Tuesday, September 30, 2014

CreateNeedlessProblems




CreateSpace
4900 LaCross Road
North Charleston, SC 29406

To whom this may concern:

            My name is Robert Crawford. My member ID is 679626 and this pertains to my project, Tatterdemalion, ID# 4633360.
I've been publishing with CS for at least four to five years and occasionally I’ve had problems manufactured for me, usually by your onsite review team. I say "manufactured" because I've had them reject my galley proofs for the most ridiculous of reasons. Now, when I proof a novel, I do it both on disk and physically in the galley proof I get from South Carolina as a backup. Over the last week, they've rejected the latest version of my novel because they're claiming there's a copyright restriction of a free font I'd downloaded from a website that specifically says it's fine for free commercial use and that it's Freeware.
Last night, I'd copied a screengrab from the site from which I'd downloaded it (for context's sake, I’ll pause to say they'd printed my 2nd galley this summer, with the font in question) and sent Customer Service the file attachment. Today I found yet another generic email telling me they rejected my galley for the 3rd time in a row because of a nonexistent copyright restriction. So, obviously, CS didn’t do its job and provide your Onsite Review Team with this information that could’ve cleared my third and final galley proof. In their defense I have to add in all fairness that one of your CS reps offered to give me gratis five copies of my old galley with expedited shipping. But why would I want five copies of the old galley printed up? What good does that do me?
Here's the problem: If you wish to complain about this, you can't just contact the Onsite Review Team but Customer Service. And the problem with THAT is Customer Service, incredibly, is forbidden from contacting the Onsite Review Team. Their only go-between is the Technical Services Department, which, unlike the 24/7/365 CS and ORT, works 9-5, M-F. In other words, CS is placed in the absurd position of having to speak for a department from whom they're forbidden to contact. The executive assclown who thought of that little piece of innovation on the org chart needs to get their ass fired on the spot.
Here's where it gets really interesting: When she began asking questions this morning, the CS rep told me the Review Team's actual reason for rejecting my manuscript was not because of a copyright issue but because the Buffied font that's at the center of this wasn't embedded… which is pure bullshit because #1, they'd printed that font in the 2nd galley and #2, the font shows up fine on the Digital Viewer. So the Onsite Review Team's reasons for refusing to print my galley are shifting and both without merit. Here's the actual notation they put on my book's file review page: "The interior contains the font Buffied cannot be embedded that we are unable to embed. Please embed all fonts in your PDF." Not only is that blatantly wrong, it's not even literate. I feel as if I'm dealing with Latka Gravas from TAXI. (Note: You can't embed fonts in a .pdf file. It has to be done in the native Word file, which I'd done.)
And this isn’t just me: Even your own people in South Carolina hate working there (See this).
Now, it ought to be mentioned here this is coming from someone who hasn’t been able to find a job in close to six years. Since the spring of 2009, I’ve been passed over many times for jobs for which I was vastly overqualified. So when I see incompetence at this level, it’s only inevitable and justifiable that I ask myself and others, “Why are these morons employed by Create Space and why can’t I get even a minimum wage job?”
I've demanded to speak to an executive twice within the last few days and have waited by the phone for nothing. And it seems every time I write to a CS rep, I get a response back from a completely different person who can't take the time to review the history of the correspondence or doesn’t seem to have a First Language grasp of English. It's, as one person described it years ago, "like deaf people talking to each other."
Let me make this clear: Through advance publicity and sending out proposals, I have many people waiting for my book. Among them is a top-shelf literary agent named Philip Spitzer who told me to trim the book and resubmit it. But I don’t know how long these people will wait before they forget about my book. Your Onsite Review Team is needlessly holding up the galley, preventing me from finishing, publishing, marketing and selling my book. In other words, they’re detrimentally affecting your bottom line. If you’re an executive, you’re probably a sociopathic asshole who doesn’t give a shit about my plight but you should give a shit about your corporation’s bottom line and who’s subtracting from it.
Your publishing and marketing platform is wonderful. It's a seamless entry into the biggest online book market on earth and the rates and royalties are pretty OK. But it's your setup and execution that sucks big time. Your authors (or “members”) often hate you, your own employees hate you (On Glassdoor.com your average rating is two and a half stars out of five) and bookstores hate your books and refuse to carry them because of the shoddy product and your blatant refusal to buy shelf space, offer refunds and selling them wholesale on consignment (which all books are sold as).
This arrogance and out of touch incompetence inevitably comes with being so firmly attached like a loaded colostomy bag to one of the biggest corporations on earth. With gigantic market share comes gigantic hubris, arrogance and sociopathic disregard for the needs of your authors and their readers. Your managers and executives are called out time and again for their pettiness, vindictiveness, cluelessness, incompetence and sheer laziness. You spend all your time, according to your staff, sitting on your fat asses at meetings and those who work under you have to psych themselves up before showing up for work because you have unapologetically set up a merciless sweat shop that employs almost no one but low-paid, badly-trained temps.
As a professional novelist who has to do scrupulous research on his subjects, it should come as no surprise to you that with a few mouse clicks I have been able to find out how horrible a place Create Space is to both work in and do business with.
Sometimes I wonder if Jeff Bezos knows or even cares about the idiots, sociopaths and untrained foreigners he has working for one of his biggest offshoot companies. On the offchance he’d like to know and to take some proactive steps, it’s only a matter of time before my researching skills find a way to reach him and let him know just how dysfunctionally this company’s being run from executive management on down. And as a blogger and someone with a significant marketing platform that includes a largely-inclusive online and social networking presence, I will let everyone I can possibly reach know just how horrible it often it is to deal with CS.

2 Comments:

At October 2, 2014 at 7:33 AM, Anonymous Karla K said...

Jp, hope they straighten this out soon. I'm looking forward to the book.

 
At October 2, 2014 at 10:52 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Karla:

Thanks. After screaming at a so-called executive for half the morning yesterday, I uploaded my book for the 4th time this week and, Voila! the draft was approved for a proof copy, which I just ordered minutes ago. I cannot believe I had to go through all this grief to get one Goddamned galley proof printed.

 

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