This is the start of an adventure!

start of an adventure

I’m in a nameless suburb along California’s central coast this morning. This is the view from my room. It doesn’t look like the gateway to excitement, but for you and me, it’s the start of an adventure.

That’s because today marks the official beginning of our third book project, Advocate This!
Wait, did I just say “our” third book. Yes, I did.

This is as much your book as it is mine. It has the potential to rewrite the narrative on customer service. But I can’t do it without you.

Why this book is yours

Books are always an adventure. You go through so many phases, from proposal (which we’re just starting) to marketing the final project.

All along the way, there’s uncertainty, a little danger, and excitement.

Well, in this case a lot of danger.

I don’t think big businesses want the real story of their misdeeds published in a book. And they definitely don’t want someone to tell you how to find better service, since many of them earn more money by offering bad service. Case-in-point: Today’s story that suggests bad airline service leads to higher profits.

I know I can’t write Advocate This! alone.

I don’t want to write it alone.

Your experiences and insights will make this book more effective, allowing it to reach the most people — and potentially changing the way we do business tomorrow. Wouldn’t that be something?

Last week, I asked if you’d be interested in helping me edit my drafts and some of you responded. I’m renewing my call today because I’d like to include you. Your feedback is so important. I’ll also have special section in my acknowledgments devoted to my readers. (Your name in lights!)

If you want to help me edit Advocate This! and shape this potentially groundbreaking book, please let me know.

What Advocate This! could do

This project has a lot of potential. I know that I have a compelling story, thanks to almost three decades advocating for you in the trenches. But using these anecdotes to tell a bigger story about customer service could bring a broader readership to a full understanding of what’s gone wrong.

And the solutions we offer could be embraced by consumers and companies. Imagine a book so powerful that it changes customer service forever?

Well, there’s only one way we can reach that goal. I may have a few good ideas, but if we put our heads together, we can come up with some great ideas.

(When I said this is the start of an adventure, I wasn’t kidding.)

Why I need you on this adventure

I hope you won’t passively follow our progress as we go from proposal to manuscript to finished product. Although I want you to read Advocate This! when it’s published, I need you to be my co-conspirator, my muse, or even the adult in the room. I’m passionate about advocacy, I sometimes go off on a tangent and forget about the big picture.

But you can help me stay focused.

I can’t write Advocate This! without you. It just won’t happen. And frankly, I don’t want it to happen without you. If you don’t get involved, it will almost certainly fail. We’ll be lucky to find a publisher.

By the way, have you visited a bookstore or library lately? If you have a moment this afternoon, head over to the business section and tell me what you see. There’s so much junk, and most of it tells companies how to cut corners (increase their efficiency, in business-speak) to improve their profitability.

My friends, the enemy is winning the information war. They’re flooding the market with books that normalize the poor customer service and abuse we’ve taken for years as customers. We have to do something!

I’ve been busy preparing for this moment

To say I’ve been busy in the weeks leading up to this would probably be an understatement. This week, you saw my columns in the Washington Post and USA Today. You’ve also seen my nationally syndicated column all over the place.

But you’ve probably also been keeping up with my nonprofit consumer advocacy site and my personal site, which features daily stories. Or perhaps you follow me on social media, like Facebook.

In the publishing world, we call this a “platform” — it’s something we show a prospective publisher who wants to know how we’ll promote a book like Advocate This! Our platform size is impressive (there I go with the “our” again). Conservatively, we reach about 10 million people a week.

Every time you comment, share or “like” one of my stories, the platform gets a little bigger. So thank you for your support. It means a lot to this cause — and to me.

This is the start of an adventure!

This week’s stories

Here are this week’s columns. You know what to do!

This is how to vacation with a purpose
Don’t waste your next trip by just sitting around your vacation destination. Do something you’ll remember for the rest of your life: Take a vacation with a purpose.

Will American do a good deed for these Boy Scouts?
Boy Scout Troop 130 from Morehead City, N.C., is supposed to fly to New Mexico for a stay at Philmont Scout Ranch. But wildfires in New Mexico make their plans go up in smoke. Will American Airlines help?

What to do when a moving company loses my furniture
When Paul Fisch’s moving company loses his furniture, he turns to the usual suspects for help. But they can’t do anything. Time to call a consumer advocate.

Stress free travel tips from a Sedona spiritualist
Pete A. Sanders Jr. is a time traveler. Not in the H.G. Wells sense of the word, with time machines and Morlocks, but in a metaphysical sense. And will a little less stress.

Want to improve your travel literacy? Here’s how.
Now that vacation season is over, it’s time to start thinking about ways to improve your travel literacy — loosely defined as your ability to get around without looking like a clueless tourist — before your next trip.

Thank you for your support. See you next week.

Posted in This Week Tagged

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can’t. He’s the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes weekly columns for King Features Syndicate, USA Today, and the Washington Post. If you have a consumer problem you can’t solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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