Noticing Magic Everywhere

Kate Comings' journal


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CreateSpace and the Transitory Nature of All Things

From Zen Flowers: Doug circles the flower arrangement on my coffee table, contemplating the broken horsetail stalks and red petals scattered over the ebony wood surface. I cleared everything off the table for maximum effect and moved the completed arrangement from the kitchen into the living room. The cat hasn’t destroyed it yet; if she does, it will merely reflect the transitory nature of all things.
Doug frowns. “Looks sort of grim. What’s it about?”
“Impermanence.” I shrug, like it’s not important.
“Uh, say what?”

Zen Flowers, also the title of my upcoming book, is a florist shop. Sabina, the owner and a Zen practitioner, is all about impermanence after the many losses she has experienced.

The irony of it. I expected CreateSpace, the publishing platform I have used for my past three books, would be the same. Writing Zen Flowers was hard. I was trying to tie up all the threads created in the first three books in the series and leave my characters in a good place. It was sprawling and disorganized, and I despaired of ever publishing it. I told everyone it was a hot mess and put it aside for a few months before I went back and rewrote the whole thing, and revised, and edited… and finally, it all came together. I thought I was done with the actual book. I uploaded it to CreateSpace, had them assign it an ISBN number, and called them to order a new cover and the same beautiful interior formatting they had given my previous books, part of what they called their “professional services.” I thought I was done, but that wonderful CreateSpace staff has been laid off, and the formatting and cover design are gone, even though they are still offered on the website. Everything is changing.

Since then, nothing has run smoothly. CreateSpace didn’t like the cover, even though it was the same resolution and exactly the same file size as the previous covers CreateSpace had done. It took three uploads of the same cover, with different complaints about each one, before they accepted it, and the book went to print.

The Kindle version was a similar experience, and another formatting nightmare er… challenge. And the cover? This time they said it wasn’t RBG, whatever that is. A couple more uploads of the same file, though, and it was fine, but I’m still waiting for the Kindle version to show up for sale. This sort of thing is a serious (brutal) lesson in impermanence. Amazon, once a boon to indie authors, is not as friendly anymore.

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“She lost her family, and now her relationship is over, too. Can a woman be more alone? Sabina doubts it. But she’s living her dream. Zen Flowers, her West Village floral shop, is hers if she can only keep it afloat… and that’s turning out to be a big problem.

Brendan was blindsided when Sabina told him it was over. She wanted to start a family, but he’s terrified of the responsibilities that come with children. His life wouldn’t be his own anymore. But going on without Sabina? He can’t bear that, either.

Swamped with book offers after a harrowing hostage experience, photojournalist Niall starts writing. It’s harder than he realized, and he longs to be out on assignment, traveling the world. He doesn’t know yet that his ex-wife is about to arrive with an ugly secret that could leave his family in ruins.”

It has been a while since I posted; between Zen Flowers rewrites, walking 10,000 steps most days, and gardening (the weeds are relentless), my days have been full. Finally, the book was ready. Amazon has always walked me through the process of getting my books out for people to read, and I called them to order a cover design and have them format the interior–what a nasty surprise. They no longer do that; they have changed to a “do it yourself” model. The tech support person did email the names of a few companies that do design book covers.

Suddenly, “Indie publishing” really became indie publishing–a huge challenge for the likes of me.

Totally derailed, I freaked out for a day or two. Then I decided to try and format the actual pages myself, as I had already uploaded the manuscript before finding out they wouldn’t format it. It was incredibly complicated and took days of endless trial and error, but I learned how to format a book in Microsoft Word–not the design application of choice, but it was all I had. After researching book design companies, I ordered a cover. I received the cover design this morning and couldn’t be happier!