I feel a rant welling up today. In the thirty-nine years I spent in the computer industry before I retired to write full time, I witnessed my share of unresponsive people and botched systems, but the publishing industry has amazed me with the black holes that requested responses drop into. Here’s the sample I’m dealing with today:
- I did a signing at a book store. The store made a mistake and no books were ordered so I used my own. The store was supposed to reorder books and replace mine. They forgot. After several emails and a phone call, the ordering process is in works. But they can’t get one of my books. On to #2
- I signed a contract to reissue the first book in my mystery series in October of last year. I found out today that the new books are not yet available. I’m awaiting resolution.
- I’m trying to get resolution with my publisher so the booksellers will stock my books at the upcoming Left Coast Crime Conference.
- I’m awaiting a contract that was promised to me three weeks ago from a publisher.
- I’ve been trying for two years to resolve an issue with an agent who no longer represents me.
- I sent an email to an author I know asking for a blurb two weeks ago. No response.
Now taking the last one first, sometimes people get sick, have family problems or die—valid reasons for not responding. This person is actively posting on Facebook so is still alive and well. I also know that people are busy. I would expect a response that would say, “I can’t do it,” or “I will get to it in April,” or “Sure, I’ll get it done within a month.” I’ve learned that when I receive email, 90% of the time I can take care of it immediately in thirty seconds or less. Letting emails sit around is like old fish or relatives staying too long. I check email several times a day, and responding immediately saves me and the other person time.
To be fair, since I started writing this rank and took a break to check email, #3 and #5 appear to be partially resolved. I’ll take that as a sign that ranting works!