In addition to all the other barriers over which an author must leap to get a new title noticed —bthe million other books on Amazon, general information overload and a presidential election year, to name just three — I am now contending with stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19.
Chaucer’s Books, Tecolote Book Shop and other bookstores are not holding signings, club meetings are being held remotely, and there are no face-to-face interactions of any kind to help me get out the word about my latest effort, Parents of Adult Children: You Are Not Alone.
That means I have to rely solely on technology. This is the kiss of death for a technophobe such as I.
Technophobes are born, not made, and I am one of those who was born technologically challenged. How challenged am I? Well, I have to summon my husband to turn on the TV because I can never figure out which gizmo brings in cable, which one turns on Pandora, and which one could probably blow up an enemy warship.
My sister says she’s never spoken to me but that I’ve disconnected her trying to navigate call waiting. (Surely, that’s an exaggeration.)
As another case in point, after many years as a freelancer, I took a full-time job at a Santa Barbara institution of higher learning. I felt like a modern-day Rip Van Winkle who had gone to sleep in the age of the Selectric typewriter and pink “While you were out” slips and woke up to a world full of sophisticated software.
The school put me through an intensive orientation to familiarize me with its donor-tracking system, which consisted of an elaborate set of numbers and codes. For some reason it didn’t “speak” to me. Recognizing a hopeless case when it saw one, the institution finally threw in the towel and gave me an assistant to do my inputting.
How I wish I had that assistant now! I’ve read Facebook for Dummies, Facebook & Twitter for Seniors for Dummies and Social Media Marketing All-in-One for Dummies. My college degree and authorship of eight books notwithstanding, I am still a dummy. Yet I soldier on.
To debut Parents of Adult Children in the age of pandemic, I’m learning how to make short videos on my computer (while trying to ignore the fact that I look like Morticia from The Addams Family, no matter how many times I adjust the lighting).
I’m gingerly feeling my way around LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For five minutes I thought I’d have to create content for TikTok and K-pop, too, but then I saw that their audience was only 12 years old. Whew!
I’m also learning that the social media beast demands constant feeding in the form of posts, links, likes and follows. I don’t exactly know what it means to “tag” someone in a photo, but I do it often and with delirious abandon because it seems like the friendly thing to do.
For the record, I am not now nor ever will be “trending,” but, hey, at least I’m in the game.
Am I fit to live I the virtual world? Join my free, one-hour Zoom book launch party at 11 a.m. Pacific time Aug. 6, and let me know. You’ll be joined by a cast of thousands — in the control booth, that is, to avert one of my technological disasters. (Or are they in the cloud?) Click here to register for split-screen conversations with family relationship experts, giveaways and Dear Abby-like scenarios where you get to solve other families’ problems, which, let’s face it, is so much more fun than solving our own.