Project completed (finally!)
Adventures in printing and shipping
It's done. Sweet, sweet fanny moses, the job is done!
Aside from shaking hands and exchanging dishonest small-talk with the ex-husband of the woman whose life story I am ghosting, I have finally finished the book design and production project. Call it The Wolf. The simple and conservative-looking cover is at left.
Production has not been an entirely smooth ride, and the thing came in late and significantly over-budget.
Some of that was my fault, due largely to the surprises that come along when one strikes out for entirely new territory. But a lot of the delay was because of the printer, who were two weeks late with a set of proofs — which was entirely botched, incorporating, apparently at random, some of the changes in the second set of proofs, but also bringing back some of the first pages for an unwanted curtain-call.
Anyway, after more fiddling, quite a lot of yelling into the telephone and a few pretty nasty emails, the books were delivered late Wednesday afternoon and, I am happy to say, they look, well, pretty good. Just what the client ordered, which I guess is what it's all about isn't it?
That, and that I now know a good deal more about this sort of packaging project than I did a few months ago. My hourly rate ended up being terrible, but if it leads to more work it will have been worth it.
So. Canada Post. How do I loathe thee? (Let me count the way!)
Yesterday afternoon I loaded up a trundle-buggy with a couple of boxes and strapped the others to the carrier on the back of my bike, and then Raven and I stepped out.
The client had said send the books COD, and so I was going to do so. My first thought was a courier, my second was Canada Post. I checked the latter's website but found nothing about C.O.D. So tried calling, but after 15 minutes listening to bad music broken up by a robotic voice telling me how valuable I was, I said to hell with it. We live only a few blocks away and surely Canada Post still does collect-on-delivery don't they?
Well, they still have forms for it. But ...
The poor bastard behind the counter, a middle-aged white guy with a pinched and unhappy face, shook his head at me. "I don't know how," he told me.
"Pardon? You don't know how?"
"I'm new here, I haven't been trained for it."
"You haven't been trained for it?" It was my turn now to shake my head. "Well, surely there's someone here who can help you?"
Another shake. "No, the senior people get the best shifts. And there's been so many cut-backs I'm the only one here." (Note, this is not a postal sub-station of the type that seem to have sprung up like weeds in 7-11s and Shoppers Drug Marts; this is an actual post office, with mailboxes and the whole gamut of postal services available.
"What about calling someone? If they haven't finished training you, they can't have just left you alone without any kind of back-up, can they?"
They could. They did.
The clerk did pick up the phone and, he said, try to contact someone but gave up much more quickly than I did when I had been trying to get through to a live voice at home. He did manage to find the C.O.D. forms, but broke down when he realized that he didn't know what to do with them. (Raven had to show him how to find the bar-codes, by which point I was, I admit, Not A Happy Customer. I don't think I actually shouted, but I made my displeasure clear.
All to know avail. Buddy didn't know how to send things C.O.D. and couldn't get ahold of anyone who did.
Thank you Canada Post. I think I'll be taking my shipping elsewhere from now on.
So I ended up putting it on my debit card and hoping that, once again, the Client from Heaven (as he has been so far), is quick with remitting a cheque.