A few weeks ago, a bookstore out in California asked if I would sign a bunch of books for them. The thought fills me with joy. Someone out there likes my book. That means, by extension, they like me.
Even better, it means the bookseller is probably going to give my book some extra publicity. That fills me with childlike delight. So I thumbs-up the idea and the people at Penguin tell me to keep an eye out for the delivery.
Fast forward to a few days ago. I wake up at the crack of afternoon, look out onto the porch, and here's what I see:
(Yes, the picture is blurry, but this is actually a pretty good representation of what things look like to me when I wake up.)
There is the box of books, utterly manhandled, abused, and dumped on my porch.
How do I know that this box actually contains my books?
Simple, the box has been busted open along most of its seams and I can actually see the books inside.
Everyone, wave to my book. "Hello book!"
(For those of you that have been wondering what my leg looks like, now you know.)
I don't have children, but this is what I imagine a parent must feel like when they see their kid fall off a jungle-gym or take a really bad digger on their bike. I look at the box and find myself being desperately optimistic. Maybe the books are okay in there, I think to myself. Maybe it's not as bad as it looks.
It's as bad as it looks.
Witness the dead remains of six of my books, their spines broken. My only hope is that they didn't feel much pain. Most of the other books had their covers ripped and their pages bunged up pretty badly.
So why am I telling this story? For one, because I'm pissed off and need some catharsis. If I just repress this shit, everything will seem find on the surface. I'll smile, go about my day. Then, eventually, I'll snap and vent my rage in an inappropriate way. Trust me, in a few months you don't want to read a news story about how book three will be delayed because I'm in jail for punching a fluffy kitten.
My second reason for telling you this is to pass along a warning. This isn't the first time I've had my books manhandled and destroyed by Fed-Ex. It's not even the second time. In the last several months I've had at least three packages treated this way.
I could call and complain, but the only real outcome of that is that I'd end up tongue-lashing some poor helpless wageslave on their complaint line.
So instead I'm telling you. Fed-Ex are a bunch of book-killing choads. Don't ship your stuff with them if you give a damn about how it arrives.
From now on, I'm a UPS man.
Here endeth the lesson,
posted by Pat at 4:54 AM