Monday, September 24, 2012

More Book Stories
Part Two

At times, synagogues, bookstores, magazines, and publishers and synagogues have been a pain.

I sent out emails to more than thirty synagogues in Northern California looking for speaking engagements. One was circulated by the program committee at one synagogue and a woman who didn’t understand what “Reply All” meant, sent this response to me along with all of the committee members, “Do we want to pursue this? I don’t especially.” Then another member wrote, “For free on a Sunday morning it would be well received.” But not by me.

After pleading and cajoling the tattooed, twenty-something head of consignments at a local bookstore, she reluctantly accepted one book, but only after I filled out a two-page form. Three weeks later, my wife went to that store and looked for the book in the Judaica section, the health and exercise section, and the humor section, to no avail. She checked with a clerk at a computer, and discovered the book — sitting on a shelf in a back room waiting to be put out.

When I contacted a Jewish magazine in Los Angeles to do a possible review, a young man invited me to visit his office when I was there in June. He would be happy to have a review written if I would spend more than two thousand dollars, and he’d throw in a commercial on a religious Jewish television network. Oy!

I even ran into some difficulties with my publisher — Create Space — a division of Amazon. When I ordered a much-needed two hundred copies of The Oy Way, I received them promptly as usual. The only problem was that the cover was a different color than all of the previous ones, and two pages in the back were missing. When I contacted Create Space and explained the situation, they matter-of-factly replied that instead of being printed in their plant, it was outsourced to another printer who misread the correct color. I told them that it was unacceptable, and they said that they would send another two hundred that they would print at their facilities.

I few days later, I received the rush order and was pleased until two days later I received another two hundred copies. When I called up Create Space and asked what I should do with them, they said I could keep them, which I did in a way. I gave away copies to more than thirty libraries around the country, gave others to a struggling Yiddish bookstore in Brooklyn, to the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur for fundraising, and also to KlezCalifornia as incentive gifts to contributors.

I won’t make any real money out of The Oy Way, unless more people buy it from my website here, or my upcoming You Tube videos go viral when they are posted next month. Stay tuned.

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