When Publishing Becomes a Nightmare

Today I had a blog post prepared with the announcement that Necessary Evil of Nathan Miller would be available in paperback tomorrow. I’m very sad to say that it won’t be.

When managing a project as big as a book, there are so many steps and so many players involved, it’s like a very complex dance. One step wrong can go unnoticed – or it can trip everyone up so they fall in a heap.

The proof of Nightmares of Caitlin Lockyer arrived a few weeks ago in paperback and I was horrified at the dark print on the cover. I modified both it and the cover of Necessary Evil of Nathan Miller to match, but I knew I’d have to see what both looked like together before I could approve Necessary Evil of Nathan Miller for sale. In addition, Createspace has just started offering a matte cover, which would be my preferred format, but I haven’t seen the quality of it, either. I ordered the proof a fortnight ago, paying a lot of money to ensure it would be tracked from the printer in the United States to my house in Western Australia, just as I had with Nightmares. Usually, that takes between four and six days.

Amazon marked it as “shipped” ten days ago. Not only has it not arrived, but the courier tracking data shows they haven’t received it. Somewhere between Amazon and the courier depot, Necessary Evil of Nathan Miller has gone missing.

Now, mistakes happen. I know this. So I contacted Amazon last week, when there was still time for them to print and send a new copy for me to approve before tomorrow’s release date. I was told I’d get a response within 24 hours. Hey, I’m an optimist. As long as the book arrived before launch, I wouldn’t have a problem.

Thirty-six hours later, I received a response that told me my parcel would not be tracked once it left the US and I should check with my local customs and post offices about the delay.

Now, Amazon has provided me with the tracking code for my parcel, as I’ve paid for this service, which tells me that the parcel has not been collected by the courier and consequently hasn’t left the United States. Even parcels that aren’t completely tracked, like this one is, DO get tracked when they pass customs in Australia. I’m waiting for some Christmas presents I ordered from Amazon with this postage option and I can see that the gifts have been collected by the courier, processed by the export hub, and sent to the destination country. I can also see that it’s been approved by customs here in Perth. All this for a non-tracked parcel.

A tracked parcel…is rather cool. I can see when the courier picks it up, the various sorting facilities it visits in the US, watch as it flies to Hong Kong and gets processed through customs, before it’s sent through to Australia for customs clearance and delivery here. It’s quite a thrill to see, “On board with driver for delivery,” pop up in the tracking.

I contacted Amazon again, repeating what I told them originally with the tracking information from several previous parcels, as well as this present one, attached to the email. Thirty eight hours later, I’ve received a response – they now believe my book has been lost in transit and they’re printing and sending a new copy.

As with all of my books, I will not approve Necessary Evil of Nathan Miller for sale unless I feel it’s a five-star quality book. I don’t sell substandard products. Would you pay good money for a book that the author tells you might not be good enough quality to release? I wouldn’t and I won’t ask you to.

I want to say I’m sorry, for I hate breaking promises, yet I have no control over this one. A company on the other side of the world has delayed my book release and, until they produce the product and service I’ve paid for, I can’t even set a new date. I’m not sorry – I’m furious. On my behalf…but mostly on yours.

With Christmas fast approaching and Australian mail services overloaded with gifts and cards, I can’t depend on anything arriving in December. Most likely, any proof scheduled to arrive in December will appear in the week after Christmas.

Much though it pains me to have to announce it, I must. Necessary Evil of Nathan Miller will be officially released in paperback on the 2nd January, thanks to Amazon. By some miracle, it might be available earlier. If it is, I’ll drop everything to check the proof and release it before Christmas. I’ll announce it here on my blog, on my Facebook author page, and to my email list subscribers. If you want to know first, I suggest you pick one of those ways to follow me. I’ll be giving away a paperback copy on release day. The winner will be chosen randomly from those who comment on my release day post on here and Facebook. I will post it to anywhere in the world.

What I will do in the lead-up to Christmas is give away some free ebook copies of Necessary Evil of Nathan Miller – yes, internationally. All you’ll have to do to win is answer a daily question on my FB author page. I will give away a copy every day until that proof arrives, starting today.

Good luck!

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