Friday, May 18, 2007


I'm not very good at this sort of thing at all. The shameless self-publicity sort of thing I mean. Which is strange when you come to think about it because I write a blog which is in large part, about me.

I mentioned a couple of months ago that I had recently written a book. Or rather I had sort of written one in that I took somebody's words and made them into a story and filled in the gaps with lots of words of my own. It was a biography in fact. I suppose it's my book in that I own 50% of the copyright and get 50% of the royalties, so yes, I have written a book. I will be writing more in the future. Hopefully.

Actually, it was published two months ago but I have kept publicity to a minimum because Amazon are crap. Intrepid blog explorers may have noticed an extra one on my profile and been curious and investigated but it was Amazon who stopped me from making any kind of noise because they are crap.

Why are Amazon crap? Because they have a monopoly and when you have a monopoly you get sloppy and complacent and stop caring about your customers. Then you don't appear concerned when your customer complains and end up offering empty promise after useless platitude instead of explanations and apologies.

What happened is that when the publishers, very nice people called Arima, sent the details of the book to Amazon they mistakenly sent the wrong blurb. It was about the book but there was a bit about me taken from an early version of the cover which contained a joke that we ditched when we saw it didn't work very well. No worries there. We went through 8 drafts of the cover anyway, these things happen.

When I saw that Amazon had innocently posted the wrong bit on their sites both here and in the US, I was mithered. I didn't like it, it made me look silly. So I used the customer service email form to tell them about it. I used the same form to both sites, using the same form of words and sent at the same time. Within a couple of hours the US site had changed their details. The UK site dragged their feet. For a week. I emailed. I phoned their customer services in Ireland. Another week. And another. I had emails back. I had phone calls back all promising that they would make this very tiny change to their listing, but if I could use the following email address or phone the following number it would go to the right department and be done quicker. OK. I was told I had contacted the wrong department; I was given instructions to contact another - instructions that bore no relation to any process on the site. I was told that the changes had been made yet there was no difference. I started to tear my hair out. I began to get very angry. I told Amazon that I would not be sending anyone to the site until it was changed, losing both of us vast amounts of money. I even tried to find Jeff Bezos' email address. Then yesterday, fully two months and two days after the book was published it finally got changed. Thankyou Yvonne, somewhere in Amazon. Everyone else who works for should look to Yvonne, she's the only one there who knows how to do her job. Now I can tell people about it, which is what people do when they've written a book. Even one that isn't about blogging.

Anyway, the book is called G Strings and Curls and is about Tony. He was a teenage jazz bassist in the 40s and 50s for some very famous people and then became a hairdresser. He became very successful after a dreadful start in the business. Unless you 're some kind of jazz or dance band anorak or had your hair done on a cruise liner between 1963 and 1993, you probably won't have heard of him. But his story's a laugh, contains quite a bit of rude stuff (most of it done very tastefully) and plenty of swears (some of them not done very tastefully at all). In fact, there were so many rude bits and swears, I had to warn my Mum before she read it.

Naturally I don't expect you to rush out and buy it just because you know who wrote it. But if you do want to rush out and buy it, English people can get it here and American citizens can buy it here. In order to redeem themselves, Amazon have allowed you to read several pages. (they're not the best ones though). You may also visit the publisher's website but it's quite difficult to find it there so here's a link directly to their shopping cart.

Don't all run at once.

2 Vegetable peelings:

Blogger Phil said...

Congratulations! - it must be a bit like being a parent - wondering how it will turn out!

All the best to you , I hope it sells loads...

6:15 am  
Blogger Carmenzta said...

Richard, I am so proud of you! Way to go!

7:03 pm  

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