Everyone has gotten their packages at this point, and I have had so many folks send me pictures of their adorable kitties (and puppies and stuffed otters) with the book and it makes my heart grow so big each time. Please keep em coming!
I hope you like the book, and I have one big favor to ask of you:
Can you please leave an honest review (re-mew?) on Amazon? We're finally live on Amazon! I know that purrsonally reviews on Amazon are my #1 motivation (or dismotivation) to buy a book. It would make my July to see a few reviews up before I head to my conference next week. Especially if they contain kitten pictures.
If you're in the DC area, I'm in town next week and we're having a casual book signing and meetup to talk purr-sonal finance at Busboys & Poets (2021 14th St NW location) from 5:30PM to 8:30PM on Friday, July 27th. Please stop by if you can. You can find us by looking for the cat signs! I'll also have books to purr-chase and look at if you were an ebook only backer! (Shoot me an email back if you're planning on joining so I can grab enough seats!)
I've been putting off writing this update for awhile, because it feels so "final" when in fact there's lots left to do. This self-publishing thing is a paw-cess and I have a long list of things yet to do for the book, but 99% of backers have received their books now and I owe you an update!
I spent 38 hours shipping books, and I really enjoyed writing y'all notes and seeing how widespread the purrsonal finance advocats are around the world. Check this out:
I timelapsed the shipping weekend, and you can see that our Chief Feline Officer, Dora, supervised and tested all the USPS shipping crates for nap-ability.
Even for those as far as Australia and Singapore, tracking numbers have told me that the postal fairies have delivered your books and stickers and cat bowties and zines. It appears I only packed two orders wrong out of 358 shipments, which is a pretty good success rate (and I have corrected both of those orders). No one has yet has reported their goods were damaged in transit - yay - please shoot me an email at email@example.com if there were any issues.
I have absolutely loved seeing you and your kitties with a copy of Get Your Money Together. Please keep the pictures coming!
Three Easy Things You Can Do to Help Spread the Mews
1. The book should be out on Amazon early next week, anxiously hoping for your honest reviews and cat pictures. (It really helps with other people finding it as Amazon needs 25 reviews before it will rank the book.) I'll send an email as soon as the book is up.
2. If you have a chance, please post a picture of the book on social media with the tag #purrsonalfinance. Kitty helpers are a bonus!
3. Maybe watch this short 401Kittens video if you need a break. Some adorable adoptable kittens help me explain 401Ks.
I hope you're doing meownificantly! Look forward to hearing about your financial goals and how you've conquered them!
P.S. I'll be doing a mini-podcast/cat cafe outing/book signing in Philly + Washington DC the week July 21st - 27th. I'll follow up with details soon!
After a lovely launch party last night (watch the video feed here for the mini podcast if you like, the podcast starts at 26:47), I woke up to a delight this morning: 515LBS OF BOOKS ARE ARRIVING TODAY! They weren't supposed to arrive until Tuesday of next week, but after a journey from China through Kentucky and Alaska, they have touched down in my city.
If you have moved since you originally filled out the backerkit survey, PLEASE update your address on the Backerkit Reminder email sent out this morning. No action is necessary if you haven't moved in the past 5 months. I start shipping on Sunday afternoon, so I want to make sure your books get to you at the right time! Updating through the survey is the best way to do it, not sending me a direct email. If you can't find the survey, email me, though!
If you have any gift requests, or want me to write a special note or something on your book, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll make sure I get it set up for you!
Thank you all for your help on this journey, and I CANNOT WAIT to have you and your critters receive the book. I really couldn't have done it without mew.
Well, the 515lbs of expediated books have finally cleared customs and have boarded a book plane and currently are set to arrive on Tuesday next week, at which point I will immediately start packaging them up to send to you all! You will receive tracking in-fur-mation for your books and stickers and bowties next week. Books will arrive for most folks by end of the month (except for the Australians, sorry).
Want to see the books right meow? Join us at the launch purr-ty tonight!
Tonight in Portland we're having a little launch purr-ty for the books. You can see the 2 copies that have made it stateside, get some adorable stickers, eat some cat-shaped snacks, and hear a live mini-show.
The purr-ty will be at Kate Bingaman-Burt's studio, Outlet PDX, where she creates amazing books, zines, and large scale art about her purr-chases. She even paints large canvases replicating her Target receipts! It's a magical space, and I'm so honored she let us join for the party! You can RSVP and get all the details here.
I just got word from our overseas printer that the book has wrapped up being printed today!! Finally! 325 of the 1,000 books are being packaged up and put on a plane this week from Shenzhen, China to Portland, Oregon. That’s supposed to take about 10 days. Once they hit Portland, I’m bundling them up with your adorable stickers, cat bowties, and Lawcat zines and shipping them out to you. I’ll send out a 72-hour warning to update your address in Backerkit, just in case you move in the next 2 weeks. If you’re in Portland, you can also pick up your book at the launch party on May 17th.
The other 675 books are being put on a literal slow boat from China and will arrive several weeks later. Those books will being going to shops, Pay It Fur-ward recipients, and will be purr-chasable on Amazon.
Lessons learned with my first print book
I definitely thought I was special and I was going to deliver my first-ever crowdfunded shoestring budget print book exactly on time, not late like nearly every other Kickstarter. Nope, I’m late, because I learned the same lessons many others have learned, including some of these:
Print books are not the same as zines. In my life I have made and helped other people make hundreds of zines. Yes, being a zinester helps with self-publishing a book but books ≠ zines. I can't do another print run later with some white out if I find a mistake. I can't produce a batch of 100 and then do a second edition of 50 later. Books, also, are extremely heavy compared to zines. Heavier = more expensive to ship (I’m spending thousands on shipping the books from the printer to me).
You need a LOT of margins. My old middle school trick of contracting the 1/2 inch required margin to .33 inches to fit more words in a page backfires when you need the page to be readable. Adding margins increases your book length - significantly (we went from 120 pages to 216 pages).
Ideally avoid having the president get involved with a trade war with the country where your book was printed. I don’t really know what to say about this except… yea. that. This made my original locked-in quote go up quite a bit.
Book designers are skilled, smart humans and worth the money. I know how to use InDesign. I am even an okay graphic designer some days. But I am not a book designer - and if I could’ve afforded to hire one, I would in a heartbeat. I spent over 130 hours designing the book after it was done being written and illustrated, and it probably would’ve taken a skilled book designer half that time and looked better.
Bribe people for finding typos. We found a lot of typos collectively. You cannot underestimate the power of promised cat stickers and love in finding typos. (And yes I still found more typos after the book went to print).
Pay it Fur-Ward
Just this month, I have been able to deliver in-person financial literacy workshops to over 80 low-income adults and youth thanks to the generosity of your contributions to the Pay-It-Forward program. Yesterday I spent the evening talking through budgeting, fixing credit scores, cats, and looking for jobs with youth at the Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center, a drop-in program for homeless/transitional youth that identify as GLBTQ*.
Some questions that came up:
How do I keep myself from spending my rent and cell phone and food money instead of spending it on bathhouses and shoes?
Are you a cosplayer? You dress like a cosplayer.
If I am living in a tent right now, but am working to save up for an apartment, how do I prove where I have been living on my rental application?
If I can keep saving $500 a month, will I be able to retire by 50? (This is from a 19 year old making minimum wage- the answer is that you can retire a lot sooner than 50 if you can save that much on that income!)
How do I fix my credit after selling my car back for $10,000 less than the loan?
If my parents kicked me out, can I still go to college if they won’t fill out the FAFSA?
Everyone got cat stickers if they wrote down their next financial goal. They were a hit.
To wrap up: I am most excited about the books, and can’t wait to get them in your paws. And if you’re in Portland, please join us at the launch party on May 17th!