As the person who sends books out for a press and often compiles poetry event lists, I am often the "bad guy."
What I mean is, I get snarky remarks.
"Why can't you just send the books right away to me?"
"Why do I have to pre-pay?"
"Where are my books?"
"I can't believe you don't trust your authors, that you want payment first."
"Is this an academics-only list of readings? If so, what about the rest of us?"
I admit, I sometimes lash back.
"Please delete my [unlisted] phone number. [I'm not sure how you found it.] You called me on vacation, so I chose not to respond to your call."
"When I first joined the Press, many bookstores and authors had not paid--for more than a year."
I guess what I am saying is: I try to be understanding. I want to be compassionate, not just as a poet, a publisher-editor, or person. I want to echo what the world at rest is. Maybe we use these metaphors to find that peace?
I would like to say, I still carry the stress of that phone call from the bookstore who sent a check on Tuesday, needed the books that Friday, and still hadn't received them. She truly pulled out every emotional blackmail on me with a coarse tone: "What about those people who want to buy the book at the event? We already paid. I am too busy to come by to pick them up. We have a lot planned on our trip today."
I am just as compassionate about books, wanting to get them into others' hands. I don't get paid to work for the Press--no one on the staff does. We are a true not-for-profit, as any money regained goes to printing the next book.
I wish I could provide more, but that is how the Press runs. I want it to continue, and I don't want to be the "bad guy." I want us to be friends. I just ask for your understanding, as you know you have mine.