Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Day’s end…at last…almost

Oh, god…have i ever been this tired?

God to Puling Human: Well. Yes. Of course you have. What are you going on about?

Up at 4:30. Write today’s rant. Post it on the one Facebook writers’ group I’ve found that seems to be pretty darned good. Fiddle with the pool. Shower in the backyard hose, wash chlorine out of hair. Feed dogs. Bolt down breakfast.

Paint face. Throw on clothes. Put up damp hair. Fly out the door to Scottsdale. Sit through meeting.

Excused from buying new picture frame by son, who found one in his garage to replace the one that broke when it fell off the wall. Convenient, because it means I don’t have to hang around Paradise Valley after the meeting until Aaron Bros opens at 10 a.m.

Stop at Sprouts to buy a couple of grocery items on the way home. Starved: cook up some pasta as a snack.

La Maya invites me over to talk, lunch, and paint (or, in my case, draw).  Get a little work done here and then head to her place. Have incredible RM food (RM: that would the Real Mexican) for lunch, beside self with joy. Discuss life, the universe, and all that, “all that” including politics, academia, business, and art.

She suggests that where marketing is concerned, the better part of valor is face-to-face contact, NOT social media. Together we dream up the idea that I should approach Changing Hands, the only independent bookstore that still thrives in the Valley, and offer to do a workshop (they throw these things all the time) on some aspect of self-publishing. In the act, I peddle my wares to the attendees.

We also propose that I should compile another bookoid, to be produced in PoD format and distributed at these proposed shindigs, that would be filled with tips for writers and self-publishers. I realize I already have enough material to generate such a creature. Easily.

Furthermore, we consider the possibility that I should offer a service course along the same lines for one of the local junior colleges. This, she suggests, would create a small market for all the non-naughty bookoids (we think the naughty ones had better not be suggested to the minions of the local community college district): chances are good that most of the students would buy the things, especially if they could be offered at a deep discount for a week or two during the courselet’s duration.

This, I think, is an exceptionally good idea. Especially if one of the bookoids is the proposed compendium of writing tips. 🙂

Back at the Funny Farm, now I sift through the entire body of Plain & Simple Press posts, dating back to early 20 and ought-14. Come up with 48,950 words.

Not bad. I’ll need about 80,000 words, so am almost 5/8 of the way there. Some passages can be expanded upon — for example, a live link to some article somewhere else can be replaced with a precis of the article. An introduction will add about 1,500 or 2 ,000 words. And I have in print an entire textbook of writing advice, from which I intend to self-plagiarize liberally.

If Melania can rip off the First Lady, I surely can rip off myself.

Next, I open an email from Amazon, responding to my demand to know why TF the 99-cent sale of the six books I put up for countdown sales didn’t work. Amazon’s factotum informs me that the countdown sale is in effect: it was set to start at 3:00 p.m.

Ohhhkaaayyy… I check a couple of the books and find that indeed by then they are showing as available for 99 cents.

But on reflection, I’m pretty sure that even though these old eyes need a pair of glasses to read a damned computer screen accurately, and even though a 3 looks sort of like an 8, I still can tell the difference between a 3 and an 8 and between a letter a and a letter p. No problem. The difference is sterling clear. I do not believe for one effing minute that I entered 3 p.m. instead of 8 a.m. SIX GODDAMN TIMES. But whatever. It looks like the sale is now online, even though I’ve lost the advantage of making it available for 99 cents on the entire first day of the goddamn sale.

Just about to throw it in when a message comes over from Jackie: How come the cookbook is still selling for $9.99?

Shee-ut! Damned if it ain’t.

I open the Amazon factotum’s email by way of sending another annoyed inquiry when I discover that down near the bottom, well below the fold, she claims I never set up the 30 Pounds / 4 Months book for the Countdown Sale.

That, alas, is flat out not so.

The 30# book was the first one I set up. I remember it well because the annoyance factor was so high. After I screwed around with that, figuring out how to operate the software to create the sale, I moved on to Cabin Fever and set up all five of the naughty books. Then, I posted my ads on Twitter and several Facebook sites, merrily crowing that the books would go on sale on June 21.

Later, when I got a notice from Kindle reminding me that I’d made all these arrangements, I discovered that the sales were scheduled for JULY 21, not June 21.

Re-entering the website and navigating back to the place to set things up, I found to my amazement that the drop-down month calendar where you have to select the start day was a JULY calendar, not June — a bit of a surprise, since I did this on June 10, and so naively assumed the calendar they shoved in my face to be the June calendar.

Experimentation showed there was no choice of any other month: it was July or nothing. So I had to go back into each of the books I’d already set up, to confirm that in fact the date Amazon had arrogated was July 21, not the June 21 I believed I was selecting.

I think I would have noticed if I hadn’t set up a sale for the 30# book. If I’d opened 30# on the “Bookshelf,” which I most certainly would have done — first, since that’s the one I expected to make money and that’s also the only one for which an inane “countdown” sale can work effectively — I would have noticed if I’d never set up the sale.

Then I had to go back to each of the two ads, change the dates in PowerPoint, convert to PDF, convert to TIF, crop the TIF, resize the TIF, convert to JPEG, and repost all the ads I’d put everywhere on the goddamn social media. This annoyance was also something I would have noticed.

Really, dealing with Amazon is the sh!ts. Some damnfool thing happens EVERY TIME you try to do something. There’s always some complication, some unnecessary hassle, some mindless pointless restriction that makes your life difficult, SOMETHING. And every, single, goddamn time you respond to one of these by trying to do a workaround, that screws you up even worse!

Not ONE thing that I’ve attempted on Amazon, from trying to create a Goodreads Author Page to trying to establish a pseudonym for Roberta Stuart, has worked without some kind of headache or hassle. NOTHING is simple at Amazon. NOTHING works in any sensible way.

If Bernie would please bring back the antitrust laws, I personally would lead a coup* to clean out all the airheaded Republicans and Democrats and install the man as king.

*Dude, little CIA factotum: it’s a joke.

Author: funny

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  1. I’m curious, why do you go from PPT to TIFF for cropping/resizing to JPEG? I would personally use Adobe to design the ad, but I get it. You’ve not had good experiences with Adobe in the past. So using Powerpoint, it would seem in my mind to be less time consuming to create the ads if you set the Powerpoint slide size to be the size of the final ad. After you’ve created the ad, you can export directly from PPT to JPEG.

    • Well, my excuse is…pure knee-jerk. I’m following instructions that I learned from a guy who creates his Amazon book covers in PowerPoint. He insists that you have to jump through these hoops to get the best quality jpeg.

      He does not, however, explain WHY you have to do this series of hoop-jumps! And I must admit, I’ve thought occasionally that I should just go direct to JPEG without passing go…or PDF or TIFF. But usually I’m working under some time pressure and thinking that if it doesn’t work, then I’ll have to go back and do it over right, and that, I’m never in the mood for.

      Normally I do set the size in PPT, but it often seems to lose that in conversion, so to be sure it’s right, I resize (or with any luck just check the size) in the TIFF.

      If I had any sense, what I’d do is learn to use GIMP. That would require another learning curve, though, something I regard with intense laziness… 😉 Laziness trumps commonsense every time.

      • The nerd in me decided to see what resolution PPT was spitting out when I exported slides to jpeg. I exported a file and opened it in Photoshop. The size remained the same, but the resolution was low…54dpi to be exact. Web images are typically 72dpi and print is 300-600+dpi. Why bother offering the export function if the image will be of such low quality?

        I’ve looked at GIMP previously, but to me it looks more cumbersome to use than the newer versions of Photoshop. If the multistep process is working, I guess there’s no sense in breaking it.

      • The PPT process is cumbersome, too. You have to set the resolution in PPT and then check to be sure the resolution is correct in your PDF and TIFF. That may be why the guy recommends the hoop-jump. I save cover images (for example) at 350 dpi and then again at 72 dpi for use on the Web. The 350 dpi images seem to work for the printer: they come out clear and crisp, assuming the image was that way in the first place.

        WHY PPT would decide your image should be 54 dpi escapes me…holy mackerel, is that annoying or not?