On 1/11/2010 I wrote in ‘Digital(ian) days’, ‘The next “small step for man” will be to access those meccas of marketing, Amazon, eBay, Barnes & Noble, that all insist on their providers of e-books having US bank accounts – so much for globalisation. And guess what? A kind soul has offered to open such an account for me. It pleases me no end that someone I’ve never met (only talked to on the phone and exchanged emails with) is sufficiently concerned about Thai literature in translation and its lack of reach worldwide to freely offer his help to make it better known. Thanks, man.”
That, as has happened to me all too often, was premature gratitude for services offered and not rendered.
It went like this:
In Comments to the 22/9/2010 entry on this blog, a friend’s friend, Rikker Dockum, whom I’d briefly talked to on the phone three years earlier, sight unseen as it were, wrote: ‘It’s actually quite easy to submit to stores like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The key links you need are…’
Switching to private email, I thanked Rikker right away, to which he responded a week later with, among other considerations, ‘Feel free to let me know how I can be of assistance.’
A while later, after another exchange of emails, I sent him a sample book of mine (The Circus of Life) to see if he could format it into a decent e-pub, a feat I was unable to accomplish. It would take some time, so I waited. Waited a full month. Beggars can’t be choosers.
22/10: Hi Marcel, I hope this email finds you well. A bit of a long radio silence on my end, which I apologize for. I want to let you know what I’ve been up to. … I created new accounts in the Amazon and Barnes & Noble systems to use exclusively for publishing your books, and then linked those to my American address and bank account, as required.
My answer, same day: Amazing, Rikker. I’ve been going places myself in the meantime – and it seems it all fits in. Let’s talk on the phone right now, if you’re available.
We did, that evening, and talked mainly about the nitty-gritty of e-pub making. We exchanged emails further into the night.
28/10: Good morning Marcel, I’ve now opened a free savings account on the bank website etrade.com to use exclusively for your book sales. It has no minimum balance and no monthly fees, so it’s just sitting there with $10 in it for now. :) … I wanted to make sure you had control over exactly how your books are presented. … You can set any price you want. … Next up: the Barnes & Noble store. We forge ahead!
29/10: From me: …Opening an account with a US bank for me is really of immense help for accessing all those big book sales platforms. It’s a very clever move. I had no idea such an e-bank existed. Perhaps you could let me know the particulars you registered me there under, or is that a secret? ;-)
30/10: Marcel, thanks for that tip. I’ll respond in full to your earlier email in the morning–I’ve been nursing a head cold for four days and counting, so I’m sending this short missive before I crash for the night.
30/10: Oh, so you do confirm that the cold season is with us. Take it easy and … be well.
And then the entire month of November went by, as did much of December. Until I decided to call our common friend, who happens to be his employer: he assured me that our Good Samaritan was in good health and a regular guy, only too busy, upon which a couple of days later I received the following email:
Hi Marcel, I hope you are well. With tail firmly between my legs, here I am writing back after this lengthy absence. [X] mentioned he’d spoken on the phone with you the other day.
Not that it excuses anything, but I’ve been swamped with work and family life. We have a newborn at home and all that. In any case, I am determined to follow through on the things I’ve said I will help with, though to keep myself from procrastinating my response further I’m writing this quick missive. I’ll do my best to pass along the details of what I’ve done, as I promised when we last corresponded.
These days time is my rarest resource. Far from being resented, the squeaky wheel is much appreciated. I will be able to write further to clarify the details of the bank account I opened, and pass along the other logins I made in the Amazon system later tonight, I hope.
Happy holidays, and apologies for disappearing for so long.
And then guess what?
By 4/1/2011, in desperation I sent the following email:
Yeah, right, Rikker. I’m holding my breath.
Still am. And still puzzled as to why this well-meaning man after so much paddling never reached my shore.
PS: I’ve just checked at Amazon. And guess what?
There’s no Circus of Life e-book on sale there (nor at Barnes & Noble), but one copy of my TMC 1994 edition in hard cover is available as ‘Used from $65.43’ – nearly 2 000 baht!
My daughter will be rich one day.