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The coloring books arrived on Friday, and they are fantastic. I'm so excited about them; they look well-made and everyone who has gotten a peek inside so far has been very complimentary, so I'm hoping you all enjoy them. Especially those of you who actually intend to color in them, since they're made for that. Here's a picture:
We also have word that the first shipment of book reprints will arrive this Thursday, featuring On the Origin of PCs and No Cure for the Paladin Blues, plus some of the reprints of books that were in stock. The final shipment, with War and XPs and Don't Split the Party, should be here next week at some point. Apparently, to try to get me as many books as possible at once, the printer concentrated on the thinner books first—which would have been awesome, if 2 out of the 3 thinnest reprint books weren't in-stock already (Start of Darkness and Dungeon Crawlin' Fools). Oh well, it's my fault for not telling them otherwise.
But that brings us now to the notepads. Oh, the notepads. I was originally going to go into a great deal of detail about what's been going on, but I realized that I don't want to bore you. So here's the short version: They haven't delivered the notepads. There's no ETA on when they will deliver the notepads, even though their original estimated production time has passed three times over. There's been no explanation whatsoever for why it's taking so long. And now, for the last week, they've stopped returning my emails and phone calls. As a result, I've decided to pursue a refund through other channels and will be taking the business to another company. But that does mean starting from scratch, unfortunately.
In order to keep people's packages moving out the door now that the coloring books are here, we are going to be shipping some packages without notepads. When we get them in from the new company, we'll stick them in a First Class envelope and mail them along separately, at my expense. Packages we are going to start shipping this week with notepad I.O.U.'s in them are:
- $24 two-coloring book package
- $25 8x10 art print package (if no books were added OR only books that were in stock were added).
- $29 Start of Darkness package (in stock)
- $35 Snips, Snails, and Dragon Tales package (in stock)
- $37 Dungeon Crawlin' Fools package (in stock)
- IF the customer did not add Sticky Shticks (which isn't ready either), AND
- IF the customer is in the USA (because it's too expensive to send the notepads separately overseas).
That's still going to be over a thousand packages. Hopefully, by the time those have gone out the door, I'll have more information about when I'll have notepads in my hands and everyone else will get theirs in their box or envelope.
OK, with that out of the way, here's the Workometer for this week. You'll notice I've knocked the notepads back down, since I'm back to Square One (or Circle One, I suppose):
As you can see I'm almost done with the first installment of the Monster Minis. Right now, 95% of the color art is done; I then still need to copy and convert the monsters to black-and-white versions, as well as gather them into a printable document and write up some instructions on how to assemble and use them. With a little luck, I'll be sending this out before next Monday.
Which of course raises the question of how it is going to be distributed. When it's ready to download, I am going to create a "backer-only" update here on Kickstarter, which will, as the name implies, only be readable by those of you who backed the project. In that update, there will be links to download the color and black-and-white versions of the document. So that means you will definitely want to watch this space (either your email or the website) to get your Monster Minis.
Five Things I've Done Since Last Update:
- Drew 17 druids; I'm still working on the rangers.
- Sent out all of the "Patience" surveys to backers. As of right now, all shipping surveys have gone out to backers; if you don't have yours, try logging into Kickstarter and see if there's an orange bar at the top of your screen asking you to answer it.
- Literally yelled on someone's voice mail.
- Paid the final Really Big Check™ to my regular book printer, who, while not always getting everything done quite on time, has at least never actively dodged my phone calls when they were running late.
That's it for the weekly tale of woe. Next time I talk to you, I should be delivering like 175 stick figure monsters (and adventurers) to your inbox.
P.S. A few people seem to have been confused about surveys, thinking that I sent out more than one for some reason. Every backer should have gotten one—and only one—survey. It's just that some people didn't get theirs until this past week. So if you filled one out, you're golden.
P.P.S. New OOTS probably sometime today (Monday, May 7th).
On Saturday, I tweeted that this update was going to be delayed until today because I wanted to get an accurate estimate from the printer about when the books were going to arrive in the Houston warehouse. I'm glad I waited, because the answer was not what I would have liked. The latest word is that the coloring books aren't being bound (stapled, really) until Thursday, April 26th, and that they and the first wave of reprints won't be shipping out from the printer until the first week of May. This blows my last hope that these books would have gotten into the mail in the month of April, as was my original plan. I'm not really sure why it's taking longer than normal to run a simple reprint; all I can imagine is that the sheer number of books we're printing at once has bumped us up against the printer's maximum output capacity. They only have so many presses and binding machines, and I think we're using all of them at the same time. Then again, sometimes its very hard to get detailed information out of people who would rather not talk about the subject, so it could be something else entirely.
Anyway, what this means for you is that nothing with a coloring book or a reprint book will start going out the door to customers until the second week of May. Some of you may have addresses that will need to be changed because of this, since this is definitely a delay from what we originally announced. If you need to change your address, message me through the Kickstarter mail system—click the blue "send message" link right under the title of the project while you're logged in. Tell me your new address and I will change it manually in our system and then send you a confirmation. This is unlikely to further delay any of the packages that were already scheduled for later, however; signed books, crayon drawing packages, and any package with the Sticky Shticks expansion should still be delivered within their original timeframes.
I'd also like to personally apologize for the delay. Even though I don't think I could have done my part any faster than I did, I'm sure there's some way I could have pressured the printer for a more accurate time estimate before we began. I should have found it suspicious that no one mentioned any lengthening of the schedule due to the number of books being printed. So for any inconvenience this may cause to you, the backers, I apologize.
In other cheerier news, even after a mix-up with the delivery address for the shipment, the embroidered patches finally made it to the warehouse last week. If you pledged at the $15 "magnet and a patch" level, then your order has mailed (unless you added Sticky Shticks to it). In fact, I can prove it, because here's a photo of all of them right before they went on an exciting adventure to the post office:
So let's take a look at the Workometer:
As you can see, I've been plugging away at those miniatures since they don't require any writing (meaning that I can still work on them when I'm extremely tired). My hope is that now that the books' arrival date has been set, I can stop spending so much time dealing with various printers and manufacturers and focus on getting some more of these digital rewards finished.
Which reminds me: If you got one of the "Stick It to You" or "Stick It to Your Family" pledges, please try to get me your reference photos in the next few days! I'd like to get started on these since, like the miniatures, they don't need any writing. But right now I have less than half of those that I need. So try to corral your family and take a photo of them this week, if you can. Thanks.
Five Things I've Done Since the Last Update:
- Spent more time with financial spreadsheets than anyone in the creative field should ever have to spend.
- Reread Romeo and Juliet with a notebook in hand, writing down ideas as I got them.
- Tested out a plan for a super-secret bonus reward that will be free for everyone who backed—and is NOT the missing Mystery Prize #9. Think of it as the new Mystery Prize #8.5, and I should be able to announce it by the middle of May.
- Played high-level phone tag with the people printing the notepads, asking why I didn't already have them. I don't have an answer yet.
- Drew 22 different orcs, among other monsters, because encounters with just one kind of orc are boring.
Once again, sorry for the delays. I'm working my hardest to get you everything that was promised and I hope that you aren't considering the torches-and-pitchforks model of customer feedback anytime soon.
P.S. Due to the delays with the books, I may send out some of the "Patience" surveys out this week, even though they won't ship for a while. If you've been waiting for them, keep an eye on the inbox associated with your Kickstarter account.
We have received reports—scattered at first, but growing in frequency—that backers have begun getting their magnets in the mail. Should this prove true, I can only say that no one is more surprised than I am that we managed to get them into people's hands on time.
This week, we received the 8" x 10" art prints that some of you are getting, and they look great. Here's a sorta-blurry picture of one now:
According to the package tracking oracle that lives in the computer, the embroidered patches arrived in Houston yesterday as well, though I do not have photographic confirmation of that yet. If they're not there already, they will be very soon, which means that the $15 "patch-and-a-magnet" packages will start mailing this week. After those have shipped, all other packages are waiting on the coloring book or the Sticky Shticks (or both). Here's where the Workometer stands:
You'll notice that I've begun work in earnest on the Monster Minis document (at least the Spring edition; the other three seasons that have been promised will get added to the Workometer later). This first installment is shaping up to be include a lot of orcs, fey, goblins (Small, not Medium), animals (dire and regular), druids, and rangers, plus a bunch of other random monsters like an owlbear and a hippogriff. To further whet your appetite, I give you a sneak preview of the art for one of the most tenacious and difficult monsters in the game...the pack mule!
Hey, don't laugh. The number of sessions where I needed a mini for a pack mule (and didn't have one) is far greater than the number of sessions where I needed a mini for a dragon.
Five Things I've Done Since My Last Update:
- Reviewed and approved physical proofs of the coloring book.
- Reviewed and approved digital proofs of the updated copyright pages for the reprints.
- Printed, cut out, and assembled paper mock-ups of the various monster sizes (Tiny through Large) for the miniatures to make sure they stood up properly using regular paper. (I still need to try Huge and Gargantuan.)
- Picked up the holiday ornaments for the signed ornament reward packages.
- Started contacting backers who forgot to include money for international shipping in their pledge. This is a big list, though, so if you know you're on it, please be patient and wait for me to contact you.
Lots of progress over the past week. Just about all the physical products have gotten moving, and I'm actually waiting for delivery on the art prints, notepads, patches, and sticker sheets. Nothing to do but keep looking out the window for the delivery truck (metaphorically speaking, since the truck will be going to Houston).
The helpful folks that have been printing the sticker sheets, Stand Out Stickers, sent me a few production samples the other day. They are magnificent. Shiny and durable vinyl stickers that will stay stuck to whatever it is to which you stick them. Here's a photograph of the samples next to a punk rocker minifig, which has been the traditional standard of measurement among fine sticker artisans since the late 14th century.
Also, in case some of you didn't see the revised patch sample picture that I entwiticated, here it is again. Since I've already had like twenty people ask: Sorry, no, you can't have the old incorrect sample, even if you like it better than the correct one. There was only one of those made.
In other news: After a surprising amount of editing for something with so little text per page, I finally sent off the completed files for the coloring book to the printer (a different printer; everything gets its own printer). We should get proofs back sometime this week. With a little luck, the actual coloring books will arrive in the warehouse ahead of the regular OOTS books so we have time to ship out all the bookless rewards first.
Speaking of shipping, I've gotten word that all of the $10 nothing-but-a-magnet and $14 nothing-but-two-magnets reward packages have now shipped—not counting those that added a patch or the Sticky Shticks, and not counting those 100+ people from those reward levels who still haven't filled out their shipping survey. Even if you are declining the magnet and just want the digital rewards, I ask that everyone fills out their surveys so I'll know not to bug you about it later. Anyway, that's like 1800+ envelopes in the mail, so good news there, right?
Let's take a look at the Workometer:
One thing that I want to point out is that this is strictly my Workometer, not the printer's or Ookoodook's. The book reprints still have at least two weeks of printing ahead of them (maybe two-and-a-half), but most of it doesn't involve me. I need to check the updated copyright page proofs when they come and write another big check, and that's about it. Still, as far as I know, we're still on target for books to begin shipping out by the last week of April.
Five Things I've Done Since My Last Update:
- Proofread and edited the coloring book (several times).
- Ordered, proofed, and approved the notepads (I didn't get a sample yet, though).
- Updated and revised the copyright pages of all six reprinted OOTS books to reflect things like their current print run, the other titles printed in the series, and, in the case of No Cure for the Paladin Blues, that we're now printing on recycled paper that wasn't available the last time we reprinted it.
- Worked with my site admin on a plan to securely distribute the digital PDF comics that are coming without overloading my server on the day that they're announced.
- Wrote up a list of exactly which monsters will be appearing in the first Monster Mini document.
I guess that's everything I have to talk about. Thanks for reading.