I’d be rubbish at working in retail.
In fact I WAS rubbish at working in retail, around thirty-five years ago, having once been an easily-bored teenager who was prone to sulk when he perceived his talents were being under-employed.
But what I mean is that, suppose I worked in a boutique or a sneaker-shop or whatever NOW, where customers would be trying things on, checking the results in full-length mirrors, trying to perfect that ‘Easter Sunday look’.
I’d surely find it impossible to keep my mouth shut!
“Sure, we have them in your son’s size, Madam. And in the whole range of colours, too!”
(That brand is going out of fashion so fast you can hear the ‘wooshing’ sound.)
(If you wait a few weeks, they’ll be 50% off.)
(Oh, and by the way? All his friends are going to laugh at him when he wears them to school on Monday.)
“Just a moment, I’ll get a few styles in his size to try on.”
Nope, that’s not me.
Imagine me in a bookshop.
“Read it when it first came out – rather over-hyped, I thought. This one wasn’t so bad. But this latest one? He really is past his best now, don’t you think? The same plot, over and over.”
“Sure, now? Oh well, then. Cash or card?”
Talking of book shops, actually I sort-of do work in a bookshop, at least a virtual one.
Actually, it’s more of a bookshop cum publishing company, given that we hire the writers and produce the materials ourselves.
In the early years I was closely involved in all of the ebook projects, from approving the initial proposal, through editing and plot changes, to cover design, and later the final proof-reading.
In fact, I am TEH proof-reader.
So you won’t be surprised to hear that I have my favorites and least-favorites.
Order-confirmation emails from the online shop regularly come shunting into my inbox, and I manually send off the .pdf files or zipped folders to buyers.
At times it’s done with pride.
Some of our recent ebooks (which I wasn’t involved with, apart from the proof-raeding, and can therefore claim little credit for) have been particularly good.
I loved ‘Le italiane‘, for instance.
Though Gwen wrote a few days ago, in reply to my request that she leave a review:
I have read one chapter only – so far, chapters are very short, but I did find the content interesting.
Unfortunately, I did not think much of the recordings.. they were very fast and I didn’t feel as though they were read with any expression, but rather fast and monotonous and not reflecting the actual content.
Im not sure I would buy again to be hones as they are very expensive and you don’t get a lot in terms of quantity, put that with the not so great sound recording and I am not sure they are value for money. That is a pity as the concept is great and the whole product could be fantastic if it wasn’t so limited.
I urged her to write an actual review for the site.
Given that the seven we have so far all gave the ebook five-stars, I figured it would provide some balance.
But so far she has been unwilling to. Perhaps she’s being kind.
But no matter. When someone buys ‘Le italiane‘, I’m proud.
The ‘expressionless’, ‘monotonous’. ‘too fast’ recordings had me in tears (in a good way) when I first listened to it.
So I’m happy to recommend it.
That said, now and again someone will order (and pay for – are you MAD, sir?) something that I fully remember being dreadful.
The concept may not have been bad, but when the manuscript arrived, the plot clearly needed emergency surgery, the writing style was banal and inconsistent, and the final version barely made it into the shop, and only then on the basis that ‘it would be a shame to waste all that hard work and expense’.
Three I particularly didn’t like were L’appuntamento (the final version bears no resemblance at all to the original idea), Il fazzoletto rosa (very dumb idea), and Alta moda, alto pericolo (half of it got lost due to poor communications between writer and editor…)
I’m being careful not to pick on any one author in particular… All three authors got better with practice, as did our editors, who I hope have learnt the value of being ruthless early on in the process.
But don’t go and buy those. It isn’t a clever marketing trick – my heart really does sink when someone chooses one of them, rather than some of the much, much better material we have.
So why are they still in the shop, if they’re so weak?
Bloody reviews, that’s why.
It seems the people who bought them actually liked them, or at least they liked us and so were too kind to leave an honest review.
There’s a lesson there for anyone (Gwen?) thinking of writing a blisteringly BAD review.
Please, please, please, do it!
For one reason, bad reviews make the good ones look better. People see all the five-star reviews and imagine me here busily deleting all the critical ones.
It could be that I agree with you, and am only looking for an excuse to press the ‘unpublish’ button.
So if you hated something and feel you were ripped off, go ahead!
Let rip, blast us for our impertinence, lament the unprofessionalism, gasp at the audacity of charging such an enormous sum for what is a mere ebook, read aloud by my robotic Italian colleague.
But put it in public, will you, where everyone can benefit?
I think I’ve finally arrived at the point.
The Easter Sale still has Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday to go, which means eight more articles like this one to conceive and write.
So I thought I’d give myself (and maybe you) a break and write a daily guide to what’s hot, and what’s not, in our shop.
The idea is to begin tomorrow with Beginner/A1 material, then move up, level-by-level, until we all get bored, or the offer ends, or there are no more levels, whichever comes first.
I’ll be highlighting the stuff that I think you shouldn’t miss, materials that I am proud to have published, and that I would happily buy myself were they avaialable for the language that I’m studying (Swedish, and they’re not…)
Take that with a pinch of salt if you will.
I’ll signpost any rubbish too, to salve my conscience.
And if any of you guys agree, or disagree, and haven’t already left a review, then maybe you’ll do so, and so help others pick the hits from the misses.
Look out for the first level recommendations tomorrow, Easter Sunday.
Buona Pasqua a tutti!
Or ‘Glad Påsk’, if you’re in Sweden.
Ready to save 20% on online Italian lessons and ebooks?
The next offer won’t be until June, so now really is the time to load up on study materials and online lesson credits.
The coupon code you need to get your discount is:
easter offer 2018
Then visit your shopping cart and copy and paste the coupon code (above) into the box where it says ‘Apply coupon’.
Press the ‘Apply coupon’ button. Note that the 20% discount is applied to the cart total, not to each indivdual item, so scroll down to check that the cart total has been discounted BEFORE you proceed to the payment stage.
- Coupon code easter offer 2018 gets you 20% off everything!
- The sale ends at midnight on Sunday 8th of April 2018
- There’s no minimum or maxium spend
- So use the coupon as often as you wish, while the offer lasts
- The code will work on items which are already discounted, such as ebook multipacks
- Though it can’t be used together with other coupons
- Choose from a range of payment options (Amazon, Paypal or bank transfer)