If I die before I wake …

Doubtless you’re delighted to see that I’m not starting off with a melodramatic title or anything, because clearly, I would never be a drama queen about having a totally standard operation or anything. Snortle. All the same, I am nervous so this will be a brief post, because I have an operation on Monday and there’s not much of practicable use bouncing about in my brain. We drove down to London yesterday for my pre op tests which included a Covid19 test where, I swear, they pushed the swab into my actual sinuses. Despite the fact the lady was brilliant and actually very gentle, it was not a good scene.

Rotherhythe tunnel

One of the things I particularly enjoy about visiting London is the stuff you find. We went through the Rotherhythe tunnel, opened by in 1908 by Edward, Prince of Wales who became George V on my and McMini’s birthdays. That was amazing. Filled with porcelain glazed bricks to reflect the light, like the early tube lines; Piccadilly, Bakerloo and Northern. It makes a rather good picture. Who knows when I’ll need a light at the end of the tunnel type shot. It is also a very rare example of a tunnel where pedestrians, cyclists and traffic all go through the same bore.

This morning, having remembered to pay the congestion charge for yesterday and Sunday, ooo get me doing one of them in advance, woot! I realised that I’d forgotten to book any physio so I’ve been looking up the physio peps on my insurer’s books with a view to getting my rehab sorted out. I’ve found one that looks good and they have sent me a message which is handy.

In the spirit of if-I-do-this-hopefully-nothing’ll-happen, and not because I’m a batshit crazy old crone, no siree, I wrote The Letter. You know the one, where you add any bits to your last will and testament that you forgot at the time, or write one, tell your McOthers you love them and give them the passwords for your computer so somebody else can profit from the enormous earnings of your literary empire after your death.  Then you sign it, fold it up, write, ‘Open if it all goes horribly wrong and I snuff it!’ On the front of it and stick it in your desk drawer.

No shit, I even broke down how the film rights get divided up. If that isn’t some kind of optimism, despite the overall pessimism inherent in the act of writing the letter, I dunno what is. Mwahahahrgh! What am I like?

In a packed afternoon’s activity, I also sorted out the blinds in my office, finally. Now, instead of blinds on one window, I have blinds on all of them. Which makes it a bit snugger at night. Obviously this has left me feeling that I am a complete household goddess … and with some unfortunate red pen marks all over the paintwork.

There’s me thinking, ‘I know! I’ll use a dry wipe whiteboard marker and then it’ll just wipe off.’

Yeh. That went well. Let’s label it option a shall we? Note to self, dry whiteboard markers do not wipe off vinyl silk gloss. It’s clearly not glossy enough.

Ho hum, can’t win ’em all.

Other news, I just want to briefly update you on the bit I posted about Audible last week. As an author colleague noted, when you upload your books to either Amazon or Audible, you know you are supping with the devil. And she has a good point.

Audiobooks are great, and Audible is great, but I suspect it needs to get its shit together. Fast. It also needs to accord the people it does business with the basic courtesy of transparency and honesty in its practises. We know these companies are gorillas. We know their contracts probably have a sub clause pertaining to the sale of our very souls, I have probably sold my soul several times over since I’ve signed contracts to access Apple, Windows, Amazon and Audible.

No mention that this is a ‘return’.

Nobody wants Audible to go bust but it would be good if they could stop behaving like idiots. I used to work for a UK household name, I know what big companies are like, but they have taken the crappiness and run with it. Plumbing new depths I’d never have believed possible.

Who knows where the future of creative material is going. In an ideal world, the targeting would become more precise and the algorithm at the vendors better at matching products and consumers that suit each other. If that were the case, the slash in royalties that inevitably comes with streaming would be less of a hit. But of course, it’ll be pay to play, so however excellent the algorithm, it will never be left to work on its own. It’s not as if I or anyone else who is worried about this ‘returns’ thing believes the world owes us a living. But I also reserve the right not to work with wankers more than I have to. Audible is 60% of my audio sales but if they and ACX get too much like hard work I will probably give up on them. For now, I’ll hold off with the new release until they can provide me with some basic, reliable information. Some is there, I just need the rest, as do all of us. All we need to know is:

1. How many books I have sold.
2. How many books have been returned.
3. How much I am being paid for each borrow/read/purchase.
4. Ideally this would be real time.

Over and above this, it would be good to know which books are in this Audible plus thing. Are mine in and being ‘lent’ or are they not? I dunno.

Then there’s submitting books to Audible which is a nightmare. The usual channel is ACX, which is owned by the same people, and kind of a sister company, until you want something looked into in which case each one can tell you it’s the other’s problem. Things that do lie squarely with ACX, though, are the interface, which is abysmal, and the reporting, which is also abysmal and the massive delays, which … well it’s great that a human listens but they still need to tell you where in the 200 chapters you’ve submitted the extra second of silence is, otherwise you’re going to be flailing about, resubmitting that book again and again. No wonder they are inundated. Half those books are probably on their third or fourth submission.

Hopefully, if enough writers, producers and narrators of audiobooks can join together to try and open some dialogue with Audible and ACX we might succeed in getting a bit more transparency and a better service. Things that will help them as much as us.

Remember I told you about the K’Barthan Box set, how I submitted chapters for four books which had already been approved, and waited from July to October for them to, basically, approve the opening and closing credits? Yeh. A lot of authors are abandoning ACX because of that. Likewise, the number of people going exclusive with Audible appears to have dropped. So far, there are – again unsubstantiated – claims that the time ACX is taking to approve files has improved drastically. We need to collect more data on that.

I have, at present, unsubstantiated intel that Findaway to flag any returns on their reports from Audible. I have asked them but haven’t heard back yet. I will keep you posted as to whether these efforts to persuade ACX and Audible to listen turn into anything.

In the meantime, remember there are alternatives to audible, Kobo, for starters. But also Google Play, iBooks, authors websites – including mine – and Chirp – which is not available everywhere at the moment but I hope soon will be. There are alternatives. Better alternatives. Go for it. Look for them.


If you haven’t tried audio, you can, for free.

Yep, I’m still doing my beta test for distributing audible via my own site. Or at lest via my own site an alternative way. If you’d like to give it a go, you’ll need to download the bookfunnel app or join bookfunnel. If you’re happy doing that feel free to help yourself – the link is below.

It’s in beta, yes you are testing. That’s why you get a 13 hour audiobook for free read by one of a man who can seriously do funny; Gareth Davies. The fellow who made Roy Hudd laugh … and laugh enough to be asked back to do it again.

Once you click on the link, below, you’ll end up on a download page for the book. When you click listen/play it will ask you to download the bookfunnel app and enter this code, which it gives you right there so remember to write it down.

When you’ve done all the installing malarkey and you click to play it’ll ask you for the code you jotted down. I don’t know if the code is case sensitive but I’d presume it is!

This is a brand new app and brand new audio player, and Bookfunnel appreciate any and all feedback. If you get into trouble, or can’t get anything to work, contact their help address – which is given on their site, help @ bookfunnel.com – with a header: ATTN: Julie.

Here’s the link: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/fxd6bnoy7k

If you decide to listen to the book. I hope you enjoy it. I leave you with this fabulous book-shaped light. Rock on the lovely gift/interiors store on Peebles High Street. Go there, buy stuff. Oh and pop down the other end and have a sausage roll as well!


Filed under General Wittering

21 responses to “If I die before I wake …

  1. Diana

    I look forward to your post-surgery report 🙂
    May you come out with a great knee and some happy stories (or at least ones you can use in your posts/stories/memoires.

    That tunnel looks intimidating, to me at least — but does indeed have a wonderful feel about it, and would make a terrific backdrop to some future scene. I hate being underground with no easy way out, if things go badly. But sometimes the tunnels end up in amazing places. (Like Jungfraujoch in Switzerland).

    I am praying for your successful surgery, excellent recovery, and much improved mobility and health. I am sure there will be stories…. May all of them be good ones!

    • Thanks. I can’t say I’m not scared. Even McMini, who is not given to overt displays of emotion, told me that he was a little scared. I told him it being surgery that it was natural for us to be scared and the fact we can’t see each other makes it harder. He said he would rather I didn’t die on the table if I could possibly avoid it. I told him I’d do my best. To be honest, the thing is that I’ve known, all my life, that a) I would have to have this op and b) it is probably the first time I’ll be out of pain.

      Like you say, onwards and upwards. xxx

      • Diana

        That “all my life” is pretty sobering. May your hopes be fully met.

        I had a covid test, too, and can fully relate to your experience. I was advised by one person to count to 15, and made it to 2 before I was totally blindsided. I was able to refocus a bit when the nurse started counting back from 5….
        Much as I don’t want to catch covid — I also don’t want to have another swab. Both provide major incentive to follow directives.

        These are my favourite Bible verses for times like these — when things seem totally out of my/your control. They have made a significant difference in my life in a couple of instances, and may encourage you, too, as you head towards your surgery.

        From Isaiah 33 (from The Message version): about v 21-22
        The last two lines in particular are amazingly reassuring, in my experience — especially when spoken aloud).

        God! God majestic, God himself the place
        in a country of broad rivers and streams,
        But rivers blocked to invading ships,
        off-limits to predatory pirates.
        For God makes all the decisions here. God is our king.
        God runs this place and he’ll keep us safe.

      • Thanks. That’s a cracker in one of the New Testament letters too that says something like, don’t worry, God will take care of everything. Fingers crossed. They have me an ECG so it’s there anything untoward, hopefully they’ll spot it beforehand. 🙂🙃😉

  2. Caro

    Braver girl than I. I wouldn’t write my Will in case of tempting fate. But take little comfort in you’ve had ops before and came out okay. If people have problems it’s usually first time. So, just don’t overdo the pain pills on way home and you should do well. You know a pile of us will mither you back to some normality. I wish you a dishy post op nurse or doc to ask for your bedpan 😳😂

    • 🤣🤣🤣 yeh. They took an ECG as well which was very heartening. And they do coagulation tests etc to ascertain the risk of clots etc. I’ve not had that before.

      • Caro

        You will be on anticoagulants. All osteo surgery have heparin injections while in patient and pill form for up to six weeks. Commonest is clopidogrel. Both are to protect you and do such well. Xx

      • They’ve come on a lot since my last op then. Then again that was 2006. 🙂

  3. May your knees never look back after this!!! … because if they did you’d be walking like an ostrich, which could make driving a car, awkward … sex could be interesting, possibly … I wonder what you would have to do about shoes? … really, it’s all too much bother, so may they never look back!

    • 🤣🤣🤣 here’s hoping. 😱 Now I’m thinking about that Monty python sketch. I will let you know which way they end up facing – and whether my feet are the right way round – next week.

  4. Stay well and keep writing. Just read ‘Nothing to see here’, it’s brilliant as usual 🙂

  5. Your worries have generated some very interesting comments, more than usual, so we’ll be looking forward to an update almost as soon as you’re out of anesthesia (or however you spell that in the UK) (I think there’s an extra a).

    The recovery will be over soon. Do your exercises. Insist on proper pain meds. You’ll be fine. Or else.

Leave a Reply to M T McGuire Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.