Letter Box

The Look Inside feature on Amazon allows potential readers a peek at the #poetry. According to feedback all that can be seen is the table of contents.

Regular readers will know, it is barely a week since I learned how to convert a Word document to the required format for uploading to Kindle. Yes I know I should read the FAQ's and there are various manuals that could be consulted, but having external gonads if I can't mend it with a hammer it can't be mended.

Therefore, the past few days have been spent trying to discover if there is some way to instruct Salome how many veils to drop. This quest through blogs and websites was fruitless.

So I hit on the idea of moving a poem ahead of the TOC - a decent spray of WD40brought back which buttons to press. And being on a roll, the copyright business and contact details were moved to the back of the book, a few bits and pieces deleted, some spolling mistakes corrected, and Bob's-your-live-in-lover the file is ready for upload.

The bumped poem is this....

Universal Suffrage
Grandmother had the self same dolls
all lined up and on display. Once
a year she would take them out

for dusting. They were not for touching
but remained behind glass,
smiles fixed, fading from

four ‘til six as the sun passed
over the backyard. Tiny women
trapped beside the pantry door, forever

catching crumbs and flinching
from the faces of eager children.
A frigid life, lived on the shelf

infertile: yet beautiful, unnatural
in its combination, awful
now when contemplated.

As you can see, the poem uses enjambment to establish meter and emphasis.

When the file was uploaded I decided to have a look at the preview, in order to make sure the poem could be seen.

So I did.

And was rather surprised that instead of just the TOC, the preview offered @ six poems, plus the TOC.

Which is not to call the people offering said feedback liars.

I suspect that Look Inside offers a percentage of the book as a preview (@10%). The original document is 77 pages in Word. With page breaks, the original title page, copyright, TOC, etc, would have been about 7 pages. Amazon calculates the file at about @96 pages, and the preview now shows roughly 9 pages, which with the changes is the TOC and @six poems.

At which point I decided to test it on various devices - yes, yes, I realise I should have done this before, but what you gonna do?

So I asked the missus to look at it on her tablet.

"Is it meant to look like this?" she asked.
"Like what?" I snapped, still a little annoyed at her reluctance to help; she had been watching Criminal Minds on Netflix on the desktop and reading crochet blogs on her tablet.
"With the lines all jumbled up."

I went and had a look. In the vertical plane, the preview had compressed the text, breaking up the lines, ruining my cunningly crafted enjambments, in short the dreaded formatting issue that poets have been moaning about.

In theory this should be a big deal. But, I find myself wondering what people are complaining about.

The poem is still there.

The reader if they choose can have the formatted poem, if they choose to zoom out far enough to make the text unreadable without a magnifying glass. And the only reason the tablet is compressing the text in the vertical plane is because within the pop-up  frame is the option to buy. There isn't an issue in the purchased copy. Effectively it is like peering through a letter box.

Yeah, but, no but....

I was once chatting with a curator at the Royal Academy. She told me about a a critically acclaimed installation piece. The artist had sent instructions as to how and where the various objects should be set in relationship to each other. I asked her how difficult it was to ensure that the piece was displayed  correctly. She laughed. According to her, they did their best to follow the instructions, and the artist was free to move things if they weren't happy, but it was all academic because once the exhibition was underway the people who had most control of what the public see, are the cleaners.

"He who binds himself a joy,
does the winged life destroy."

cue random picture to make the facebooks look pretty....

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