Sunday, March 16, 2008

Why your comments and emails are not getting prompt response: Apologies

Dear blogs readers of this blog and the following blogs:

Blogger for Dummies
Tips and Tricks for Blogger or "Son of Blogger Tips and Tricks"
(slotted for conversion to custom domain taking long time because I want to make sure both URLs, one with www and one without www, goes to same website. Now you don't need to worry. All you need to do is to register for a domain direct from your Google Blogger post editor via Google Apps and that is automatically done for you. I did it for another blog)
Dummies Guide to Google Blogger
(intended "online book" which took long time to get off because I did not have the structure for it)
Testing Blogger Beta (now New Blogger).

Some of you may have left comments or contacted me via email, but have not been getting prompt response. I apologize profusely. I cannot help it. There were various things which kept me very busy.

One of them was my country's recent extraordinary General Election in which the corrupt, unfair and deaf government which ruled our county for decades through divide and rule racial politics, very unfair electoral system with what many considered a biased Election Commission, gerrymandering, unethical election tactics, very tight control over the mainstream mass media, etc. We had to chip in to help bring changes to our country and bloggers, the Internet, NGOs (non-Government Organizations), many citizens' initiative and online independent newspapers played a crucial role. They lost control of many states and only managed to cling on to Federal power by a wafer thin majority of votes. Many think they would have lost that as well if not for stuff like postal votes. My two blogs contributed a tiny part:

Blog for Positive Changes in Malaysia
Digital Candlelight Vigil
(reluctant "protest" blogger)

I also had to help a bit (not as much as I should) in preparation for the election, campaigning and also acted as polling and counting agents on election day itself.

Another reason was I got an unsolicited email from the publisher of "for Dummies" books and was asked if I might be interested in authoring such a book. Of course I was, but I explained my situation and requested for extension of dateline for submission of proposal which was kindly granted. I was advised to purchase some "for Dummies" books to get familiarized with their format. I invested in a Blogging for Dummies book by Brad Hill (that obsolete book was still on sale in book shops and Amazon at time of publishing). I found some inaccuracies and obsolescence and emailed them. I was told I bought an older version and there was a new version, Blogging for Dummies by Susannah Gardner and Shane Birley

I have also other tasks to do, including updating my blogs, responding to comments and emails, etc.

I sacrificed precious time to draft out a proposed Table of Content and just to make sure the format was in the format they wanted, I sent to them as an interim proposed Table of Content hoping for feedback so when I send them the final proposed Table of Content, it would be in the format they wanted. They also asked for statistics for traffic to my blogs which I sent to them in a separate email. Now even before the extended dateline, I was told that they had already selected an author. I requested for reasons, not PR (public relations) and was told my proposed Table of Content was good and in the format they wanted. However, I was rejected because of my correspondence style (too many emails).

Now I have already told them that while I have published research papers, I have never authored a book nor have had contact with any book publishers before. So after investing money in their "for Dummies" books, putting in hard work, sacrificing precious time which I could ill afford, I though they should at least have the decency to wait till the extended dateline plus let me know that they do not want too many emails so I have a chance to correct myself. It was not based on my proposal nor my knowledge or abilities which they said were impressive. Plus if I had bought an obsolete "for Dummies" book, I should have been offered a replacement, but no, none was offered. I obviously felt cheated and unfairly treated.

Anyway, I have long have the opinion that printed books for topics which are frequently changing like Google Blogger, especially after they have upgraded to a much improved blogging platform, are headed in the direction of the dinosaurs and an online book may be a better option as they are easily updated and new chapters added as new features became available. I am thus planning to publish an online version of Blogger for Dummies using the Table of content as the framework. However, just to make sure that is not infringing their "for Dummies" trademark, I have contacted them and am awaiting their response. If I have a chance, I would also like to get some opinion or opinions of intellectual properties professionals.

Whether this online version of Blogger for Dummies gets off the starting block will depend on the above plus also availability of time as I don't expect to get much returns on this effort plus will have to put in much efforts and time to make it a good, easy to follow and understand online book. Anyway, let us see what the future holds

Peter Chen's nice graphic signature


  1. What a shame about the book! I'm relatively new to blogging but I have found your advice to be incredibly helpful and easy to follow! Thank you for taking the time to maintain this site :)

  2. Good luck on your endeavor. I for one have learned a ton from reading your posts. I'm a newbie in blogging and people like you who share their knowledge are very much appreciated.

    Definitely Maybe!
    Not Another Blog...

  3. Thank you for creating Blogger Tips & Tricks.

    I'm doing a full blog makeover and the basics of your site is actually very close to what I would like to do. (three column, footer, basics)

    Would there be a way to get the 'template' part of your blog? I WILL be changing it enough not to look very much like this in the end.

    I appreciate your consideration,

    Pam Hoffman

  4. Hello Peter,
    I think you are better off continuing to take your knowledge on-line instead of writing a book. You are correct, the things you write about are dynamic, and a printed platform will limit your creativity. Believe me, it is their loss, but I am sorry that your time was wasted.

    One more thing, I visited Malaysia for the first time last year. You have a beautiful country Peter. We made friends with our tour guide and I was shocked when he told me that they were going to hold a protest the day after we were leaving about the situation of Indians in Malaysia. I won't say more but needless to say I was saddened and concerned (and worried about him). He told me a lot of things that never comes up in the newspapers. Anyway, I hope that things will get better, not just for Indians but for everyone in Malaysia.

    You have helped me a lot Peter and I really appreciate it. I know next to nothing about html but your explanations are clear and I am always able to follow them. Thank You!

  5. Peter- I only recently came across your blog here and I think it's fantasitc! It is especially great for those of us who have only recently come into the blogging world! Thank you for providing your expertise to the rest of the "world" and may your Blogging for Dummines on line work out!

  6. hi peter, firstly congratulations to both of us, because there is a major change in the political scene back home, though I am currently somewhere else...

    secondly, although you don't get to publish a book with wiley, their offer certainly is a testimonial to your web presence and content, feel sorry for you being "cheated" by them but rejoice you may not need the deal and who says you will not have more of these chances in the future?

    I have linked to your other dummies guide blog but found that it was not updated, wondering, where's Peter? just wanted to say here that I benefited a lot from your blogs, thanks and keep rocking! :D

  7. Sorry to hear about your fruitless book-writing experience with the Dummy people--I agree with you that books on technological topics that get updated so frequently are perhaps not the best way to document this new information. Speaking of which, I thought you might be interested in a new blogger widget that we recently released. It's a scrolling ticker that reads feed from your blogger blog, and it's called WonderTicker. For more information, check out our site or email me personally at . thanks and keep up the good work!!

  8. I wish you much success in your endeavor. Good luck!

  9. Hi Jennifer and Susie,

    Thanks for your words of sympathies. It is very comforting, but wondering if I will find the time to do the planned online book.

    Peter Blog*Star
    Blogger FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions_
    (Blogger FAQ in progress. More will be added as I have the time)

  10. I wish you and your country, the very best,Peter.I find your blogs insightful and helplful.

  11. Hi Pam,

    You can get it from Template Store. Don't worry about it being similar, it can be exactly the same (except the content) for all I care.

    Actually I am thinking of switching over to the template used at Blogger FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions_ which has built-in menu bar (tabs) in the Header. They can be pretty useful. If that interest you, hurry me to do a post on that.

    BTW your link in the signature line is not active. While it is "bad" for me but good for you that you make hyperlink in comment active (clickable). Note: Attribute target="_blanl" or target="new" not allowed in comments.

    Peter Blog*Star
    Google Generate revenue from your website with Google AdSense. Get something for your hardwork

  12. Hi Nini,

    Wow, someone visited my country. That must be HINDRAF demo you are talking about. Their hero swipe their share of the profitable public company from them and he is still making himself out to be a hero.

    You should also have a look at Long march for justice and Rally for Clean and Fari Election November 10 2007: Report. Unfortunately you didn't stay long enough to witness the election results :-)

    Peter Blog*Star
    Blogger Dough
    (Blogging helped my put 2 sons through college on my pension and if not for blogging, I would have been in financial difficulties. We want to help you do the same)

  13. Hi Dana,

    Thanks for the words of encouragement. I am just hoping I find the time to do it.

    Peter Blog*Star
    Testing Blogger Beta (now New Blogger)

  14. Keep up the good work..

  15. Hey Peter I am sorry to hear about the book. But I believe you are better off doing your online thing. Books are dead in my opinion, I would rather have a potential audience of billions with the internet versus having prints reliance on brick and mortar stores that provide half ass customer service. Thank you for taking your precious time and let me know what was going on in your world. greatly appreciate

  16. I so appreciate all the things I've learned from you, so sorry to hear that the book deal fell through. Still, I think you're right - this kind of info makes much more sense to be online, because it changes all the time.

  17. Hi Heather,

    Thanks for your kind words and sympathetic ears. But on reflection, perhaps it was good of them to inform me early so I don't waste anymore time. But at least if I was doing something not in the style they wanted (too many emails), inform me early too so I can correct myself. And that obsolete book.....

    Peter Blog*Star
    Environmentally friendly presents

  18. pls send me a comment notification email id


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