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Real Life Debugged » Pre-Production

Archive for the Category ◊ Pre-Production ◊

I’m doing a little feasibility project for work, and digging up dirt on bathroom scales.  (Don’t ask - really - my specialty is *not* bathroom scales. It’s actually kumquats as alternate energy sources, but that’s not important yet.)

ANYWAY, I was online looking for customer complaints.  Because, you know, manufacturer’s blame EVERYTHING on us stupid customers.

Then I tripped across the beauty by Savvy Shopper over at

Nowhere in the description did I see this [bathroom] scale displays only in kilograms. The description says maximum capacity 330lbs. That certainly would lead most to believe it displays in pounds. I don’t want to do mathematical problems when I step on my scale in the morning. Although, this may be good for my brain, that wasn’t the reason for my purchase. I will be returning it.

Oh, Snap!  It warms my heart to see reality, truth and sarcasm (along with the product itself) flung back at idiot manufacturers.

Subtitle: “An Author’s Relationship with Amazon, Google and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)”

I admit, when the book first came out, I was so antsy to see it on Google. In the beginning I was secretly disappointed to keep finding it behind pages and pages of cell phone battery horrors … “Girl burned when cell phone catches fire” … “cell phone sparks fire that leaves California man severely burned.”

But after the the book came out and gained publicity, my attitude (and my mental status) buoyed happily seeing it at or near the top of search results. Then at international Amazon sites, and in lists in industry journals and college libraries. And the reviews - I printed out page after page to save for posterity!

But … my amusing and somewhat sarcastic writing style didn’t win me this international publicity. Nope.

It’s all about Google and Amazon. And SEO - search engine optimization.


Cover Art: The Acid Flashback Big Reveal
Friday, January 16th, 2009 | Author: lisaksimone

Back when I was emailing Newletters to folks in the pre-production days, one of my anguishes was the book’s cover art. Now that I have recovered over the past year or so, I can talk about the whole trial less emotionally (… I lament in that totally weak wilty female whisper of delicateness while fanning flushed face quite rapidly).

** Rolls eyes **

Anyway, in Phone on Fire Newsletter #4, “Author Anguish,” I had relayed that the publisher forwarded three concepts for the cover, and that I had been underwelmed by all three. I also admitted,

One was downright awful. I think I used the phrase “acid flashback” in my feedback to the publisher on that one.

I refused to show anyone that concept. I think after all this time I will reveal the cover art that nearly scarred me with the idea that they were actually considering it.


Phone on Fire Newsletter, Issue 9
Friday, April 06th, 2007 | Author: lisaksimone


I am returning from the 2007 Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose and the official premiere of Phone on Fire! If you are in the field and have never been to an Embedded conference - you need to go. What a great collection of vendors, classes, and seminars! (Ed Note: I would include a static website for the conferences in general, but it changes every year. So, check out the Embedded Systems website, which always has great information including ALL the embedded systems conferences.)

In this newsletter -
- Highlights the Show,
- Phone on Fire Premiere,
- My Best Takeout Pizza Experience,
- Shameless Photos.


Phone on Fire Newsletter, Issue 8
Sunday, March 18th, 2007 | Author: lisaksimone


Welcome to Issue #8: It’s Really Happening!

After 6 weeks of silence (from me to you, and from the publisher to me!), we are shipping next week!  The premiere is coming up, and I can finally admit some of the secrets kept from my publisher.  ;-)


Phone on Fire Newsletter, Issue 7: Poll Results
Thursday, February 01st, 2007 | Author: lisaksimone


Welcome to Issue #7: Results of the Completely Unscientific Reader Poll

Thank you for participating in my Reader Poll. Your feedback helps me understand if my thoughts are completely out in left field or not. Well, I think I know the answer to that question without having to ask!

Here were the questions:

Question 1 asked about your personal preference - did you like the cover?

Question 2 asked about the cover’s ability to attract a potential buyer to learn more…does the cover art do it’s job?


Phone on Fire Newsletter, Issue 6
Friday, January 26th, 2007 | Author: lisaksimone

Hi Folks,

Welcome to Issue #6: Closure to the Cover Art Saga and a Completely Unscientific Reader Poll

Wow - only 56 days left until availability! I can’t believe this is actually happening! I’m done with the proofs and we’re in final layout. Put your orders in now before Amazon drops the price any further on me!

I have attached the almost-final-version of the cover art, which has also just shown up on (old amazon link). (Very small text changes will be made only.)


Phone on Fire Newsletter Issue 5
Sunday, January 07th, 2007 | Author: lisaksimone


Welcome to Issue #5 : The Ballbreaker Epiphany

So I had a 2-hour conversation with my editor, Tiffany, two days after I received a thick package via DHL. The raw copy-edit comments from Carol, and the proofs of the whole book with the copyedit changes already in place. Figures and fonts and everything! It is so cool that they show me every little thing they changed, so I can see it explicitly. Right up an engineer’s alley.

Read more about my stress during this time, and my discussions with the publisher that resulted in our extended forays into Urban Dictionary com.


Phone on Fire Newsletter, Issue 4
Saturday, December 09th, 2006 | Author: lisaksimone

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Welcome to Issue 4 of the Lisa’s Book Saga: Author Anguish

My last newsletters were full of hope and excitement, although I believe I mentioned I was riding the newbie excitement wave while knowing full well that the jaded edge was waiting somewhere. No jagged edge yet, but just the continued anxiety and “out-of-the-loop-ness” of preproduction.

But in this issue, checkout the chapter layouts, the first advertising shots from Amazon, and maybe my name in Kanji!


Phone on Fire Newsletter, Issue 3
Friday, November 17th, 2006 | Author: lisaksimone


Welcome to Issue 3 in the short-term saga of book publishing!

Last time I hinted at a fight between’s head buyer and my publisher, Elsevier / Newnes. Before I get right to that, let me tell you a little bit about the production process, and how far along we are.