I was once again reminded how important it is to back up my writing when my MacBook Air did something strange which resulted in having to erase the hard-drive and reinstall the operating system, and the programs, and get all my docs, etc. back on the laptop.
As I said to one person, I'm a "belt and suspenders" and fitting pants type person. This means, I daily save copies of what I'm working on to Dropbox. So if I'm working on a story on my desktop, files get copied manually to go into Dropbox to be put manually on my laptop, and vice versa. My desktop files are automatically backed up by Carbonite.
Saturday was when things got weird. Somehow my MacBook Air decided to encrypt the files. It couldn't be stopped. The progress bar said it would take days, no, years to finish. I tried letting my machine resolve it's problem itself, but after 24 hours it was obvious it wasn't going to. Boo!
Monday I called Apple Support. With their guidance I was able to erase the hard-drive (not a step I wanted to take unless I knew for sure I had to do it), but I wasn't able to reinstall the OS via the internet. Boo! Trip to the Apple store (with an appointment made ahead of time) and system reinstalled. Yea!
Next I used Migration Assistant to transfer stuff from my windows PC to my Mac. Have done this successfully before. This time, it took many many hours, then crashed. Boo! Today I hopefully have caught all the files that didn't transfer by hand copying over our local wifi. Yea!
Then I downloaded Office 365. It failed. Boo! Redownloaded and it worked. Installed. Yea! Working on setting programs up how I want them. Haven't yet figured out why save as isn't working as I want it to. Remember having to change a setting somewhere, but where is it... My sweet husband found it. Really simple when you know how, but not obvious. At least it is fixed. Yea!
So the writing I wanted to work on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and today, hasn't been done. But at least I'm making progress on being back in business. Yea!
If I hadn't been backing up, protecting my documents, there would have been a mad scramble to do so. Or it could have been a catastrophe of failure, if I hadn't been able to back it up. Boo!
Don't lose your stuff by failing to back up! Crashing and burning is not fun.
Mistake one: Recently a blogger vilified a small publisher for stating what they didn't publish, which happened to be LGBT themed books. Others joined in and said how terrible the publisher was because of this. Tweets and comments and an uproar resulted.
My thought process: Publishers invest money in what they are passionate about. They publish books they can be passionate about. Why should they publish something that doesn't fit that? (This publisher could also have stated they didn't publish nonfiction, which is true as well.) I know their are publishers who don't publish religious fiction. Getting upset about that is a waste of time.
Lesson to be learned: Don't be a complainer--a hater, as the blogger implied about the publisher. Move on to a publisher who does fit what you want to read and publish.
Mistake two: Small publisher took this too personally. Shared about it with her authors on a private Facebook page. Got upset and without seeming to think it through offered rights back to her authors who agreed with the blogger. A few days later, rescinded that offer as the submissions guidelines had been there all along.
My thought process: Like reviews of a book, authors are told not to take one person's opinion too much to heart. Don't dwell on negative comments. Wait and see what happens.
Lesson to be learned: When you're upset is not the time to make important decisions.
Mistake three: One of the authors who wants her rights back was upset about the guidelines. She'd sold the book through an agent and had never read the guidelines.
My thought process: You didn't research the publisher the agent recommended? Ouch. You have a signed contract now. I don't know whether what the publisher said on a Facebook page about giving rights back will hold up. Or even whether it should or shouldn't.
Lesson to be learned: Make sure you read about a publisher, even if your agent has gotten you a contract, before you sign. And know that you aren't going to agree 100% about everything with any publisher.
Here's what has happened since. In this order...
Publisher decided to change her submission guidelines.
Blogger decided to apologize to publisher with another blog post before he knew about the change.
Publisher shared with her authors that they had talked in person and about the new blog post.
Authors are still angry or upset--some at blogger and some at publisher.
Matthew 18:15 says: “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over." I realized this is written for Christians dealing with other Christians, but the principle can prevent a lot of pain if we don't complain about another, who now complains about our complaining, and others get involved complaining on both sides.
This is a good reminder to me.
We all make mistakes, but sometimes we can learn from other's mistakes as well as our own.
Publishing, like many businesses, is a hurry-up-and-wait experience. Submit a manuscript and wait to hear a response. Get an acceptance and wait for the contract. Sign the contract and wait for edits. Get editorial notes, and often a short deadline. Turn in the edited manuscript and wait for more edits. Rinse and repeated as needed. Get copy edits and work on those to meet the next deadline.
This week I went through a second round of copy edits. The number of mistakes still remaining is humbling. Obviously, I’m not so good at seeing errors as I thought. Thanks for making this book better, copy editors!
Now I’m on another “wait” square on the playing board. I don’t know what the next move will be.
A preview of the cover? That would be fun. Since my ebook is slated to be out this summer, someone must be working on the face of the book, right? I hope so. What will it look like? Will I be pleased or merely satisfied with the images, layout, and design? (I’m not expecting a bad cover as I like the publishing house’s covers!)
A third round of copy edits?
Or will there be something I haven’t even thought of?
I know I’m fortunate. A print book would have even a longer waiting time. So while I wait, I’ll stifle impatience and apply what I’ve learned on other manuscripts. (And try not to watch my email inbox as these cats are watching the clock.)
SM Ford writes inspirational fiction for adults, although teens may find the stories of interest, too. She also loves assisting other writers on their journeys.