Category: Writer’ Masochism

Old People, Computers and Technology–It’s Simply Cruel

Sandy's Sad

All I wanted to do was make a lousy video …

I’ve been grappling with Animoto.com all day, trying to produce a really good video for my new Christmas paranormal romance In Love by Christmas, also known as ILBC. I did create such a video. I produced about twelve, all sightly different. Different music, theme, words. I also fixed typos on the videos I’d just made and the ones I produced yesterday. As you know, typos multiply any time you take your eyes off your text. God knows what goes on on my hard-drive or in the cloud at night. Typo frolics of a reproductive kind.

Yesterday, I made some other videos of ILBC and posted them. Actually, I didn’t post them. Unbeknownst to me, my Animoto account has tentacles more invasive than an octopus’s, so that any little thing I finish is promulgated all over my cyber/social universe. All the “toss this stinkeroo in the trash” versions seem to end up on my FB wall. Other places, too, most likely. But, to continue …

Despite this, I really like Animoto.com as a way to make book videos. I can use their technology and produce stunning results. But PLAYING videos from their site … I don’t like so much. Those files hit so many snags they might have been using some of my old pantyhose as a power source. Takes so long to play a vid that even my MOM wouldn’t hang in there.

My web guy, Don Herion, suggested hosting my videos on Vimeo or Smugmug, as faster, higher quality places to mount my results. I tried Vimeo and found that it had superior play back to Animoto.com’s , but NOT superior enough. My MOM would lose interest after the second stall, plus all that jiggling made me dizzy. So I got on Smugmug and signed up for their free trial. Yesterday. If you hit that link in two weeks, it may not exist, as will be explained below.

Smugmug gives you this amazing website, all yours, if you can figure out how to use it. It’s very chic and stylish, design-wise, which means that if there are any controls for the site, I can’t find them. So, I won’t sign on for more than the free two weeks unless I make amazing progress in the cyber dimension. If a 69-year-old woman with two advanced degrees can’t find the friggin’ controls in two weeks, it’s not worth paying for.

Although I seem to be rambling, I’m writing about the elderly and technology. Did I mention that my husband got not only a brand new iPhone 6+, but a new Apple laptop to go with it? GO BARRY! After a week, he can competently answer the phone, without dropping the device from his belt holster. Today, he was working on ANSWERING EMAIL with his new laptop.

This afternoon, we practiced the New Intimacy: he sat at one end of our family room with his new toys while I sat on the other end with my sturdy 27″ iMac, attempting to produce the perfect video for In Love by Christmas, or ILBC, as I may have said, perhaps several times. I did make several, if I could remember which ones were the good ones. Also, I somehow erased the vids I’d previously sent to Vimeo and to Don Herion, my web guy, to post on my website. So those are all screwed up, as is the video embeds and locations I sent my publicist. This is really important, because THE BIG PUSH starts soon and he needs to get the visuals out there.

IN LOVE BY CHRISTMAS ANIMOTO

This is how the front image of "winning vid" for ILBC looks on my Animoto page.

This afternoon, I sat in my ergonomically designed chair, swearing softly at the short, computerized films bursting from the screen, listening to my husband swear at his new computer and phone. I did help him once or twice, “Push this arrow to return an email.”

This is how people relate in this new age. Sort of like sitting on opposite banks of a river, throwing electronic tomatoes at each other.

Basically, technology for those over sixty is dicey. Even for younger people, sometimes. I believe the cyber age responsible for the degeneration of our social order, which isn’t saying much. You’ve been out to dinner and looked at the next table, to find everyone on his or her smart phone. You’ve shaken your head and tskked sadly, until you got a text you had to answer.

The the problem is not technology, it’s learning how to use it. Every family should be assigned a 12-year-old from the local elementary school to teach the elders how to at least get to the gaming apps. That’s only right.

Meanwhile, here’s the vid I made on Animoto, transposed to Vimeo. You should be able to watch it easily by clicking appropriately, though it may stutter a bit the first run through. The Smugmug version will take me longer to post. I have to find the controls.

So, I did produce the #@^!! video. I’m not saying that the elderly can’t do tech stuff. We can. We may simply use unseemly vocabulary for long periods while doing it. This is not a sin. Old folks have feelings, too, and need to express them. Sometimes, %&*%#!! isn’t enough. But it was today. Enjoy the video.

Next time I’ll tell you about making Christmas presents for your loved ones using the graphics of your book covers. This is not as easy as it sounds, even given the plethora of companies promising the mouse pad of your dreams, or your hubby’s dreams. (Or porcelain mugs, my particular weakness.) That’s another story.

Sandy Nathan

And here’s the beast itself:

IN LOVE BY CHRISTMAS – NOEL VERSION 12/12/14 from Sandy Nathan on Vimeo.

Leroy Watches Jr. is a shaman whose Power sometimes makes things worse. Despite his flaw, he must save his soul mate from her addictions, her father, and Evil Incarnate, or she’ll be damned forever.

Leroy embarks on a pilgrimage that takes him to the highest levels of European society. As he travels, his shamanic Power grows. So does the Dark Lord’s hatred of him.

His prospective father-in-law demands that Leroy and Cass be in love by Christmas. Can they be?

If that doesn’t work, this link to the video on Vimeo will.

Plucky Grandmother Fights Amazon and Loses. And then Wins, Maybe

Those of you who’ve following my Plucky Grandmother series, here and here, will know that I’d scheduled promotional days where two of my Kindle eBooks will be offered free. The promotion is this weekend, October 12, 13, & 14th.

Except that one of my books which is supposed to be in the event, The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy, was/is listed on Apple’s iBookstore. I didn’t know it until Amazon told me about it. If you’re in Amazon’s KDP program, which allows you to give away your Kindle eBooks, you’re not allowed distribute anywhere else.

During a series of supremely unhelpful emails between Amazon and me, I attempted to explain that I wasn’t flaunting their rules, but trying to fix a mistake. Apple was having trouble getting my book off the iBookstore. When I got no answer, I assumed I lost the argument. Then I received the following email from Amazon.

The Angel Is Accepted in KDP!

The email congratulates me on getting my eBook into the KDP Select program. But it’s been in the program since May. It’s already had one KDP Free Promotion. Was that email Amazon’s way of saying, “We hear you, Sandy, here’s a few more days to get The Angel exclusive to Amazon?” I have no idea. Bizarre.

The only way I’ll know is to wait and see if The Angel is free tomorrow. Oh, the surprises of the morn!

Just in case  The Angel is not free,  I lowered the price to 99 cents. I’ve contacted about a million sites  on the Net telling people the book was going to be free. I didn’t want people to be disappointed when they click the page and it’s not free. Ninety-nine cents is as low as Amazon allows a price to be set. I did my best.

Here’s some info about the books in the promotion. I’d give the Tales from Earth’s End Saga, of which The Angel is the first book, an R rating if it was a movie. It contains violence, strong language, and sexuality. I don’t write like a grandmother, but I don’t go over the top, either. The books are about the end of the world, a police state and fight for survival. A long way from Oz.

The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy

The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy

The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy  The first book in the Tales from Earth’s End Saga gets the ball rolling. What’s the ball? The planet Earth. Tomorrow morning, a nuclear holocaust will destroy the planet. Two people carry the keys to survival: A teenage boy and an intergalactic traveler. And a bunch more fascinating characters, too. The book is an ensemble piece where the prize is survival.

Winner of 4 national awards, including the Gold Medal in Visionary Fiction at the IPPY Awards.

This book will be free, maybe, October 12, 13, & 14. If it’s not free, it will be 99 cents. That is still a deal!

 

Lady Grace

Lady Grace

Lady Grace: A Thrilling Adventure Wrapped in the Embrace of Epic Love Tales from Earth’s End Saga, Book 2. Here’s a review that says it all:
FIVE STARS! A MODERN SCI-FI MASTERPIECE Lady Grace was first-rate science fiction and one of the most absorbing page-turners of that genre that I’ve read in years. Author Sandy Nathan exhibits the imagination of Ray Bradbury combined with the whimsicalness of Douglas Adams. That’s high praise, but it’s warranted. The story includes so much action; tense, suspenseful drama; and two charming love stories that it’s irresistible.” J. Chambers, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer (#29 at this writing)

This book will be free October 12, 13, & 14.

 

Sam & Emily: A Lovestory from the Underground

Sam & Emily: A Love Story from the Underground

Sam & Emily: A Love Story from the Underground Tales from Earth’s End Saga, Book 3.The book is a love story; it focuses on a relationship and has a different feeling than the other two books. This is my favorite book. Here’s a review:

5 stars out of 5! A gripping story of life after the world ends . . . fascinating and reminiscent of Stephen King’s epic masterpiece – The Stand.  Sam & Emily is by far my favorite . . . in the series.  It will leave you thinking well after turning the last page.
Todd A. Fonseca, bestselling author of The Time Cavern

This book is not included in the promotion, but will be in future promotions.

 

 

Tales from Earth's End

 

Tales from Earth’s End: The Boxed Set  A giant eBook containing all three books is in production!

This set is not included in the promotion, but will be in future promotions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s it! Until the Plucky Grandmother speaks again–– don’t let ‘em push you around!

Sandy Nathan, Award-winning Author

Sandy Nathan’s writing has won twenty-two national awards. She’s won in categories from memoir, to visionary fiction, to children’s nonfiction. And more.

Sandy’s  books are: (Click link to the left for more information on each book. All links below go to Kindle sale pages.)
Sam & Emily: A Love Story from the Underground (paperback. Kindle coming)
Lady Grace: A Thrilling Adventure Wrapped in the Embrace of Epic Love (paperback. Kindle coming)
The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy
Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money

Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could

Stepping Off the Edge: Learning & Living Spiritual Practice

 

 

 

Plucky Grandmother Loses Battle with Amazon, Wins with BookBaby. Apple’s Trying Hard to Be Helpful

The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy

The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy - The subject of controversy. You wouldn't think an angel could cause this much fuss. The Angel occurs the night before a nuclear holocaust wipes out our world. It features an extraterrestrial visitor who comes to Earth on a mission to save her planet and a sixteen-year-old tech genius who has the skills to save our world. It's won four national awards, including the Gold Medal in the IPPYs and the Visionary Fiction category in the Indie Excellence Awards. It is available on Amazon in print and Kindle formats, though not in the KDP program any more.

If you wonder what I’m talking about in the title, check out yesterday’s post.  My eBooks are on Amazon’s KDP program, which means you have to distribute your eBooks exclusively through Amazon. This gives you the right to give away your books as a promotion for 5 days out of the 90 day enrollment period.

One of my books inadvertently was left on Apple’s iBookstore when I signed up for KDP. I didn’t know about it. Amazon found the book for sale on line and told me I had 10 days to get if off the iBookstore or get kicked out of the KDP program. (This was about ten days ago.) I found out that  BookBaby.com, my secondary distributor, had pulled it off the iBookstore site six months ago.

For some reason, my book, The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy, stayed for sale on the iBookstore.

Why? I don’t know. Apple doesn’t know. They’re working on it. But! I have a KDP promotion scheduled THIS WEEKEND, October 12, 13, and 14. I’ve advertised it. I’ve promoted it. I want to go through with it.

I wrote Amazon and explained all this, asking for a few days for Apple to figure out the problem and let me do this weekend’s KDP program with one less worry. I sent Amazon records from BookBaby indicating they had pulled the title from the iBookstore. I sent copies of my emails to Apple & their response. I got down on my hands and knees and begged. This is Amazon’s response, taken from their email earlier today:

Hello Sandy,

When you choose KDP Select for a book, you’re committing to make the digital format of that book available exclusively through KDP.

Publishing your content in multiple parts or a varied format on another site is not acceptable. All content made exclusive to Amazon in KDP Select must remain for sale on our site only. However, you may choose to make up to 10% of your book available on other sites as a sample.

During the period of your book’s enrollment in KDP Select, you cannot distribute your book digitally anywhere else, including on your website, blogs, etc. However, you can continue to distribute your book in physical format, or in any format other than digital.

Be sure to look at the KDP Select Terms & Conditions here:
https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=APILE934L348N

If you have additional questions about KDP Select, check out our Help pages:
https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=200798990

I hope this helps. Thanks for publishing with Amazon KDP.

Regards,

Michael G.
Kindle Direct Publishing
http://kdp.amazon.com

It doesn’t matter to Amazon that you’ve done your best to comply with their rules and thought you had. You can be petitioning God for help for all they care. It doesn’t matter if you need a few more days, or if your mom died. It doesn’t matter that you’ve been a loyal Amazon customer since the company was founded. Amazon says they’re committed to providing the best customer service ever. Not for suppliers. Read the letter again.

In contrast, look at Apple’s response to my pleas:

Dear Sandy,

Laura here from the iTunes Store. Your request was escalated to me for further assistance.

I have escalated the issue to our engineers with a thorough description and included the image of removal. I hope to hear from them in 2 to 3 days. As soon as I hear from them I will contact you with an update.

Thank you for your patience in this matter.

Sincerely,

Laura
iTunes Store/Mac App Store Senior Advisor

Their estimated date of being able to fix the problem is too late for my promotion this weekend. But isn’t that cool? Which company is truly committed to customer service? Really makes me want to buy an Apple iPad or one of the new, small tablets they’re putting out.

Dump the jungle, go with the sweet fruit.

Sandy Nathan, the Plucky Grandmother

Sandy Nathan, Award-winning Author

Sandy Nathan is the winner of twenty-two national awards for her writing. She’s won in categories from memoir, to visionary fiction, to children’s nonfiction. And more.

Sandy’s  books are: (Click link to the left for more information on each book. All links below go to Kindle sale pages.)
Sam & Emily: A Love Story from the Underground (paperback. Kindle coming)
Lady Grace: A Thrilling Adventure Wrapped in the Embrace of Epic Love (paperback. Kindle coming)
The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy
Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money

Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could

Stepping Off the Edge: Learning & Living Spiritual Practice

 

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