As you may have gathered from the colorful, eclectic design of my blog, I’m both very artistic and excellent with computers.
In truth, I can pretty much use Microsoft Word unsupervised, but one time the tab got all messed up and I cried until Robby helped me fix it. I don’t know why electronics elicit such an emotional response, but that is certainly not the only time I’ve cried over format settings. I am, apparently, an old dog that cannot learn tricks from the last ten years. I will not be teaching myself to code, ever.
Even if I was some sort of computer savant, I wouldn’t know what to do with my blog to make it look sharp. My taste is minimalist, or as my mother-in-law once said, “sparse”, and I am afraid to over-clutter, because clutter is death. Things have changed, as far as my living room is concerned, because I know for a fact there are toy vehicles on the floor in the play room right now that I have no intention of putting away until tomorrow, or possibly the next day. I am working really hard to add color to my decor, and picked a soft blue-green for the kitchen accent wall instead of going with my gut, which said “gray all the way!” I had to repaint the wall because the builder is a moron who uses flat paint that can’t be cleaned, and the dining nook was doomed before the end of our first pasta night. Otherwise, it probably would have stayed beige. Like my soul.
My family gives me a hard time for always reaching for grey or black clothing when we shop together, but back when I had time to assemble “outfits”, I would throw in one pop of color: a clutch, bright shoes, big earrings, or a statement necklace. As in, an all-black outfit with one color thrown in at the end. I’m not terribly creative and spend a lot of time worrying about what matches, and then I put on my sweatpants (I have both black and grey) and call it a night.
I want my website to appear crisp, and so it’s a standard color scheme that happens to be black and grey. I have tried mixing it up, but always go back to bland. So when it came time to design a cover for my book, I tried four different do-it-yourself websites, cried four times, and hired someone on the internet to help. It looks okay, but I don’t even know why it’s just okay, because I have no eye for visual art. I am hopeless.
I long for the days of being discovered, and since I’ve never been discovered, this is how I imagine your life changes:
Someone with an Atlantic accent calls me and tells me I’m brilliant and if I send over my manuscript today, they will have it bound into a book and on shelves by next week. A stylist and makeup artist will arrive to fix me up for the cover and my “About the Author” photo, but I get final approval, of course, and Annie Leibovitz never disappoints.
All the promotion and press for the book is arranged by my three assistants, and I do the morning talk show circuit to talk about my debut offering, which is already a best-seller with rave reviews. Matt Lauer told America I was hilarious, and Kelly Ripa and I have scheduled a girls night to gab about motherhood.
I return home and decide to relax by going for a swim in my new kidney-shaped pool, which is filled with money. It’s not about the money, it’s about the craft, and Sandra Bullock will play me in the movie. She’ll win the Oscar, obviously, but she’ll give it to me, because without me there would be no Oscar-worthy part for Sandra to play.
Instead, the publishing world is brutal, and it’s “easier” to self-publish. Easier, meaning it is possible to be published if you do it yourself, but you actually have to figure out how to do it. I have a friend who publishes her own historical romance novels, and she is the only reason I’m making an attempt in the first place. She is helping me while simultaneously publishing a slew of her own books and caring for three young children, so I owe her. Big time. (I don’t care who you are, you will love her books. She has recently re-imagined fairy tale heroines with a twist, and they are divine! Look for Caroline Lee on Amazon)
Caroline has given me a lot of help so far, but keeps mentioning something about formatting for ebook and formatting for paperback, and I feel tears welling up already. This definitely sounds like it will cause a minor psychotic break before I hysterically beg someone to do it for me.
Why can’t I just be the delicate artist whose hands are for writing and not for behind the scenes finagling of Word document to ebook? Writing is so different from the time of mailing a boxed manuscript to a publisher and having them print books and sell them on your behalf. I will have to be writer, editor, formatter (not a word, don’t tell the editor), saleswoman, and publicist, all while writing whatever follow-up I can scrape together.
I’d prefer to be published by a reputable publisher, but mostly I want to be published, so I shall endeavor to do it myself (with the help of anyone who is still talking to me by the end of this process).