JURY DUTY


My father used to always say, “If nothing else works try reading the directions.” Good advice, and I’m pretty sure I know why he said that. It might be because he was like me. We both thought we were smarter than we actually are and we didn’t need the directions. Something that looks pretty straightforward must be, right? If it looks simple it is simple. It’s a law of the universe. Why would you ever need to read through and follow those tedious directions? Those are written for idiots not brilliant people like us.

I’m famously not techie. I can barely operate acell phone and only recently learned how to text and am notoriously bad at it. I’m a whiz at Word, but I’m using the 2003 version. My laptop is circa 2005. If I update anything (God forbid) I might have to learn something new. If I need to know some technological twist, I ask a 20-something. Better yet, a teenager. They grew up surrounded by technology. I did not.

The decision to independently publish one’s work is a process scattered with pitfalls. It looks easy. It sounds like it’s easy. Everyone else is doing it. Why can’t I? Hmmm. Well. Because a) I don’t read the directions; b) when I do read the directions I don’t understand them; c) I don’t read ALL of the directions, only the parts I think I need to know; d) I tell myself and anyone else who will listen that I’m bad at this kind of stuff and therefore I can’t be expected to figure it out.

I was summoned for jury duty this week. As I am more than willing to do my civic duty, I informed my manager of my summons. He responded by giving me the entire week off (even though I’m number 555, it’s already Thursday and I haven’t had to report in). Who am I to argue when I’m given five days off in a row? Now I have all the time in the world to sit down and concentrate on the Createspace templates and formats so I can get my independently published eBooks into print.

I already paid my 20-something daughter a rather significant fee to do one book for me. I’ve discovered I can pay another expert $75 to format a book for me. But with this kind of time and nothing to lose, surely I can teach myself how to do it. All I have to do is concentrate. Experiment. Apply myself to the process.

I believe I mentioned today is Thursday. I started fooling with the templates on Monday. I forgive myself Wednesday because I had a migraine and couldn’t concentrate on anything. And Tuesday was given over to appointments elsewhere and miscellaneous other distractions, so I didn’t get much done that day.

Which means today is the day! I had a problem with the basic template on Monday. I kept hitting a glitch numbering the pages. Today I decided to attempt the formatted template. It seemed to be working pretty well until I ran into a glitch with the insertion of blank pages where I don’t want them to be.

Because I am a hands-on kind of person, I have the instructions printed out in front of me. I’ve read through them a number of times, but apparently that wasn’t enough for me to comprehend them. I’ve just discovered that I’ve been trying to insert my chapters into the sections intended for the table of contents. It occurs to me that this is perhaps why I have a spacing problem. Or a space-y problem. It’s possible this is also why I couldn’t make the basic template work…

Here is what I’ve learned from being called for jury duty: IF NOTHING ELSE WORKS READ THE DIRECTIONS!

Visit me at www.barbmeyers.com
Follow me on Twitter @barbmeyers (my romance author persona) or @ajtillock (my alter ego persona and author of #The Forbidden Bean)

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