#WriteTip Screaming Frustration and Frankie Dragon Meltdown

Frankie Av

Apologies again for my lack of timely updates this week. The heating system renewal saga continues and finding a quiet few minutes to write is damn near impossible. Anyway, while the workmen carry on working installing our new boiler and replacing all the pipes, I decided to work on the Malevolence PDF for print edition. Sounds simple enough, fix the pdf and upload it to Blurb and that’s it! Yet, this simple decision has led to a Frankie Dragon meltdown of epic proportions which continues to plague me as I have yet to successfully upload any file to Blurb.

I spent an hour attempting to fix the file yesterday morning, tweaked the format, and fixed the errors created a few months ago with a “search and replace” malfunction. Once I had this lovely new file I started uploading to Blurb. The first attempt failed, giving no indication as to why it failed. It said there was an error, but could give me no more details. While grinding my teeth in frustration, I tried over and over again–with no success. After the tenth attempt, I began to lose it. How hard can it be to upload a simple PDF file?

Back in May, I encountered the exact same problem and ended up allowing Sam one-time access to my account in order to upload the file. She managed to upload the same file I had problems with–within a few minutes!

After the tenth attempt yesterday, I tried a different browser. Three in fact. I turned off firewalls, ad-blockers; every browser add-on I could find was switched off. I dug out my other laptop which runs on Lubuntu, uploaded the file from there. I even tried uploading onto both the dot-com and dot-co-dot-uk Blurb addresses. Nada, error and failure. By this time my teeth were being ground down to pegs, my hair was fraying with all the tugging and my throat was in tatters with all the curse-filled ranting.

I then tested the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat and found there was an irreparable problem with the PDF file itself. I fixed the issue and made a brand new, lovely file and thought this would fix the problem. I eagerly uploaded the file with the expectation of the issue being fixed, only to find that the file failed again. As I stared at the screen I could almost feel the blood vessels in my brain pulsing on the verge of bursting…

In the end–after several hours of trying–I contacted Blurb customer support. I received a timely response from Jessica requesting more information as well as providing a few suggestions of things to try. Unfortunately, these were solutions I had already exhausted. After a few emails, Jessica spoke to her tech team about the issue. Their response was this was a highly unusual issue, and that perhaps it was a connection problem at my end. This would explain why I can’t upload the exact same file that Sam can upload. So I turned off my wi-fi and connected my laptop to my mobile phone internet. Different connection should work, right?

The file upload failed again. My laptop nearly went careening through the window at this point, thrown across the room in disgust. My husband was wary, afraid to make another suggestion while the dog kept her distance. I must have been exuding a dark cloud of ominous fury which they both obviously sensed. Perhaps the sulfurous smell was not coming from the construction bricks the workmen were drilling, but from my frustrated hellish anger!

Later, I went to bed in an absolute howler of a mood with the hopes of getting up today and have it all miraculously fixed, perhaps even a message from Jessica with a reason and solution to my ongoing problem. So far I have received no more replies from customer support, but I expected this given that it is the weekend. Also, customer support is in America so works on a different time-zone from me.

First thing I tried was a test upload which failed. One single upload failure came back with an internal error flag. This might mean it has nothing to do with me at all, that the issue in fact lies with the Blurb servers. I also decided to look into PDF file formats and such, wondering if there was a problem there. I discovered that Blurb uses PDF-X3 files. As I was unsure whether my file was of this type, I researched how to create such a file and made yet another shiny, new, larger and more perfect file. I was sure I had it right this time. This had to be the reason for the file failing. I smiled as I set the file to upload. Watched the progress bar with anticipation and hope. Nearly screamed when the processing bar froze and upload failed yet again. In sheer frustration and with the bloody-minded determination of a fool, I tried over and over, sure that one file would slip through and somehow dance around the Blurb servers with glee.

The last file failed about fifteen minutes ago and I am now at the end of my tether. My nerves are frayed, my temper short. My teeth are sore, my head is aching, my family present me with wary grimaces when I look at them. The workmen have gone quiet as they install the new copper pipes below the house. And I sit here, fuming and defeated at last as I shake with cold and wish there was some bloody heat in this house.

This should not be so difficult! There should be an explanation for the failures, but none are given so I am at a loss as to why I can not upload!

I am currently waiting on Sam coming online, to ask her to try uploading my file like she did before. I am 100% sure she will get it uploaded within minutes again, while I have spent over a day trying to do the same thing. I should not have to wait on my friend in America coming online just so I can upload a PDF file.

If you take into consideration all the times I have tried to do this, it equates to four months of fruitless attempts. I know it will likely end up being something very simple to fix, a stupid mistake somewhere which is preventing me from uploading. But, at this moment in time, this does not help me and I sit here ranting as my temper breaks again for the fifth time today alone.

Perhaps Malevolence is destined to remain in ebook format only…I will let you know…

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

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About oneofthedragons

Samantha K. Balk and F. R. Donaldson met on An Archive of Our Own, one of the many fanfiction sites online, when Sam asked Frankie to illustrate the fanfiction that would one day lead to Sam's first novel. They've been friends ever since! This blog was created as a way to share the oftentimes difficult journey any new author experiences on the uncomfortable quest of an introvert for attention to his or her most personal work. It is meant to remind you that authors don't just appear fully fledged like a George R. R. Martin, that all of us start out unsure and feeling inadequate. Feel free to ask us anything. Sam: sammykaye9@gmail.com Frankie: reluctant.fraggle@gmail.com

Posted on August 20, 2016, in #WriteTip, Frankeh Updates, Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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