Week 32/33 summary

Our best-seller over the past two weeks has been Julie’s THE DEFINITIVE ALBERT J. STERNE, once again neatly confounding those critics who told us that long books would not be at all popular … and also despite the fact that we have not received a review for it yet. (Maybe people have been planning to relax with it over the holidays???)

Notwithstanding my absence in the Frozen North, response time for the past two weeks averages out at 4 hours and 38 minutes which in the circumstances isn’t anything like as bad as I had feared!

“Failed orders”

We’ve had a couple of people lately complaining that we have not filled their orders or – even more insidiously – trying to get us to re-send books they say they paid for months ago but which have been damaged or lost since then.

Let’s make a couple of things clear about this:

1. Our online shop software assigns an order number to every completed transaction and issues an order confirmation to the purchaser. If you don’t have these, you haven’t made an order with us and we are not going to to be sending you a book.

2. In the unlikely event that you do not have an order number or order confirmation from us but the money has been deducted from your account anyway, your argument is with PayPal and not with us. Unless the money is in our account it is not our responsibility and we will not be sending you a book.

3. If you buy a book from us which is subsequently lost, stolen or damaged you will need to pay for another one. If you bought a physical book from Amazon or Barnes and Noble which was later lost or stolen, you would not expect them to provide you with another one free of charge – and yet they are far more able to do so than we are. It’s no good coming to us three months later and asking for a replacement; it simply isn’t our responsibility to provide you with a free book if yours is stolen. (For anyone who thinks it is, we recommend an occasional trip to the real world.)

4. We did not come down in the last shower. We may be a very small organisation run on a shoestring but we keep good records and our finances are meticulously organised – they have to be, when there is no margin for error. We are quite capable of searching back to see whether we have had a transaction with you in the past and whether any money changed hands, and we’ll spend all day getting to the truth of it if we have to. Attempting to deceive us into thinking you’ve bought books from us when you haven’t just isn’t going to work.

5. We’re aware that our online shop/Paypal set-up doesn’t work for everyone, which is why we have signed up with the GLBT Bookstore. Oddly, though, the response we have had via them so far does not match up with the number of people who had previously complained about being unable to buy from us in the usual way. Obviously we can’t provide a ‘tailored purchasing experience’ for every reader and it doesn’t matter how keen you are to buy from us (or say you are) – there may be times when it just isn’t possible, and that isn’t our fault and it probably isn’t yours; it just is.

6. We have done everything we can to make the online shop as compatible as possible with most people’s requirements. There is nothing more we can do now. If a certain country is not specified on the drop-down list which is part of the order process, we are happy to add it. (We’ve explained before why this is necessary.) After that, it takes a few hours for the software to update and you should then be able to order. Beyond that, there is absolutely nothing we can do; we buy in these services and are completely at the mercy of our supplier. Yes, we could change suppliers – but that would be expensive and time-consuming, and we have no guarantee that it would solve the problem. What would you do, in our position?

– – – – –

I am not at my own location this weekend so statistical information for the week will have to wait until I get home.

Another positive review

Reviewer ‘Scandalous Minx’ at Literary Nymphs posted a short but very encouraging and welcome response to Chris’s FOOL’S ERRAND last Wednesday which unfortunately has only just come to our notice. This is probably a good moment to ask anyone who spots a review which hasn’t been mentioned on the LJ to please give us a heads-up; we do scan and search for them enthusiastically but from time to time the odd one slips through the net and it would really be a shame if our authors were robbed of the comments which are their due!

Week 31 summary

Just to wrap up the week with a little statistical information; there was no overall best-seller this week, and average response times were 3 hours 47 minutes which is not to be sneezed at. We’ve sorted out the brouhaha over the sudden disappearance of services we thought we had paid for – basically it turns out to be classic blackmail and we have no choice but to pay an increased price or lose the service altogether. (Changing service provider at this stage is not an option, and as this pattern of behaviour is apparently fairly common on the Net at the moment there is always a chance of running foul of the same situation again.)

Our first sales report from GLBT Bookstore was a little depressing, but it’s a very new service so there’s still a good chance that the project will take off and be successful for everybody taking part.

Meanwhile, by the end of this week, two of the four titles for the May 2011 list will be with their respective proof-readers – Adam Fitzroy’s epic STAGE WHISPERS and Chris Quinton’s FOOL’S OATH (part two of the Fool’s Odyssey trilogy). The two other titles are still in development and we’ll give you news about them nearer the time.

More reviews

It’s always the same isn’t it? Reviews are like buses – you wait ages for one, and then two come along at once!

Michele’n’Jeff Reviews have once again done us proud with a very favourable response to Chris’s FOOL’S ERRAND, and also Jessewave has many encouraging things to say about Julie’s HOMOSAPIEN. Congratulations to both authors for impressing the reviewers!

The website battle continues …

I’ve just emerged from twenty minutes on the phone with the service provider’s 24-hour helpline. It was a very difficult conversation with what appeared to be a Chinese-American lady engaged in a fight to the death with a robot at the bottom of a very deep well … at least, if the sound-effects were to be believed! The upshot of it was “You should never have had that option on your package in the first place” and “Pay us another £5 a month if you want it back.” Sigh. So I upgraded the package (which sounds vaguely indecent to me, but a good-sized package is always worth paying for IMHO) and must now wait six hours for the changes to take effect. I find this all extremely confusing but basically the service providers have you by the short and curlies and there isn’t a thing you can do other than pay them and try to look happy. As if the margins on this enterprise weren’t already so narrow as to be totally transparent …

Week 30 summary

Our top seller this week has been Chris’s FOOL’S ERRAND, and average response time was neat enough at two hours five minutes. Unfortunately, however, this good news is balanced out by ongoing difficulties which make it impossible to update the website at the moment; the site is still functioning adequately and so is the online shop, but it may be a few days before we can get to the root of the problem – and, more to the point, solve it. (E-mailing the service provider did no good, so I shall have to take my life in my hands and actually phone them up … not something I look forward to doing. Wish me luck!)

And another review!

I wonder whether author R.J. Scott is the only person actually reading and reviewing anything at the moment? At any rate, there is a deservedly very positive review of Penni’s THRACE at this location.

ETA: Unfortunately there is a problem with the website at the moment which is making it impossible for me to update it to reflect this review. I will do so as soon as humanly possible.