First Draft Father: Dr. Seuss Saves a Bad Day

On Monday morning I had one of those moments where I realized that weeks of hard work and planning had been undermined by a single click.

One click and everything would have been different—with all of my hard work humming like a finely tuned machine.

The plan was to give away my latest eBook, Creating Space, for free in the Kindle store on Monday and Tuesday. It was intended to be a kind of subversive alternative to all of the technology deals out there. I wanted to give something away that wasn’t just a product to be consumed. It’s a product that encourages individual creativity, removing people from the consumerism cycle.

That was the plan at least.

I had send hundreds of emails, lined up guest posts, and created graphics and banners all over the place advertising the free eBook download.

When the time came, the offer wasn’t live.

I’d apparently clicked on the wrong days because of the calendar lay out that stuck Monday at the start of the week instead of Sunday.

Those Amazon heathens…

I vented, I huffed, I despaired. What should I do?

I usually take care of Ethan in the morning, but my wife graciously intervened and took him so that I could tend to damage control.

I sent emails apologizing and explaining the error.

I posted updates on Facebook, Twitter, and my blog about the mistake.

I contacted Amazon to try to salvage things, but it was too late.

I felt like the most unprofessional writer in the world.

Just this past Sunday I was venting in my journal that I love writing, but the marketing part annoys the heck out of me. It’s hard to know how to market a book that you love and believe in without pestering readers.

I see the general tweets and facebook posts where folks vent about authors being so pushy with their books, and while I cringe at the thought that they’re talking about me, I do feel like my hands are tied.

There’s this chasm between authors who write books and people who want to read good books, and it’s hard to find the right people to read your books. So you try stuff like free eBook giveaways to see if you can reach people a little bit easier without asking for their money.

I had tried to innovate a little, and right out of the gate, I fell on my face. How humiliating.

After fixing what I could and resigning myself to the release going live on Tuesday, I walked upstairs and found Julie sitting down with Ethan to read him a book before his nap. It suddenly hit me that I really missed my morning time with Ethan.

I usually read him The Foot Book, so I settled in next to Julie and Ethan to read with the same voices and inflections I usually do. Everything was perfect, just as it should be. I took Ethan and rocked him to sleep as usual.

Once I was immersed in the rhymes… “Left foot, left foot, right foot, fight…” I came back down to reality from my funk.

Sure, I’d made a mistake. It wasn’t pleasant. It may have hurt my downloads.

But then again, I hadn’t really lost anything. Ethan got to whack the book as usual and protest being rocked to sleep. Everything most important was just how it should be, and that mattered far more than what wasn’t.

And best yet, when I emailed everyone to apologize, I made a huge spelling mistake in the subject line.

6 thoughts on “First Draft Father: Dr. Seuss Saves a Bad Day

  1. Christie

    Ah, life.
    Some things are just too heavy, and the best response is to simply set them down and move on. Sounds like Ethan helped you do that.

  2. lisa delay

    Aw, Ed.

    I feel for you!

    I make spelling mistakes about once per sentance ….

    These things only really hurt us when we cuddle them and imagine that they truly reflection who we are.

    They don’t. These silly mistakes (though they don’t seem so at the time!) are the chaff.

    What comes through about you to many people, including me, is a genuine goodness and humanity found too little on the interwebs, and the world at large amongst the hubris and self promotion. You are one of the bright spots. One of the keepers.

    Carry on! Left foot. Right foot.


  3. Megan at SortaCrunchy

    Oh, Ed. I am SO with you in this:

    “It’s hard to know how to market a book that you love and believe in without pestering readers.”

    Right after our book was released, we discovered a HUGE formatting error that affected a large portion of a chapter of the book. Both my co-author and editor and I were just beside ourselves … but what could we do? What was done was done. And we had our share of Amazon issues post-release, too.

    It’s a funny thing. As artists, we all spur each other on to accept the imperfect, yet when the imperfect shows up in a BIG WAY, it’s so devastating.

    I know Creating Space got into the hands of those who needed it most this week, and no amount of Amazon bungling can interfere with that. And yes. Left foot, right foot, and we carry on.

  4. Lisa notes

    I felt for you on Monday. But you handled it beautifully. So you’re human like the rest of us. That makes us love you even more. It’s all about grace, yes? Giving it. Receiving it. Kudos to Ethan and Dr. Seuss.

  5. Jo Inglis (@Piano_Jo)

    I do love it when God shows us exactly what matters in the face of whatever it is that feels like it’s falling apart, often when our desire is no more than to dig a big hole & hide.
    You have shared that He does this in a way that is so utterly personal & beautiful, these are among His most precious gifts to us.
    Thank you

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