I just wanted a proof copy of Harrisburg, Did You Know? Book 2

This should have been a very short blog post. Two or three paragraphs should have covered the story. Actually, if that had been the case, I would have chosen a different topic for the post. I hadn’t planned to blog about this today.

When I started writing my blog more than 10 years ago, I set out to chronicle my journey as a reader and a writer. It’s been a bumpy ride and there have been detours, successes, and obstacles. I’ve tried to share my ups and downs.

Just three weeks ago in my February 6 blog post, What does a month in the life of a would-be author look like?, I described a particularly trying month I’d experienced. The things I ranted about in that post eventually all worked out.

Today’s post is about last week’s stress. Last week’s stress has lapped right over into this week. I’d like to think there’s light at the end of this tunnel, but after what I’ve been through, it’s hard to be optimistic.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Today’s post falls in the category of “you can’t make this stuff up.”

Here’s the timeline as tracked on Amazon.com:

February 19

Having submitted the formatted copy of Harrisburg, Did You Know? Cabarrus History, Book 2 to Amazon for publication, I ordered a proof copy. After having some technical difficulties with several photographs in the book, I especially wanted to be sure they were going to be oriented correctly in the printed book.

I also ordered two paperback copies of Slip Sliding Away: A Southern Historical Short Story, but those two books had to be purchased as a separate order.

Amazon chose to combine the orders and deliver (or attempt to deliver) the three books to me via the United States Postal System, otherwise known as “carrier facility.”

February 21

9:11 pm      Order left carrier facility, Concord, NC.

This is when I had a feeling that things had gone awry. Since Amazon does not print books at its facility in Concord, NC, which is about 12 miles from my house, I wondered why Concord was the first point of transit. The first point of transit should have been Amazon – not the US Postal Service. My books are usually printed either of Columbia, South Carolina or Indianapolis, Indiana.

February 22

Unspecified time   Carrier picked up package in Columbia, SC (about 90 miles south of me.)

8:18 a.m.     Package arrived at Amazon facility, Concord, NC (about 15 miles north of me.) [This is great! Maybe my proof copy and the short stories will arrive today or tomorrow at the latest! Life is good!]

February 23

6:18 a.m.     Package arrived at carrier facility, Walkertown, NC (about 80 miles north of me.) [What?]

6:32 p.m.    Package arrived at carrier facility, Harrisburg, NC (Post office is five miles from me. I live on a Harrisburg mail route.) [I’m not sure how it traveled 75 miles in 14 minutes, but okay. Whatever.]

7:47 p.m.    Package arrived at carrier facility, Greensboro, NC (about 85 miles northeast of me.) [Wait a minute! Something’s not right.]

But I don’t want a refund. I want my books!

You know you’re in trouble when Amazon tells you on Thursday that you can request a refund if your package doesn’t arrive by Tuesday.

A refund won’t do me any good. I need to receive the proof copy before I can give Amazon the go ahead to start selling it. More importantly, I can’t order author copies to supply Second Look Books in Harrisburg until the book “goes live” on Amazon. Then, it takes about four weeks for me to receive the author copies, and my “Meet & Greet” at Second Look Books is scheduled for April 15.

February 24

5:19 a.m.     Package left Amazon facility, Concord, NC (about 15 miles northeast of me.)

9:21 a.m.     Package arrived at USPS distribution center, Charlotte, NC (about 18 miles west of me.)

February 25

3:15 a.m.     After spending 18 hours at the USPS distribution center in Charlotte, the package left.

3:20 a.m.     Five minutes later, it left again. (I’m not making any of this up!)

7:07 a.m.     After traveling about 15 miles, package arrived nearly four hours later at the USPS in Harrisburg, NC.

7:18 a.m.     Package is out for delivery “by 8 p.m. tonight.”

3:20 p.m.    Package arrives at my house! According to the back page, the books were printed in Columbia, SC on February 20, 2023. There was only one 2×4-inch gaping hole in the package right over the cover of the Harrisburg book. These books have seen parts of North Carolina I’ve never seen. As far as I know, I’ve never been to Walkertown. I looked it up. It’s between Winston-Salem and Virginia.

Alas, I had the books in my hands.

I quickly turned to page 465 in the Harrisburg book to make sure Carl Higgins’ B-26 bomber was shown correctly; but, no! In the image, the plane is heading straight up instead of to the left.

Various subheadings in the book appear at the bottom of one page instead of at the top of the next page, although I painstakingly made sure that none of the subheadings were at the bottom of a page when I submitted the formatted manuscript to Amazon. Likewise, all images were oriented in the correct manner when they left my computer.

And did I mention that the cover is dark brown instead of red?

Photo by Taylor Deas-Melesh on Unsplash

I discovered, though, that the errors (except for the color of the cover) were my fault due to my lack of technical knowledge. If I’d been more in tune with general computer technology, I would have realized that I had created a problem… all the problems in the way the book was printed… except for the brown cover on the red book.

I still hold Amazon and the USPS responsible for shipping my book all over North and South Carolina for nearly a week. The best I can figure, the USPS transported it around 425 miles to get it 90 miles from Columbia, SC to Harrisburg, NC. If I could have received it five days ago, I’d probably have all the problems worked out in the formatting by now and would still be on schedule for publication.

Instead of giving Amazon the go ahead on March 1 to publish my book, I’m now working to correct errors. Then, I’ll submit the revised version. Then, with a great sense of foreboding, I’ll pay to get ANOTHER proof copy of the Harrisburg book. And I’ll wait who know how long for it to arrive. Then, if it is in good order, I’ll order author copies. Then, I’ll wait four weeks for them to arrive. Will they arrive in time for the “Meet & Greet” at Second Look Books on April 15th?

If I were a betting person, I wouldn’t bet on it.

Since my last blog post

Besides following the day-to-day saga of the trip the proof copy of my book has been on, I did some yard work. It’s been unseasonably warm here in North Carolina. I was surprised to see two black snakes on Wednesday. I’ve never seen a snake in February (or March!) before. It’s unusual to see one in April.

My email provider is a company called Windstream. There are many things I’d like to say about Windstream, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that on Saturday night, just five hours after I received the awful proof copy of my Harrisburg Book 2, Windstream downloaded into my inbox the last 4,449 emails I had already received. As we say in the South, “Bless their hearts!” Again, you can’t make this stuff up.

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. I plan to write about the books I read in February.

If you’re looking for a good historical short story, just visit https://www.janetmorrisonbooks.com and subscribe to my newsletter. You’ll be rewarded with a free e-copy of a short story I had fun writing, “Slip Sliding Away: A Southern Historical Short Story.”

Also, hurry and subscribe before March 1, in order to receive my first newsletter!

I hope to have a corrected copy of Harrisburg, Book 2 completed, submitted to Amazon, and have a new proof copy of it in my hands by the time I blog again on March 6. I can only hope.

Thank you for reading my blog!

Don’t forget the brave people of Ukraine who have been under unwarranted attack by Putin for a year.


20 thoughts on “I just wanted a proof copy of Harrisburg, Did You Know? Book 2

  1. You’re right Janet, you cannot make those things up! Incredible! I was thinking of Amazon, now I am really re-thinking it for fear of having to go through the same thing, but I really don’t know, perhaps Amazon.es (Spain) works differently, at least they have always been incredibly punctual for deliveries. In any event, step back, relax, let go and let God, He is in control. I am looking forward to reading the short story as I already received the link through the email. Thank you! Take good care, enjoy the warm weather, here it is still very, very cold, we are in the middle of a new winter storm coming down from the Pyrenees so it is unusually cold, especially this close to Spring. And I cannot wait for the temperature to rise above 20 (Celsius) at least! All the best Janet.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Francis, for your encouragement. I don’t know what to tell you about Amazon.es, of course. We have few options, and I guess I’ll stay with Kindle Direct Publishing/Amazon since I’m already in their system. It’s incredibly frustrating. Amazon delivery vehicles pass my house at least once a day, so I don’t understand why the company chose to send me my proof copy and short story copies via the US Postal Service — which has a less than stellar reputation. Unbelievable! I’ve made some formatting corrections in the book today and hope to have it ready to submit to Amazon later today along with a request for another proof copy. (Yikes!) I’ve adjusted the color for the cover on Book Brush.com and hope Amazon can give me a red book instead of a brown one. The irony is that I’ve spent all my time dealing with technology and delays for the last three months and haven’t added a single word to my novel. I’m working my way through an anger management book and hope to be in a better place mentally in the near future. Yes, I need to let go and let God. Definitely! – Janet


  3. You’re right. You can’t make this stuff up. What a farcical experience! I’ve done well with Ingram for print copies, but if someone buys the book through Amazon, both Ingram and Amazon get a cut, leaving the author very little in the way of royalties.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s good to know, Liz. After what I’ve been through with Amazon the last eight weeks, I’ve wondered if I should have gone with Ingram. I guess I’ll stay with Amazon for now. Made formatting corrections, adjusted the shade of red on Book Brush and resubmitted cover and manuscript to Amazon about an hour ago. Requesting another proof copy and hoping this one will be acceptable. I want to move on to my next project after all the recent problems. It will be interesting to see the route this proof copy takes. I could drive to Columbia, SC and back in an afternoon if they’d just let me pick it up where it’s printed!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you, Liz. Amazon tracking says my proof copy left Concord, NC last night at 9:00, and was picked up by the USPS in Columbia, SC today — no time indicated. To be delivered by 8pm tomorrow. I just had to laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Stranger than fiction: My second proof copy arrived by USPS at 3:20 Thursday afternoon, so I had to eat my words. Could have knocked me over with a feather! I submitted it to Amazon last night and it’s for sale in paperback and for Kindle today! What a turn of events! I ordered 75 author copies tonight. They’re supposed to be delivered in 13 days — which is two weeks faster than ever before. I wonder how many of the 75 will be damaged in transit. It’s impossible for me to be optimistic now when it comes to Amazon. I sent out my first newsletter via Mailchimp at 4:38 this afternoon. As of 10:20 p.m., I haven’t received mine yet. Go figure! According to MailChimp, 11 of the 19 newsletters have been opened. The wonders of technology…. I thought mine must have been seen as spam and gone into my junk email box, but it wasn’t there. Maybe it’s taking the scenic route like my first proof copy!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks, Liz. Sorry for my even longer delay than usual reply. The devil has definitely been in the details lately. I haven’t been able to log into my blog since Friday. To get help from WorkPress, I first had to prove I owned the blog. Sometimes it pays to never throw away a piece of paper. I had to provide the API key WordPress sent me on January 3, 2010. That was several computer crashes and one change in email servers ago! It was nothing short of a miracle that I found the 13-year-old email with the key! As of 10 minutes ago (1:40 a.m. EST) I was once again able to log into WordPress. Not that I had time to watch TV today, but the TV screen went black. Sound fine, but no picture. I accidentally turned the flashlight on the screen while I was trying to find the model number on the bottom of our DIRECTV receiver box. With the flashlight shining on the screen, I could see a little bit of a picture. Long story short and after a very long discussion with “Mark” in India, they’re sending us a new receiver box. Cheaper than a new TV, so fingers are crossed on that. Then, it was back to work on the WordPress issue. And did I mention that most of the weekend I wasn’t able to log into Facebook. I’m ready for a new week, but first I now have to finish writing my blog post and get it scheduled for its usual time of around 6:45 a.m. It was great timing for all the WordPress and Facebook problems. I wanted to announce that my local history book 2 is available on Amazon — as of Friday evening. All’s well that ends well, or so “they” say, but I don’t think the people that invented that saying had to deal with computers! Have a good week! I plan to have a good one.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I don’t know what to say but I have my own stories as well as do many people. I look forward to your next post when I am hoping you will be post stress. P.S. Computers suck.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It was more a case of my following clues. After telling both of the “Happiness Engineers” several times that I couldn’t even get to where I could put in my username, so I had concluded that, “No, I don’t think changing my password will help” — that I told them I wasn’t very computer savvy but I thought it was a cache issue. I found online instructions for clearing my browser’s cache, and “Bingo!” I was able to log in. They’d insisted that I needed to change my password first. All this was after hours of my searching for that precious API Key from 2010 to prove I was myself. I’ve always just relied on our computer guy to clear out the cache but, since I hadn’t had to call on him for a problem in quite some time, I’d let it slide. The Happiness Engineers were helpful in that they seemed to reassure me that I was probably on the right track. Next time this happens, at least I’ll know what to do about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yes, Barbara. Computers are great as long as they’re working. When they aren’t, nothing can be more frustrating. A shipment of my first local history book is supposed to arrive today. Actually, I was tempted to say, “A shipment ARE…” because Amazon shipped part of the order via US Postal Service and part of the order via Amazon. I suppose they had their reasons, but it’s not the way I would have done it. I guess that’s why I’m not in charge of Amazon. Just for fun, I was locked out of my WordPress account all weekend until around 1:30 this morning. And did I mention that yesterday we had sound on our TV but no picture? New cable receiver box has been ordered. All in all, it was a really fun weekend! You know it’s bad when you’re looking forward to Monday!


  11. Right. I didn’t understand why the first guy and the second one insisted that I change my password right off the bat. I don’t think either of them read my explanation of what I was experiencing. At least I won’t have to contact them next time I’m locked out!

    Liked by 1 person

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