Monday, July 14, 2008

A Breakdown in Communication

You know, you'd think I'd know how to communicate. After all, I'm a writer and I've held high level executive positions in Corporate America. For goodness sakes, I was a corporate TRAINER before I started writing the documentation for TRAINING. My entire job for the last two years has been nothing but how to communicate effectively.

But sometimes, things are just so far out there for incredibly stupid...that I can't wrap my mind around it fast enough to communicate on the spot. Take the other night for instance. I had received a copy of my first book RUMBLE ON THE BAYOU as released by a Dutch publisher. Pretty cool, right? And of course, I wanted to share the cover with people, but figured I'd never get a great scan of the cover with my regular person scanner I had at home. So a trip to a professional was in order.

So after work one night, I drive to Kinkos and hop inside with my book, and here is the conversation:

Me: Hi. I'd like to get a high quality scan of this book cover.
Kinkos Baby Hitler: I can't do that.
Me: (dumbfounded) Why not?
KBH: Because the publisher owns the rights to that cover.
Me: But it's MY book. I'm sure the publisher wouldn't mind.
KBH: You'd have to have their permission.
Me: (still enormously confused) So you're telling me I can't get a copy of the cover of my own book?
KBH: Nope.
Me: Fine. I'll just go to Staples where they have no problem with things like this.
KBH: Well, if they want to break the law over there, that's their business.

So I stalk out of the store and get into my car, wondering how the heck this went wrong so quickly. What do you mean I can't get a copy of the cover of my book. Then it occurred to me...did he think by saying it was MY book that I meant I had bought it over at B&N and now wanted a copy? Surely, not. But doubt set in so I walked back inside, license ready and started again:

Me: I think there's been a misunderstanding. When I say this is MY book, I mean it. I wrote it. See the name on the front, see the copyright - see my license. No publisher in their right mind is going to have a problem with my advertising my own work.
KBH: (Looks at book cover and at license, then at me) Well, that's a whole different story. But then how many times does that happen?
Me: I don't know. How many times do people come in here wanting to make a copy of someone else's book.
KBH: All the time.

Excuse me??????? Can someone please explain this to me, because that's clearly where I got lost in the process. Why would someone want a copy of another person's book cover? I mean, I could see another author maybe wanting a copy of a friend author if they were putting together joint advertising or something, but then your author friend would already have a jpeg of her covers. the mystery author in me is burning with curiosity. Anyone have any idea what nefarious reasons people are copying others book covers?????

By the way - check out my hard-won jpeg.

Deadly (somewhat Dumbfounded) DeLeon


Keri Ford said...

I have no idea why someone would a book cover copy. I do like that cover, though.

They are extra careful with making copies now a days. I used to dabble in photography. I had a photo that I had taken, but needed an immediate copy. (the film is larger than 35mm, so no wal-mart one hour). I had the photo and the negative and it was murder getting a photo copied. And this was what sent me shaking my head. The manager wanted the number to the photographer to call and double check. Um...HELLO! Didn't I just explain that I WAS THE PHOTOGRAPHER??

I did get my copy made, and I am glad they have such hard rules, but it sure does make it a pain when us legit folks need a copy!

Christie Craig said...


I love that cover. WOW!

And I love the communication story. LOL. Even when we speak the same language, sometimes it's so hard to understand.

Thanks for the chuckle.

Crime Scene Christie

Terri Osburn said...

Jana - That cover is great. I have no idea who would want to copy the cover of someone else's book. Though with all the blogs and boards, loops and groups out there now, it doesn't surprise me that it happens.

Now I'm wondering what you would have done if the name on your cover had not been the name on your drivers license. LOL!

Anonymous said...


What I want to know is what "Beet" means in English. *g*

Elisabeth Naughton said...

That was my question too, Terrio. What if you wrote under a pseudonym?

Gemma Halliday said...

Me too! What's "Beet"?

Love the cover! Hate the Kinko Nazis. A friend once tried to get a copy of a picture of himself for a college application. They wouldn't do it. Even though it was for educational purposes, which is totally legal.

Fedora said...

Wow, that's quite a cover! I have no idea why people are photocopying other people's covers, but I enjoyed your story! So sorry it was such a hassle for you!

Lucy said...

Great cover.

Beth said...

Love the cover. I too want to know what 'Beet!' means in Dutch.

catslady said...

I know someone that had her daughter go to a photographer for senior pictures and then after getting the proofs went to Kinko's and used white paper to blank out the photographer's name - and there you go - nothing for senior pictures. So I guess you can't blame them for being careful lol.

Jana DeLeon said...

keri - well, I'm glad to know it wasn't personal, but isn't that just how things always go...a few people ruin it for the rest of us!

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, Christie! I love the cover too - it's VERY European. And god knows, I wish I had her body.

Guess I'll just have to brush up a little more on the communications skills. Or drink more beer. No one seems to have a problem understanding me when I'm drinking beer. Or maybe it's their appletinis. Hmmmmmm.

Jana DeLeon said...

terrio - now there's a thought. God forbid, I write erotica, or something else I want to hide from the masses. I'll never get a cover of the book. LOL

Jana DeLeon said...

Tori - It means "Bait." I have a friend who speaks a little of everything and he told me. Makes perfectly good sense too. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Well, Elisabeth, some who write under a different name still have their legal name with the copyright data, but I do have friends that don't want their real name known at all. I guess in that case, you'd have to show up with a copy of your contract for that book????????

Jana DeLeon said...

Gemma - really? A photo of himself for college apps????? Not a naked photo for fraternity pledging.....I don't get it.

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks flchen1! I don't know either, but I keep hoping to get a good reason. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, Lucy!

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, Beth!

Jana DeLeon said...

Yeah, Catslady, I guess I can see that with pictures. And I suppose if one were really stretching things I might have wanted to use the cover for a website design or advertising or heaven help us all - an ad on LOL