Publishing Dilemma; Customer Service?


So. I seem to have chosen the most confusing of all times to become a writer. I’m getting ready to publish my book, performing my due diligence on the many choices available. I think that in the case of a writer investigating his options for publishing a book, it should be called doo-doo dillegence.

What a crock of shit.

For starters, computers and the Internet have turned the entire publishing industry upside down. The future is so uncertain that everybody is pulling the headless chicken. E- books and Kindles and Lulu have given writers viable choices over, what I have discovered to be, a very snotty-nosed conventional publishing crowd. You would think that the established procurers of new work would be scrambling to identify and sign new writers.

But, unless you are a celebrity or an already established author, or your first book is about vampires, agents and publishing houses don’t have the time of day for you. A writer buddy of mine asked me what kind of response times I was experiencing in getting replies on my queries.

“What response time?” I answered. “Someone would need to reply back to me first.”

I can’t even get anybody to write back to tell me I’m full of shit and should find a real job. Which surprises me when you consider that traditional publishing is losing its grip on books. I follow dozens of Twitter and blog accounts of agents, writers and publishing people. Everybody is concerned about the future of the publishing establishment. You would think that agents, especially agents, would knock themselves out when they get a query.

And don’t go getting all snarky on me. I’m not saying all agents are doofusses. Doofusi, maybe. It’s just that the only agents that have accepted my queries have yet to be responsive. I follow many of the better agents, but none seem to handle my variety of writing. I see agents holding Twitter conferences with writers, assisting them with how to contact agents, and how to do a good querie.

There are good agents out there. And good publisher reps as well.

If my compost customers were leaving me to go buy from a competitor, the last thing I would do is ignore their inquiries. Even if I didn’t want to sell to you, I would still respond. I’d say, “Thanks for calling Mooners Compost Plant. I am disappointed to tell you that I can’t help you, but you might try calling those ignorant fuckballs over to Baily’s Compost. They’ll sell to anybody.”

You know, make a thoughtful response and try to help the poor sap. You never know when a kind deed will be returned to you. It’s just the right thing to do. Like this one time I had a young kid come out to the plant. He was driving an old pickup truck so rusty it looked painted brown. I think the original paint might have been that funky looking green color they were painting trucks back to the early 1970’s.

Sister bought a 1971 Ford F-150 in that color, and it was the ugliest thing I ever saw. But I think lesbian women must like weird shades, because several of Sister’s buddies had trucks that same color. I can ask her about it. Maybe the preference for ugly-ass colors is a genetic marker in the lesbian gene. She and her wife, Anna the Amazon, wore these matching wedding dresses in a color so ugly you wouldn’t see it on the bridesmaid’s dresses at a straight wedding.

When Gram got her first look at the expensive, lacy finery, she said, “Looks like a pig done wallerd on yer dresses.” Then she eyeballed the girls up and down, and added, “But, who gives a shit. Yer in love.”

My God my ADHD is on the fritz. So, this young kid in the rusty truck of questionable color comes in and wants a tour of my compost operations. I’m thinking to myself that this will be a waste of time, but maybe the kid will grow up and be somebody some day. I also love to show off my facilities to anybody willing to take the time, so I showed him around.

He’s asking questions like a two-year-old. “Why do you do this, and what does that machine do, and what is the benefit of using compost.” Question after question for an hour.

When we finished, he handed me a business card and said to me, he says, “I’ll be getting back to you sir. You’re the only man in town willing to give me the time of day.”

That kid turned out to be the owner of what is now the largest landscape company in the state, and my biggest customer.

Which brings me back to my due diligence. I found the conventional agent and publishing house book printing model to be unavailable to me, so I turned to the new methods. What I found there was totally different in form, but most similar in function.

Do it yourself publishing is a wonderland of options. When you type, “self publishing,” into Google, and then hit the search button, you are told it found, “About 43,000,000 results in 00.47 seconds.”

I haven’t checked out even one percent of the sites yet, but I can assure you that it is confusing. The choices are staggering and confusing. I tried to learn how to do it myself with one of the self-publishing companies, and was ready to pull my hair out five minutes into the exercise.

The instructions were so computer geeked, I couldn’t navigate my way through the first page. I got so frustrated that I sent an Email to their support team asking for help. I await their response now, two months later.

So, I’m all geared up to blast everybody in the entire publishing industry for being snot-nosed shitwads, when I get a ping to my mail system telling me I have new Email. The ping occurred as I was typing the word “geeked” up in that last paragraph. I finished the paragraph and logged on my Email account, and there, I found renewed hope.

See yesterday, I got to the low twenty-thousands of the about-43,000,000 Google search results for self publishing. Number 21,236 was for CreateSpace Publishing. I got on their site yesterday, and not only found it easy to use, but they also offered things to help a writer figure things out.

They had a free things-you-should-know booklet, which I downloaded and found helpful, and then they had a “contact us to discuss stuff” button. I figured it was a waste of time, but I clicked it and filled-out the questionnaire anyway. Why are there two n’s in questionnaire? What the hell is a naire?

The ping I got when writing “geeked” was from Ashley Regan of CreateSpace Publishing. It was a thoughtful response with an eight question naire. It promises that if I answer the eight questions, and tell her when I’m available, that she will call me on the actual telephone.

That’s right, she says that she will call me in the first person on the phone of my choice and at a time that works for me.

Totally screwed up a good rant.

As I was finishing the responses to her naire, Gram came to my office to give me the first dosing of the potion she made to prepare me for my ass surgery this Friday. Its about time Mooner pissed on his ownself is my grandmother’s first attempt at a chelated formulation.

She hands me a tincture bottle and says, “Here, Mooner, swiggle this, sweetie. This is tha first a three dosin’s you’ll be needin fer yer sugicals.”

I took the cap off the little bottle and stuck it to my nose. “Oh for shit sakes, Gram. What’s that smell?”

“Jist shut yer yap and drink it down.”

I did, and had trouble keeping it down. “What the hell is that taste Gram. It tastes like the ostrich Rick Perry just shit in my mouth.”

The old gas bag gave me a toothy grin, and said, “He did. Now go an brush yer teeth.”

I did, and rinsed with mouthwash as well. Gram is always a good person to bounce things off of, so I told her about how I was all wound up and ready to blast the entire publishing industry. Then I told her about how Ashley Regan had spoiled my pity party and ruined a good bloggie posting.

When I told her I didn’t know what direction to take with my story she said to me, she says, “Who gives a shit, Mooner. This is one a them winner-winner-chickin-supper dealies fer you.”

I asked her to explain her logic. “Look at it this a way. If this Ashley does a good job, ya can praise her. Iffn she don’t, then ya put the horseshoes to her.”

“Don’t you mean I can put the screws to her if she messes up?”

“Don’t be silly, Mooner. You got a girlfriend already. I mean ta put her in a gunny sack with a mess a horseshoes, and drop er inna lake.”

Redneck justice.

But I get Gram’s point because this is a win/win for me. I’ll just report to you guys here to bloggie world and tell you about my experience.

Ashley is a girl’s name, right? Isn’t the man’s version spelled Ashly?

I need a cold Carta Blanca beer to cover the taste in my mouth.

Manana, y’all.

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