Is A Gnome Teaching This Class?


My wife recently noticed a class at a local school that listed a class in “The Business of Book Publishing” which she shared with me in hopes that it would help me in trying to get my new book published.  I signed up, paid the fee, and was looking forward to any tips I could learn that would help me.

I attended the first class last night.  I won’t be going back.

The first thing that I noticed was the lack of any dress code by the instructor.  He was wearing a ratty shirt, shorts which were attached with bright red suspenders.  To complete the “instructor” wardrobe, he was wearing one red and one black garden clogs.  He looked like he had just came in from working in the garden.  If he had worn a pointy hat, I would have sworn he was a garden gnome.

Okay, so I am a little old-fashioned about this but if you are an instructor, I expect you to look presentable and, at least, look the part.  If you are teaching a class about the “business” of book publishing, shouldn’t you look business-like?

The biggest pet peeve of all for me was when he said we would wait a few minutes later for others to get there for the class.    I do not agree with waiting for people who are late for class.  What message is that sending?  These people are adults and they should be responsible for getting to class on time.  Yes, things happen and anyone can be late but don’t penalize those who are there on time to enable those who can wonder in whenever they feel like it.   If the class is scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m. then start at 6:00 p.m.   If people come in late then they are late.  I am paying the same amount of money for the class they are.

The “gnome” teacher then gave us his history in the publishing business but it sounded like to me that he can’t keep a job.  And this is the expert?   Maybe in gardening.

And, of course, in just about every class you are going to have the “know-it-all comment” person who sits in the front row and the “dumb question asker” who will always be off the subject and totally off-base with their questions.

One example:  “You can publish a book cheaper in China.”

Who cares?  This isn’t China.  The class has nothing to do with China. Of course, that made me what to get some Chinese food after the class.

Would you believe that one person even showed up over an hour late and then had the audacity to complain about how small the classroom was?  What is wrong with people?

The instruction was mostly about the publishing process and even the physical part of putting together a book.  These are things that a writer will not even see or think about.  Not sure how important that information was.  I just want to have my book published.  Tell me Mr. Gnome how to get a publisher to publish my book!

I called the office today and told them I was dropping the class and gave them the reasons why.  No, I didn’t call the instructor a “gnome” but I did tell them that he looked like he had just come from working in the garden and should look more presentable if he’s going to be an instructor.

I’m still sitting here shaking my head about the whole experience.  I suppose my expectations are set too high.



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