Those of you who know me, are aware that I am about to publish my first book - which is basically a collection of everything I ever wrote threaded together like beads of different colors and shapes.
Those of you who really know me, are aware that I hate rules and that I do not like to be under anyone's control. This is why I opted for self publishing instead of having to deal with anyone I know - or do not know.
A friend - the famous KN:) - directed me towards lulu.com and another friend - the great Karim Terouz - designed the covers and I was all set to publish. I was only missing the ISBN number because I wanted to promote the book to international retailers.
Piece of cake ... I conducted an donline search for ISBN and I was directed to their site in the US. There was an option if you are a publisher and another if you are a self publisher. I chose self publishing, sent them an email, and the morning after I received the forms. I filled them in, emailed them back, and waited for my number.
I received an apology email that my address and credit card were international; hence, I needed to contact the international agency and they gave me the email.
Ok .. a few more days waiting .... who cares!! I emailed them and forwarded them the forms that I had filled earlier. They replied the next evening that I was Egyptian and that I have to contact the Egyptian ISBN agency. Here is exactly what they said and please note the last warning line:
The International ISBN Agency does not itself assign ISBN numbers as this is done only through national ISBN agencies. The latest contact details we have for the Egyptian ISBN Agency are:
Egyptian ISBN Agency
National Library and ArchivesCorniche El Nil-BoulacCairo
Tel. (+20 2) 575 28 83, 575 10 78, 575 08 86Fax: (+20 2) 776 65 34E-mail: email@example.com
I should warn you, however, that I have had problems reaching this email address recently so suggest that you use mail, phone or fax.
After a zillion calls I discovered the following:
1) The website does not exist
2) The email does not work
3) The first phone number rings only
4) The other two numbers are infinitely busy
5) I am a "green" person so I do not use faxes
Eventually .... after many redial attemps one of the busy numbers rang. A machine asked me to enter the extension number or wait for the operator to help me. I waited .... and waited ... there was no operator. Another machine told me that there is no one here to help me so I needed to leave a voice message ... Not my favorite but I had no other option. I was directed to the mailbox and I was greeted by another machine that told me that the box was full, that there was no room for my message, that I had to call later, and hung up.
What the hell was that?!!!!!!!!!!!!
On a different note, I am meeting Mohamed El Sharkawy - Malamih Publishing House - and we will see how it goes.