Friday, December 19, 2008

Frakkin' QuickBooks!

If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you know that I've already posted about what a piece of utter crap QuickBooks Pro 2009 is. Then, shockingly enough, the Director of Product Development for QuickBooks posted a response as a comment on my blog! He claimed they were working on fixing things and had already made improvements. All I had to do was download the patch!

Okay, so I did that and I can honestly say that things have gone from bad to worse. Seriously, someone should be fired. Or, better yet, let's have a big old dung-and-feathering party in which we, the users who have invested millions in Intuit's software, get to express our outrage with their piece of crap product by showing a few developers what we feel they have treated us.

QuickFill on downloaded credit card entries still does not work! And worse than not working, it tries to match what you are typing and then fails completely. And then you have to go back and start over again. I am so unbelievably furious about what a piece of junk this version is that I cannot accurately express myself, thought I just called the Office of the President at Intuit and tried. Please do so yourself. The number is 520-901-3280.

I called and told them that QuickBooks 2009 is Intuit's WordPerfect 6.0. If you are old enough to remember, WordPerfect was the world leader in wordprocessing software...until version 6.0. That version was so buggy and so not ready for release that it drove users away in droves. Microsoft offered a competitive upgrade for, I think, $59, and to upgrade WordPerfect to 7.0 was $99. Guess why Word is now the world leader in wordprocessing software? I don't for a second think it's a better program (if WP is working), but it was cheaper and WordPerfect had lost my trust.

I also called the folks at Peachtree today and told them that QuickBooks 2009 users were just looking for a reason to leave the program. I told them they needed to slash their pricing and people would leave QuickBooks in droves to come them. I told Terri from Intuit the same thing. If Intuit ever refunds me my upgrade costs as I've been promised, I will immediately invest that money over at Peachtree.

Sure, switching to a new system will suck. But can it really be worse?

Z

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Because Looks Do Count

No, I'm not writing about hot authors, though  it will never hurt you to be a hot author.  I nearly lost my lunch when I saw an actual video of Kathy Reichs, author of the BONES novels upon which the TV show is based.  Now, I can't say I find the actress who plays Bones that hot (her boss and Angela are by far better-looking), but she is waaaay better-looking than Kathy Reichs and I just find it all very amusing.  Maybe some day I can write a novel that gets turned into a TV show and Brad Pitt can play me.  Yeah, right.  I mean, what would people think when they saw the show.  I hear them now.  "Um, Andy, is that supposed to be you?  I didn't realize you had such rippled abs...."

Okay, now that I have alienated one New York Times best-selling author, let me get to the point:  I mean the looks of your proposal or sample chapter.  Folks, I have manuscript preparation guidelines on my website right here:  http://www.zackcompany.com/submissions/ManuscriptPrep/manuscriptprep.htm.

So why do I constantly get single-spaced material?  It gets rejected without a reading.

And why do I get 1.5 spaced Times Roman fonts, when clearly I want double-spaced Courier Dark or Courier New or Franklin Gothic Book?  Now, using the wrong font won't automatically get you rejected, but it does make your material harder to read and thus I may pass over it in favor of reading something easier, which could delay when you hear from me.

Next, please don't double-space between paragraphs in proposals.  I get these proposals that are so much longer than they need to be because the authors are putting in double spaces (which means four spaces if they are using double-spacing) or triples or even quads between paragraphs and sections.  Here's a tip:  use a # sign to indicate a line break.  Nothing more.  That's all I need.

I am intersted in good writers.  I am not looking for you to desktop publish your book using Adobe InDesign or some other fancy publishing package.  Use the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid).  Plain, vanilla formatting lets me worry about the words on the page and not the margins or anything else.

So, please follow those guidelines.  I promise you that no one in publishing will ever get a manuscript formatted using those guidelines and complain about the formatting.

Z

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Auto Industry Bail-out Answer

If you are like me, then you have been watching a lot of TV during which Congress has been debating the auto-industry bail-out.  You may also have caught mention that President-Elect Obama has reportedly removed any mention of an oil-industry windfall tax from his website.  I heard this and a light bulb went off:

The oil industry should bail out the auto industry.

Seriously.  The oil industry has made billions off consumers (i.e., taxpayers) with high oil prices.  It has a large, vested interest in keeping Americans buying gas and oil.  Hence, it has the money and the motivation to save the auto industry.  And it wouldn't cost taxpayers a dime.

If the government can negotiate for Chase to buy Washington Mutual and for Citi to try to buy Wachovia, why can't the government start pushing the oil companies to lend the auto builders the money they need to stay in business?

Further, why haven't I heard anyone in Congress say that if they auto industry takes taxpayers' money, it has to promise to spend every dollar in the US?  And with plants in Canada and Mexico and other countries, why aren't those governments being asked to chip in?

We shouldn't use taxpayer dollars to save the auto industry.  Let the oil companies do it.  And if we end up using taxpayer dollars, then every dollar has to be spent in the US, with not one penny going to executive compensation or perks.

If you agree with me, feel free to forward this blog to your Congressman.

Z

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The November Monthly Round-up

Happy Holidays!  Jeez, after getting back from a nice, long holiday break it sure is tough to get back into the swing of things.  I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday and for those of you keeping count, here are the totals for the month of November. 

In November, we... 

  • Received 38 queries and rejected 25;
  • Received 19 requested sample chapters, and rejected 2;
  • Received 2 requested proposals, and rejected 1;
  • Received 5 manuscripts, and rejected 2. 

We currently have the following on-hand to read: 

  • 5 full manuscripts, plus 2 more from current clients
  • 49 sample chapters
  • 3 proposals 

We are currently a waiting: 

  • 6 sample chapters
  • 3 proposals 

If you have a current submission on-hand with us, please note that we have read all partials dated before July 21st.  If you have submitted a partial to us dated before that, you should have heard from us by now.

Please do not forget to review the submission guidelines before you send us a query letter.  Many writers send us sample chapters or proposals before we have requested them.  You do not need to do this.  We promise that if your query has sparked our interest, we will ask you to send materials.  As usual, do not forget an SASE! 

Thank you,
Lisa