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Thanks to our loyal fans, we reprinted the entire back catalog of The Order of the Stick—and funded a bunch of new stories, too!
Thanks to our loyal fans, we reprinted the entire back catalog of The Order of the Stick—and funded a bunch of new stories, too!
14,952 backers pledged $1,254,120 to help bring this project to life.

On Expectations and the Managing Thereof

Posted by Rich Burlew (Creator)

We crossed the $500,000 mark about an hour after my last update, making it official: half a million dollars of OOTS stuff. Mind you, before anyone thinks I'm buying a yacht with it or something, my best estimate is that around $200,000 of that is going strictly to the postage for shipping out the rewards! The rest is going to the print runs, the cost of the bonus prizes like the stickers and such, and other miscellaneous expenses. My income will largely be off of the sales of the books once they're reprinted and back on store shelves, which should trickle in over the course of the year. Still, it's an incredibly positive sign for the health of the comic and its readership, and I couldn't be happier that we've managed to get the books into so many people's hands with this pledge drive. 

For those interested in more of my thoughts on the Kickstarter drive, Chris Sims (of Invincible Super-Blog fame) did an interview with me for Comics Alliance, a real website about real comic books. Personally, I was hoping for more questions about my deep and abiding love for the character of Aquaman, but what can you do? The man has to do his job. The interview was conducted last Thursday, so some of the information in it is already dated, but it's still a pretty good indication of my expectations and such. And I'm pretty sure it won't be the last interview you see from me on the subject. Wink.

Finally, we've added two more lines to the chart. They're purely informational while I work on the next goal, but they represent what we need to put us into the #5 slot in the list of all-time most funded Kickstarter drives, and what we need to be 1000% funded, or ten times the initial funding goal. I added them mostly because half the people in the Comments were talking about them anyway, so I might as well put them up here for everyone to see. So here's the chart:

So that's it for today. As always, thank you for all of the support and kind words that I've been getting every day in my email. It would seem like something about this pledge drive has inspired people who have never sent me a message or made a message board post to take this opportunity to tell me how much they enjoy the comic week in and week out, and it's more than a little humbling. After all this outpouring of support, I think I've added a few new lines to my internal chart that I will try my best to reach in order to be worthy of everything I've received from this drive, tangible and otherwise.

--Rich Burlew

P.S. Oh, right. Something about a Mystery Prize, right? Well...

Elan brings us the latest StickTales adventure in the tradition of last year's Greenhilt, Prince of Denmark: The story of Haleo, heir to the roguish House of Starshine, as she falls in love with the fair and delicate Julelan. But she's shocked to learn that her new lover is the son of her father's sworn enemies, the power-hungry House of Tarquin! Will their love be doomed? Probably. But more importantly, will we milk 15 pages of jokes out of it first? Yes. Yes, we will.

P.P.S. Every pledge that's getting the other PDFs will get this one, too, so everyone over $10. This will definitely be the last PDF story added to the pledge drive, as I've already probably bitten off more work than I can chew.


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    1. Missing avatar

      Shmoodles on

      @Guy Naamiati: If you donate $10 or more, you get the PDF. So, yep.

    2. Céline .S. Sauvé on

      Sweet! Another Shakespeare Shakedown! ;)

    3. Missing avatar

      Guy Naamati on

      Everyone over 10$ - does that mean 10$ or more?

    4. Jen Jahnke on

      Am I the only one who thinks we should do a kickstarter to get Rich a Cintaq (mentioned in the interview) ? He has added so much freebie goodies, and heck, if it gets him making comics faster, it pays for itself! I am one of those fans that has read the comic a long time, loves it, but doesn't post or email him.

    5. Missing avatar

      Aratan Aenor on

      I wonder how much it would take for Rich to create those "cheap ass miniatures substitutes" he mentioned a few years ago. I have an overabundance of monster miniatures and not enough "good guys." I would love to have a set of Azurite tokens to help defend my castle.

    6. Dan Nolan

      @Erik, everyone else: If you have add-on requests, send a message to Rich and he'll set you up. The short answer is yes, but postage may vary.

    7. Jeremy on

      @Eric if you message the giant about adding the art print I believe you can at that level. And if the number he gives you is not enough to get you to your bonus set level, simply pledging over the minimum amount would get you there as well.

    8. Missing avatar

      Erik Ottosen

      Quick question: Short of setting up another account - is there any way I could add an art print to my 3-books ($108) stack, that preferably costs at least $12 to bring me up to two bonus sets (if I add another coloring book)?

    9. Jae Shin on

      One upgrade option that would be nice would be a copy of all of the 4 full-color books plus snips and snails for $170 or how much it's worth. I can't imagine I'm the only person who only got around to picking up the two prequel books before everything went out of print.

    10. Christopher Moss on

      So I am no where near a tax attorney, but aren't gifts under $10,000 tax free?

    11. Missing avatar

      Michael Chastain on

      Wow! I was curious about the shipping expenses and the domestic/international split, but I figured it wasn't my business, and would be a little intrusive to ask. Rich, thanks for sharing some of the business side with your fans from time to time.

      Time to hit that "express my appreciation" button again.

    12. Dan Nolan

      @Joel: Just tell customs it's a box of "children's books and stationary" and downplay the value. They don't need to know about exclusive bonus rewards and autographed copies.

    13. JU on

      At least around here (Sweden) the customs open up packages where they think the declared value is too low, analyse the contents and estimate a value to tax. And I don't think they're that responsive to the "I sent him a gift of money, so he sent me a gift of goods" argument.
      So I generally prefer honest merchants when ordering things from abroad.

    14. Missing avatar

      Fat Hampster on

      @Rob Farley. As I understand it, Books are exempt from VAT, but not customs. VAT has to be paid if the value of items being received is over £40 (or somewhere around there, don't remember the specifics, since it didn't affect me that low). Customs has to be paid if the value of the items is more than £135, but if the amount o customs to be paid is less than £9, then it is ignored. These apply to gifts as well as purchases (I think the levels are different for purchases). As long as the normal prices are put down for the books, you should be ok for Customs. Vat may be needed to be paid for the extras, though this should be fairly negligible. I'm not entirely sure how postage fits into it, there was some mention of it being included for some tax, but I can't remember what for.

    15. John Russell on

      Another line drawn and crossed. Thanks for the lines, Rich - I know it doesn't signify much but I have so little going on in my life at the moment that just watching one line cross another line is enough to give me a faint sense of achievement. :-)

    16. Rob Farley on

      Also, books are exempt for these purposes. So you only have to worry if the value of the magnet, stickers etc is over £130 (which it shouldn't be).

    17. Rob Farley on

      @Ahdok: It's not what you paid for the pledge, it's the value declared for customs that determines whether it's eligible for import duty or not. So if Rich puts down the actual value of the items, not the value of the signed items, you should be fine. Alternatively, I think Rich would be fine putting down the value as zero, since legally this isn't actually a purchase it's a donation and a gift.
      I've had other kickstarters where I've made pledges over the limit for import duty and haven't been charged anything on import for just those reasons.

    18. drow on

      and then insist you have no idea how the prime minister's phylactery got in there XD

    19. Missing avatar

      Peter Cohen on

      First knock postage off it.

    20. Ahdok on

      I'm worried about import duty, because my pledge is over $300...

    21. David on

      At this point Emil probably got his account under review for posting too often too soon.

      As someone who's had that happen to them twice, trust me on this :P

    22. Missing avatar

      Emil Heinze on

      No, I don't have better things to do.

    23. Missing avatar

      Emil Heinze on

      -which is good! Because chances are that he'll be busy drawing more OOTS for us! :oD

    24. Missing avatar

      Emil Heinze on

      ...though he probably doesn't even read this...

    25. Missing avatar

      Emil Heinze on

      Ahoy Rich.
      Hope you don't have any plans for the next... say... 6 months? ;o)
      Cheers buddy and great work!

    26. GK on

      The money he gets from the drive would presumably be treated as self-employed business income, and ALL the related expenses (printing books, coloring books, notepads, stickers, shipping, shipping MATERIALS, anything he spends to upgrade his computer and/or the software he actually uses to draw the strips) are business deductions. Heck he can even deduct the box of crayons he uses for the crayon illustration rewards, and I'm sure he takes a home office deduction. It's fairly straightforward really. He actually did a very smart thing by doing this drive at the very beginning of the year, he has the whole year to rack up deductible business expenses. In contrast, the AVGN movie fundraiser drive over on Indiegogo started up in 2011, and as James Rolfe himself pointed out in an update video they DID have to take quite a tax hit because of that. Unfortunate timing on their part. Rich timed this one much better.

      Anything above and beyond expenses would be profit for Rich, and I'm sure he'd be delighted by that.

    27. Kevin Block-Schwenk on

      Timothy & James, businesses are taxed on their profits, not on their revenue. In other words, take the amount raised, then suptract every $ spent on anything (Kickstarter/Amazon's cut, printing, shipping, wages paid if he hires someone to help wtih this, etc.), and he'll get taxed on what's left after that. Which, according to what Rich wrote above, won't be all that much.

    28. Dan Nolan

      Once you take away the printing a shipping costs, the only direct income to Rich is the custom artwork and autograph fees (labor & time).

    29. Missing avatar

      James Johnson on

      Timothy, of the current amout as I'm writing, around 540,000, Rich only gets about 486,000 because of what Kickstart and Amazon rack off. As for the rest, yeah he may want some serious tax advice.

    30. Missing avatar

      timothy stegner on

      Rich, will the 528K++++ be considered income to you? i think/suggest you may want to retain a tax attorney to investigate that issue, else this is going to mess up your taxes for years to come... (no, i'm not one...) Like everyone else, i want you to be -able- to keep producing OotS (and from the sounds of it, just producing all the new artwork/stories may just take that...) -thanks, tj

    31. Missing avatar

      Amy Fiori on

      @Marco: Check Update 6, where Rich first mentioned the art print. It says that he'll add one for free to any order "above $250". Since he later clarified that orders of exactly $250 will be supersized, it's a good bet that orders of exactly $250 will get the art print too.

    32. Mãe Serpente on

      @Jay Elmore
      Thanks for the list; it's really useful! But where did you find the information about the 8x10 OOTS art print to $250 plus pledge? I didn't find it on the updates; am I missing some important place to check here on Kickstarter?

    33. Rob Farley on

      @Ahdok: You shouldn't get hit with any charges on this (I'm in the UK too). Import duty only applies on much more expensive items than this, what you may be thinking of is VAT and the usual processing charge. But since books aren't subject to VAT you shouldn't be hit for that either, depending on how things are labelled for customs.

      Of course, legally speaking we're not actually buying ANYTHING. We're making a donation to a pledge drive and getting a free gift in return. So if you do get charged you should be able to get it refunded.

      For what it's worth, I haven't been charged anything on delivery for anything I got through Kickstarter.

    34. Jay Elmore on

      Hooray for supersizing! Now the bonus rewards look like this:
      Freebies! (No pledge necessary, will be made available on the GITP website)
      10 desktop wallpapers
      If you are getting at least a Roy Greenhilt magnet, you will also get:
      1 PDF copy of How The Paladin Got His Scar
      1 PDF copy of Dim Sun
      1 PDF copy of Sir Francois and the Dragon (featuring his herald, Elan!)
      1 PDF copy of the next thrilling adventure of Julio Scoundrél!
      1 PDF copy of Haleo and Julelan
      1 PDF copy each of stories to be determined by Rich and the $1,250 pledges (3 PDFs total)
      If you are getting any books or the art print, you will also get:
      1 sheet of The Order of the Stickers
      1 Hit Points notepad
      1 OOTS Coloring Book (can add an additional copy by adding $5 to your pledge)
      If your pledge is $125 or more, you will also get:
      1 additional sheet of The Order of the Stickers (2 total)
      1 additional Hit Points notepad (2 total)
      If your pledge is $250 or more, you will also get:
      1 8x10 OOTS art print (if your pledge award does not already include one)
      1 additional OOTS Coloring Book (2 total; can add a 3rd copy by adding $5 to your pledge)

    35. Ahdok on

      I'm with David, I'm pretty much in this for the Julio tale :)

    36. mathnut on

      @David. You're crazy! How much willpower will it take to NOT read a delightful tale of redo lupus bombasticy sitting on your computer...calling to you. The PDF sitting there singing, "Read me Seymore...". One would have to have a resolve made of star metal to let an availed Rich original sit there unread!

    37. David on

      @Morganwick...just don't read the Julio tale first? :P

    38. Burnel Smith on

      "This will definitely be the last PDF story added to the pledge drive, as I've already probably bitten off more work than I can chew."

      I think the ship has sailed on that one, already.

    39. Gil Cnaan on

      As someone who owns all the books, but really wants to support and see new merch, I'd happily chip in more just for cool shirts, plushies, or something else neat.

    40. Jason Marin on

      oh yeah, if there were plushes... I see that line shooting up again.

    41. Andrew Petherbridge on


      As much as I'm already pledging more than I told myself I would, I would love if t-shirts and/or plushes were added. A flumph plush or a shirt declaring me a "Sexy Shoeless God of War" would make me beyond happy :)

    42. Sjors Naus on

      By now Haley could get Gloves of Dexterity +22

    43. David Da SILVA on

      By the power of the mighty Pledges I SUPER SIZE IT !!!

    44. Morgan Wick on

      @Peter Read the FAQs and the updates (and maybe the comments on the updates and forum posts as well), not just the dates on the rewards - Rich has indicated that the commissioned stories will be part of the O-Chul PDF, while the mystery prizes may or may not depending on how fast he can get them all done. June may be when he can get the crayon drawings out.

    45. Missing avatar

      JVH on

      Less than $100 to go for the super-size.

    46. Missing avatar

      Peter Cohen on

      @Morganwick Rich has indicated that the later pdf stories may be created later. The paladin story is committed forApril. The three commissioned stories are for June. The other three are presumably after that long after thebooks have been sent out.

    47. Ahdok on

      I have to say that I'm reasonably impressed with USPS. Sometimes they're slow, but they've never yet lost one of my packages.

      But yeah, I was expecting to pay around $50 shipping on this - the government will probably hit me with import duty too.

    48. Hugo on

      "last PDF story"? I just had a brainwave: there's plenty of creativity / artwork going on here in the updates. Plus, to me this is a big feel-good story (like a Christmas story, where people get together and it turns out way better than anyone dared hoping).
      I'd love to have this as a PDF as well.

      What do you guys think? If you like it, I'll fire off a message to Mr. Rich and offer to compile it for him -- *if* he agrees, of course.

    49. Morgan Wick on

      Personally, I would WANT people getting SSaDT, at least, not to get any of the PDF stories until they get their book - I don't want to get Julio Scoundrel #2 before Julio Scoundrel #1, and I don't want the second StickTale before the first StickTale.

    50. Matt D. on

      @ Adrian... I was much the same wanted to get them but many out of print by time I could...hate incomplete collections!