More Ingram follies, but hardcover has now been submitted!

Again there's good news and bad news. The good news is that — after WAY too long — the illustrator finally got me a workable hardcover dustjacket. I uploaded it to Ingram and they accepted the book but promptly and inexplicably changed the page count on the interior — even though it’s exactly the same interior that passed through unchanged for the paperback version.

Hello, 911… I’m being held hostage by tech support. Please send help. Maybe a drone to blast them into the 21st century.

Now I am enjoying the distinct pleasure of dealing with Ingram on two fronts. Why two? Glad you asked. It's 6 business days since I raised the print issue with the paperback. That’s more than the guaranteed absolute maximum of 5 business days they promised. Naturally, no word. Online chat, click, click, type type type. Bubbly tech person promises to help, then forwards my concerns to supervisor and signs off. Thanks, bubbly tech person. Now I’m exactly where I was before, minus 30 minutes of wasted effort. Well, more like 2 hours cumulative. Because, lest you think me naive, I had been bugging them fairly regularly — both by phone and online chat. So there were multiple bubbly tech people. Why do bubbly tech people only have a last initial? I’ll have to investigate that. It must be cultural. Anyway, with big silly corporations, the squeaky wheel definitely does get the grease — or has a 2% chance of getting proper attention rather than 1%. That or they send a black limo full of lawyers to beat you into submission with Corporate Mission Statements.

Yes, there are few words to express the joy of dealing with Ingram on two fronts, and most of them are four letters. It's definitely '19. 1919, that is. Sometimes I wonder how they're still in business. The only answer I can imagine is that the rest of the industry is even more backward. I’m beginning to think I should have done the Kindle version first, because then I'd be so frustrated with Amazon that Ingram wouldn’t seem so bad.

To round out my fun corporate day, I also was forced to slam the brakes on everything else and attend to a Kirkus ad I bought on sale back in December. To my unpleasant surprise, I got a last minute email when I returned from vacation --- basically asking my approval and announcing that the deadline for changes is today. To be fair, “last minute” means it was in my inbox for a week. But also to be fair, the saleswoman had promised that someone would be in touch over a month ago. Of course, this was the same saleswoman who never got my emails because they were sent to spam. Even when I was trying to give her money. Another winning company with another winning business model. If only there were a way to short the whole publishing industry…

To end on a positive note, however, I did have one pleasant surprise. The Kirkus ad looked pretty darn good. I called the young lady managing the process and had her update the cover and make some minor tweaks to the wording. Given the deadline, we were lucky that a lot of back-and-forth wasn't necessary. Unfortunately, this prevented me from tapping the huge reserve of irritation I keep ever-ready for such situations. What will I do with all that self-righteous anti-incompetence? Well, I'm sure Ingram will pick up the slack.

K.M. Halpern