Publishing is F-U-N!
I held off on formally announcing this for as long as I could, but it looks as if there is going to be a delay in availability for Immortal. How big? Five or six days.
Not big, in other words. But since I’ve been touting the very entertaining 10-1-10 release date for two months now, I think (hope) there are a fair number of people out there who have the date circled on their calendars.
And I can’t give a precise new date– which actually might still be tomorrow— because we are currently waiting for people with no phone numbers to complete a task that should be fully automated.
Wait, what happened?
All right, here’s how this ended up playing out.
First, the publisher signed up for a program called Amazon Fulfillment. You will recall a lengthy blog post not so long ago describing what this does and does not look like and will and will not do. While the interface for this program was wholly inadequate for a corporate book publisher (but not bad for a self-publisher) it did have one distinct advantage: once one completed the listing of a book, it appeared on the site immediately.
The disadvantages, though, were serious, and became more apparent every day that the first book produced by Hamel Integrity Publishing remained in the Fulfillment program.
So steps were taken to switch Immortal over to the Amazon Advantage program.
One of those steps happened to be first removing it from the Fulfillment program, which is why it is not currently on Amazon in any form.
Hit a button and… nothing happens!
My publisher spent roughly two days performing the following:
1: entering Immortal into Amazon through the Advantage site interface;
2: obtaining notification that the entry had been accepted;
3: discovering no evidence of the book in the Advantage site or on the Amazon website;
4: repeating the above steps.
This was unexpected, because as I said, the Fulfillment program’s interface lists products immediately. We saw no reason for Advantage to work differently. We still don’t.
Three to five business days
The explanation was found in the dense FAQ for the program: expect new listings to take 3-5 days to post on the Amazon website.
As we submitted the book on September 29th, this meant we could only expect the book to be available on October 1st under absolutely optimal conditions. Failing that, October 4th or 5th, after which we can start screaming at Amazon that something’s wrong.
Or rather, we can try to find someone to scream at. Another truly entertaining difference between Advantage and Fulfillment is that you can’t reach anyone in the Advantage program by telephone. At all. I managed to dig out a customer service number last night by googling around for a half an hour or so, and spoke to a very friendly man from Chennai who informed me that he had no way to reach anyone in Advantage whatsoever: they had no numbers listed or names in the directory. Amazon Advantage is apparently located in the mines of Moria.
The only way to reach a “person” (who is likely either a dwarf or a rogue cave troll) involved in the Advantage program is to send an email, and then wait 24 hours for them to respond with something unhelpful.
In this case, the response was actually semi-helpful. YES, they could confirm the book had been accepted into the system on 9/29 (which was good, as there was no evidence of this other than the ephemeral “your entry has been accepted” popup), but NO there is no way to expedite availability.
I have re-listed the publication date as 10-5-10. Hopefully if the middle number needs to be changed again it’s for a lower figure and not a higher one.
In the meantime, think happy thoughts about Immortal, which will be delivered from the printer’s today, and will still be in your hands soon enough. It’s taken six years to get to this point. Another few days isn’t all that bad.