This time it’s personal

If you are an interacter (is that a word?) with the indieebook review site, you’ll have got the lowdown on the ‘professional’ side of this week for me.  There was just too much to write in one blog, so I’ve put the ‘personal’ stuff in here in the spirit of quantum blogging.

The great distributor debacle ran on through the week. While I was dealing with my conscience over filling out an EIN form.  I know it seems like no big deal to anyone else, but I don’t like the idea that in order  to sell ebooks I have to have a tax number in US, even if it’s only to let them know that I don’t have to pay tax. I’ve only been to the states once and my experience at Passport Control there left me very disinclined to ever want to go back.  Cuban passport control is much more friendly (even if you don’t speak good Spanish!)  The other ‘problem’ I have is that I can only see bad reasons for this action. 1) The US trying to gather information about everyone in the flipping world (see Brand Loyalty for this Ultimate expression of paranoia)  and 2) that we only have to do this so that Amazon can avoid paying UK tax.  Shooting myself in both feet might be less emotionally painful to me.  But this morning, I went to the post and it cost 76p to send airmail. Wait 4 weeks for reply.  (when a UK first class stamp costs 60p I at least felt the postage was a bargain!)

Coming home I had to do something to strip myself of the Lady Macbeth hand washing emotion I felt. So I emailed the distributor – a dear John email.  I stopped short of saying ‘it’s not you it’s me,’ because that isn’t true. That there were ‘3 of us in this relationship’ was closer to the point. I have learned my lesson about Chinese Whispers.  I know I need to take control myself and I know that means (for the moment) towing some line with Amazon.  I listened to a radio broadcast where they all went on about how authors love Amazon. I don’t love Amazon.  I love the ease and simplicity of getting my ebooks out there with them, but the PAYING part of it, I don’t love so much.  My considered opinion is that they make the part that’s beneficial to them easy enough, but they’re not doing it for my benefit and they assume that no one bothers with the fine print or  the ethical issues.  Rant over.  I’ve done it for now anyway. So I continued my pro-active stance and converted BRAND LOYALTY and CHASING WAVES to Kindle lite (which is my version of just the text, none of the extras, which is part of a marketing strategy so clever and subtle I haven’t the time to go into it here. But it means I can put them out cheaper and not feel my self respect has had ‘a doing’ (as we say locally)  Brand Loyalty went up without a hitch and I only thought I should wait with Chasing Waves till the following day to avoid looking greedy (and so I can check the files once they’ve made them Amazonese) They left my computer well formatted… we’ll see how they turn out. It can’t be THAT easy, surely. It may be.  Something has to be.   And I’d done all this before lunch. ]

In other news:  My experience from virtually engaging with the LBF means that there are loads more places I can go to find information. Just what I need. Now I have to learn how to be more cyber efficient. I’ve started trying to work out RSS feeds but I’m not much more competent at it than at Twitter just now.  At the end of this journey I think we’re all going to be cyborgs.

Back to the ‘what I did this week list’…  During the time of the LBF I have been launching an ebook, (Voices in ma Heid)  putting it up free and checking its progress, ( it rose to #30 in the free short story bestsellers list) trying to sort out a hellish distributor cock-up and eventually working out how to extricate myself from our contract,  sort out my reviewer and submissions database for the IEBR site so people don’t get left not knowing if their work will be accepted or not. That’s a full time job in itself. Plus trying to write up 3 outstanding reviews and read my May ebooks prior to writing the reviews.  Add to that reading well over 300 emails and getting involved in discussions about alternative ways to sell or give away books outside the Ultimate  (oops sorry, Amazon) world (for that reference you have to buy Brand Loyalty… if you can…. Last time I looked there were about 5 options in WH Smith and only one of them had the right information. You’d be forgiven for thinking Ultimate did exist and was out to get me. ) But once the distributor has ‘deleted’ the titles on their databases I hope you’ll just be able to do the sensible thing and buy from ME.    Of that, more anon. Next week Voices will be FREE again for 2 days as part of the Authors Electric big giveaway (a virtual response to World Book Night)  so pick up your copy then and push me back up the rankings.

Oh, and then I was trying to live my life. You know, that real thing I once had.  The one where I have had to try and cram 2 x hospital appointments (great timing guys) and a trip for food shopping and 2 x dog walks a day and washing,cooking (not cleaning OBVIOUSLY  this is ALL just displacement activity from cleaning) mow half an acre of lawn in the one non raining moment we had, plant and check on young seedling (so that we may eat this year!) and… you get the picture.

One thing this week has taught me is that in this fast moving information overloaded world, a pause for reflection should not be overlooked. Rapid response is okay, but it potentially prevents us from seeing the bigger picture. Like not being there cannot (yet) replace being there when you’re trying to work out what’s going on.  Everything is being mediated to me and the notion of ‘truth’ becomes totally lost. Whose commentary can I trust? What are all the things I’m missing? And how will this all pan out in the end.  Twitter didn’t feature in Brand Loyalty. I’m glad. If I’d known about Twitter in any detail when I wrote the book I would probably have shot myself rather than complete it.


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