A Rant Unrelated to Writing… Or Maybe It Is

I love social media.

Usually.

It’s fast, it’s easy. I can keep track of my friends and relatives without calling them. I can laugh at jokes and eCards, view photos and videos from all over the world, and shop for bargains. I can monitor world events, see what’s hot and what’s not, and find large bits of useful and useless information, both meaningful and dumb. I gave up my newspaper subscription, because 1. the Detroit News is a shadow of its former self, 2. news is readily available online, and 3. my bird died.

I especially love social media because I write. Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads (social media for writers), and Instagram – writers tend to use these forums to dispense information. I can check out my favorite authors’ new releases; I can research people and places; I can stalk agents (discreetly) and find out what they really think about us poor, helpless writer-schlubs. I can learn about upcoming contests quickly, thus freeing me from blog hopping all over the information superhighway. Saves both time and aspirin.

But social media isn’t all about ONE THING. It’s…well, social, meaning that what happens in the world spills over with some of these personalities. Believe me, I have narrowed my follows to people I really know or like, or authors, writers, agents, and/or others in the business. While I tend to shy away from the troll types, I engage with people who, quite frankly, I don’t agree with on many issues.

I’m not a pithy Tweeter, and I try to stay away from Facebook as much as possible. I love to be sociable, but these Internet water cooler-coffee klatch-parties are a time suck, my friends. My plate overfloweth. I run a business, a household, and I’m trying to write in between many crushing Real Life commitments.

That being said, while I like a nicely executed verbal exchange of ideas, there are things I do not like. One, I don’t care for a constant battering of positions which inevitably winds up some hapless soul being virtually lynched. I (and others) can have our opinions without being called stupid or worse.

Recently, I’ve noticed the online tone changing from an exchange of ideas to a pity party, where people tend to play the victim card with every revelation or change in government. I don’t care if you’re white, black, red or purple, I don’t care if you’re a man or a woman, straight or gay, born here or (like me) not, if you had perfect loving parents or were abused, I don’t even care if you’re a Donkey or an Elephant. Honest to God, when I look at people, I see none of this.

What irks me more than any or all of these distinctions is that people tend to claim victimhood as a valid argument for any position.

I suppose it’s because I’ve had my craw full this week. Not only do I see this online, I see this in offline relationships. If your mother was a child abuser, if your skin is a certain color, if your spouse cheated, if your boss is a bitch – all these are reasons to justify bad behavior. WHAT? (That sound you heard was my head hitting a brick wall.) First of all, why give the other side that much power? Secondly, if you’re over 18, why not own your situation and carry on? If you have brains and strength and chutzpah, figure out your problems and devise a workable solution.

I am a woman, I am of mixed race, I am old, I have issues. I’m flawed BIG TIME. A physically and emotionally abusive mother raised me. Never once in the last 57 years have I blamed any of my shortcomings on my external environment, that the “man” was keeping me down as a woman or anything else. That’s because I control my life and my destiny, and the parts I can’t control I deal with the best I can.

After ruminating on this revelation and my subsequent annoyance for a few hours (after shutting down Twitter, because I couldn’t stand it anymore), I realized that the victim card is played by aspiring authors too. I’ve been to plenty of writers conferences where there are a few disgruntled and unhappy attendees. They see other writers as enemies or rivals, and agents as tyrants. Perhaps their manuscripts aren‘t the next Harry Potter and need more work. Instead of taking control of their work and their destiny, they choose to play the blame game.

It’s so much easier, right?

Grow and let go.

Rant over.

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Book Baby-ing It – Part Two

When last you left me, I had uploaded my work onto Book Baby and was waiting for the shiny new proof of Virtually Yours to arrive in my inbox. So I waited. And chewed down my fingernails. And waited. And emailed. And waited and waited some more.

After ten anxiety-ridden days of terror, most of which included thoughts of “Should I do this?” “Am I nuts?” and of course, the perennial favorite, “Am I ready?”, word came of my proof being ready. Wha-zzaa! But wait (I’ve already been waiting, so I was used to it), by the time the congratulatory email arrived, I was still in San Francisco. I was also by that time terribly ill and not in the mood to tackle anything on the screen. So I thought I’d hang for a couple of days and see what was up once I was safely on my own turf.

Once back in Michigan, I opened the email, which directed me back to my Book Baby account. There I found instructions as to the next step. (Remember, I so judiciously decided to spend the extra bucks on the proof. Thank the Lord, as you shall learn a few paragraphs down.)

There was a huge problem with the proof, and the problem began before I even got a glance at the e-printed page. For one thing, one must upload the file onto an e-reader or iPad.

I have an iPad (older version), and had no problem in the past with uploading purchased books. But files…that’s another story. I’d never done it before. And you know me… s – l – o – w when it comes to the wondrousness of the Internet and our modern technology. This is the kind of technological clod I am: I’ll be texting my daughter, and write the response I want to give her down on a pad of paper before I realize what I’ve done. Like DUH.

I had to download the file to my computer, then upload (or backload, or sideload, whatever) onto the iPad. You’d think this would be easy, but noooo. For one thing, my computer didn’t recognize that my iPad was connected to it. Which is funny, because when I connect to iTunes, it knows my credit card information to charge me for books, movies, and music. I could see the actual file on my computer, but I couldn’t copy it onto my iPad, since it didn’t exist in my computer’s mind.

Stymied, on Saturday, I had to give up. I tried all three recommended ways of getting the file – through iTunes, through Kindle, etc.; it just wasn’t working. I also realized an e-book I purchased from Amazon while in San Francisco wasn’t showing up on my Kindle app. Snap. My problems were multiplying.

Yesterday I gave it another go. The iPad was dusted off (let me tell you, it was dusty when I’d unearthed it), charged up, and ready to go. I was feeling much better and had taken a couple of tylenol as a preventative measure. I followed the steps on the Book Baby site, as well as on the Apple site.

I’m not sure how it happened, but there it was! My book! It was in my library, along with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. (I’m downloading the weighty classics on the iPad. They’re so physically heavy. And this one was free.)

The cover looked fab (although I’m still having cover-second-thoughts), and the beginning pages were great! Then I noticed a few formatting glitches. And spelling errors. Oy vay.

I had to hold the presses, as they say.

My next step is to fix the errors and continue on.

More later…

The First Query

I sent out my first query for Finding Cadence yesterday by Internet. I twittered and posted that I’m waiting for a rejection. Hope that doesn’t sound self-defeating. I know there will be plenty of rejections in my future, and while I have faith that I’ll be published (someday) I’m just keeping a level head. It’s also important not to take rejection seriously.

I guess I’ve been used to that all my life. This is what I believe, don’t expect too much and life will never let you down.

Back to editing and re-write…