Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Road to the pavement is up -- be prepared to STOP!

For those folks who're following the situation, an update: we're still waiting for any sensible communication from Customer Service, and we've been waiting for a week. At this point, I would have to say that my opinion of the Create Space service is rapidly going down. A couple of weeks ago, I'd have rated them five stars out of five, on top of the heap as per POD printing. Now, they're getting 3.5, and I'll be honest, if they were not the only road to available to publishers who live in a CNA (Country Not America), I'd be looking around.

Don't get me wrong: the product is superb; the road to Amazon is clearly marked and has (to this point) been easy to travel. This is the first time a major problem in the automatic system has come up ... and we've been stalled for a week. Our "Christmas market" just slithered away for Keegan's new book (The Lords of Harbendane), and we're no closer to getting the problem fixed now than we were eight days ago.

I'm far from happy, but there's very little a publisher in a CNA can do about this --

A few weeks ago I tagged myself onto an indie publishing group at Google Groups. All kinds of POD so-called"solutions" were recommended to me, including one which comes (apparently) highly recommended, -- Blitz Print. Hell of a nice website, and recommended over all over by -- Ink Tree.

On Ink Tree's recommendation, I went to Blitz and asked for the free printing quote. It can't hurt to ask, right?

Wouldn't it be nice if people would have the common courtesy to REPLY, even (or especially) if the answer is as simple as "Sorry, we don't deal with customers outside the Americas." If they only ship to Canada, the US and Mexico -- how much would it cost to say so? How hard would it be to post a notice on their very nice website to this effect?! Their drop-down location picker shows Can, US and "other." I mean, come on, guys: "other" could mean Outer Mongolia.

In other words, Blitz print doesn't deal with POD clients in CNAs, and doesn't have the manners to reply when the answer is "sorry, can't do business with you." That's not the way to build up a sound reputation!

Shipping-destination wise, the same is true of Lightning Source (who are up front and honest on their webpage), Booklocker, and every other POD "solution" we've looked at. They're only solutions for publishers in America. If you're in a CNA, you're apparently stuck with as your road to, because is way too expensive to allow for the massive discounting required by at point-of-sale.

So, right now, we're toughing it out, because CreateSpace is the only way to go. I hope to be able to bump them back to five stars out of five shortly ... maybe this problem is anomalous?? Maybe it's system-wide at CreateSpace, and they're so slammed, they're working flat out and don't have a customer service bod available to reply??

I'll tell you this much, though: I wish were cheaper, because their POD system is virtually foolproof, and their Customer Service department is like lightning!

I'll keep you posted -- and might be posting a second time today, with some screenshots from the "Mel Keegan 2009 Calendar" which is being published at even as I type.

Ciao for now,

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