So, I took a photo of an outbuilding directly behind the desert rest stop. I was hoping the picture would inspire me to write a blog about… I don’t know. Balancing above a toilet seat while swatting at flies? Then I returned home and both Harrell and I got some surprising news. I had something to write about, after all.
Let me start with the good news. Yesterday, Amazon Vella emailed me a message. Their note read, “We are excited to inform you that you earned a launch bonus for the month of July.”
I don’t know why they were excited about this news, but I loved the idea. Free money! I was also surprised to hear it. While The Awful, Terrible NO GOOD Mail-Order Bride exists, it has some followers, we’re not making significant bank with the story. Not that the Amazon bonus was all that much. It isn’t new car money. It’s new car mat money, but only if you drive a Hyundai. By the way, I drive a Hyundai. If I need a new car mat, I’m golden.
How much was it? For us, the payment turned out to be a multiple of what we’ve earned on Vella so far. Still, only a two-digit payment. Talking to other writers, I’ve learned that Amazon sent out a lot of these awards, but most writers received less than a hundred bucks. I’ve yet to meet anyone who received as much as two hundred dollars.
Amazon didn’t reward everyone in their Vella stable, though, and the justification for who gets what seems to be built upon fairy wings and unicorn kisses. (I don’t know what that means, either. Let’s go with it. My week has been exhausting, and I’m scraping this together from scratch.) Why did the Amazonians do it? I think it’s fiscal encouragement, a (sur)prize to keep dissatisfied Vella scribes from bolting for greener pastures. So far, the pasture is pretty brown. There are a lot of people who’ve made nothing so far. When one of my friends posted that she’d earned nine cents after the first month, another friend posted, Lucky. She wasn’t teasing.
The not terribly-bad, but bad surprise? Yesterday, also, my partner in crime, Harrell, discovered that the voicemail on his Google Fi phone wasn’t working. It hadn’t been working for weeks. When a family member texted, asking why he hadn’t responded to a voice message, he replied that he hadn’t received anything. He was right, but he was wrong. His phone had recorded the words, but hadn’t told shared them with him.
Doing his own investigation, Harrell discovered this isn’t a new problem for the Google folks. Online fixes didn’t do anything, and the steps the customer service reps offered didn’t take, either. Finally, Google Fi customer service had to resort to desperate measures to make voicemail work again; the phone had to be returned to its factory settings. This morning, the missed voicemails of the last few weeks flooded in. Harrell had seventy-six messages to go through, including a few from me. When I asked him if he hadn’t wondered why no one had left him a voicemail in many days, he told me, “I’d hoped people were ignoring me.”
I don’t know if that’s a typical response for all men or just my man. Either way, like I said, it’s been a tough week. I’m using our launch bonus money on a bottle of wine and a roll of cookie dough.