I bumped into this amusing YouTube video earlier in the week. I have no idea why YouTube recommended it to me. Maybe it was because I accidentally viewed a video about umbrellas the week before. For whatever reason the algorithm decided to highlight it for me, and there it was, waiting to be clicked. Out of curiosity I did and it is pure comedy gold.
It turns out issues with call centers are the same for everyone, even if that everyone bought a $500,000 Rolls Royce Dawn.
The scenario starts with the owner talking about the Rolls Royce umbrella. Rolls Royce puts an umbrella in the door frame of the car so that you can pull it out and not get wet (well, more to the point, your chauffeur can). The owner does not know how the umbrella works.
So, the owner decides to call Rolls Royce (because he thinks the instructions won’t be in the manual). Only BMW answers the call. Because they own Rolls Royce. And there in follows the typical exchange where the call center is utterly unhelpful, although in a pleasant way, while passing the call from person to person, and offering precisely zero information.
Skip through to 3:10 to see the start of the umbrella dilemma and then to 12:26 to hear a high-end call center for a very expensive car in action. Then keep watching for the attempt at reading the owner’s manual, which doesn’t quite spell out how to open the umbrella but hints at the correct technique by describing how to close the umbrella.
The upshot of this video is: despite paying huge sums of money for a car, the owner’s manual is still terrible, and the call center can’t help.
Somehow this makes me feel better about my average lifestyle.
I haven’t posted for months. This was because during my enthusiastic push to finish some outstanding home maintenance, I wrecked the tendon in my left thumb. Well, perhaps not wrecked. I mean it was still there. It’s just that it would no longer bend without making a horrible clicking sound, and as time wore on it would bend but not bend back. (I discovered that people freak out when other people have a thumb bent at an odd angle and it stays there.) And finally, it didn’t bend at all. It stayed permanently straight for two and a half months.
And just to really annoy me, it hurt to type.
So, I scaled back a bit and dedicated my limited keyboard hours to my second book (first novel), and everything else got shoved to one side. Like this blog. And the stories I intended to post to Wattpad. And loads of other stuff.
On the good side, at long last I had an excuse to hire a housekeeper (and when I say ‘housekeeper’ I mean a local teenager who needs to save money for nursing school). “It’s me tendon, see. It don’t bend like it used to. Can’t do no cleaning around the house as it hurts me delicate widdle hand. And I’m old. Me knees. Me knees…” The physiotherapist told me that being lazy seemed to be helping as every time I tried to mop my floor, or vacuum the carpet I made my thumb worse. Encouraged by a valid medical reason to shirk my household duties, I promptly hired someone to weed my garden.
Two weeks ago my thumb suddenly started to bend again without causing me blinding pain. Ironically it was when I was getting an ultrasound for my thumb so the physiotherapist could figure out what was going on. He seemed vaguely disappointed that my thumb had decided to cooperate as he’d been pushing for a steroid injection for weeks.
But I’m not complaining as here I am, right at the end of August (having injured it in May), with a working thumb.
I guess I’d better start blogging again…
Ian McEwan helps his kid with an essay for English A-Levels, gets a C+ because the teacher disagrees with the author’s own thoughts about author’s own book. 🤣🤣🤣
In other news: literary books sales are down because… literary.
UPDATE (29 August 2018): I removed the only story I got around to posting on Wattpad. Why? See my later post.
I made a decision this week that I’m posting my stories and novels to Wattpad. Why? Well, mainly because I have the rejection constitution of a mouse. A teeny tiny baby mouse. The last rejection straw was broken earlier in the week when a low-rent indie publisher turned down my novel. All the publisher did was format manuscripts into e-books and POD (print on demand) copies on the author’s behalf. Something writers with a bit of patience can do themselves. Yes, they also offered the traditional aspects of editing (by an untrained editor), and cover design (really awful cover design) but that was about it.
At which point, the decision (for me) was made. If it’s a choice between keeping the writing process enjoyable and getting rid of the pressure to ‘sell myself’ I’d rather just write for free. Having a manuscript lying around unread by anyone while I try to shop it around to agents and publishers and wait months and months to get turned down? 🤮 No, thanks.
Contributing to the decision was the fact that I’m just not a social media person. I’ve tried, Lord knows I’ve tried, but connecting to Facebook and having a Twitter account? Ugh, no. I always feel like a permanent idiot.
Anyway, I’ll still have copies available on Amazon (both as a Kindle version and a paperback), just in case someone actually wants something a little more substantial. However continuing to use Amazon is purely a technical decision. I need somewhere to store my files, and Amazon provides that platform. BTW, I am not in KDP Select, and from what I can tell, if an author isn’t in KDP Select, Amazon really doesn’t give a sh*t if you published the book elsewhere.
So, if you’re a Wattpad user, or your interested in free stuff, head on over there and login/signup…
I attend (or more to the point attended) a local, writing group every third Saturday. The fact that it was only a six minute drive away from my home was probably the reason I attended. And also, it was small. One month we had 14 people turn up and we ran out of chairs.
But, after a year (or maybe it’s two) of consistently turning up, I decided that I had better things to do with my time. Mainly because it was of zero help with the actual task of writing. And I’m over the anti-writing sentiments. No one was reading outside of the genre they wrote in. Which made asking for help tricky because no one was going to read anything outside of their comfort zone anyway.
There was also the general expressions of horror when someone revealed that they plotted their novel. Real writers just wrote because they could hear what their characters were saying in their heads. And someone was using a PC and not a Mac? Not a real writer.
And don’t get me started on the anti-literature streak. God forbid I admitted that I’d been trying to read Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. That meant I was reading ‘literature’ and ‘literature’ was all that was wrong with the world of fiction. (And when I say ‘trying to read’ I really mean it. That book is like my own personal Everest and I’m always stuck at the base camp.)
Any hoo, writing groups can be valuable in that you meet people who also write. Where it’s not valuable is meeting people who want to write. That is, your writing group can probably be split into two categories: people who want to write but haven’t written a thing (or never finish) and people who have written, finished, and started their next book.
This video sums it up. Contains strong language. If you hate people cursing then you should go and do other things, or get smelling salts.
The heart warming tale of a published author basking in the glow of her many successful novels… not.
I managed to finish my book (at long last) in December of 2017. After that I took a break and traveled to my parent’s place for the holidays and provided the family with IT support (ah, Christmas traditions). When I got back home, I set about writing query letters to agents.
I decided that this is an oddly depressing activity. I’ve made the effort to write an entire novel and now I’m faced with begging someone to read it in the vain hope that this same mysterious someone thinks they can make money from it.
My depression wasn’t helped by reading this article in The Atlantic: Why I’m Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
I cannot imagine spending a decade trying to get a book deal. Especially when the article’s author managed to score a literary agent on multiple occasions only to be dumped when the agent couldn’t sell the manuscript. I’m going to lose interest in six months. Probably less. (A Writers’ Digest article suggested that an author should query 80 agents. To which I say, “I’m too lazy. Also, I have better things to do with my life.”)
Also, querying agents is an oddly bizarre activity. I’m hard pressed to think of other careers/jobs that come with these types of rules. Can you imagine other industries working in this way? “I’m sorry. You have years of experience, and you graduated with good grades but we won’t consider you a chef until you have an agent. The agent must have negotiated a deal with one of the big five restaurant chains that we consider legitimate producers of approved meals. And sure, you could be one of those chefs that starts their own restaurant and produces imaginative and innovative meals but we all know you wouldn’t be a real chef.”
Or a band producing their own music and loading their songs to iTunes and Spotify. “Well, you know, they’re not real musicians. Self-producing their own music is proof of that.” Or some poor actor. “Well, sure you worked on Broadway but we only consider you a legitimate actor if you’ve got an agent and you were in a movie made by one of the top five directors.” I should qualify this by saying that an actor’s life is pretty tough but at the moment I don’t think actors are stopped from auditioning on the ground they’re not ‘legitimate’ because they’ve never worked with Steven Spielberg.
Anyway, the pointless task of querying agents will continue for a few months at least. I’m just not sure I have the patience to wait around for an approval e-mail that somehow legitimizes me as a writer.