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.
Today’s post falls in the category of “you can’t make this stuff up.”
Here’s the timeline as tracked on Amazon.com:
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.”
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.
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!]
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.
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.)
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?
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!
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