the problems that citizens brought to me. I did that almost at 100% satisfaction but of course there are problems no one can solve. I wish you all the best luck for the next shipment and remember if you paid online you paid with a cc, so if the vendor does not give you satisfaction advise the cc company that you refuse payment. That should get them to cooperate. Take good care and all the best, signing off from a very cold and rainy València.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good morning, Francisco — or Good Evening in Valencia. Thanks for your comments and advice. Good point about the cc. Unfortunately, I paid the bill early on in the process before I had any reason to think kdp would not be true to their word and issue a refund. My sister thinks I need to give the supervisor another chance. I admire the approach you took when you were a police supervisor. It seems fewer and fewer people take that approach to their jobs today. On another topic, my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Turkey and Syria as I woke up this morning to the news of the devastating earthquake. I’m sure you have friends and acquaintances there and that you are very much concerned for their welfare. I hope you will receive reassuring news from them. Stay warm and dry. It is sunny and seasonally cool here with predictions for temps in the 60s F. for a day or two — a tease that spring is coming in five weeks. Take care. Janet

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are very welcome Janet and I truly hope they resolve your problem promptly and effectively. I had no idea they were so careless! Thank you for the prayers and thoughts for the people of Turkey. Thankfully, my friends there live in a far away region on the Aegean Sea and they did not even feel the quake. But it is devastating for the people of that area and I do know some that live there and they are ok. Enjoy the nice weather. We are now enduring our five days of bad weather that we must suffer every year to be able to have 360 good ones!
    All the best,

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Janet. Been a while since I’ve taken the time te catch up on blog posts etc. I’m sorry about all your troubles. Drop me a note privately and I’ll see what I can do to help – I’ve had lots of experience with self publishing and can offer advice at the very minimum.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m relieved that your friends in Turkey are all okay. The pictures coming out of there are pure misery in the cold. Oh, to have just five days of bad weather! LOL! All the best to you, Janet

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You’re welcome, Janet. With both Ingram and Amazon, it depends on who responds to your report of a problem. There have been a few times when I’ve submitted the same problem more than once. After getting a flat no from one person, I’ve gotten a yes from someone else. I agree that it’s no way to treat your customers.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for the encouragement, Laleh. I guess one has to be strong to get a book published and then put up with all the problems that surely follow. I’m hanging in there!


  8. Thank you for the encouragement, Diane. It’s a wonder I haven’t pulled out all my hair the last several weeks! I keep telling myself all this will surely work out and get easier. I haven’t convinced myself yet, but I keep saying it over and over.


  9. This week I keep getting emails from the Google scheduler used by MailC___p. (I’ve tried hard not to call names!) It said I would receive a 15-minute phone call from Jill at 12:30 this afternoon. I sat by the phone until 12:30 waiting for the call… only to find that Jill had emailed me at 12:31 to ask for my phone number. DUH! Did you hear me scream? Gee. I don’t know. How about using the phone number I gave you when I set up the account? I had to reschedule via something called Chilipiper. It sent me a photo of Jill. Spaghetti straps and sunglasses. Very professional. Yes, I am definitely getting old. I’ll be found sitting by the phone at 12:30 tomorrow afternoon expecting a 30-minute call this time. All this because I asked three basic questions. Maybe since she appears to be 12 years old, she’ll be able to finally answer my questions. All this is after I told them in writing that I prefer to get the answers in writing. I guess Chilipiper didn’t have that term in its AI vocabulary. I emailed Amz’s publishing arm again tonight to request that refund of $100+ they owe me for the damaged books I received on December 21. Not holding my breath. I’ve been asking for it since Jan. 2. They think they’ll wear down this 70-year-old. Things have only deteriorated since I wrote that blog post.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. No, I’m not. I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never heard of it. I’ll certainly look into it. I just briefly looked at their website. It’s late, so I won’t try to absorb it all and join tonight. Today was another crazy day. Jill from MailC___p called as scheduled this afternoon. She asked if she could record our conversation for training purposes. I jumped right on that! Definitely, please! (Well, that’s what I wanted to say.) She asked how she could help me, and immediately said that she was in Sales and someone else would need to answer my questions. Somehow, I wasn’t surprised. I told her I’d just about lost my patience because I’d been trying to get three basic questions answered for two weeks. She was sorry. She didn’t know why I had been bounced around in the Sales Dept. She went on to try to answer my questions. Whether or not what she said was correct, I guess time will tell. She said if I wanted emails to go out automatically after someone fills out the sign-up form, I’ll have to go with one of their paid plans. Of course, being in Sales, she’s not trained to tell me the free plan is adequate. My web designer says the free plan will work for me. He uses MC. I think I’ll just wait and see if the free plan works when they get my new website up and running. On the KDP refund front: I got an email today in response to last night’s email to KDP. A different supervisor this time named Harm. Said they were “still” working on it. Said “it’s taking longer than usual.” Said they’ll send me “an update as soon as possible.” Since Jan. 2nd???? I’ll soon know the names of everyone who works for KDP. So far Jimena, Zeba, Clare, and Harm have worked on it. If all else fails, perhaps the Authors Guild can help me. Thanks for that suggestion and information!


  11. Yes, it does, Liz! It shouldn’t be this hard. These folks are taking all the fun out of it — and all the time I’ve spent trying to get answers from one and a refund from the other — I could have been writing. Or reading. Or relaxing. So much wasted time!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Janet, sometimes such troubling months, gotten through, leave good feeling. But I know well the feeling that those troubles were so needless and interfeered with my major role, which is to sit up here writing something beautiful and creative. Well you got through it and now its February.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Yes, David. I got through January. Trying times, indeed. I’ve come out on the other side with a better attitude and renewed energy to keep going. The future is bright! Thank you for your constant encouragement over the years.


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