After The Data Is Safe

I am currently writing this on Typora installed on Ubuntu, which I am running on a thumbdrive.

Persistent live, to be specific. It isn’t perfect. For example, it will not boot at all on my other computer. And yet, on this one, it seems to work fine.

I had a realization recently. While data is always king, and backing it up is important, I found myself without a computer recently. My computer crashed recently and had to be sent in for repair.

And while the data was all safe, I found myself with a different problem: work is more than just data, it is also workspace, applications, overall setup.

My email was safe, but without my computer, I could not check it. My ebooks were safe, but without my computer, I could not make more. My book covers were safe…

Get the picture?

So I spent that time while I awaited my computer to return setting up my wife’s computer for my use. Now I had a true back up, not just of files, but of function.

And still, the idea that I could have a full Linux install on a thumb drive, set up the way I wanted, to use on any hardware I could find is very appealing. This is a mini computer, just add, well, the computer.

I tried several things, from setting up a live USB drive, attempting a full install. It took a bit, but finally I got it. I used the live USB to set up MKUSB, and use this tutorial to make the drive.

It has a partition set up in FAT32 format, so when I put it in a normal computer, it will work like a thumb drive.

And all of that sounds great… but it still doesn’t boot on my computer, just my wife’s. Which tells me it will be not as clear cut to use.

So while the idea is still appealing, the execution is still wanting. I’ve not given up on this idea.

But think of it for a moment for yourself: what do you need to work other than your data?

(and for you Windows people, consider Portable Apps as well)

What Happens to your story before Publication

So, ever wonder what happens to your story in-between the submitted Word document and the final output? Here is a quick overview of what I do.

  1. I copy and paste the story into plain text. This strips out all formatting, all styles, but most importantly, all of the sins of the word processor used to create it.
  2. It is Find and Replace time! Remove the Tabs, and double spaces after punctuation. Change it so ultimately it is two hard returns after a paragraph, with no hard or soft ones in-between.
  3. Quotes are straightened, single and double. Each dash and hyphen is inspected to ensure it is the correct punctuation mark.
  4. Any spacing between sections is normalized. I use either * * * or just blank space.
  5. I open up the original again, and reformat any italics in the piece. I check to make sure the paragraph breaks are correct, all the section breaks were marked.

And now I have a clean and correctly formatted version of your story in a TXT file. From here, I can convert it to DOCX or EPUB or just about anything I want without formatting worries. If there is a change to be made, I can make it in the TXT file, and it is changed everywhere.

Submittable Status Changes (a primer)

There are a few different statuses offered by Submittable to the reader as they go through the review process.

The mostly obvious ones are “withdrawn”, “accepted” and “declined”. These three are pretty clear. “Accepted” appears in green, and “declined” in red to further the point, but with each the word is sufficient.

The trouble comes with the first ones you see: “received” and “in progress”. Specifically that “in progress” one causes much confusion.

“Received” for the most part is self explanatory. The confusion comes with the how, when and why it changes to “in progress”. For the most part, this change in the status offers little to no real information to the writer, and I would prefer it to be removed all together.

Here are the things that cause that change:

  1. Voting on the submission
  2. Leaving a note
  3. Changing the editor assignment (does not require opening the submission)
  4. Opening for editing (does not require opening the submission)
  5. Adding a tag (does not require opening the submission)

Things that do NOT change the status change:

  1. Opening the submission
  2. Reading the story
  3. Forming an opinion on the story

In other words, the editors and readers can interact with your submission and the status won’t change at all. Or, in the case of changing editorial assignments, cause it to change to “in progress” without even opening it.

That means your status can go from “received” to “accepted” without ever seeing “in progress”. It also means it can go to “in progress” without anyone ever looking at it. Either way, the status is offering not much to the writer other than confusion.

The more you know…. star swoosh