This week I turned 39.
Some people find ageing problematic. I do not. Other people are indifferent. ‘Age is just a number’, they say as they shrug it off. For me, the older I get, the more I understand, the more knowledge I possess, the more experiences - good and bad - I have lived. I like myself more, I know myself better. In addition, I have far less tolerance of dick heads. Win.
The past year has involved the steepest learning curve ever. Like a baby from birth to one, I have learned to smile, sleep through, eat solids, and crawl my way through the self-publishing industry. I am now about to pull myself up to the sofa and have my first bash at walking. Before I get carried away with the clunkiest of metaphors, here are 39 things I have learnt in the past year.
- Google don’t like being used as a generic term for the verb ‘to search’.
- Leaving two spaces after a full stop is no longer considered correct. One space only, these days.
- Copyright law doesn’t affect naming things that simply exist, such as song titles or films.
- Copyright laws stop existing once the artist has been dead for 70 years.
- To buy a single ISBN number costs £89.
- To buy 10 x ISBN numbers costs £149.
- There is a legal obligation to send the British Library a copy of every book that is physically published. It is called Legal Deposit.
- Google’s feed manager site, Feedburner, has not been updated since 2012.
- Adding new features to a blog is not as simple as adding text or pictures to Word. It involves actual code. Who knew?
- Twitter Analytics show a summary of your monthly Twitter activity and its impact.
- A picture is worth a thousand words.
- A gif is worth a thousand pictures.
A home made gif! It is almost seamless.
- I am content in the knowledge that bodies with poppers, bodycon dresses and anything labelled 'peplum' have been designed for people other than me.
- To sell via Amazon, you have to complete an online tax questionnaire, otherwise the IRS keep 30% of all your US sales.
- When in doubt, ask the Internet.
- The right page of a book is called ‘recto’ and the left page is called ‘verso’.
- Recto pages have odd numbers, and verso pages have even numbers.
- Subscription services are a ball ache.
- Statistics say that Monday morning at 11am is the optimum time for a blog post to be read.
- My long-term boycott of Amazon, does not stand up to my desire of selling books to the widest possible audience.
- Uploading a book to Ingram Spark means having an immediate presence on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Waterstones without having to do anything else.
- A blog needs to be regular and reliable. Three weeks off for Christmas is indulgent. (It won’t happen again.)
- Finishing a book in 2014 that’s set in 2016 is problematic
when the real 2016 saw all the famous people die, and witnessed massive political
upheaval in the UK and US. (I sneaked in a Bowie reference and one brief Brexit
2016 was a busy year for death.
- Clicking the pilcrow button in the Word toolbar will show all formatting marks.
- Proof-reading could be done indefinitely and there would still be things to change.
- Writing an end-of year tribute about your favourite comedian/writer who died in April is a waste of time when a couple of days before you plan to upload it, your favourite pop star/first crush/long-term love of a singer dies and throws every emotion up in the air again. (RIP Victoria Wood and George Michael.)
- Paying for a professionally designed cover is money well spent.
- An imprint goes in the place of the publisher’s name.
- Deciding to be a sole trader means you can avoid the need to set up your publishing company as a new business.
- US anti-spamming laws require a postal address to be linked to a blog’s subscription sign-form.
- Bricks and mortar bookshops do not like to buy books that are created by Amazon. It is less problematic for those made by Ingram Spark.
- Apparently Facebook has more uses than all other social media sites, combined.
- Explaining to a stranger that you are a writer is much easier when you have an available book to buy.
- My alcohol intake has increased with the amount of computer code I’ve had to use.
- The most frequently asked question (about the book) is ‘Is it like Fifty Shades?’
- The answer to the above question is 'No’.
- It is very easy to spend an entire working day on Social Media. This isn’t necessarily a bad use of time.
- The majority of my favourite paperbacks measure 8 x 5 inches.
- Holding a book with my name on the cover is the best feeling in the world.
Right then Thirties, let’s go out on a high and pack the next twelve months with even more thrillingly beautiful new experiences. Forties, you are going to have a lot to live up to, so get warming up and stretching your muscles now.
Have a great week, folks.