I have been entangled in a tricky business situation for the last six weeks, and it has been a major test of my Maintaining Center practice. I re-ordered several cases of Grandmother Dreams and the publisher routed the printing through a cheap press. The ink was light and the page paper was dark, making the books difficult to read. The pages were also cut wrong, so the text was not centered vertically and the page numbers were too low on the bottom of the page. They looked awful. I knew this cheap routing was a possibility, so I had ordered my books printed through a specific company. This did not happen.
My publisher did not want to take a hit on the cost of reprinting. They claimed that the printing issues were “normal variations in printing”. I could not use the books they sent, however. They reflected poorly on me as an author and business person (apparently they didn’t care that it reflected poorly on them as a business!). At any rate, their choice of printers was a documented error.
But I was held hostage by their customer service department. I found out in a hurry that an author is completely ineffective, especially at signing events and workshops, without books to sell or hand out! A very large amount of money had already been charged to my credit card and the bill was coming due. There was no way I had money for an attorney. I knew I was in the right, but I had to convince them of this without alienating them. It was very easy to become angry and defensive. What a test of my centering skills! I had to be assertive, but not aggressive. I had to be forceful without being a bully. I had to be persistent and also patient. I had to figure out when to apply pressure and when to wait quietly. There were dozens of emails and phone calls back and forth.
I did a lot of checking in with my intuition. I did a lot of deep breathing. When I felt frustrated and hopeless, I envisioned beautiful books raining down on me, (along with $100 bills!). Today they called to let me know that another, correct, reprinting had finally been authorized. Glory be.
If anyone out there knows an experienced literary agent, I’m ready to have someone like that in my corner!