Because now! I have a printer. My very, very own. Purchased with Christmas and birthday money from my parents (thanks, guys!) is a brand new Samsung ML-3310D. That means Mono-laser (numbers numbers) duplex. It prints on both sides. Literary agents of the world don't like that, but I do. I can print my own copy of a story or chapter or an entire novel in the space of a very short time. (And you can turn duplex off, of course.)
I'm only mentioning this because (well, I'm excited about it, because I am such a nerd), but also because if any of you out there are also aspiring writers, and you want to get more bang for your buck, I definitely recommend a laser printer. I shied away from these before. Oh yes, I have. And I have had trials and tribulations out the wazoo...
Many years ago, when I graduated from Ball State University, my parents (thanks guys!) got me an all-in-one fax/photocopier/laser printer. I kind of looked at the big refrigerator-sized box and thought, I don't even know if there's room in my apartment for this. In my life, even. At the time it was the most practical gift that a parent can give an twenty-one-year-old. But because I was young and stupid, with foresight that reached only to about four inches in front of the tip of my nose, I said I'd rather return it and get the money for it. They thought I could accomplish great things with this massive piece of tech. I thought it would look bulky and take up too much space in my writing corner (on the floor, yes, of my apartment bedroom). So they were thankful for my honesty and I ended up getting cash, which I put in my bank account (which would later go towards funding studies in England a few years later). That was my first brush with a beautiful, useful printer that would have been so very, very handy.
Next! I end up printing things wherever I can. Because I worked at a hotel for the three years running up to moving to England, I used printing facilities there. I know. Bad, bad Vee. But I did. Perhaps that was one reason why I thought I could have used the cash instead.
Skip to a few years later: my beloved has offered me use of his own (inkjet) printer. Small, tidy, about twelve years old (so ancient in printer years). It takes about five minutes to print one page. It wants just a few pages fed to it at a time. It throws a hissy fit if you don't do that. It requires back massages, nail treatments, dinners out. It still throws unexpected tantrums for no reason, and then a silly light comes on saying it's out of ink, it has a paper jam, or it's out of paper, (well, wouldn't you know!). At this point in my life, I have become a slave to this little machine. Worst of all (and I know this is not the printer's fault), it is stored underneath the desk, so my back is aching with the first ten or twenty pages printed. These are the things I do for literary art.
I did a lot of email submissions back then.
Then, I thought to myself, I'll get wise. It's time to consult a professional printing service. So I went to a local one, one of the only, it seems, in South Yorkshire. It was handy. It was right smack dab in the middle of town. I had great service. I spent a pretty penny to print up about four or five whole manuscripts (all but one duplex to save on paper and cost and the weight of carrying them back home) for my team of expectant and innocent beta readers.
Then: epic fail. I transferred jobs to a different city (a city that doesn't seem to have a printing shop at all, inexplicably). I had to book vacation time off work in order to get to the (now, not so local) printers. I'd have to convert each document to a PDF before emailing to the printing shop, so I'd have to very carefully proofread each page (and still miss something!) before emailing it to them, which was nerve-racking because I only had that vacation day available to pick it up, so time was always limited. (Bear in mind you should always, always proofread anyway. It's just like having a cool glass of wine - it's a lot better when you can take your time.) Also the prices went up a year or so later. So much so, that I was spending more than twice the cost for the exact same thing. When I paid £90 for two copies of a manuscript, enough was enough.
Time to bring in the big guns.
Time to invest in... my own printer.
So I now have this little beauty perched on the corner of my desk. Its name is Stu. I purchased Stu for less than £90, VAT and shipping included. It prints a gazillion pages a minute, it doesn't jam, and it comes with an ink cartrige good for about 3,000 pages (that's 10 full manscripts, or 60 fifty-page samples, or 176 first three chapter samples, or 214 copies of one fourteen-page short story, if I wanted to paper my walls with them).
In addition to all this, there's a £50 cash back offer for selected Samsung printers, so I've almost got my printer for free. Life is good.
Now I have the freedom to print what I want when I want. No more PDFs! No more booking off vacation time unless I really want to! I can stop printing or pause when I need to! The power is mine!
The first document Stu spat out like a loyal dog delivering me the paper? A letter and a small collection of my poems to my writerly friend Margie in Indiana.
Good job, Stu!! *Pat, pat*
Happy Sunday, all!