Let’s see…..where was I? Oh yea…..”The Company.”
I never did talk to “Alice” again. I received an e-mail from “Cathy” who told me that we were now at a point in the process that she would take over. She was my “Publishing Counselor” and was here to make sure everything went smooth from here on. She also listed a phone number, which I called immediately. I got voice mail which assured me that “Cathy” would get right back to me if I left a call back number, which I did. She didn't. I could write a dozen paragraphs about the frustration and slow pace of the process from here on, but it would be boring and in some cases redundant, so I will just hit the highlights.
The reason I chose the most expensive package was because of all the things it included. I found out later that; for those “things” to happen, I had to “order” them and create an invoice. Even though I wasn’t charged for them, I still had to create an order, for them to go into effect. I found this out only after waiting patiently for the “things” to happen and then through several e-mails finding out I had to “order” them.
Whenever I called “Cathy” on the phone with a question I never talked to her, only voice mail. In some cases I got an e-mail response to my question almost immediately, which led me to believe that “Cathy” sat at her desk, screened her calls, and would NOT answer the phone if it was one of HER authors; So much for the “One on One” assistance. This method of communication led to answers to questions that led to another question that had to be answered one at a time through a series of voice mails and e-mails. You can imagine how slow this was. I finally got the hint and stopped calling and just resigned myself to the fact that I was not going to talk “One on One” with anybody.
I had to write my own synopsis blurb for the back cover and my bio. I had to upload my picture for the back cover to their server. I had to format my galley according to specifications outlined in an instruction memo that was very hard to understand. The Company would do it for me, of course, for a price. Then upload it to their server. (Just what was it that they were doing for me for my $1000?)
As you might know the Cover of the book is probably the most important aspect of the publishing process. A book is always judged by the cover no matter how much we tell people not to. My package price included a cover, but it was one of a dozen generic scenes that I could add my own picture and text to. If I wanted the Company to design a cover it would cost me another $300. I am pretty good at Photoshop and have done some graphic design in my old job so I thought I could come up with a pretty good cover. I built the cover in Photoshop and uploaded it to the Company server.
Over more than a dozen e-mails back and forth I was told that it wasn’t “right.” Each e-mail telling me my submission wasn’t right had the same attachment that spelled out in terms no normal person could understand what was REQUIRED for it to be right. The e-mail did NOT however say what was specifically wrong with my submission, just that it was “wrong.”. So I had to read and re read and re read the attachment to try and figure out what I had done wrong, try again, upload AGAIN, and get the next “It’s Wrong!” mail and start the process all over again.