The Ultimate* DIY

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I’m just gonna say it: Publishing your own book suuuuuuuuuuucks. So. Much.

I have gone from feeling bold and empowered to wiping hot, salty tears and snot off the track pad because this whole Amazon KDP Build Your Book process is. SO. STINKING. CONFUSING.

In fact, it is so infuriating and difficult that when the “how are we doing?” box pops up on the screen, I do not hesitate to tell Amazon exactly how I am doing. And the answer is not what anyone wants to hear. After multiple days of bitter comments, I actually received a howdy-do from Abraham:

Hey diddly-do Kristen!
Thanks for contacting Amazon KDP! I hope this message finds you okly-dokly well!
I understand that, darn it, you’re currently using one of our templates and you’re experiencing a downright doodle of a noodle situation with the formatting! I suggest that you reset the format of your original manuscript!
I will be honest — that is, uh, not an actual verbatim exchange. But it is the exact Ned
Flanders-y tone I heard in my head as I was read it. And to his credit, his directions actually worked. I could follow along and lo and behold, progress. A very, very little bit of it, and it meant undoing what I had done months earlier when I was actually writing the darn thing, but still progress. I just know that when Abraham saw my email he yelled out to his coworkers at the cubicle farm, “I got another 88-year-old grandma who’s never touched a computer trying to write her memoir! Whew! She’s a crankster, too!” **

I wonder what it would take to fly in Abraham from the Amazon help desk in Belarus and walk me step-by-step through this because I am pretty sure that is what it’s going to take.

Now, I will admit, I am not the most tech savvy person. Back at the newspaper, we had an IT guy who promised when he wrote a book one day, he would devote an entire chapter to me and all the weird, brain-stumping things I did to my computer, which included password protecting the entire machine so that I couldn’t even turn it on. I don’t know how I did it and it took him quite some time to undo my handiwork. I have heard that some people have energy fields that can be disruptive to electronic equipment, and I have no doubt that this is true. I must have an excessive amount of negatrons. Or, I was born a generation too late for this computer stuff to come instinctively.

What’s even more aggravating is that the handbook makes everything sound so matter-of-fact: “on the layout tab, in the page setup group, click size and then select more paper sizes. This opens a dialog box.”

No, it doesn’t and not only that, it is not possible to select more paper sizes! It is not an option.

I’m sure there’s a logical explanation, like I’m an idiot.

I’m not so dumb, though, that I don’t know how to find smart friends and after whining, my friend came over and helped*** me format my cover — front and back and the spine! It took hours. And a few glasses of wine.

 

 

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An excerpt from “the handbook.” Note that little tidbit under “advanced” — “you don’t mind taking the time to achieve the exact look you want.” Um, yes, yes I do mind. Even the basics are too advanced for my little, non-techy brain. Hard pass.

 

And now that I’ve been so publicly bitter, I am probably dooming my book to end up misfiled under “toilet training manuals.” BUT, while I have been unable to do many, many things, the one thing I did accomplish is getting myself an ISBN, so you can find it. One of these days.

 

*I just had to Google “ultimate” because it looks really wrong to me this morning, which I think means I need to get a cup of coffee already.

** See — look at that! An actual, real-life example of the kind of problems I can’t solve. I can’t explain what I did to make the spacing go all wonky in this section and I can’t figure out how to undo it either. So, it stays.

** *By “helped” I mean did everything while I sat next to her, scrolling through Instagram and sipping a glass of wine. Thank you, A! 😉

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