Amazon-CoverSo, this week has been all about getting the next issue of Bad Influence done, pretty, and into the publishing system. It’s both easy, and incredibly stressful.

Easy, because the folks at CreateSpace have made the process for loading the various parts and pieces sort of idiot-proof. There’s an easy to follow series of steps, and a terrific online review tool that automagically tells me if I’ve done something stupid. And I always do something stupid. This time around, it was saving my .pdf file at the wrong size, which generated a huge, honking error message when I uploaded it.

Stressful, because I have to do checks, and make decisions, and proofread, because this is going to be a printed thing, and I have to say when it’s perfect enough to print it. So, when the online reviewer says “hey, you uploaded a document with pages that are 8.5 x 11, but you’re set up for a book that’s 8 x 10”, my life sort of flashes before my eyes, because that’s hours of work fitting an already lovely layout into a smaller space. (Tragedy averted: I simply saved the file at the wrong size. Two minute fix.) It often means going through a long list of red flagged items, and tweaking the original document to fix images that are out of line, or text that flows a millimeter into the margins. (Not one single red flag this time, once I got the right size document uploaded.) It means biting the bullet, and dumping a perfect, approved file, because while I was creating a lower-res version of it, I discovered that two images were slightly more pixelated than the others, which I didn’t catch in the version for print. Add one day to the already long process of going from me typing into a document to me holding a printed proof copy in my hot little hands.

In between each step, there’s waiting, while things process, or while a real human reviews them, or while things are moving through the mail. So, I do other things. One of the things I had to do on this project was get ready to pay the other artists involved. It’s not much pay, but it’s better than, “hey, this is a really great opportunity to get your work in front of new people”, which all artists who have been published know means, “hey, you’re not getting anything”. I’m really up front about that when I ask for work for anything I publish. There’s always a “here’s what’s in it for you” section in my call for art, listing tangible things, like “I will list your name in the description of this ‘zine on, so your name will be searchable there”, or “you get a digital copy of the ‘zine before anyone else sees it”. This time, the list included “I will pay you X dollars”.

Two good things happened during this process:

First, my vegan chef friend Regina messaged me that she was bringing me something. That something was food. While I was laid up, another friend sent me a gift certificate to Regina’s personal chef business, which I didn’t redeem, because she brought me so much food while I was healing. This week, Regina just decided to cook an extra helping of everything she was making for someone else, and deliver it to me, to clear that gift certificate that’s been pending. Her timing couldn’t have been better. The cupboards were pretty bare here, and I really didn’t have time to shop or cook. Have I mentioned that in the two years I’ve known Regina, and eaten meals at her house, I’ve never had anything I didn’t like? She brought me things I hadn’t tried before, and they were all delicious. Good food, cooked with love. There’s nothing like it.

The second thing happened when I sent out a message about artist payments, asking for everyone’s correct PayPal address. Patti Monroe-Mohrenweiser emailed back to say she’d had fun making something with her husband and son, and that I should just apply her payment to my medical bill fund. I thanked her, and posted what she’d said to my Facebook wall. Corinne Stubson and Cindy Couling said they’d like to do the same thing. Between the three of them, that’s half of this month’s payment to the bank that holds the balance of my hospital debt. I was pretty teary eyed when I went to bed that night.

My friends rock.