The Most Frustrating Things About Writing a Book

Okay so I wrote a book — actually I wrote and published four books. I am in the process of writing another. I like writing. I get satisfaction out of writing. I smile at the stories — even laugh out loud sometimes.

Why then do I have a constant furrowed brow and curse and swear under my breath?

I’ll tell you why:-

№1 Myself.

I started collating the stories for my book over twenty years ago. I have been putting it together and polishing it up, and now it is getting towards being a series of three very funny books about my thirty years in the police.

During that process, I came up with several other ideas for books. I became distracted with the ideas and couldn’t stop until I had them written and published. So it is my fault.

№2 My wife

My wife takes no interest in what I am writing. She has never read a thing I have written — but still feels qualified to make scathing remarks and irrational judgements about my work. She actually called one book ‘perverse’ because I had written a motivational book based on my brother and I ignored the fact he bullied me when I was a kid.

All the more frustrating that I have to listen to all her moans and groans about her workmates and bosses and staff and the gossiping and… I mean it is like a watching River City and Coronation Street on a loop. Mind you that is her frame of reference.

№3 Friends

Some friends are great. They read my books and told me they were great. ‘Please give me a review’ I say, but they don’t. They keep forgetting. I accept that they just don’t appreciate how important it is to me. The really frustrating ones, however, are the ones who ask me to come over and help out with building their house, looking after their dog, or whatever it is they need at that moment. I know they think I am not doing anything anyway — writing isn’t a real job is it?

I still go and help — because they are friends. (While writing this article I had to go across and help a neighbour move stuff because she is getting her windows replaced — and I have to be on hand tomorrow to hand the workers her key).

№4 Amazon

Amazon makes money out of my books. Every time they sell one they take a cut. A very large cut if it is a paperback on demand. Printing, postage and profit. If my books aren’t selling, I need to advertise. Catch 22 — it won’t sell if I don’t advertise. It costs money to advertise, and without the sales, you can’t pay for the advertising. There are times where I make nothing, but Amazon always makes money.

№5 Barnes & Noble

Not content with Amazon making all the money I decided to publish elsewhere. Amazon immediately cut me off from KDP royalties. I am not allowed to be signed up for that if my book isn’t exclusive to Amazon. I won’t know if this is the right thing to do until I go elsewhere and see what happens. The thing is Barnes & Noble have a different publishing software for their Nook. They use ePub the most frustrating software imaginable. No cutting and pasting here. I spent days trying to get a decent format on ePub and still haven’t managed it. It looks bad; I think I might just remove it.

№6 Apple

If you think Barnes and Noble are bad, try Apple. I understand that they are different and have more secure software and some people swear by them. I just don’t think that they are as intuitive to operate as Android and certainly not as cheap. I don’t go with Apple because they rip people off on everything.

Mind you there are still iPads in my house. My wife has one. She gets frustrated with me when she can’t work it properly, or it isn’t compatible with something else.

‘I don’t know I have a Samsung Tab.’

№7 Other platforms

I haven’t even tried Kobo yet, but I’m frustrated already.

№8 My son

I know he is busy but why doesn’t he just spend two minutes altering the cover he designed and send it to me in a format I can use? Instead, he takes two months — and only after a lot of cajoling.

I think I might pay someone else to do it.

№9 You the reader!

Why won’t you read my stuff?

№10 Myself

Maybe I need to write better.

by Malky McEwan, Sometimes author, sometimes unpaid assistant furniture remover.

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