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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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DOWNLOAD: A Monster for Every Season: Spring 2012 (Line Art Edition)

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For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.

Ookoodook Shipping Progress, in Handy Graph Format

This update will be more pictures than words, but I wanted to show you this while the information on it was still fresh. Here's a graph I made with the current progress for Ookoodook shipping:

That last line is the most important: Ookoodook has shipped 62% of their packages—and 83% of those that aren't waiting on Sticky Shticks. Actually, a little more, since this number is from Monday night, and they packed yesterday and today as well. A couple of notes:

1.) "Stragglers" represent any order that got delayed for any reason and needs to be handled (or handled again) at the end of the process. This includes (but are not limited to) orders where:

  • Customer filled out their survey late (after May 8th, in most cases)
  • Customer hasn't filled out their survey at all yet
  • Customer didn't include enough funds for international shipping
  • Customer didn't include enough funds for all items claimed on their survey
  • Customer made a special request or alteration of their package
  • Customer requested that we hold their package until a given date due to travel
  • Something happened internally that knocked the package to the back of the line

In some cases, it may look like there are zero stragglers for a given reward level, but I included an orange bar for every level because they have a knack for popping up later.

1a.) If you do not have your package (or a shipping email) for a reward that is listed above as shipped, then your package is (by definition) included among the stragglers. Please don't email me at this time asking whether we "lost" your order. There will be a point where I ask everyone reading who does not have their packages yet to email me and say something, but right now, it will just create additional work for everyone and not actually get your package to you any sooner.

2.) Some reward levels require more detailed handling because every order has different book choices—warehouse staff can't simply pack 100 of the same book and then go back and put the different pieces of swag in. For now, they're mostly skipping over those and working on the more straightforward packages first, in order to get as many customers served as quickly as possible. They'll go back to them after the easy ones are packed and shipped.

3.) There may be numerical errors. Math is hard.

4.) This chart does not include the packages that I'm signing and mailing; those will be tracked on the normal Workometer.

5.) I'm only going to update this chart once a month or so, because it requires getting detailed information from the warehouse. Unlike, say, the Workometer:

I recognize that's a little anemic, progress-wise, but a lot of stuff conspired to keep me away from the computer this past week. At least I still have...

Five Things I Did Since the Last Update

  • That shipping chart. Look at that thing. It took forever.
  • Answered a ton of email (again). Including more reports of another box of misprinted coloring books that went out. If you got one, message me and I'll put you on the list to get replacement copies.
  • Found and mailed a handful of signed packages that I had somehow overlooked. So as of tomorrow, they should all be in the mail except for the Sticky Shticks international packs. Really.
  • Dealt with stupid personal crap that I've been putting off for months.
  • FInally finished the overdue line art version of A Monster for Every Season: Spring. I've edited the link into the original download posts (Updates #37 and #38), and I'll be making another update in a few minutes with a link as well.

My priority for this week now is to get a comic out, then try to get to more of those digital rewards. But the regular comic has to come first; that's why you're all here, right? Still, I hope by this time next week to have some more green bars lit up on the Workometer.

Thanks, as always, for your patience.

--Rich Burlew

The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Shipping

This update has taken a little longer to emerge from the primordial update soup because I wanted to wait until I had any actual progress to report. Which is not to say that books haven't been continually shipping this whole time—just that for most of it, they've been shipping at the same rate (or slower *grumble*) as before, which would've made for a terrible update. But now, we're making some actual headway, so here we are. Like last time, I'll split this into Signed and Unsigned categories.

Signed: Turns out the US Postal Office does not like it when you bring them handwritten customs forms anymore. So much so, in fact, that I was actually turned away from the post office, a dozen boxes in hand, and told to use online postage if I wanted to mail them. This pretty much ground my shipping to a halt for a while, since I didn't even have all the equipment I needed for that. But all the pieces eventually fell into place and I'm happy to say that all the "plain" signed packages that didn't include Sticky Shticks (314 out of 397) are in the mail or sitting right next to me, postage paid and ready to go on Monday. Tracking emails still forthcoming for most, so don't worry if you don't have yours yet. That leaves all the custom art packages—crayon drawings, D&D party drawings, digital portraits—but those will be sporadic, since I need to finish the artwork before I can mail them. And the Patience packages, obviously, but those will be last.

Unsigned: The shipping pace has definitely improved over at Ookoodook, thanks to some logistical improvements and a little more manpower. On Wednesday, they managed to pack and ship over 450 packages, which I think is their highest one-day total yet. They probably won't match that every day, but it's still encouraging. Right now, they're still shipping the Print Only Specials ($67 reward level), which was one of the more popular options, and they still have some packages at lower reward levels left to go, too. So it will still be a while before they get to the Whole Stories, but any improvement is good and I'll take what I can get. I'm really hoping that they'll all be out by the middle of July.

This wasn't the most productive week for me otherwise, so let's look at the anemic Workometer:

The most interesting development here is that Sticky Shticks has gone to the printer. All we have to do is sit back and wait for them to arrive. The current estimate is four weeks for printing, but as we've seen, such estimates rarely hold. I'll keep you posted on any news, but assume at this point that Sticky Shticks packages will not start shipping until August 1 at the earliest. If you need to update your address as a result, use the blue "Send Message" link to send me a message with your new information. [EDIT: If you are sending me an address change, please mention in your email that you're a Sticky Shticks package.]

I'm going to try to take some time this week to work on some of the digital rewards, since the whole signing-and-packing thing has really kept me away from them for three weeks now. I'll update again when either I have something to deliver or when there's been a significant milestone reached with the shipping. 

Five Things I Did Since Last Update:

  • Signed another few hundred books and about 200 ornaments (some of which will be waiting to be mailed).
  • Bought a new laser printer so I could print out postage, since my previous one had more jams than Smucker's.
  • Oversaw the installment of a new CDN for the GiantITP site that should speed up requests to the server. (Our webmaster/technical administrator Rawhide did all the work, but I had to answer a bunch of long emails about it).
  • Uploaded the final files for Sticky Shticks to the card printers, only to find out we needed to resubmit for a new estimate because the old one had expired in April.
  • Finished the first crayon drawing.

Thanks for the patience and restraint you've all shown waiting for your packages. I know this is still going stupidly slowly, and all I can really do is apologize and tell you that I think it's getting better. 

--Rich Burlew

Snail Mail

I have emerged from the hazy land of cardboard mountains and permanent markers. And lo, I bring an update, tho it be delayed greatly from the last of its kind. For ease of reading, I'm going to divide this up into the Signed and Unsigned packages, since they're being handled by two totally different groups of people (myself and Ookoodook, respectively).

Signed: I started sending out autographed books last Saturday. Of the 397 orders that included signed books (and were not crayon drawing, digital illustration, or "patience" packages), I signed and mailed 242 of them, for a total of around 800 books. Which is good, because there were too many books in my living room for me to move around. I even mailed some of the domestic autographed packages that should have had Sticky Shticks inside with an I.O.U. slip instead, just to clear more boxes out. (Don't worry, I'll mail the cards separately later in the summer when they're done being printed.) Almost all of the packages left to be signed and mailed are international orders at this point; I plan on getting all such orders without Sticky Shticks into the mail in this upcoming week (and a half?), if I can get the customs forms filled out. Oh, and we're way behind on the shipping emails, so you might actually get your package before you get notification that it shipped.

Unsigned: Ookoodook has steadily been shipping more packages every day, and I've gotten lots of feedback from people who have already gotten their orders. But overall, it's been slow going. While the warehouse staff is doing a great job, I don't think any of us are happy with how long the process is taking. It turns out that all the different options (and add-ons, and free stuff at certain dollar thresholds) are bogging down the packing process because they need to be checked and rechecked so that everyone gets the right swag. They're about halfway through the unsigned non-Sticky Shticks packages now, as near as I can tell, and it will probably take at least two more weeks to get to the end. So nobody panic if you haven't gotten your confirmation email yet; my previous estimates were a little optimistic, it turns out, because the packing is getting slower as they get to the more complex boxes. The good news is that I've talked to the folks over there and they have some ideas on how to speed things up that may work out. Hopefully I'll be able to announce that the pace has quickened by the next update.

Also, keep in mind that for both signed and unsigned packages, the fact that one backer gets a given reward package in the mail is not a guarantee that everyone else with the same reward package will get theirs shortly thereafter. There are a lot of stragglers or special exceptions, and a lot of orders got moved to the back of the line because they didn't have their surveys filled out, or didn't add their shipping money, or whatever.

Let's take a look at the Workometer:

Note that the "patience" packages aren't reflected on this graph at all yet, so those six green bars for Signed Books/Prints reflect only the "impatient" orders.

Five Things I Did Since Last Update:
  • Sketched my six main characters in Sharpie at least 100 times each, plus a smattering of Redcloaks, Xykons, Thogs, and O-Chuls.
  • Did a very short phone interview with Wired magazine about Kickstarter.
  • Learned a lot I never knew about international tariff codes and other details of customs declaration forms.
  • Found a mistake on the Sticky Shticks cards that delayed their release to the printer until probably Tuesday or so.
  • Repeatedly regretted using such heavyweight paper for the pages of my books. My arms are killing me.

I'm sure there's more to tell about my exciting adventures in autographing, but I'm suffering from marker-induced memory loss at the moment. Which reminds me, I need to do a Kickstarter update today.

--Rich Burlew

P.S. New OOTS is up.

A Word Before I Sign

Here's what's happening:

Books started shipping out on May 17th. While I don't have exact figures on how many packages have left the warehouse, I've been told that Ookoodook is averaging about 300 packages per day, which would work out to about 3600 so far. That might be a little high, though, because I don't think anyone worked on Memorial Day. Anyway, the point is that we're about halfway done with the packages that were ready to go—which, for those who don't remember the last update, were all the book or art print rewards that didn't include Sticky Shticks or an autograph from me (or other custom work like a crayon drawing or digital portrait).

Now, for Sticky Shticks, I'm happy to announce that I've made the final revisions to the cards and rulesheet based on the playtesting. We just need one more playtest/proofreading session to make sure we didn't make anything worse and then they should be ready to go to the card printer. That will probably happen early next week; my co-designer on the game, APE Games owner Kevin Brusky, is at the Origins Game Fair all this week, so he won't be able to help me with that. Still, depending on how fast the printer can turn things around, we're hoping to have Sticky Shticks in our hands by the end of June. (We would probably want to wash our hands afterward, though.)

And for autographed books, I'll be taking delivery of the copies I need to sign this Thursday. I shall then descend into a catatonic autographing fugue for an indeterminate period of time. When I emerge, a multitude of signed books should be in the mail system. Just don't expect your email notification to necessarily be sent the same day as your package; I'm a lot less efficient with paperwork stuff than Ookoodook over there.

OK, that's the status of everything, I think. Workometer.


You'll notice that I updated the three "Backer's Choice" notations with the names of the characters involved, since I started plotting one of those this week.

Five Things I Did Since the Last Update

  • Bought bristol board for the crayon drawings and tracing paper to protect the artwork from rubbing against the envelope.
  • Purchased and drove to pick up packing supplies for the autographed packages, including a giant bag of biodegradable starch packing peanuts.
  • Finished all the card art for Sticky Shticks.
  • Got about halfway through the line art AMFES file.
  • Cleaned enough space in my living room for 50 boxes of books, only to find out we're getting more like 80.

That's it for now. I hope to squeeze out a new comic between now and Thursday, because no one will probably hear from me for at least a week after that.

--Rich Burlew