The thing that’s going to kill me in this indie author/self-publishing gig is the technology.
Some of it’s great. I am old enough to remember typing term papers for money while in high school. (On a manual typewriter. Uphill. Both ways.) I love me a word processor. And there is project software out there that makes writing large projects even easier. Fancy editing software has a come a long way, too. I’ve spent the last year learning Scrivener and Pro Writing Aid. I like them both and I’m sure I’m not using either of them to their fullest capabilities. That’s fine. They work for me. And maybe someday I’ll figure out how to use the advanced features.
I’m going to have to buy book formatting software in the near future and I’m a bit wary about that, but I’ll burn that bridge when I get to it.
But, lately, I’ve been working on this website. Obviously, I’ve figured out parts of it or you wouldn’t be reading these words. (You are reading these words, right? Is anybody out there?!) I’ve got pages and embedded links and a working blog. I need to add a few more widgets and figure out the newsletter subscription widget.
That’s where I was today when I had to call in Tech Support, ie, the hubby.
“I can compose an email. With a header and a footer, even. And it looks great. But, I can’t figure out how to send it.”
He clicks on the “help” button and starts to read how the newsletter software works.
“Um…you don’t know how to do this already?”
“No. That’s why I’m reading this.”
“Okay, well, I can do that. Why don’t I see if I can figure it out and I’ll call you if I get stuck.”
<the above conversation has been cleaned up for salty language and fits of tears, but that was the gist>
I read stuff. I read it again. Nope. No clue.
I find some video tutorials. Yes! Now I’ll see the screen and know what they’re talking about.
Let’s put aside for a moment that the tutorial was for a different version of this software and the screens don’t look the same. The thing that made me go full-on Crazy Lady ™ was that the narrator was speaking in his second language. And the script was written by someone in their second language, possibly even the same guy.
Now, I get that start-ups don’t have a lot of money, but for the love of all things linguistic, will you please pay someone to proofread your script for natural-sounding language and will you please get a voice actor to narrate in their mother tongue. Why do you think fiverr exists? I used to do editing for folks who were writing their PhD theses in their second language. There are people out there who will do this for a reasonable amount of money. My son would happily narrate a video tutorial at a discount so he can put it on his resume.
Please understand that I am not one of those people who gets angry that everyone in the world doesn’t speak English fluently. I used to teach English as a foreign language and I have heard people speak in every accent imaginable and I find it charming and brave that people will make the effort to learn a second language. I know how hard that is. I’ve lived in a country for decades where I have to speak my second language. And I have an accent when I speak it. I’ll probably never lose the accent. But, I wouldn’t go up to the president of the Deutsche Bahn and say, “Hey, why don’t you let me do the announcements on your trains?!”
I’m trying to learn something here and it doesn’t help when I also have to decipher an accent, as charming as that accent may be. And it was charming. It was sweet when he said, “Your noose-letter cone-sists of three parts: the heed-er, the cone-tent, and the fuu-ter.”
Eventually, I zoned out. At the end I went back to the newsletter composing page and stared at it and hit all the buttons one by one to see what they did and
I figured out how to send a newsletter. And how to schedule newsletters for sending at a specific time, which is a really cool feature I will probably never use. And if I ever do want to do that, I’ll have forgotten how, and I’ll have to listen to the narrator of the tutorial tell me how it can be done ow-toe-mat-ick-cully.