My novella is finished. I have been through a first proofread myself. And my good friend Bonnie Hurd Smith has been kind enough to offer me a professional proofread and the best way I can thank her is to include the link for her latest book and hope that you will be kind enough to take a look at her site as well.
In the meantime, I have been going through the arduous process of trying to make my manuscript compatible to upload as an E-book by following the guide provided at the Smashwords Website. Smashwords offers a free service that allows you to convert your documents to an E-book format and then distributes the product through all of the major online retailers.
If I’ve made any of that sound easy, then I’m telling it wrong.
I’ve hit a snag that I hope won’t be too hard to fix. The guide so far has been full of neat graphic images to correlate with the words on the paper, making it easier for me to see what the writer intends for me to do. This works for me because I am visual learner. Unfortunately, I am at the part that tells me how to properly center the title page and other information that you usually find in the beginning of the book and while I am following the instructions as carefully as I can, there is no additional graphic to show me what I am doing wrong.
It’s not the author’s fault. Obviously, he’s doing something right if Smashwords has been around this long. I didn’t just stumble onto the site and think, “oh, that’s the Magic Path to success”. No, I heard it through a very reliable grapevine that another author whom I am just two degrees of separation away from has self-published through Smashwords. Then I researched the site and I decided I would be better off working with them than through Amazon or Lulu.
The problem is that being a visual learner, I have this extra step to work out and that is going to be notably frustrating to me. It’s even worse when you realize that every time I run into a snag like this, people become dismissive and act as if I have no right to even pursue something if I have to learn it in a way that is different from the other 99%. This is the problem I had in college when I was forced to take a self guided math course.
The problem is that yes, I can follow the instructions on the page reasonably well. I can even, with some basic guidance and instruction, work out a difficult math problem. But if you ask me to do that same math problem the next day, I find it difficult. Not because I have a “math disability” but because I’m just not good at certain math related functions that I don’t have any practical use for. Obviously I can use and manage money and do the four basic functions, but those are all things that I use every single day and so in that way my brain retains that information.
It’s just like how Julia Child wrote a book, but she also had a TV show. I can read a recipe and follow the instructions reasonably well. But I bet you that for every ten readers of her book, there were ten more that preferred to watch her show and were better able to learn how to follow a recipe by watching what she was doing and following her verbal instructions accordingly. No one was ever accused of having a “cooking disability” because they couldn’t read the recipe and apply what they learned without a visual aid.
Now I have to work extra hard to figure out how to format the title page and the Chapter headings according to the Smashword Guidelines. And I bet there’s no shortage of people who will read this and say, “Just find an easier way to do it. Or pay someone. If you can’t do those things, you have no business self publishing.”