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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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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

Good News, Everybody!

After two updates of bad news, things are starting to come together. The final shipment of books is arriving in Houston later today, so that all six titles being reprinted will be ready to go. But more importantly, we now have notepads! The new company I picked was able to put a rush on the order and turn them around in a week, which was pretty amazing. They arrived on some very heavy pallets Wednesday evening, though I don't have a photo this time. Sorry. If I get one sent to me, I'll tweet it.

What that means is that if you have a package that a.) doesn't have Sticky Shticks, and b.) doesn't require me to sign it or draw a crayon picture or anything, then your package is ready to be packed and shipped starting today. They won't ALL go out today, mind you; there are probably 5000 or more packages that fall into that category! But the Ookoodook staff will be working overtime to get them all out the door as soon as possible.

In other good news, you probably all have the monster mini file by now, or A Monster for Every Season, as I'm calling it. Look at the previous update for current download links. I still have to finish the line art file, but the main color version is done and read to go. Some of you have asked why I'm doing a black-and-white version when people can just print with the color turned off, so let me show you. 


Above is the Green Dragon (Large) miniature image, in color on the left and line art on the right. Not only does the right version save ink (even more ink than just a greyscale version of the color image would), but it allows you to grab your crayons or colored pencils or whatever and color it any way you want. Who needs to wait for me to draw a red dragon? Just color this one in red!

Anyway, time for the Workometer. Stuff is starting to fill up.

Five Things I Did Since the Last Update:

  • Went and added like 60 more monsters to the monster list I was working on, because I am crazy and like to make things harder.
  • Reviewed playtest reports for Sticky Shticks.
  • Learned that sometimes, a service that advertises itself as "unlimited" really means "unlimited in one specific way that we can afford, but totally limited in these three other ways that would cost us money and that we will not give you a straight answer about when you call to ask ahead of time."
  • Made a lot of phone calls to notepad printers until I found one that could do it fast, on recycled paper, for a non-ridiculous price. 
  • Set up a very tiny photo shoot for the instructions (and cover) for A Monster for Every Season. Also began a glamorous career as a hand model taping an orc chieftain together.
That's it for now, I'll be back when I have something new to report. Thanks, and thanks for all the kind compliments about the monster minis. I really liked drawing them, so I'm looking forward to the next set already. I just have to do like 500 things before then.

--Rich Burlew

New download links for AMFES files

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