A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog post that was (or should have been) called “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” I had just been informed by the president of our homeowners’ association that with a hard freeze warning in store for that night, i needed to leave the faucets in my master bath running to prevent a pipe in the outer wall from freezing and bursting. I did so, only to discover that the trap under the sink leaked. So I called a plumber, who said, “We’re booked solid with frozen pipes. Just don’t use that drain until the cold weather is over.” Thus the dilemma: do I let the water run and spend the night mopping up with towels and a bucket? Or do I turn the water off and risk a gusher of water coming through the wall from a broken pipe?
Sometimes you can’t win for losing. OK, I accept that. But I didn’t expect the same rule to apply to publishing. Several years ago, I wrote a book on how to self-publish your novel. It was a topic that was very much in the news among writers in 2012, and “The Second Mouse Gets the Cheese” was well-received and sold hundreds of copies. However, our world of technology moves at an ever-increasing speed, and books about technology have a short shelf-life. By last year, the “Second Mouse” was getting some pointed criticism among its Amazon reviewers as readers complained that the information was outdated or that I had failed to include current problems.
The solution, I thought, would be simple. It was time for an update—a second edition. I quickly went to work on “The Second Mouse Goes Digital,” making every effort to touch on the very latest innovations and solutions to current problems. I even went so far as to experiment with an online formatting program that I used to format the page layouts of the new book. And then, at the last possible moment, I went back and added a paragraph to describe my findings. The book’s publication came at the end of November, 2017.
But “Damned if you do . . . .”
Almost immediately, major publishers and software companies leaped in to announce major updates and new solutions. Even the federal government got involved. Today, January 24, 2018, several of the chapters in my shiny new book are outdated. Obviously I can’t write faster than software designers can think. My solution—for the moment—is to use this blog to make additions and corrections to the new book as they occur. We’ll start this week with the questions about home offices that arose with the new changes to tax laws.