Embracing Obscurity

Uploading all my three books on Smashwords marked the end of my formatting  adventure. I left Smashwords for the end because I believed its style guide was complicated. It isn’t; it’s only written in an unnecessarily complicated manner, but once you separate the unimportant from the important, it’s a piece of cake.

Khafre’s Pyramid

Smashwords distribution is another story. Days after my books were accepted for their Premium Catalogue, they still can’t be found on OverDrive. I asked my librarian colleague to purchase them from Draft2Digital.

D2D and Smashwords distribute to the same vendors, but I wanted my trio on Smashwords because it allowed me to offer two of them for free. It could be the way to reach potential readers and it might help the third book, which isn’t free, to gain momentum.

I’m not sure if this strategy is going to work or not, but this is the only one I’m going to employ.

Otherwise, I’m ready to embrace obscurity, as the owner of Smashwords suggests in his book, “Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success.” For him it’s a cause for optimism. After all, he says, even if you sell 30,000 books and become the NY Times bestselling author, you’re still obscure for the rest of humankind and, besides, being obscure is a chance to become visible.

I can’t say I share his enthusiasm. For me obscurity is reality, a roadblock I’m not going to be able to walk around. After months and months of getting my books ready for publishing, after all the money spent on editing, proofreading and various courses on how to do this and that, I have no energy and no financial means for promotion. And I certainly don’t want to explore those free options such as pestering my friends and family to read my books and write me reviews.

Fortunately, I don’t need more than I already have: I created an entire world, populated it with people who breath, dream, love, cry. Who search for happiness, who try and fail, and try again. By publishing my books I made them alive. Everyone is welcome to enter it, but this world is now my happy place. It’s no less real than the bottom of the Khafre’s Pyramid, where I sat once, back pressed against the warm limestone, and starred into the Great Sphinx, experiencing almost an otherworldly connection to something or someone, and thinking, if I died now, I’d die a happy person.

I dedicated Guardian of the Realm to my two close friends, Zlatko D. and Nada S., with whom I traveled to Egypt a lifetime ago, and with that I closed the circle, connecting my then with now, and my here with there.


About jfkaufmann

Not unlike my characters, I lead a double life: by day I'm a mother, a friend, a colleague, and the queen of my kitchen. When the moon rises, however, I shift into my other self and, as Queen of the Night, I reign the magical world of my imagination.
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11 Responses to Embracing Obscurity

  1. What a wonderful dedication to your friends. Weird about the Smashwords instructions being difficult . . . after all, it’s for the WRITING industry, so you’d think the instructions would be written well.


    • jfkaufmann says:

      Thank you, Priscilla.
      I think it’s more how the style guide is organized. It’s not user-friendly. The actual procedure would fit on 3-4 pages. The rest are explanations we don’t need to know. And the system is a bit archaic although it still works fine —Smashwords still requires uploading the Word 97-2003 file format.


  2. I think the Smashwords Style Guide has been added to over the years so probably doesn’t have a good overall structure. You’ve been to Egypt! I had an idea I really should go there, having written a novel set in Luxor in 1962, and before writing a sequel to it. Not now, though, and maybe never.


    • jfkaufmann says:

      Audrey, I apologize again for this late response. For some reasons, my email doesn’t always notify me when someone post a comment, and I don’t see it until I go to my website. Also, I tried to post a comment on part 1 of “Pictures of Several Thousand Words (twice), but I’m tot sure if it went through. Some other times, I’m not able to ‘like’ your posts. Anyhow, I just wanted to tell you that I preordered your book and that I loved the cover.
      I was in Egypt in January 1991, only days before the Gulf War. It was the trip of my life. I’ve been fascinated by ancient Egypt since I was ten. It was everything that I expected, and much more. One of the reasons I liked “She who came forth” was the atmosphere you were able to create. It’s very authentic – I know because I was there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m delighted to hear that I managed to create an authentic feel of Egypt for She Who Comes Forth. I find the best form of research is to read a lot about a place or subject and hope it soaks in. I hope I’ll get to Egypt myself someday.
        I also how you enjoy the new book. It’s a mixed bag of stories so should please a variety of readers.
        Thanks for these comments!


      • jfkaufmann says:

        You’re welcome. “She who comes Forth” deserves a review, and I’m going to write it. I promise.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I would appreciate that.


      • jfkaufmann says:

        I hope all is well with you and your family.
        Just a quick private message so please don’t post it.
        A few days ago, one of our selectors (librarians) asked us for ebook recommendations so that he could purchase them from Overdrive. I was happy to recommend you, along with JP McLean’s, and he added your and her novels to our collection. They’re all on hold now!
        Try to follow this link to view them.

        I wish you and your family nice and safe holidays.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. JP McLean says:

    On the plus side to having your books out there, even if they’re obscure right now, they will be ready and available when future promotion opportunities arise, and I’m confident those opportunities will come your way. Take a breather – you’ve earned it. It’s not a race, it’s a long game.


    • jfkaufmann says:

      Thank you, JP. You’re absolutely right. It’s just this feeling of emptiness when you finish a big, long-term project, and the Legacy books were both I think it’s called ‘post-creation depression’. The best cure is to start another book. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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