I wrote a full length novel based on my tales from call centers (repost)

Hello there, My name is Ethan Grimes, I worked in customer service throughout my twenties. I started in restaurants and eventually gravitated towards call centers. My time in this industry was grim, I got fired a lot and had a really hard time with rude customers. Every bad experience stuck with me, I couldn’t stop thinking about the awful things people said to me and I was constantly daydreaming about the things I wanted to say back to them. I took solace in telling my bad customer stories to friends, family, girlfriends, etc. Anyone who would listen. After a while people would ask me to repeat certain stories at parties and I started to think I had a nack for storytelling.

One day I was telling a story I had told many times before and realized I had forgotten many of the details, so I started to write these experiences down. By this time I was working at my first call center job. I mostly wrote down quotes and kept them tacked to my cubicle wall so I could laugh at them whenever I wanted. It became a kind of coping mechanism to deal with bad days, and not just for me, coworkers would stop by my desk all the time to read the new quotes and occasionally add some of their own. There was even a senior supervisor that came by, I thought for sure he would make me take them down but even he liked reading them. Before I knew it, 3 years and 3 jobs had passed, and I had notebooks full of entire conversations. So I came up with a title, a handful of characters and a basic outline about a fictional company in Arizona that claimed to troubleshoot the weather.

As I’m sure some of you know, writing a book is very hard, especially while working 40 hours a week. After 4 years I had just under 100 pages of my first draft, then on February 20th of 2020 I got fired. At this time I was supporting my wife and our 2 children, and with a global pandemic right around the corner I’ll admit I started to panic. My first thought was to ditch the book for the time being and find a new job quick. After a month of no luck I filled for unemployment and was suddenly making more money than I ever had through the pandemic relief benefits. I had no idea how long this income would last, so I decided to just enjoy it. I spent the days with my kids, and at night I would work on the book. By the end of the year I had my first draft, then I spent the following year pursuing traditional publishing.

Nobody in the publishing industry was interested in this book, nobody. First time authors already have a very slim chance of getting published, so after doing some research I tried to get in touch with a literary agent. I made a list of potential agents and drafted emails like you’re supposed to. Most of them didn’t respond, but the few that did told me that there isn’t a market for this kind of story. Given my experiences telling these stories to coworkers and the reception they received, I know for a fact that there is definitely a market for something like this. What I didn’t realize is that aside from the cult following of Kevin Smith’s Clerks movies, there is not a previously established market, and in the eyes of a publishing company that amounts to the same thing. So the only route was to self publish.

I spent the next few months learning how to edit and format a novel by watching YouTube videos and taking copious notes. This was easily the hardest part. It was tedious and extremely boring, but I knew I was so close to finally completing this thing. I rewrote the book half a dozen times, and I couldn’t even tell you how many times I’ve read it. The only piece of this novel that I didn’t do is the cover, for that I needed a real artist. Luckily I have a good friend who is very talented and came through for me big time. So in January of this year I was able to release my debut novel, The Death of Customer Service.

I know this isn’t technically a call center story, but I hope it’s fitting enough to be embraced by this community. (Or at least not get deleted by mods) If this feels like a sales pitch, it’s because it kind of is. I don’t know anything about marketing and none of the “traditional” routes have worked for me so far. So I figured I’d start by just being open and honest and trying to put this book infront of the people who I think will like it the most.

I can’t post a link to my website without the post getting deleted, but if you can find Ethan Grimes Dot Com you can order the e-book for free so anyone who wants it can have it. Thank you for reading this far and have a wonderful day.

(TLDR, I spent about a decade in customer service and wrote a fictional story that’s pieced together with my personal experiences.)

Repost: When I added a website link to the post it was deleted, I’m not sure if this was a decision made by a mod or something that happened automatically as a response to the link, so here’s the post again. I hope this doesn’t rub anyone the wrong way, it just seemed like a lot of people were interested in a novel length tale from a call center.

What do you think?

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