Matters at hand.

Happy Saturday, folks. I have some things to cover, but I’ll get the updates out of the way first.

Updates

  • The latest Word Machines feature is now live, featuring author and independent advocate Henry Baum. It’s a great interview, and his novel THE AMERICAN BOOK OF THE DEAD is very good. I recommend you read both.
  • The Kickstarter Project to fund ALT 2.0 stands at $1135 in pledges with 34 days left to go. I think we’re doing great. So far I’ve posted 6 updates detailing the “story behind the story,” along with some scans of my journal notes, and even an “extended” cut of my story THEY WOULD JUDGE HIS TRESPASSES which was published over at 365tomorrows. If you’ve pledged, I thank you, and ask that you please spread the word. If you haven’t, all it takes is $5, and you’ll get access to these posts along with a digital copy of the book. And hey, if you’re not interested, pay it forward and pass along the link. Thanks!
  • I signed up to become an affiliate of {indie}pendent books. There’s a link over on the sidebar. The folks who run the site are hardworking people, they love books, and they think independently published works have value. Follow the link there on the side, take a look at what they have, and get yourself something. When you do, this site will get a few pennies in return. Those pennies will go toward paying for hosting costs. So, to recap: Click link, buy book, keep both sites alive. Repeat. You might even see ALT there one day. Who knows?

ALT 2.0

Between some awesome feedback and a not-so-awesome two-star Amazon review suggesting the book be 100 pages longer (not happening), I decided to take a much closer look to the manuscript as we cruise closer to the Kickstarter ending date.  One of the criticisms the book has received is that the first edition draft begins much to slow, but that, once it gets going, it really gets going well. Problem is, I wrote that first chapter to serve as an establishing shot. Most important characters are introduced right there.

So . . . I started brainstorming. I decided that the book’s pacing might improve if things are incorporated much sooner. But, as I’ve been told to take a couple of weeks away from anything ALT or TLM related (per the direction of friends and my wife and my editor), I’m left to my own devices, and so I turn to you folks. If you’ve read ALT, and I suspect some of you have, what would you change? What would you do differently? I know a lot of you are writers, too. Give me your opinions. Don’t worry about hurting my feelings or anything. Let’s be honest here. Let me know in the comments.

A Funny Thing Happened

I was going to write about this much sooner, but I was in the midst of pushing the project and finishing TLM’s first draft, so I didn’t have much time to do so. I also wanted to let some dust settle lest the eye of Sauron still be upon me.

As you know, my relationship with a certain POD printer sort of fell through at the worst possible time. In the aftermath of an article I wrote about it, said POD printer contacted me wanting to discuss it, and hoping to do damage control. And I, being one to vent my grievances, decided to indulge them. I went through a play-by-play of what was wrong with it, and asked if they have any sort of quality control whatsoever, because what I received never should have left their printer. I should also mention that, when they reached out to me, they misspelled my name, despite my name being a huge part of my email address (and yes, they used my contact email here from the site).

I could let the misspelling slide. I’m no stranger to it. Keisling is a weird name, and people mess it up all the time. So I didn’t mention anything about it. “Just a typo,” I thought. I waited a few days to send my response because I wanted to let myself cool off. I was still rather pissed about the whole thing, and wanted to take a look at the email with a level head before hitting “send.” I did so, and the next day I received a response.

They misspelled my name again, claimed they have “active” quality control procedures in place, then went on to tell me that they would be refunding me the cost the proof, and had shipped me a mailer so that I could send back the copy. They wanted to “investigate.” Three things happened in that email that royally pissed me off. For starters, they misspelled my name again. I work in a business environment. The least someone can do is get a person’s name right. Not doing so shows a lack of professionalism. The second thing that got under my skin was the refund. You’re probably saying, “Why bitch about it? You’re getting your money back.” I acknowledge that. However, I did not ask for it, nor was the purpose of my emails, or the article, or even the project, to obtain a refund. It cost them to produce the proof. Fine. I paid them for their time and service. I understand why they felt the need to provide a refund for the sake of customer service, but doing so without my consent was rather annoying. And finally, expecting me to send it back to them without asking also irked me. I’d no intention of sending it to them. It’s the only proof of their mistake. I’m not about to send it back to them.

I should mention that, around the time of this email, I started receiving phone calls at my residence from them. They did not leave messages. It was rather creepy.

So I didn’t wait a day this time. I sent this email (and I’ve redacted revealing material–sorry):

Dear —

I appreciate the offer, but I do not wish for a refund.  Please keep your money.  I have no intention of returning the book, and will keep what I paid for.  I will, however, provide you with the product ID on the inside of the book: [REDACTED]

Though I doubt someone at [REDACTED]  is truly unable to remove the files, I will respect your claim and your company’s policies on the matter.  However, I do wish for my account to be closed.

I should also point out that, for the last two days, someone from [REDACTED] has called my home without leaving a message.  I would like this to stop.

Finally, while I’m sure you mean well, your inability to correctly spell my last name across two consecutive emails does not help your claim of quality control.

I will now consider this matter closed.

Kind regards,

Todd Keisling

Yeah. I was rather angry. I sent that and stewed on it for the rest of the day. The following morning, a funny thing happened. First I received a notice that I had a new Twitter follower. When I opened said notice, I discovered that the person with whom I’d been exchanging emails was now following me. I went to her account page, saw that she’d just opened it, and that I was the only person she followed. Not cool. At this point I was feeling rather creeped out by the whole thing.  They were stalking me like an ex-girlfriend. Very weird.

A few minutes later I checked back and saw her account was closed.  Fortunately I kept the Twitter email (with a “lol” label). And then, about an hour after all that, I got an email from the supposed “VP” of the company (research indicates that he was only a manager as of six months ago, which would make for a very fast climb of the corporate ladder), written in legalese and citing termination of the agreement I signed when opening my account with them.

This was all a few weeks ago. It made for an exciting week, alongside ALT 2.0 being the featured project on Kickstarter, and I wanted to tell you all, but there were other, more pressing matters at hand. I hope it provided you a good laugh. I’m still chuckling about it.

Next time I’ll post some shots of the TLM manuscript. For now I have errands to run. Enjoy your weekend, folks.

TK

One thought on “Matters at hand.

  1. Hm, what would I change about ALT. It’s been a few years since I read it. I do recall thinking it could do without the brother subplot. Is it introduced late in the book? Maybe it just didn’t have much substance until later on. In either case Mrs. Candle is enough to establish the theme of loved ones helping to bestir the mediocre to action. Adding the brother to the mix sidetracks the book thematically, I think. There are other ways to get a gun into Donovan’s hand.

    I was never hot on the name Dullington. It’s a wink at the camera, very comic for a novel with a serious message. Even the name Grey would be more plausible, if still obvious.

    I’d have to give it another quick read for anything further or more specific. You’ve got a capable editor on the job, I wouldn’t worry.

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