The “wonder” of technology

So, my smartphone was starting to die a painful death as they all seem to do after a year or two theses days. We keep paying more and more for phones that last less and less time. I bit the bullet and ordered a new, latest model, which amazingly was delivered right to my front door less than 24 hours later. I was ecstatic, and paused my writing to activate my new phone. The postage stamp sized instructions that came with it said it would take around 15 minutes to activate the new one. It was lunchtime and I had 15 minutes to spare. I carefully turned on both phones, set them next to each other, followed the prompts and waited for the magic to happen. Little wheels turned, it looked like it was proceeding–then it stopped. I waited the 15 minutes, then 30 minutes, then an hour–nothing.

Meanwhile, the battery on my old phone died (the reason I needed a new phone) and the process came to a screeching halt. After plugging it back in, I tried again, same result. Okay, I must be doing something wrong, I needed help. Usually when my old, tecnologically challenged brain needs help, I reach out to some nice service representative to walk me through the process, but it was then I discovered that my old phone had been de-activated, but the new one had not been activated yet. Great. I felt like I was stranded on a desert island. In desperation, I turned to my computer and tried the “chat” option. I knew I would be talking to a bot somewhere, but I was hopeful. No such luck. Before they would address my problem, they said they needed to verify my identity. I typed in my user name and password and was then told I needed a verification number which they would text to me at my phone no. When I tired to explain that I didn’t currently have a working phone so they couldn’t text me, I got in an endless loop of standard responses like “would you like to buy a new phone?” and “Did you forgot your password?” I did what any rational person would do and resorted to tying my questions in ALL CAPS for effect. Of course, the bot didn’t care.

I wasted another hour, and finally decided, I’d have to get in my car and do this the old fashion way of driving somewhere to get help. I got in my car, pulled out of my garage, and grabbed my old phone to use goggle maps to find the nearest phone store. Of course, my phone didn’t work. Ran back in the house to my computer to search for a store and then tried to memorize the directions. How did we ever find our way before GPS? As I drove the 3 miles, through town to get to the store I have to admit I was a little nervous. I didn’t have a working phone with me. What if I had an accident or my car broke down? Those days when I was in college and I drove across the country with no phone, and many times in the middle of the night, were long forgotten.

Anyway, I made it to the store, only to be told that their activation system had been down all day. (It would have been nice to know that) At this point, I had no idea where my phone was in the process. No problem, said the girl (younger that my granddaughter) We can get your phone set up, so that when our system comes back up at approximately 6 pm tonight, you can activate your new phone. Two and a half hours later, after staring at the wheels turn round and round on the tiny screen, they told me to turn it off and then turn it on after 6 and it should activate. I drove home saying a tiny prayer that it worked. I’m happy to report that at 6:20, I had a new working phone 🙂 It had only taken 7 hours of my time to do so.

My point is, technology is great when it works. Not so great when it doesn’t. I wasted a day of time, but maybe gained a lesson in patience. It’s scary how much an old person like me is dependent on technology today. Maybe I should leave my phone at home more often, I used to be able to live without one. Who am I kidding? That’s not going to happen. but it was a nice thought. Hope your day was better than mine.

The nightmare that is formatting

So as you may know I recently published my first novel, Colorado Sunset, in Ebook format on Amazon. That was the easy part. I paid a wonderful lady (shout out to Lucinda Campbell) to do all of my e-formats for me and they look great.

But… then it came to the paperback version. Not finding anyone to do that for me, I plunged ahead. Like plunging into a deep dark ocean, but scarier!  I discovered cool features, like drop caps, to make my book look professional. That part was fun.  Then I muddled through the front and back matter, not as fun, but not too difficult, or so I thought.

Then came the headers, page numbers, etc, and this is where the nightmare really got going.  Of course, the odd and even pages had to be different so would be right in an actual book.  I would fix one, which would then mess up the other.  Fix that and suddenly all the numbers would disappear, or every page in my book would simply be page 2.  Finally, after many, many hours I got them all working AND THEN, I added my front matter-title page, dedication, copyright info, and yikes they had page numbers and now my other numbers were all off again. So, after much searching, I learned about sections, if the front pages were “simply” in a different section then I could delete, in theory, the page number from them. Right? Easy enough. NOT.

Finally, after several days, and I mean long days, the book looked perfect in Word format, I was thrilled and off I sent it to CreateSpace. First, it wouldn’t even accept my manuscript because there were blank pages, What? Where did that come from? No blank pages in my documents. So  back to the drawing board.  I could take out those pages, and  like magic the page numbers were now back on my front pages!  Hours and hours of more playing with it, reading countless proofs and I think a good majority of the errors were fixed before I uploaded it to Amazon.

If you order my book, please be forgiving.  And the worst part, I really wish I could tell you that I learned so much through this process that my next book will be so much easier. But that would be a lie. To tell you the truth, I have no idea how I did it, it was all dumb luck! Anyone want to format my next book?