‘And I want to be a paperback writer…’ So goes a line from the Lennon/McCartney lyrics of their song, “Paperback Writer”. I, too, want to be a paperback writer. But like the song says, ‘I need a break’! Not from trying to be a paperback writer – I am that already with titles converted into paperback by others from my earlier hardback novels. My frustration lies in my decision to take on board the advice of a friend (an avid reader – not of my mystery/thriller/romantic fiction Ebooks, I’m sorry to say, but of erotica!) who prefers a digital format for taking on holiday, but paperback for everyday reading.
Deviating for a moment, I would never have guessed at my friend’s choice of reading matter until I enquired if I might take a quick look at her latest paperback purchase to get some idea of the best way forward with my own publishing efforts in this medium. I was given a list as long as my arm of reasons why she couldn’t oblige me. Pity… I would have enjoyed a crafty free read while carrying out my research!
I was left with no immediate alternative. I had to fly by the seat of my pants and, up to a point, managed to stay airborne for the first three novels I converted from digital format to paperback. But not without problems. The biggest – how to insert consecutive page numbering in a paperback novel.
It happens every time I start on the conversion of another of my Kindle edition titles. My computer is evil. It waits for me to reach the point where I need to insert page numbering and it deliberately hides the option from me. (I’m quite sure I’m not alone here, and that this happens to other paperback writer/publishers.) It can take me ages to find the correct sequence of options and even then it’s wholly by chance that I strike oil, so to speak. I have absolutely no idea what I’ve finally done right, which means the problem is still there, smugly waiting for me next time round!
But, fortunately, there are interesting diversions along the way to lighten my struggle. There was the day I suddenly heard a cry, loud and clear, HELP! HELP! My inner self, I thought, crying out for help with this persistent problem of mine with page numbering. And then I realised that it was a male voice I could hear.
With a certain amount of relief, I escaped my page numbering struggle for that day to investigate. Panic stations. The plumber working upstairs had forgotten to isolate the water intake to the toilet he was working on and the house was flooding. At least two inches of water covered the bathroom floor, most of which, by the time I got there with my arms full of all the thick bath towels I could grab up, had proceeded from there into the nearest bedroom and then down through the kitchen ceiling, which developed an attention grabbing feature of a cascading waterfall from the central light fitting.
My two greyhounds, Dylan and Gez, seem to have a sixth sense about my stress levels with my wanting to be a paperback writer. They will suddenly appear in the doorway of my workroom and stare me out, standing steadfast in their resolve until I make that magical sound – in their ears – of shutting down. This insistence of theirs in forcing a work-break in this manner became something of a revelation the day I discovered that I had been born the wrong sex. While we were out walking, I met up with an elderly neighbour who told me of her seven-year-old grandson’s hatred of school. As he intends to be a farmer, she pointed out to him that he would need schooling in order to do the books for his farm when he grows up. ‘Nah,’ he said. ‘My missus will do them!’
I shall remember this sage advice should there happen to be such a thing as reincarnation and I decide that, like another line from the Lennon/McCartney song – and to paraphrase – ‘I’ll be writing (paperback publishing) more in a week or two’, to make sure that I come back as a male and leave it to my “missus” to do battle with that wretched page numbering feature I must insert into my paperback novels.
Nothing else for it but to soldier on. Alone.