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Help us reprint the out-of-print The Order of the Stick books to reach new readers (and let existing fans complete their collections).
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.

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Mo' Money, Mo' Production

My days as an official millionaire have come and gone. The money became available to use on Friday, and I started spending it this morning. A heady 55 hours during which I wore a monocle, took an interest in yacht racing, and held strong opinions on the Estate Tax. But that time has passed already as I've started ordering stuff. Most importantly, the book reprints have begun their march to completion, along with the art print; the stickers and notepads will join them in a day or two.

Here's a sneak preview of the embroidered patch sample that I received last week. Some of the colors are off, so we're going to fix them in the final product, but I think the stitching came out very well. Check it out:

I've noticed that a lot of the survey results have comments along the line of, "I wanted to get a patch but I didn't know I needed to add money before the pledge drive was over." If that's you, don't worry; we're going to be stitching a few hundred extra. When everyone's rewards have been fulfilled, there will be a way for backers to buy patches through Ookoodook if they missed them (or need extras), until we run out.  This will only be available to people who backed the project, though; I imagine we'll require some sort of verification of your Kickstarter info before you'll be able to place the order. The same will hold true for any leftover art prints we may have. In contrast, I expect we'll put up any extra stickers, notepads, coloring books, and Sticky Shticks that we have remaining without such a requirement, since those weren't explicitly pledge-exclusives the way the patches and the art print were.

So let's check out the Workometer and see where we stand:


In case any of you missed the announcement at Giant in the Playground, I've now started a Twitter feed for myself: @RichBurlew. I should be making updates about things as they happen, as well as pointing out some stuff that might interest backers (like other cool Kickstarter drives that need support). It won't be updated every day because I'm not an everyday kind of person, but there should be some useful announcements here and there.

Five Things I've Done Since My Last Update:

  • Placed the order for the art prints (now awaiting the press proof).
  • Sent out surveys for all signed reward packages except for those listed as "Patience" packages, which won't go out for a few weeks.
  • Had a meeting with my lawyer about various concerns arising from the Kickstarter pledge drive.
  • Emptied my email inbox, as promised! (It got full again, but still.)
  • Placed the order for all six book reprints and sent the first of three Very Large Checks along with it.

That's it for now, I'll check back in soon. 

--Rich Burlew

Pictures of Magnets

Just a very quick update this time. The magnets arrived at the Houston warehouse this week and will start being mailed to $10 and $14 backers shortly (though there will be a gap while Ookoodook's staff attends the GAMA Trade Show this week). All the other production chains are waiting on the money, though I should be getting my sample of the patch any day now. Here's a photo of the magnet on a fine woodgrain surface (NOTE: magnet does not stick to wood):


And here's a photo of 20,000 magnets not on a woodgrain surface of any quality (they're the boxes on the two carts; behind them are the boxes with envelopes):


And since we're on a roll with images, here's today's Workometer:


You'll notice we have our first completed item, highlighted with the purple text. Not much else to say, so I'll leave you with the Five Things I Did Since the Last Update:

  • Spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to stop the backer information I downloaded from Kickstarter from dropping all vowels with diacritic marks.
  • Finalized the rulesheet for the Sticky Shtick mini-expansion so formal playtesting can begin.
  • Finally found a paper that I like for the coloring book, even though it will make it more expensive (for me, not for you). Also, received paper samples for the art print and immediately approved them.
  • Ignored my email inbox, which I will try to empty this week.
  • Finished ten more pages of interior art for the coloring book (almost...done...).

That's it for now. If you haven't filled out your survey yet, go do so! If you're waiting for a survey for the autographed packages, they should be going out very soon. (Tomorrow, maybe? Or Monday.) See you all back here when I have something new to show off, and everyone have a nice weekend.

--Rich Burlew

Final Tallies and Other Stuff

So we've gotten the final tally for how many pledges went through, and the total of all pledges that were dropped (due to irresolvable processing errors or the like) added up to just $3954.00 from 61 backers. That represents just 0.32% of our final pledge total, or less than one-third of one percent. That is shockingly low; you'll remember that I allowed for 5% of all the money pledged to drop out due to complications. So congratulations to you: As a group, you have excellent credit. We also have the final total for how much we paid to Kickstarter and Amazon in fees: $106,799.87, divided up among the two companies in a way that would require more math to explain than I feel like doing. It does represent 11.71% of my completed pledge totals, which is a little higher than I had counted on (10%). Still, given how much extra I had allowed for dropped pledges, it's not a problem at all.

Things are starting to move on reward fulfillment, albeit a little slowly. We won't be able to order any of the books or most of the swag until the money hits my actual bank account around the middle of this month, but there are a few items that I was able to pay for out of money I had saved. 

The Roy Greenhilt magnets are scheduled to ship from the manufacturer next Tuesday (March 6th) and should arrive at Ookoodook's warehouse for processing a few days later. That means that the lowest level pledge packages ($10, $12, and $14 rewards) should begin shipping around March 9th. If you have one of those packages and you haven't filled out your survey, you must do so as soon as possible. If we don't have your information by the time we're ready to start shipping, your order will go to the end of the line, to be shipped after all the other unsigned book and game packages.

Let's see how the Workometer stands:

Hmmm. Not as much as I would like, but a lot of those projects are being held up by the money (or the time I'm spending on the logistics). Let's hope the next one has more lit up.

I wanted to say a few words about the various PDFs I'll be making and sending out, too. I thought you should all know that I'm going to be producing these in the order in which I think I can get them done fastest (so the "low-hanging fruit" first), rather than in the order in which they were announced. And they will be released as I complete each story, so that means that you will get them one or two at a time, spread out over the next few months. Important: The information on how to download each PDF story will be sent to the email address associated with your Kickstarter account, so you MUST have access to that account in order to get the files.

I've also gotten a lot of questions about what the "Backer's Choice" PDFs are that were mentioned on the Monster in the Darkness' charts. Scroll down the list of rewards to the $1250 level: three stories where the main character is being chosen by a backer rather than by me. I'm also ready to announce which three characters these stories will be about: Therkla, the Cliffport Police Department, and a pre-Order Belkar Bitterleaf. All three stories will be delivered to all backers once they are completed, too, so that's three more things you have to look forward to.

That's enough for now; I'll try to get another update up early next week.

--Rich Burlew

Five Things I've Done Since the Last Update:

  • Sent out surveys for all unsigned book or game packages (check your email for them).
  • Reviewed a second paper stock sample dummy for the coloring book because the first one was cheap crap.
  • Researched whether or not the fact that this was a pledge drive meant that I could mark international orders as "gifts" on the customs form, rather than "merchandise." (Short answer: No, because GITP is not a registered charity.)
  • Found out how to reactivate my long-dormant Pennsylvania Sales Tax license.
  • Finished about half of the art for the coloring book.

The First Update of the Rest of your Project

Now that the adrenaline of the last countdown has worn off (and Kickstarter's servers are all fine and good), we can start talking about fulfillment. Because there's a lot to talk about—mostly because there's a lot to fulfill. As things proceed, I'm going to keep sending out Updates (one or two a week) as a way of giving you information about what I've done so far, what still needs to be done, and how close you are to getting shiny OOTS goodies in your mailbox. So I ask that everyone keep reading these as they are sent to your email so that we can avoid too many people asking me questions that I've already answered.

That brings us to our new chart. Rather than charting how much money has been pledged, this charts the opposite: How much work I've done. It's my Workometer. Each portion of the project has its own line, which will light up section by section until that part is complete. You'll note that there are no labels on each line describing exactly what every section represents, and that's on purpose. It's different for every item, but suffice to say that the red dot is the initial "concept" solidifying in my mind, the yellow is the planning or ordering, and the green is the production (whether by me in the form of comic pages or by a printer). And keep in mind a lot of these things (like the book reprinting) can't get started until the money is actually in my account, which will take 2-3 weeks. Let's take a look:

Now, in an attempt to get one of the most frequently asked  questions out of the way: if you missed the pledge drive deadline, no, you can't pledge now. I'm sorry about that, but I don't have the means to take your pledge and include it in the Kickstarter system—and even if I could, I'm not sure it would be fair to the people who may have struggled to get their pledge in on time. All of the books will be available on Ookoodook once they are reprinted, so you can still order them then. If you're desperate for the swag, we will be putting whatever we have leftover once we fulfill all the orders up on Ookoodook, so keep an eye out for any leftover stickers, notepads, and coloring books over the summer. But the patches are not going to be available to non-backers at all; we may have a way for backers to buy extras if we have any left over, but that's it. As far as the PDF stories, I'm sure most of them will be available in print at some point, even if they are spread out over a few different books.

There's also the issue of one last Mystery Prize, isn't there? Well, since this is the very last one...it's going to stay a mystery until it's finished. That's because I'm not sure if it will work out the way I want it to, and if it doesn't, I don't want to have made a promise I can't fulfill. Once I know I'll be able to get it done (or I find a suitable replacement if I can't), I'll announce it and immediately deliver it. So some day this year, you'll wake up and BAM! Mystery Prize announcement in your inbox. Because you can't predict a Mystery Prize. It comes and goes as it pleases. You'll be talking to it, and turn to look at something, and suddenly the Mystery Prize will be gone. And you'll say, "Oh, Mystery Prize! You got me again." But Mystery Prize won't hear you, because it will already be out there, in the shadows, fighting crime.

Five Things I've Done Since the Last Update:

  • Ordered the Roy Greenhilt magnets.
  • Ordered a physical sample of the embroidered patch.
  • Reviewed a paper stock sample dummy of the coloring book.
  • Finished the last comic of the promised eight-in-a-row.
  • Slept.

--Rich Burlew

P.S. If you pledged at the $10, $12, or $14 reward levels, your shipping survey has just been sent. Check your email or log into the Kickstarter website to see it. You must fill out the survey even if you don't want the magnet (though you don't have to give me your address in that case). Otherwise,  I'm just going to keep bugging you about it.

End of the Line—All Aboard!

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Hey, remember when I said I was saving some stuff to say when this ended? Turns out I'm mostly speechless. Well, speechless for me, which still means that I cram way too many word balloons onto the page.

Let's recap with some achievements:

  • Second most funds pledged to a completed Kickstarter drive ever.
  • The third Kickstarter project in history to reach one million dollars in pledges.
  • The most funded creative work in Kickstarter history in any medium, ever.
  • The most funded project by a single person (rather than a company), ever.
  • 2127% funded from my initial goal of $57,750.
  • 35 goals reached
  • 28 updates made (including this one)
  • 63 increasingly-byzantine reward packages
  • 14,952 backers
  • Over 25,000 books sold
  • Over 16,000 comments made
  • Uncounted broken F5 keys
  • And I think we kinda broke a Kickstarter server at the end there

Any way you want to analyze it, it's surprising. Certainly, I'm still shocked. There have already been media stories about it, and there will be more now that we've ended. And they'll talk about crowdfunding and what this success means to the future of blah blah blah. You know what? Screw that. This is between me and all of you. This is because you guys love the story I'm writing, and I love writing it. We made this thing together, and no one is going to replicate it, not exactly. Oh, sure, these records won't stand forever. Some won't even last a month. But it doesn't matter, because you didn't pledge money to me so I could beat a meaningless record. You pledged your money to me because you believe in me and my silly stick figure comic. And that is not something that is going to be mentioned in those media articles.

But I'm pretty sure the slope of this line will be:

(What, that Mystery Prize at $1,250,000? That was always there. I don't know what you're talking about. But you will have to wait a day or two before I tell you what it is.)

On the other hand, this also marks the beginning of a far longer process: that of making and fulfilling everything to which I've committed. It will take some time, I'm not going to lie to you. I will do my best to keep everyone updated on every step of the process. I won't be able to write daily posts all the time, but as each hurdle is cleared, this is where I'll tell you about it. Like I said in the last update, give me a few days before expecting anything; I need to recuperate a little. But then we'll start talking about shipping address surveys and delivery schedules and all that fun stuff.

This is going to be a big year for me, and for OOTS, and for GITP. And for you, I guess. You have a veritable shower of goodies waiting for you in your reward packages, and there will be some unknown number of new ideas and improvements to the website, the comic, and whatever else I can make better for everyone by throwing some of this money at. I hope you're as excited as I am to see what comes next.

Because if this drive has proven anything, it is that I am very, very bad at predicting the future.

--Rich Burlew

P.S. For reasons I don't understand, I can no longer see or make Comments on the project because it says I'm not a backer. Which is really upsetting, considering that's where the party's been this whole time. So if you want to make sure I can see what you're saying, comment on this update instead. (EDIT: Never mind, this fixed itself.)

P.P.S. You are still awesome.

EDIT 2: It looks like somehow my total was off a little; I'll fix the chart.